Sermonette for Saturday

And great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went into a ship and sat, and the whole multitude stood on the shore. Matthew 13:2

We were looking for a way to distribute a greater number of tracts along the beach area. If we simply walked along and offered them to people on the beach or on the roadway in front of the cottages, very few people would accept them. One of the guys in our group came up with a novel idea. He went to the owner of the beach and offered to hand out the day’s activity programs to the people when they arrived at the gateway to the beach. When the time for the beach to open arrived, there was a lineup at the gate. As the people streamed through, one of the guys handed out the activity programs, and a second person offered a Gospel tract. Very few people refused the tracts when they were presented to them in this manner. This was an unusual approach that resulted in a great many more tracts being distributed than usual. As our text relates, the Lord Jesus was also able to use unusual approaches in order to reach a greater number of people.

Standing on the seashore, Jesus was obscured to many of the crowd that gathered. They had difficulty seeing or hearing Him because of the crowd and because of the low level of the shore. Although none of those people had ever seen or heard a preacher in a boat, they were glad to gather on the shore as Jesus began His message from His water-borne pulpit. They could all see Him because of the slope of the bank, and they could all hear Him because He was able to face everybody at the same time. This excellent arrangement worked to great blessing for everybody. But it was unusual, unconventional, and not the way in which people were used to seeing preachers perform. Would we have allowed Him to use such an unconventional approach to Gospel preaching today? Would we look for unconventional approaches ourselves?

It is difficult these days to persuade people to attend a meeting where they will hear the Gospel preached. Maybe we need to find new ways to invite them to meetings. And maybe we need to find new ways to make the Gospel available to them. Do we know what ways would be effective? Or have we tried to find new ways? Or have we avoided looking for new ways because we are so committed to the old ways, even if they don’t work anymore? Mind you, we need to be very careful that we do not compromise the Gospel message in any way. The Gospel must always be the Gospel. And we need to be very careful that we do not use methods that in any way call into question the integrity of the Gospel. We cannot, for example, join forces with those who hold to wrong doctrine or who employ unscriptural methods of gathering and speaking.

Let us keep an open mind about ways to spread the Gospel. Like the Lord Jesus, we may find effective ways to bring sinners to Him. -Jim MacIntosh

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