The following are my notes of Trip Lee’s general session message at the Legacy 2013 Conference.
The theme of the conference is Soli Deo Gloria and we want to think about the glory of God in all areas of our lives and tonight I want to talk about the glory of God in evangelism.
This is hard topic because we often all feel guilty that we are not sharing the gospel enough. I was even feeling guilty this week about a neighbor that I did not follow through with on sharing the gospel.
Why do we preach the gospel? We preach the gospel so that people can see glory. In fact, if you do not get any other point in my message this is the main point:
We preach Christ so that people can see the glory of God.
The brokenness in our world is because people have not seen the glory of God. Ultimately, people go to hell because they do not know the glory of God. The glory of God matters!
Tonight we will look at 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 and hear from Paul who was not some guy sipping coffee at Starbucks when he wrote this letter. He was a guy who lived in this world and really struggled in it.
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:1-6)
If you are a believer in the gospel, then you have been made a minister of the gospel. Here are four lessons about ministering the gospel in a dark world.
Lesson 1 – Do Not Waver Because of the Rejection of Men
We have all experienced rejection in our lives and it is hard. It hurts. We have been rejected by colleges or girls at a dance. We do not like rejection.
In our minds we might think Paul was THE MAN. He wrote half the New Testament. However, he was not THE MAN in the life of the Corinthians. There were haters and nay-sayers.
Paul tells us not to lose heart even though he has faced so much opposition and rejection. We know later on in this letter that Paul was facing all kinds of suffering.
Have you ever shared the gospel with someone and they rejected you? I know I have shared the gospel with people and they acted really awkwardly afterwards. Others yelled in my face and threatened me. Others have told me they like their sin too much.
What is Paul doing that is helping him not lose heart? He does not lose heart because of the greatness of the ministry that God has given him. When he thinks about this ministry that came by the mercy of God he is encouraged. Paul says in the previous chapter that ministry of the Holy Spirit is greater than the ministry of Moses.
Our joy and encouragement should be in the ministry itself. Our joy should be in the gospel and not in our abilities or our performances.
Do you understand the privileges of the ministry of the gospel? We should not lose heart or dejected and ever give up because God has given us an amazing ministry.
In verse 2, Paul says we have renounced being disgraceful in his ministry. He does not peddle God’s word and he knows that if he is going to share the gospel he needs to be above reproach.
He does not use deception, crafty, or cunning schemes. He will not do anything that will tamper, water down, or change the word of God. I wish more preachers had this resolve. There is too much foolishness out there.
The kind of church that you should go to is the kind of church where the guy preaching the word does not add anything to the word. They do not mess with it.
I was thinking about this like being at a banquet. If you ever been to a banquet they always have rolls, butter, and unsweet tea. Unsweetened tea? Why do they even make this stuff? Then you have to add 8 sugar packets to this stuff just to make it palatable.
The gospel is sufficient. It does not need 8 sugar packets. It does not need anything to be added to it, but too many preachers think they need to add something to the gospel to make it more palatable.
What commended Paul was that he was preached the gospel plainly. Adding to the gospel does not remove boundaries and veils it adds them. The glory of Jesus is seen in the plain preaching of the gospel.
If you wanted to look at a beautiful woman why would you veil her face and cover her up.
We need to preach Christ and the gospel plainly. Now if this sounds too simple and easy, then let me get to my next point.
Lesson 2 – Beware of the Work of Satan
We need to be aware of the way Satan works. Some think Satan has all power. They make the mistake of thinking he has too much power.
Look at verse 3 and how Paul says that Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers. Paul says the people who cannot see the truthfulness of the message are the same that are perishing. They are not some people with spiritual sight that can really see the truth who think the gospel is foolish. They are blind to the truth.
One of the scariest verses in the bible is in 1 Thessalonians 1 when Paul says to the Thessalonians that God will come to judge the wicked. These truths should impact us and our evangelism.
