To the readers of this blog: this is a draft of a letter we intend to mail to homes in our area if they are not home after two visits during our door-to-door canvassing efforts or if they have a “no soliciting” sign on their door. As a matter of policy, we do not knock on doors when they post “no soliciting” as we desire to respect the private property of those we would engage in gospel witness. The following letter will be mailed to their home instead.
I am asking you the reader to give me some feedback on this letter. Do you believe the gospel is presented clearly in the letter? Do you believe the letter to be engaging enough that people will read it? Do you think that a reader could understand the gospel enough from this letter to come to faith in Jesus Christ? What could be improved in the letter? What do you like, and what would you do differently? This is an invitation to engage with what I am doing. I would enjoy any feedback and appreciate your help. Just remember that I have tissue-paper-thin skin, so don’t poke too hard or I might wilt into a corner curled in the fetal position sucking my thumb.
Just kidding about the thin skin (in case you don’t have an ear for sarcasm. Thank you for any help you can offer.
Greetings! Since we didn’t get the chance to meet you while visiting your neighborhood, we thought we would drop you a friendly line to say “hello” and introduce our church to you. Berean Baptist Church was founded close to 65 years ago. Our church is located across from Grandview Park on Jackson Avenue in Ogden. We would be honored if you would visit one of our services. Our church exists to praise and worship our great God and to show His glory to our neighbors.
We try to keep things simple in our services. We sing Psalms and hymns, emphasize worship, and open the Bible together, desiring to receive His Word and know Him. We visit neighborhoods throughout our area, hoping to share the gospel’s good news with our neighbors. Maybe you have heard the gospel before now, but if you haven’t, will you please consider this message of hope?
The gospel is good news for bad people. In fact, it is our badness that makes the gospel so good. You may not like this way of introducing the gospel, but it makes no sense to call it “good news” if it doesn’t address something terrible. When the Bible speaks of humanity, it doesn’t speak of us as if we were “basically good” people who are just down on our luck. The Psalmist said that God looked down from heaven to see if there were any “good” people who understood and sought after God. God concluded that “every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 53:3). This is not the only place where the Bible draws this conclusion about the human race. Consider what Paul says in Romans 1:8, for example.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
“Wrath” might seem like a harsh word. Many believe that wrath is inappropriate for a loving God. Yet, the Bible uses the word “wrath” several times to describe God’s response to sinful people (Matthew 3:7; Mark 3:5; Luke 3:7; John 3:36; Romans 2:5, 8; 3:5; 4:15; 5:9; 9:22; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6; I Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 3:11; Revelation 6:16-17).
God concluded that there was “not a just man upon the earth that doeth good and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). He stresses the fact that He responds to our sin with wrath. Rather than dispute this, we would be wise to ask why God responds to our sins this way and to see what can be done about His wrath.
God’s wrath against sin tells us that sin is not a small thing, a little mistake. The fact that we look at it this way is part of the problem. The wrath of God tells us that sin is horrible. And no wonder when God has filled the earth with good things. By our sin, we have said that what God has provided is not good or not good enough, that we can’t be satisfied with what He has given – we want what God has forbidden. This is why all sin is an insult to God.
We “sin” whenever we disregard God’s moral law – either by doing what it forbids or refusing to do what it requires. Unfortunately, people often live without regard for God’s moral law. God does not take this lightly.
Because we tend to be more concerned with pleasing self than pleasing God, and because we aren’t all that concerned about what God thinks of what we do, the Bible tells us that we are “alienated” from God – that is, we are separated from Him. Sin causes a rift between God and us. We desperately need to be reconciled to God. But how can we be reconciled?
This is where the “good news” of the gospel comes in. Yes, God responds to our sin with wrath, but God has also provided a way for Him to appease His own wrath without pouring out that wrath on sinners. And this is how: God sent His Son Jesus to take our sins on Himself, and the wrath of God against our sins, so that God might be just in punishing sin and at the same time justify (pardon and acquit) sinners.
This is the glory of the cross. Because at the cross, God met sin with wrath and met men with pardon. God poured out His wrath on Jesus instead of on us when Jesus died on the cross. That is why Jesus died such a bloody death, why the cross included such brutality and torture. And yet, the Bible teaches that God didn’t require Jesus to suffer in our place like some cruel sadist who can only be satisfied with a gory death. Instead, the Bible says, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.”
God sent Jesus to the cross so He could provide a way for sin to be punished and sinners to be pardoned. God satisfied His own wrath because Jesus, who is very God of very God, died in our place.
God makes this very simple for us. Suppose we don’t believe in Jesus Christ: in that case, the Bible tells us that “the wrath of God abideth” on us (John 3:36). But if we turn from our sinful life and embrace Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Bible teaches that Christ’s death on the cross can then be applied to us, that we can be forgiven and pardoned and reconciled to God. This is good news indeed!
If you recognize the justice in God’s wrath against your sin, you should also see how good God is to provide a way for your sins to be forgiven.
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (I Peter 3:18)
This is the good news of the gospel. God provided a way for sins to be forgiven through the death of Jesus Christ in your place, suffering for your sins and dying your death.
If you have read this and desire to know more about the gospel, we would love to do a Bible study with you. Please use the contact form at our church website, www.berean-baptist-utah.com, and we will be happy to schedule a time for Bible study with you.
May you be blessed to know God through Jesus Christ!