Making the Gospel Attractive

The movement to “Make the Gospel Attractive” among religious organizations started almost 50 years ago but has reached unimaginative proportions in recent days. All these methods, programs, campaigns, and benevolent missions are referred to in Scripture, but in a negative way. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness”. (I Cor 1:18, 21-23). The Spirit of God recognized that the simple Gospel message would not satisfy many hearers, whether they were Jew or Gentile. Many men and women were looking for something more spectacular with a more philosophical sounding message then, and they still are. People desire a MORE ATTRACTIVE Gospel and religious groups everywhere are lining up to supply their own versions of such.

Scriptures do speak of a way in which we should all attempt to present an ATTRACTIVE Gospel to the world. ”Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may ADORN the doctrine of God our Savior”. (Titus 2:9-10). The term “ADORN” here means “to arrange; to put in order” and can be translated “to decorate, to MAKE ATTRACTIVE”. HERE Paul teaches how individuals and groups of individuals can make the doctrine of God, our Savior MORE ATTRACTIVE – Submission, Obedience, Honesty, Integrity, and Being Well Pleasing in Every Way. This is the exact life Christ lived while on earth, and exactly the life God expects us to live. You and I can have a major influence on how the world views the Gospel. When we live Godly lives before men and they see us, our lives ADORN the GOSPEL and make it MORE ATTRACTIVE to every soul.

The vast majority of the religious world is not attempting to simply ADORN the Gospel in these Scriptural ways. In 2017, denominations have obviously decided that our society is not interested in the pure “Message of the Cross”, so they have gone in every direction except the original Biblical pattern.

Denominations have become so specialized in wrongly attempting to make the Gospel MORE ATTRACTIVE to the masses that their programs have two separate divisions. One plan is for the U.S. and other highly civilized nations, and the other plan pertains to third world countries. In the U.S. we see the carnal appeal everywhere – Gymnasiums, Fellowship Halls, Recreation Centers, Weight Loss Programs, Sports Teams, etc. In poorer countries the approach is two-fold. The first step involves building Hospitals for Healthcare, Irrigation Systems for Water and Food Supplies, Schools for Education, Garment Plants for Clothing and Jobs, etc. In the next phase the presentation of the Bible and the denomination’s teachings usually begin. But these methods of men to make the Gospel ATTRACTIVE are doomed to fail in winning souls; “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men”. (I Cor 1:25).

The fallacies of man’s plans and schemes to alter the Gospel and thus discredit God are also addressed in Romans 1. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, now were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever; Amen”. (Rom 1:20-22, 25). 2000 years ago men thought they were smarter than God and things have not changed very much since. The simple fact is that neither God nor the Gospel of Jesus Christ need any help from men to save souls, except leading holy lives and preaching and teaching Jesus as the Christ.

The N.T. states plainly that the Gospel is not only sufficient, but is powerful in its Message of Salvation. The very first time the Gospel Message was preached to men and women is recorded in Acts 2. Peter unfolded the record of the promised Messiah, known as Jesus of Nazareth, who performed miracles and healings before them all. However these Jews rejected the Christ and put him to death on a cross. But after three days, God raised Him from the dead and Peter and the rest of the apostles were among those who witnessed these events.

Peter concluded his message with this forceful condemnation of the hearers: “Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this same Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ”. (Acts 2:36). The solemn facts presented by Peter concerning the Savior along with his powerful concluding statement caused a visible reaction among the crowd. “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?” (2:37). Answering this most important question, Peter instructed them to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins – The Plain Gospel Message. 3000 people did exactly that the same day and were added to the church. Next, the speaker promised this same plan of salvation would work for all time. “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself. And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them saying ‘Be SAVED from this perverse generation”. (2:39 -40).

When congregations of the Church that Jesus purchased with His own blood add to the examples of the N.T. pattern of evangelism they are in error. When ANY religious group offers ANY unauthorized incentives to Make the Gospel Attractive, they totally ignore the inspired record of growth for the N.T. Church as found in Acts 2:47; 4:4; 4:32; 5:14; 6:7; etc. The reason for this rapid, almost miraculous growth, of the Church and the multiplying of believers is given in Acts 5:42. Speaking of the apostles, “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ”. Teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ is what saved souls in the First Century and that is what saves souls today. That teaching and ONLY that teaching will work!

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith”. (Rom 1:16-17)