It’s a real challenge to reach today’s culture. There was once a time when you could assume most people had a general idea of the Bible (if you referenced Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, Noah and his ark, or even Jesus Christ, they would have a sense of what or who you were referring to). Not anymore.
People are largely oblivious to the Bible, not only as God’s Word, but even as great literature. The obsession of some to implement the “separation of church and state” has contributed to this illiteracy concerning God’s Word.
The Challenge With Today’s Culture
When I present the gospel today—especially to young people—I can no longer assume that they understand what I mean when I say something along the lines of, “You need to repent of your sin and put your faith in Jesus and become His disciple!” They might wonder what it means to repent, or what sin even is.
So, our challenge as believers in reaching this generation is to make sense without compromising our message. No matter which generation we’re sharing the gospel with, the message does not change. The gospel that the apostles delivered in the first century is still the one being shared today.
But still, we need to adapt and become, as Paul said, “all things to all men.”
Finding Common Ground With the World Without Conforming to It
Paul said, “. . .I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NLT).
Note that Paul says “I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.” There is a place to draw the line when you are around nonbelievers. We want to be careful to try to influence them more than they are influencing us. Sometimes, in an attempt to “relate” to nonbelievers, Christians will make unnecessary compromises. Listen, if you become too much like them, they will never want to become like you.
Let’s reach people, but stand our ground and hold to our principles as followers of Jesus.
The Christian’s Common Excuse for Compromise
Some who may want to rationalize compromise in their life as a Christian may protest this and say, “Well, Jesus hung around sinners!” That is not really true. Jesus did not “hang around sinners” for the most part. Actually, He “hung around” His disciples.
When Jesus was with sinners separated from God, they did not stay that way for long. He confronted the woman at the well about her sin. Sure, He loved her, but He pointed out she was living in sin with a man at present. She also came to faith after that. Yes, Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery, but it was only after she called Him “Lord,” and then He said to her, “Go, and sin no more. . . ” When He went into the home of Zacheus, a notorious sinner, the little guy emerged transformed. See, He was around sinners, not to conform—or “hang out”—but to transform.
So, let’s work on building a bridge to our lost world, not burning one. At the same time, let’s not lower our standards in order to extend our reach.
What do you guys think about this?
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