Norman E. Fultz
As the crowd left the church building, a couple was discussing the "sermon." She was saying, "I found it very heartening to bear a forthright voice lashing out against the evils of white bread, chemical fertilizers, enzyme washing agents and non-returnable bottles."
There are many issues facing society in any given generation. What to do with hazardous wastes, problems with the national debt, the effects of a nuclear winter, the presence of radon gas in homes, the dangers to human health from heptachlor in cattle feed, along with almost countless other things, are matters that deserve some degree of concern. And it is proper that there should be arenas for their debate. But the mission of the church in the New Testament is on a different plane. "Preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching" was Paul's charge to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:2). Even a secular cartoonist, as the one who drew the scene de-scribed in the opening paragraph, can see that modern churches have turned aside from the spiritual.
Society's Greatest Need As observed above, there are many issues demanding attention; but the greatest need of society is not the recycling of paper, plastic and glass, or the detrimental effects of farm herbicides. Jesus Christ didn't die fora campaign against such things, and that is not the nature of the message he instructed should be preached to the whole world. The salvation of which he spoke was not a physical salvation but an eternal salvation in his eternal kingdom (Matt. 16:24-26; 2 Pet. 1:11). Society's greatest need is to learn of sin, its consequences and the remedy for it.
What The Sinner Needs To Hear
1. What sin is. Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). All unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17).
2. How terrible sin is. Sin has been shown to be exceeding sinful (Rom. 7:13) and leaves one crying out in wretchedness for deliverance (Rom. 7:24).
3. That he is a sinner. All have sinned (Rom. 6:23). Humanism's philosophy which has permeated society advises not to saddle one with guilt. But the Bible declares our guilt of sin (Rom. 3:19).
4. That sin separates one from God. It separates from right relationship in this life (Isa. 59:2; Col. 2:21) and,
unrepented of and uncleansed, results in eternal separation from him. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23).
5. There are but two destinies. One is eternal life. One is eternal punishment (Matt. 7:13-14; 25:46). Hearing a myriad of "sermons" on the ecology, social issues, or making the world a utopia will do nothing to prepare one for his eternal destiny.
The Sinner Needs to Know
1. That God loves him. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). God does "not wish that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).
2. That Christ came to save. "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost" (Matt. 18:11).
3. That Christ is able to save "to the uttermost those that come to God by Him" (Heb. 7:25). No other way is provided (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
4. That he (the sinner) must [a] believe in Christ as God’s Son (John 8:24; Mk. 16:15-16), [b]