I have been reading the Measure of a Man, by Gene Getz, and he makes some interesting comments on how we are to fit within the culture without conflicting with biblical principles. Gene gave an account of him moving into a house with his wife. The new home he was buying was from a preacher. The home was literally built on rock and grass would not grow. The yard was filled with weeds and looked not well kept. This made the neighbors agree as the home had become an eye sore in the community. Gene had noticed that the neighbors were cold to them when they moved in. The neighbors were upset that another preacher had moved in so the assumption was that the eye sore would continue to be an eye sore. The outside property had become a barrier to them being able to effectively share the Gospel with their neighbors. Gene and his wife were on a tight budget, but they decided to divert money that they were going to invest into the inside of the home and directed instead to the outside. Again because they were on a tight budget meant them doing most of the work themselves. that meant breaking up rock and removing it. The effort that Gene spent working on his property had not gone unnoticed by his neighbor. The idea was to remove enough rock so that he could lay down top soil. Then they could grow grass. One of the neighbors that had been cold to them early on started being nice and they eventually became good friends.
Both in Timothy and Titus, we we to make the Gospel attractive or adorn the Gospel. This is akin to presenting the Gospel in an attractive way. The example was for Gene to meet this cultural norm so that the Gospel would not be hindered. This where we are to be obedient to man-made institutions. We are to be an example so that God can be glorified. So that means recognizing that in our culture, there are expectations of good citizenship and behavior. If as Christians we fall short of this, then hour credibility to share the Gospel has taken a major hit.
I remember watching the Cosby show. On one of the episodes, one of his daughters came in with a boy that the parents had met for the very first time. After several awkward silences, the proceeded to share with their parents that they were married. Disapproval and devastation were all over the Huxtables faces. Bill Cosby went into the kitchen with the boy he just met and found out that he was his father-in-law. The boy said “I see that you are upset”. Bill Cosby responded and I am paraphrasing “Do you like steak? Well I want you to image the best steak that you can ever imagine about to be served to you. You can taste in your mouth. The expectation of how great it is going to taste is to the point where you can barely stand it. Can you picture? Can you almost taste it. Now imagine the waiter coming out and bringing it to your table on the lid of a trash can. It’s presentation son. You presented this news on the lid of a trash can”. This is in essence what I recalled. In the same way, we can detract from the beauty of the Gospel. When can get in the way of the GOOD NEWS.
I have gone onto to You Tube and looked at many hours of different street preachers. They believe they have been instructed by God to share on the byways and highways so that all will here. The problem from my perspective is that they present the Gospel on a trash can lid. They hold onto the promise that when they preach the word that it will not be in vain. The problem is that they may be obedient to what they believe that God is calling them to do. The one’s that I have looked at seem uninterested in actually bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus. Instead they seem to be prideful of what they are doing and call people sinners as they go by. The scream at people to repent and that they are going to be judged. Turn sinner you can hear the repeating over and over again. They seem to miss the whole idea of truth in love. They rationalize it by saying their is nothing more loving then point out people’s sin so they can repent.
In the arguments that ensue, I do not hear them actually get to the Good News of the Gospel. I just hear the turn and repent. It is like taking the beauty of the Gospel and spinning it in the worst possible way. Making it unattractive to everyone within earshot. It makes it that much more difficult for the next person trying to walk alongside people and share the love of Jesus, when their only experience was a guy on a blow horn screaming that they are a sinner.
One of these open air preachers proclaims that he is not a sinner, but a holy man. their is no love in his heart for anyone. i see no grace in his message. So if we are to adorn the Gospel and present it in away that Glorifies God, then we must do that.
Gene goes onto make sure we do not rationalize in getting to big of a house and you convince yourself that you can use this house for the Glory of God by using it for church gatherings, small care groups or Bible studies if the real reason you want a bigger house because of pride. Gene does not want to judge what is in our heart, but gives us a warning as to finding the balance of being held in high regard in the culture, while staying true to your faith. We must do our best to make sure whatever we do, we do for the Glory of God.