When I found out our church was going to start making a point of presenting the gospel, I was a little confused. Hadn't we already been doing that? To be honest, I wasn't sure how it could be made more clear. After all, we are members of a Baptist church, and Baptist are very deliberate about presenting a message to get people down the aisle. I hate to admit it, but I wasn't looking forward to the stock Baptist salvation message every Sunday.
Imagine my surprise when I heard a revelatory salvation message instead.
On Sept 19th, our Pastor gave us milk and meat at the same table, by presenting the gospel in a way that I suspect most Southern Baptists have never heard. Personally, I had been piecing a similar view together in my own heart for a few years, but didn't expect to hear it echoed from the pulpit. Efton was stressing that we are now saints, not "just a sinner saved by grace", as we Protestants so often hear. He made clear the distinction of who we were and who we now are in Jesus. He used words like "sons of God" (John 1:12), "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4), and mentioned the fact that God has given us a new heart! (Eze. 36:26).
He made the bold statement that maybe the gospel we've heard isn't the gospel of the Bible. Then he talked about standing in front of God, blameless because of the blood. And having the ability to live victoriously in this life because of the Holy Spirit living within us.
I walked out of the service full of hope. Religion is being put to death in our churches, denominationalism will follow, and the Bride will become her glorious true self as we pursue our lover who first loved us (1 John 4:19).
No more fear-induced decisions to get us to come to Christ. No more guilt trips or emotional blackmail to get us to share the good news with others. His kindness will lead the people to repentence (Romans 2:4). His love shed abroad in our hearts (Romans 5:5) will flow naturally from us and, as we lift Him up, He will draw men to Himself (John 12:32).