Saturday, September 10, 2011

We Are Not Negotiators

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.
Psalm 33:6-9

So many times, too many times, Christians are fearful of proclaiming the gospel to lost people--fearful they will be asked a question they cannot answer; fearful of looking less intelligent than the person to whom they are speaking; fearful of looking foolish; fearful of man. This ought not be.

The only One the Christian should fear is the same One the lost should fear--God Almighty. Granted, how the Christian should fear the Lord is different than how the lost person should fear the Lord. The Christian should fear God's discipline while the unsaved person should fear God's wrath. But the fear of the Lord remains the beginning of wisdom (Proberbs 9:10), for the saved and the unsaved alike.

Part of the overall fear many Christians have regarding engaging unbelievers in spiritual conversation stems from the fear of losing the debate. Many Christians see themselves as negotiators instead of heralds. Yes, the Christian represents the Lord Jesus Christ as an ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20). Yes, the Christian must be prepared at any given moment to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope in Christ he or she has (1 Peter 3:15). But that does not mean the Christian's mission is to negotiate terms of peace with haters and enemies of God (Jeremiah 6:13-15; Romans 1:29-32; James 4:4).

We are not negotiators.

We must declare to the lost, whether in our evangelistic conversations or in our public proclamation of the gospel, that by the power of His word and by the breath of His mouth God created the heavens and the Earth and all they contain. We must proclaim in conversational tones and with a shout from the housetops that God is the Almighty Creator--the One who both formed and gathered every drop of water in there God-determined places.

These foundational truths, while they may be a point of contention among lost sinners who put too much stock in their own perceived intelligence--in their scientific, theoretical, and philosophical gods--these foundational truths are non-negotiables in the heart and mind of the Christian. The Christian is never obligated to relinquish ground established by God and His truth to the enemy for any reason--let alone the enemy's inherent distaste and disdain for the truth. The Christian is never obligated to fight according to the enemy's rules of engagement. God has not sent forth His Church to negotiate with the enemy, but to call them to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! Evangelist, let your love for God and your appropriate fear of Him embolden you to refuse to negotiate with the lost. Instead, we must call them, with the sword of the Spirit drawn and ready, to fear God and be awe-struck by Him--to repent of their sins (their offenses against the Sovereign One) and, in humble submission, receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

In our limited capacity as fallible human beings, we must do whatever we can to not only represent our God well (speaking the truth in love), but we must also present our God in such a way as to unashamedly and unflinchingly declare who He is--King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16).

We are not negotiators, my brethren. We are heralds of our great God and King. We are blood-bought, grace-given, sin-forgiven, Spirit-filled, co-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. Live like it. Preach like it. And don't apologize for it. Fear the Lord. Stand in awe of Him. And proclaim the gospel.

Don't quit!