The Awkward Silence Message

The modern day Gospel says “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.  Therefore, follow these steps, and you can be saved. “  Meanwhile the Biblical Gospel says, “you are an enemy of God, dead in your sin, and in your present state of rebellion, you are not even able to see that you need life, much less cause yourself to come to life.  Therefore, you are radically dependent on God to do something in your life that you could never do.

Tbe  former sells books and draws crowds.  The latter saves souls.  Which is more important?

David Platt from the book Radical[1]


Last Sunday I had the opportunity to speak at my home Church in Melbourne which is normally a great experience but instead being excited I was extremely nervous.  This is because the Lord had placed one of those messages on my heart to share.  You know which ones I am talking about, the kind that are confrontational about sin, deal with a controversial subject, and made everyone really uncomfortable (especially the speaker).

Now I am aware that the Lord uses these challenging messages to convict Believers of sin and motivate growth, so they are definitely part of a healthy Church.  But to be quite honest its always easier to share an encouraging or comforting message, one that uses funny jokes or emotional stories, where transparency and Grace is displayed instead of confrontation.  Our human pride makes it far more enjoyable preaching a message that will result in handshakes or compliments rather than uncomfortable silence or people running for the door.

Unfortunately because of my sin nature it will always to preach an encouraging or funny message, but that doesn’t mean these messages are being used by God to impact lives since there is a need for comfort as well as exhortation.  The danger I sense in my life is this love for encouraging messages will lead me to preach these kinds of sermons almost exclusively.  This over time will give others a flawed view of God since His Holiness and Sovereignty aren’t seen along with Grace and Love.

The good news that God knows we struggle with sharing confrontational truth and offers the motivation that’s needed.  That encouragement comes from the fact that Jesus didn’t proclaim a comfortable or easy message.  He challenged men to leave their family, jobs, and friends.[2]  Turned to crowds who followed Him and purposely raised the level of commitment so many went home,[3] and sent men away who wanted to follow because they had selfish reasons for doing it[4].  Instead of sharing an encouraging or uplifting message Jesus seemed to focus on sending them away!  Why would He do this?  Because Christ both deserved and demanded complete commitment from those who desired to follow Him.  And this could only be accomplished by challenging and testing their faith to see who was truly committed, and which ones were just there for a free meal.

This is the same reason we have to share the uncomfortable messages with confidence.  Whether you like me preach or teach within the Church, or share the Gospel with unsaved friends we must do so.  Not because it feels good or will lead to a handshake and compliment, but because God deserves first place in our lives.  And by sharing these convicting truths in a clear way we  bring Glory to the Lord with our own actions, which in the end is greater than a handshake or compliment.

Because of Who He is,

John Wilburn

[1] Radical:  Taking Back your Faith From the American Dream, copyright 2009, Multnomoah Books

[2] Matt. 4:18-22, Matt. 9:9-13, Mark 1:16-20, Lk. 5:1-11

[3] Matt. 16:24-28, Luke 9:23-27, John 6:66

[4] Luke 9:57-61

Published by

John Wilburn

Church planter, teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

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