I read the following comment by Steve Camp over at his blog and felt it was substantial and powerful enough to stand on its own as a post – and so it does!
Why preach or share the gospel? For two reasons: The Lord commands we do (Matt. 28:18f); and it is our joy that He allows us to participate in His sovereign work (Rom. 10). That is why Paul says “I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10). Our methods and means or communicative skills do not add one jot or tittle of power or effectiveness to the gospel in changing lives–not one. (Rom. 1:16-17).
We call men to repentance (Acts 17:30) but the results are in the Lord’s hands. Those who come to Christ (John 6:35-48) and remain in the faith (1 John 2:18-19) were granted salvation in “times past eternal” by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 1:9). It is this glorious doctrine that brings worship to our God…and humility to us, His creatures – amen?
Think of how this would change our evangelistic meetings and outreaches if we fully understood salvation and the call of the gospel from the point of view of sovereign grace rather than from the point of view of the “pragmatics of human ingenuity.”
I am passionate about reaching lost souls. But I have the comfort in knowing that I don’t need to manipulate or emotionally sway people for them to respond in repentance to confession of Christ as Lord for salvation (Rom. 10:9-10). My techniques mean nothing. my eloqunce means nothing; the beauty of my songs means nothing in the salvation of souls; yet they are tools in the hands of the Lord that I offer to Him to be used for His glory in any manner He deem worthy.
Is it anymore clear why Paul said to the wayward church at Corinth: “I sought to nothing among you than Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
In closing, listen to how Paul shared the gospel to the Stoic philosophers on Mars Hill–it is focused around the resurrection, repentance and the Sovereignty of God and then compare it with the trite “altar calls” of today’s “evangelists”:
“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26And He has made from one blood[b] every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, “For we are also His offspring.’ 29Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” 32And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” 33So Paul departed from among them. 34However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them” (Acts 17:24-34)
Grace and peace,