You may have heard of “cheap grace vs costly grace”. One is easy, one is hard. One is a life enhancement; the other involves self-denial and sacrifice, and often pain. In many places in current American churchdom, the gospel is cheap and oh-so easy. But what does Jesus actually say about following Him?
If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. Matt. 16:24-25.
The costly (true) gospel involves counting the cost.
Note how this compares with messages for unbelievers, heard at some modern church ‘evangelistic’ (man centered) church services, such as:
- “I am with you always”
“I love you and accept you no matter what”
“accept you’re powerless”
“will you include Me (God) in your plans for the future?”
“I’m (God)waiting to share My plan with you.”
“heaven rejoices over your happiness”
“I (God) created you longing for deep community”
“make room for Me (God)”
“say yes to God”
“say yes to hard truths (hard to accept) about ourselves”
(Then) “He will give you wisdom, He will be with you through hard times.”
“You wander away and come back, and you know He is there for you.”
These are ‘half truths’ gospel messages. This is a cheap gospel.
There are not only many cheap gospels, there are many false gospels, such as:
- “Wouldn’t it be an amazing thing if billions of people all over the world said ‘yes’ to God tonite? Think about how the world would change. Think of what would happen in the international conflicts. THERE WOULD BE PEACE. We would be able to wipe out poverty, reach out across racial, economic boundaries- if people said yes to God all over the world- they would touch the hurting people of the world. There are 40 million people suffering from AIDS in Africa. If we said ‘yes’ to God COLLECTIVELY what would happen? Not only in this country but in this world. I say that because I want to encourage you this Christmas to pray for our world. It is so easy to think about everything that’s wrong and to walk thru life defeated, but you know what? Pray. Pray for our world, for what’s happening around the world that more and more people would ‘say yes to God’….and His gift of love and peace and grace through Jesus Christ.”
(The last part said very quietly.)
This is a false gospel.
Our Commission from Jesus is to share and preach the gospel. It is so important we are sharing the true gospel and not a half true or a false gospel. The gospel is not for getting our felt needs met. God will take care of all our needs after we are
in Christ. It is not for helping the world of unbelievers create it’s dream of global ‘world peace’. It is for forgiveness of sin, for redemption, for salvation and healing, for eternal life, for a love relationship with God through the sacrifice of Christ. The true gospel is Christ centered.
The issue here in our gospel presentation, is faithfulness or unfaithfulness to God.
Jesus did not just tell us to go and share the gospel. He told us to make disciples and teach them everything He has commanded us. This takes time, energy, work and effort. But this is what Jesus commanded us to do.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matt.28:19-20.
Check out this video from Cross TV:
- The problem with many evangelistic messages these days isn’t so much what IS said; the problem is what is NOT said. And as the CrossTV.com video clip explains, a half truth presented as though it were a whole truth is an UNtruth.
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I really like this- way to sum it all up very quickly and concisely. I’m writing my senior thesis on this topic in general and you touched on some great new thoughts and clarified some thoughts I haven’t been able to verbalize yet. I love how you thoroughly broke down that speaker’s “word peace and say yes” dissertation. I can take a good guess, but who was it that you are quoting there? “Thanks” in advance.
William, hello. I’m glad this was helpful to you. I’m sorry but I’m choosing not to name names. This is not a “famous” nationally/ internationally known person, but a local pastor in my area. We had to leave this church over this, and also over the situation in my post, “Educate Me”(and several other things). This occurred in 2005 and I have been hoping and praying all this time that the leadership of this church will repent of following the philosophy and wisdom of men and the church growth movement, and get back to the narrow way of the true and costly Gospel. Thanks for inquiring!