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Doing “Evangelism” Starting With Grace

The Return of the Prodigal Son (E Murillo) jigsaw puzzleFor those who preach, teach, or otherwise share the Gospel…we should always lead with GRACE.

Consider these words from Baxter Kruger:  “We make a mistake when we start the Gospel with, ‘we are sinners separated from God,’ instead of starting with Jesus–Who is the Father coming after us to embrace us.”

The FIRST way – the way I have heard it preached was like this:

“You (we) come into this world separated from God because of our sin. God loves us and made a way for us to be saved through the sacrificial death of Jesus…but you gotta believe that or you’re going to remain separated from God and go to hell.”

One of the problems with this approach is that it throws the responsibility of salvation back onto the person.  You have a problem.  God has a solution.  YOU have to grasp it.

If you start from someplace other than Jesus…it will lead you to something other than Jesus.

BUT what if we lead with GRACE.  What if we really believe and proclaim that the Triune God comes to us in Christ to embrace us in the mess of our brokenness.

Let;s take Luke 15 as an example of what this might look like.

Leading with grace, we might say:

“God loves you will all his heart. In fact, God loves you so much that through Jesus, God entered the mess of our lives to find us in our lostness.

“You might be like a lost coin unaware that you were even missing.  But God is like that woman who tore her house apart to find you while you were just laying there.

“You might be like a lost sheep who wandered away the from fold in the ignorance of your darkness.  Yet God is still the Good Shepard who comes to where you were, finding you and carrying you home.

“You might be like that rebellious son who rejected his father’s love.  That boy wasted away his whole life, ending up beaten, broken, and in a whole world of hurt.  Yet even in that mess even the simple remembrance of his father’s abundant love washed over him and led him back into his papa’s embrace.

“You might be like the older, self-righteous son who stayed home and did everything right.  He thought that because of his fidelity that he’d earned his place.  But home is not something to be earned…it’s something you have.  The father went out to that boy to remind him that he always had a place in the father’s heart.

“The Father sought you, found you, redeemed you, and calls you his child. In the light of this evangel (good news) repent and believe.”

This is how the “good news” might sound when you launch into its declaration starting with grace.

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