I am afraid that we sometimes preach smooth things, too soothing and agreeable, and that we do not set before men their real danger as we should…We ought so to preach as to make every sinner tremble in his seat; and if he will not come to the Savior, he ought at least to have a hard time of it while he stops away from him. -CH Spurgeon, The Soul Winner
If you want to make a difference for Jesus, anticipate making a disturbance. Under the preaching of the Gospel, some will melt like ice. But Gospel preaching will unsettle carnally secure people.
Ever think someone would walk out on you while you’re speaking? It’s possible. What about being assaulted, avoided, unfriended, or even imprisoned. Does that seem strange? It shouldn’t.
Consider the events in the book of Acts. Scene after scene of Gospel preaching unfolds, with a range of results from belief, to riots, and even murder. (Table below produced by Voice of the Martyrs Canada).
While we’re not called to be offensive for offensiveness sake (and certainly not in a Terry Jones/Westboro Baptist sort of way), we share a message that is distinct and clear. Jesus does not allow himself to be swallowed up in the Pantheon of the gods of this age. He does not share the stage with Mohammed, Buddah, the NYSE, or the Scientific Method. And he certainly does not bow before any earthly king or candidate. “Who is this that even the wind and the sea obey him?” He is the one who created them, who upholds them by the word of his power, and for whom they were created.
There are times where measured words are needed and so I anticipate push back as some read this. “The Gospel is good news of peace! The Bible urges us to live peaceful, quiet, godly, and dignified lives” (1 Tim 2:2). But when our heart is to win souls to the Savior, we swim upstream against the norm. It is unavoidable that we will become a disturbance to the status quo.
During the Summer Olympics a few weeks ago, I was amazed by underwater footage during the swimming competitions. From the standard pool-length broadcast, the swimmers appeared to move from end to end with grace. But from beneath the water’s surface, each swimmer displaced incredible amounts of water as they propelled back and forth. So much energy filled the pools that during some races, small waves were even seen breaking onto the pool deck.
Living as a Christian has it’s own difficulties. And it’s true, urging others ultimate allegiance to King Jesus is another thing altogether. That may come at a great personal cost. But may this be a picture of what happens when we preach, that our preaching and sharing Jesus would make waves. Some may not believe, but may it be that all would be affected, even those that would have a hard time with it. Holy Spirt, give us boldness to speak, and as we speak, grant eternal life to all who are yours. And would it be that that coworker, that neighbor, that one friend you still keep in touch with, may thank you one day that the cost was worth it.