This blog post will be one that is a bit different from all the other post I have written. As a pastor of a church I have been guilty of preaching from the pulpit to go and spread the word of Jesus to others.  The word being preached is biblically accurate however the application of spreading the word effectively to others... I have realized most Christians don't actually know how to do effectively. There seems to be two sides of Christian camps on how to spread your faith. One camp beats you with the law so badly that you never feel that you can live up to it, the other camp showers you with the love and grace of Jesus dying on the cross. The problem comes when the law camp never crosses the bridge from law to grace and the grace camp never spotlights the law to validate the need for grace. So the end result is either people accepting Jesus out of Fear or accepting Jesus wanting a better life. Unfortunately the way that most people today choose to spread their faith is by telling someone their personal story....and from that they hope that their story is enough to bring someone to Christ. The problem is that most people can't relate to your victories but can easily relate to your failures. 

So here are my questions for those spreading the faith that Jesus and accepting him on the cross will make your life better, without ever approaching the subject of the law and sin. 

1. What do you say to the person who makes great money, has a beautiful family, has everything they ever wanted, has health, and life is great for them? What is it then that Jesus brings to the table to make their life even better than what it is now? Why would someone like that want to choose to accept Jesus when they are doing pretty good without him? 

2. What do you say to the person who heard a message how Jesus loves her and how he died for her and that through him her life would be better....so on Sunday she hears a message like this, she tithes in hopes to receive a blessing, and she says a sinner's prayer (which by the way is no where in the bible) raises her hand to acknowledge she accept Jesus into her heart and then on the way out of church she gets a phone call saying her daughter just died in a car crash? She just accepted in hopes of something better but now life just got worse...is this the Jesus she really wanted in her life? 

I ask these questions because the reality of life is this....you will meet people like the person in question 1 who your personal story will have no impact with, and you will meet people in question 2 who may be able to relate to your story....your story may even be their story but something happens that causes them to really question God and they end up backsliding on their faith.  As a matter of fact you probably know a person who has backslidden on their faith. You look at your life and wonder how they could do that....and the truth is they probably were never saved to begin. 

I know that may have just crossed some forbidden line by saying that yes....a persons faith will produce fruit and if it is not you have to wonder if they actually have the faith to begin. 

Have you ever been driving and all of a sudden you look up in your rear view mirror and see a cop flashing his lights? We all have right...what is your first responses...what goes thru your head....you begin to run thru a checklist of what you might have done wrong. You check your seat belt, check your speed (possibly even take your foot of the pedal to slow down without hitting your brake lights) you think about your lights and did you use a signal when changing the lane, did you mistakenly blow thru a yellow light that turn red or not stop completely at a stop sign. The only reason you instantly run thru a checklist in your head is because of the presence of the law. If the law wasn't in your rear view mirror you wouldn't think twice about the possibility of breaking the law. See it was the presence of the law that spotlights the law. 

So what does this have to do with sharing your faith....The LAW of the LORD is perfect in converting the soul (Psalm 19:7) The Apostle Paul says that if were not for the law he would not have know sin. The purpose of the law is to expose how sinful we were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant.  (Romans 5: 20) There is a direct connection between the law which exposes sin and grace. And here is the reality of grace...you can't understand it until you have a need for it. I can tell you about grace all day long and you will never understand grace until you realize your need for it. 

It goes like this...lets say I told you that I was going to pay a $50,000 dollar fine for you right now...You would think I was crazy. It sounds like a nice action on my part...but  the reality of it is that you have done nothing wrong for me to have to pay a $50,000 fine for you. So although it sounds nice you would think I was crazy. The idea of me paying the fine makes no sense at all. Now after this conversation while driving home you unknowingly speed thru a blind deaf school zone and you get pulled over and the officer takes you to jail. Later that day you go in front of the judge and he says to you what you did was incredibly dangerous and stupid and you could have killed somebody. He tells you that the penalty for your crime is either paying $50,000 or spending a life in jail. You say to the judge I don't have $50,000 but now I come into the picture and tell you that I have liquidated my savings, retirement, and my kids college funds to pay that $50,000 fine for you. Now all of a sudden the $50,000 fine being paid makes sense to you because you understand your need for it, where as before when I told you I was paying a fine for you you didn't understand it because you didn't have a need for it. 

