We have not been very smart to expect people to listen to the gospel simply because we are preaching it. We do a bit of advertising, get into our building or some other auditorium and expect people to beat down the doors in order to hear our wonderful speeches.
We forget that people listened to Jesus because he loved the souls of men and women and they knew it. He proved his concern by the deeds of kindness he performed (Acts 10:38). He, and those who first followed, earned the right to be heard. Jesus, His apostles and disciples validated the gospel by their deeds (Mark 16:17-20). Validation is still needed. We still have something to prove! We must prove that what we want to give away is worth taking.
Consequently, in the teaching of Jesus and the apostles, we see tremendous stress upon good deeds. They taught that the gospel must be seen as well as heard. Jesus knows that people are not likely to believe, trust and obey a Savior who is not visible in the lives of those who claim to be his followers. He pointed out to his contemporaries in the religious leadership that they were “…invalidating the word of God,” by their “tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that. (Mark 7:13)”
Our problem today is not so much that we invalidate the gospel, but that we fail to validate it at all. If we think that having a benevolent program and passing out Christmas baskets is sufficient, we are sadly mistaken. To these good works must be added such things as assistance to the hurting areas of our inner cities. We must offer assistance to struggling marriages and families. We must utilize the spiritual gifts of our members to help heal the hurts of those under our influence. And, all these good works must be solidly linked to the good news message.
Nice, comfortable buildings, “meaningful” worship services and impressive programs will not get the gospel to the lost. Only when converted people preach a valid gospel will it be listened to. Lives that are “adorning the doctrine of God in every respect, (Titus 2:10)” will provide that authentication. It is madness to expect success when we have no credibility. We must gain the attention of those to whom we would preach by letting Christ be seen in us.