In everything . . . adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
Titus 2:10 (ESV)
What is attractive? Usually when this question is posed we think about what we find appealing in other people. Is it the way they look? Are they pretty or handsome, slim, well groomed, and do they have hair? Is it the way they act? Are they kind, transparent, gentle, and a good listener? Is it what they do? Are they intelligent, have a good job, or a person of influence in the community? All of these qualities tend to attract us to people, but what makes Christ’s church attractive? And further, should we even be considering the concept of attractiveness as it relates to the gospel?
My answer to this question is an absolute YES! Paul states that he and those ministering with him were “to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life”2 Corinthians 2:16 (ESV) Therefore, applying Paul’s principle to our circumstances, for some our evangelism done right will be attractive and yet it will be a repellant to others. Jesus Himself stated that those who rejected Him and His message did so because: “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” John 8:47 (ESV) Jesus exemplified this very principle in His ministry when after feeding the five thousand, and being followed by the same group, He told them that the only reason they were following Him was because they ate their “fill of the loaves.” John 6:26 ESV In other words, Jesus appeased their carnal appetites the very day before and now they wanted more to fill their bellies. When Jesus explained to them the greater provision that He ultimately came to fulfill, not in physical loaves but in eternal life, they rejected Him and His message as John writes, “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.” John 6:66 (ESV)
So you may be wondering, what exactly is my point. Well the point of the matter is this, the gospel and evangelism done right is going to be attractive so some yet it will be a repellant to others. Therefore, we need to make sure that we are being attractive, but being attractive in drawing legitimate disciples of Christ. At the same time, we should remember that ultimately it is not we that draw them, but as Jesus also states, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” John 6:44 (ESV) However, at the same time, we have a role in the process of the Father’s drawing. We are called to take the gospel message to the lost, (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8) imploring them on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20). And, we are also called to make that gospel message attractive.
Now this is where some of you may raise your eyebrows wondering, the gospel message is objectively what it is, repentance from sin and faith in the substitutionary atonement of the resurrected Christ. Further, if it is ultimately it is the Father Who draws the lost, and also knowing that it is only the Holy Spirit that can bring the dead souls of the lost to life in the process that we call regeneration, then how is it that we are supposed to make this heavenly message of truth more attractive than it already is? Good question. The answer can be summed up in one word, testimony! Paul encourages Titus to tell the church in Crete that he wants them “in everything” to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” Titus 2:10 (ESV) Paul tells the church in Philippi that they are supposed to be “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” Philippians 2:15 (ESV) Jesus Himself stated that kingdom citizens should be humble, mourners of sin, meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, have a singleness in devotion, peacemakers, and those who accept persecution well. In exhibiting these qualities, they can then make the greatest impact on the lost world around them by being “attractive” as revealed through the metaphors of salt and light. (Matthew 5:1-14) And of course, we can never forget that we as the church point others to the gift of salvation, the hope of eternal life, and a confirmation of the gospel message when we love one another. (John 13:35)
Moving forward, I want to encourage you to have attractiveness in your evangelism. However, please remember to ask the questions, who are we trying to attract, and how are we to go about attracting them? Many churches desire to attract the lost to the gospel, but oftentimes they use a worldly or carnal strategy that ends up diluting the gospel’s pure message of truth. This method often yields worldly or carnal professors of Christ. These professors would be exemplified in the disciples who only followed Jesus to have their bellies filled. (John 6:26) However, as we have seen from the sixth chapter of John, Jesus rejected this strategy and the type of “so-called” disciples that this method of attraction creates. No, let us be attractive, but let us be attractive with the right methods and strategy. Let us obediently fulfill the functions and vision that Christ has given His church in fellowship, prayer, praise, benevolence, outreach, and accurately teaching the Word. (Acts 2:42-47) Let us be a testimony to our community by fervently striving for the purity of Christ’s church through the Biblical practice of church discipline. (1 Corinthians 5) Let us love one another. (John 13:35) Let us portray the reconciliation we have with God through Christ in reconciling with one another through a Biblical methodology (Matthew 18:15-20). And in all this let us exhibit to the world which is lost in darkness the change that can be wrought in a person’s heart when the light of life impacts an individual, (2 Corinthians 4:6) and he or she becomes a new creature in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17). Yes, we should go and preach the gospel, but let us not forget at the same time to adorn this message and make it attractive as God’s Word defines attractiveness.
Until next time this is Pastor Daniel writing, “may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”