This is the case with grace. Until you understand your need for grace you will never understand grace itself. The problem is most christians sharing their faith share the grace because they fear talking about the sin which when exposed creates the need for grace. Hence why the law which exposes sin is perfect in converting the soul...why...because it cuts through to the conscience. 

So how do you share you faith and talk about the law without offending someone or sounding hypocritical? 

Let me ask you a question...do you think you are good person? (I have yet to find a single person that answered no to this question) Our natural answer is yes I am...I am not perfect but I do believe I am good...so lets test that? 

However before we do let me ask you this question....lets say someone you loved was kidnapped, rapped, and brutally murdered....the police catch the person, and while standing trail....he says to the judge...your honor I know what I did was wrong but  I really am a good person. I donate often, and volunteer, and he lists all these things that makes him a good person. Do you expect the judge to pardon this person... or since it was your loved one do you expect the judge to pass a proper sentence for the crime committed. Let me answer that for you.....you expect the judge the pass the proper sentence for the crime committed. This is the case with us...so lets test if you are a good person. 

1. Have you ever told a lie? I know you answered yes! So what does that make you....A LIAR! No matter how you justify or spin it the act of telling lie is called lying and when you lie your a liar!

2. Have you ever taken anything didn't belong to you....even if it was something stupid like a pen? Again I know that answer...yes! So what does that make you....A THEIF!  And if you answered no....you have already admitted to being a liar so your answer can't be believed. 

3. Have you ever looked at something your neighbor had and said to yourself....I like that I would love to have that? Again....the answer is yes! That is called COVETING. 

4. Have you looked at person with lust in your eyes and instantly wondered about what it would be like with that person? We all have right....who hasn't? Jesus said that is the same thing as committing ADULTERY. 

5. Have you really disliked someone? Jesus said that is the same thing as committing MURDER in your heart. 

This is only 5 of the 10 commandments. By your own admission you are a lying, thieving, coveting, adulteress murder. There is still another 5 laws to go. Now we are standing in front of God and the punishment for your sins is an eternity in HELL. Would you be found guilty or innocent? Do you really believe for your crimes you committed that you can say to God,..I really am a good person. Is you being a good person enough to pardon you from being a liar, a thief, a murder, a adulterer, a coveter? You expected the judge when it was your family member to pass proper sentence for the law being broken. The same is the case with you. There is a proper sentence that should be passed on our sins....

NOW... this is where the grace of Jesus dying on the cross comes into play. Jesus died on the cross to cover your crimes with God. Much like that $50,000 fine. It was paid for you so you didn't have to pay for it. Once you understand the law and the sins( Paul says in Romans that if it weren't  for the law he would not have known sin) you can understand grace. Grace becomes real and Jesus dying on the cross becomes real to you because it applies to your sins that have now been spotlighted. Much like have a cop in your rear view mirror, once the presence of the law is there, the sin becomes recognizable. Once you undertand the sentece for the crimes, muck like the $50,000 being paid, you can now accept and appreciate the penalty of your actions being covered by Jesus. However if you only hear the message of grace without spotlighting the need for it, the idea of a man dying on the cross for your sins sound good, but other than rethortic you won't be able to understand. Because of this lack of understanding a raod to backsliding it always available to you. This why we all know people that go to church, say that get saved, and then stop going and revert back to their old ways.

When you look at Jesus and Paul and how they spread the message, they used two techniques. The primary was using the law to expose the sin in a persons life which creates a need for grace. The other which was very rarely used was grace first. As was the case with thief on the cross when Jesus said today you will be with me in paradise. We like to look at that part of the story and say that is the case for grace first. However back it up just a bit and you will see that thief exposed his sin to Jesus first, so Jesus only response needed to be grace. The theif realized he was a sinner.

I encourage you today to try using the techniques above to help spread the gospel of Christ in such a way that creates a need for the grace of Jesus Christ.