Why are these people blind? The passage says Satan, the God of this age, the God of this world, has blinded these people. Satan is an adversary. He is not an equal with God in his power. The power Satan does not have is that he blinds non-Christians.
This passage shows us that one of Satan’s main goals is that he wants to blind us from the glory of God. Satan does not want us to see God’s weight, his beauty, his bright radiant glory. This is Satan’s main goal. He is working against us and an enemy of the cause of Christ.
Instead of being enamored by Christ he wants us to be enamored with pitiful worldly success, the lesser glories of earthly relationships, etc…
Have you been allowing Satan to blind you and are you allowing Satan to blind you to earthly glories? If so, you are playing right into his hands.
Why is the world so hostile and so much brokenness in the world? It is because the world is blind.
I have been recently trying to reach out to one dude who is not interested in the gospel. I wanted to give up, but I need to have compassion.
Preaching the gospel shows people God’s glory because it shows us that Jesus is the very image of God. Not just another preacher. Not just a prophet. He is the image of God.
If you want to know what God is like, then look at Jesus. If you want to know what God is like toward sinners, then look at sinners. It is not just that you see God’s attributes when you see Christ, you see God himself when you look at Christ.
If Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, then how are we to make them see?
Lesson 3 – Embrace the Work of the Minister
One of the reasons we do embrace the ministry is because we do not know what we are supposed to do. Our job is to PREACH CHRIST!
The job of the minister is to preach Christ. We are not to give life tips or lessons. We are to know nothing but Christ and him crucified.
If you are here tonight and you do not know what the gospel is, then your goal for the rest of tonight and this conference is to figure out what that gospel is.
The message we have been called to preach is good news. You cannot save people. You cannot die for people. Don’t try to save them or clean them or die for them. Tell them about the one who can save them, clean them and died for them.
The gospel is the vehicle and means that God has used to save people. It is good news that God has saved us if we confess with our mouth that Christ is Lord, but Romans 10 tells us that if we do not hear, if we do not have a preacher, then we will not have good news.
I was recently encouraged by the baptismal testimonies I heard at my church this last week. The one lady was from China and said that every time she heard the gospel she hated what she heard. The other guy was selling drugs and heard the gospel over and over. He said to God that if God would get him out of jail then he would live for him, but he went right back to drugs.
Then both of them came to faith. You know what changed these people? You know what made the difference? …. Someone shared the gospel to them again. That was it.
This is the commission God has given us. We are to preach Christ and not ourselves. We are not to tell people about our testimonies at the expense of Christ’s testimony. I heard one lady share how God cleaned her off crack and then give an alter call, but I was grieved because she never preached Christ.
We must preach Christ and we must find opportunities to preach Christ. We cannot leave this up to chance. We need to build our lives around it.
So how can we have hope that Satan’s blinding unbelievers? That brings me to the last lesson.
Lesson 4 – Hope in the Work of God
Paul says that God says let there be light and opens hearts. The God of the universe who created all things by the word of his power says let there be light. He said it before and he will say it again.
I was thinking about this idea like being in a big dark room with thick brick walls and absolutely no light coming in and someone shouts from one wall of that room that Christ is Lord and nothing happens, the darkness remains. Then someone from the other wall says Christ died for your sins and darkness remains. But then someone preaches Christ and all of a sudden this big wrecking ball comes in and blows out that wall. You cannot do that work, but through the power of the gospel does that. God alone can break down that wall and bring the light in that room.
The reason you are a Christian today is because God shined light into your dark heart. Only God can shine light into our dark hearts.
We are not passionate about evangelism because we are not excited about the glory of God in the face of Christ. We are in awe of so many things like this conference, a concert, an album, and so many things in this world and we tell people about it, but are we telling people about Christ.
But I do not want you all to leave this room tonight discouraged about your lack of sharing the gospel. I want you to know the grace of Christ. I want you to stand in the confidence of God to save people. I want you to know that Christ died even for the sins of not sharing the gospel enough.
Keep preaching the gospel so that men will see the glory of God in the face of Christ forever.