St. Francis of Assisi once said this: "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."
I remember that when I heard this for the first time I thought it was a
profound comment. "Deep, man," said I. However, the more I thought
about it, and the more I looked in God's Word the more I didn't like
it. I get what Francis meant - that we are to live our lives in a
manner worthy of our calling and that our actions speak loudly of our
faith - I understand what he's saying. But unfortunately even though I
understand him...I'm pretty certain that Francis was wrong.
To live our lives as though we believe the gospel is another matter entirely from actually sharing it. Romans 10:14
gives to us the foundation of this thinking: "And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" Translation: Words
are important. If we don't say something, people don't hear anything,
and when people don't hear anything, they can't believe the gospel.
Here's the deal, each and every
time we share Christ with others around us, we need to be asking
ourselves if there were some critical elements present when we spoke.
Without these, the good news of Jesus Christ has not been shared, we
haven't done what we've been asked to do, and Romans 10:14 sits before
our eyes unfulfilled. Here's a list of the critical elements:
1. Statement of the Facts – You and I are serious trouble
- Sin is a universal condition and it's terminal resulting in death and condemnation (Romans 3:23; 6:23)
- Grace through faith in Jesus is the only answer (Ephesians 2:8,9)
- We are NOT okay
- God is simply NOT just a God of love.
- It’s NOT that Jesus simply wants to be our friend
2. Response – You and I need to move
- The answer to the sin is faith in Jesus Christ and repentance from you sin. (Mark 1:15)
- It’s NOT enough to live good lives
3. Promise – You and I can find what we’re looking for in Jesus alone
- With Jesus, we enjoy an eternity with him apart from judgment and punishment (John 5:24)
So ask yourself these questions
next time you've shared Christ with someone: Were the facts given?
Was a response called for? Was the promise promised?
If so, the gospel was preached in a much truer way than with just actions. Sorry Francis.