Saturday, April 25, 2009

Consider the Hearer



A friend sent me the link to the video above . . . and at first, I was blown away. Watch it now, and see if it affects you in the same way.

Okay, are you done? The more I thought about this video, however, the more I realized that the rose metaphor is PERFECT for a discussion about purity and holiness in a group of believers. They would understand with no problem.

This young man's chagrin stems from the fact that he brought a friend who was not a believer to church. And the metaphor, of course, wasn't only inappropriate for her, it was sharp and cutting.

Scripture warns us that spiritual infants can't handle meat; people who are spiritually blind can't understand things of the Spirit.

And a church, by definition, is a body of believers. Far too often today I see Christians who think their sole duty is not to be a witness for Christ, but simply to invite their friends to church . . . where the pastor and other "professional Christians" can do the heavy lifting of evangelism. Where did that idea come from? It's not biblical. The biblical example is that we meet people and share Christ where they are.

Some churches certainly have evangelistic programs; that's great. But I think far too many of us--myself included--are all too happy to leave the real work of evangelism to church employees. I can't tell you how many times people call my house (and my pastor hubby) to tell him about their friend so-and-so who needs to hear about Jesus.

Well . . . why haven't they explained who He is?

I've often said that I write with one of two audiences in mind. I'm either writing for the church crowd (in which case I'll usually feature a believing protagonist) or for the world at large. The latter category will not have "Christianese" or content that an unbeliever wouldn't appreciate or even understand. Instead, I try to implant Truth the Spirit can use to work on the hearer's heart.

You wouldn't visit Britain and stand to address a crowd in Spanish. You wouldn't go to Mexico and proceed to speak in Russian. You have to speak the language of your audience; you have to understand their culture well enough to communicate.

And that's my thought for the day.

~~Angie

8 comments:

Smilingsal said...

Like the speaker, I get angry when I hear a message that muddies or dilutes the gospel. "Jesus want the rose!" and we should be diligent about sharing that.

Anonymous said...

This is powerful, Angie. Thank you for bringing it to us this morning. One of my devotions today began with the reading of Ephesians 4:11-16, and the author of the devotion then wrote, "No one has to do everything, but all of us need to do something." We each have a unique gift from God to share Him with others. Another quote that was mentioned in a sermon a week or so ago is, "The church is what's left when the building burns down." Yes, our pastors and priests have the vocational calling, but Each of us is called to share our gift. Clyde

Lisa said...

And a great thought at that!

Patti G. said...

I'm not quite sure where to start. The young man was certainly passionate with his point of view. I'll start with the rose. I'm visualizing a beautiful white rose, barely more than a bud. The petals are just beginning to open a wee bit. Then he tosses the rose into a crowd of people of all walks of life. Each one touches the rose and feels of it. After awhile the rose is no longer white but brown and broken from abuse. Since the minister's subject was sex, here's how I see it. For now I'm thinking in terms of a female. I see a young girl entering into that age where she begins to blossom. She's young, beautiful and innocent. Then as she gets older she enters into a lifestyle where she gives her body to so many men. She was once beautiful and the men wanted her because she was so beautiful. As time elapsed and she was used and abused by all these men, she was no longer beautiful. No one wanted her any more. But then, as the young man said, Jesus wanted that used and abused rose because He and only He could make it beautiful again.

Mocha with Linda said...

Like in the time of Christ with the Pharisees, sometimes the church can be God's enemy. Sad but true. Oh, that we would be faithful to tell people that Jesus wants the rose!!

Anonymous said...

Powerful image--Jesus wants the rose. Too bad the first speaker stopped short of telling his audience that truth. Thanks, Angie, for reminding us to always be cognizant of the reader. Mary Kay

Mike + Stacey Duncan said...

Matt Chandler is the pastor of a church in the town I live in, Denton, TX. Denton is the home of Texas Women's University and the University of North Texas, and his church, The Village, is an extremely popular church among college students (who go to church). Both UNT and TWU are extremely liberal and "artsy" and Denton itself is a liberal college town. Matt Chandler preaches the REAL gospel into the hearts of college students each week, and although I don't go to the Village, I have friends that do and I am so glad that he stands up for Truth and preaches that Jesus DOES want the rose, as so many of the college students that come to his service ARE the rose.

Caitriona aka Catherine said...

Angie,
I am just catching up on your blog, so commenting here a little on the late side. The video and your comments both spoke to me. I was led to the LORD by my husband when we were dating. He didn't expect to be the one, he was praying for a wife, knew I wasn't the one because I wasn't a Christian but he shared the Word of God and the gospel many times, one on one, never demanding a decision and at the end of a very long conversation there was nothing left to say, I stood with Christ Crucified and me the tattered rose, accepted, forgiven, and loved.
Currently, I am reading Eternal Impact by Phil Downer and the subtitle also sums up the book "investing in the lives of others." There are people in my life that I have had a heart for but failed to invest in their lives and show care for the destination of their souls. I do care and I agree with you. It is the responsibility of each and every Christian to share the Gospel. I also believe it is the Church's responsibility to equip and build up the children of God so that we can be assured that we can walk in the Spirit and that we can share the Gospel with confidence. Before this turns into a full length post, I will close by saying Thank you Angie. Your sister in Christ, Catherine