Picture this conversation between a couple of guys, perhaps friends at work, or school, during a lunch break. One is a Christian (Eager ‘Evangelist’) looking for an opportunity to share Jesus. The other guy is a known nonbeliever (Lost Soul) who has been going through some tough ‘stuff of life’ – marriage in trouble or girlfriend dumped him, having problems paying bills, maybe he even was on the wrong end of an IRS audit, whatever. The list could go on and on. The poor guy is almost in tears and the moment is ripe for our eager ‘evangelist’
Eager ‘Evangelist’: “All you really need is a personal relationship with Jesus, and everything work out OK!”
Lost Soul: “Really? I just need a personal relationship with Jesus and all my problems in life can be solved? What do you mean?”
Eager ‘Evangelist’: “Just that God loves YOU, and has a really great plan for YOUR life!”
Lost Soul: “He does? Wow!!!!!!! I love ME too!!!!!!” “I had a plan, but man, it’s totally on the skids! Are you telling me God has a better plan for my life?”
Eager ‘Evangelist’: “You’ve got it!!!!! He wants fix ALL the broken stuff, and for you to live abundantly in every area of your life!”
Lost Soul: “Way Kewl!!!! How do I get this relationship?”
Eager ‘Evangelist’: “Just repeat after me. . .”
Lost Soul: . . .repeating with sincerity the little prayer. . .
Eager ‘Evangelist’: “Congratulations! You’re SAVED!”
Well, I could have reversed the roles there, because that’s a been there done that moment. Is there truth in that? Yes, but not the whole truth of the matter. Something has been left out. I used to leave it out, and it’s left out of countless ‘gospel’ presentations every day. I might have even used the rest of the popular ‘evangelistic tool’, but the central focus was on point #1, paraphrased in the above title.
Perhaps the tool isn’t used as much these days, but the central focus of most evangelism these days is the personal relationship with Jesus that is lacking in everyone outside of Christ. While it’s true that a saving personal relationship with Jesus is lacking, is it true that everyone outside of Christ has no personal relationship, as we so readily communicate in our witnessing?
Would Jesus agree with that assessment – that those who have not believed in Him have no relationship with Him? Let’s see.
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” – John 3:18
We love to share a verse a couple of verses before this one, as well as those after, but how we love to omit this one in our presentations! If we know that Jesus is the judge, and I hope we all do, since that’s what the Bible tells us, everyone outside of Christ because of unbelief (everybody who does not believe), has a very personal relationship with Jesus
So much for Jesus’ opinion of personal relationships, what did the great Apostle Paul have to say of the matter?
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” – Eph 2:1-3 (Emphasis mine)
If you missed what Paul told the Ephesian Christians, he told them that before they were the recipients of God’s saving grace through faith in Christ, they were by nature objects of God’s wrath, like the rest of mankind. I don’t think it can be any clearer than that, my friend.
To this old guy, it seems evident that every everyone, absolutely every person of the planet, lives within the framework of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ – we either live under ‘wrath’ or under ‘grace’.
Think about it and evaluate your ‘evangelism’. I’ve had to evaluate mine.