Thursday, February 21, 2013

We Will "Sell" No Oil Until We See the "Wound"

“We will sell no wine before its time.” That was the slogan of a famous Paul Masson winery advertising campaign.  However a lot of wine is sold before it's time.

The cost of money is often the root of the problem — wineries and restaurants find it too expensive to properly age fine wines.  Money is nearly free today, however — if you can get it.  It is the limited availability of credit that is the current constraint.  I suspect that we will see lots of product pushed into the wine value chain, using cash flow to compensate for the lack of available credit.  This fact promises opportunity for the few and likely disappointment for the many”. [1]

It is too bad that today’s so called “evangelists” don’t offer the same guarantee! Many times the good news of the gospel is offered well before it is time to do so. Unfortunately the problem lies in the fact most evangelistic evangelicals are driven to get their “target” to “sign on the dotted line” of salvation.

I realize that much of the time the motives of these “evangelistic gun-slingers” are bon-a-fide. When one realizes the brevity of life and the fact “the night is coming when no man can work” urgency becomes paramount. But just as a lot of wine is sold before it has reached its peak, urgency in gospel presentations often leads to expediency. Expediency can breed fatal messages, mistakes and methods.

The Puritan Samuel Bolton once said, When you see that men have been wounded by the law, then it is time to pour in the gospel oil.”

One of the greatest mistakes made in a gospel presentation is failing to confront an individual with their absolute and total sinfulness and their helplessness. Even when a presentation calls for “asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins,” a fatal mistake is made. The focus is not on individual sins, although they need to be acknowledged, but the focus is on the sin nature that the person whom you are witnessing to is imprisoned.

For example, David did not merely confess his sin of adultery with Bathsheba. David confessed that sin and asked forgiveness, “Have mercy on me, O God…blot out my transgressions (sins.) Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin! Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” (Psalm 51:11, 2, 4, ESV)

David also acknowledged his sin nature that tempted and enticed him to sin against God. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5-6, ESV)

The “oil – the good news” of the gospel cannot be preached to an unbeliever until the unbeliever’s corrupt and sinful nature has been exposed. Why? It is virtually impossible for an individual to completely understand his or her need for the mercy and grace of God, “the oil” until the “wound” has been made by the clear understanding of the abomination of his or her sin.

We must be very careful and we must rely solely on the Holy Spirit to peel back the layers of depravity, darkness, and deception by the use of Gods’ law to create the wound that so desperately needs the oil. We must not rush the “time” the Holy Spirit takes to bring an individual to the full acknowledge of their sin. We don’t need to press for “the signature on the dotted line,” any more than we need to press for a “decision.”

When the wound is made by the accurate presentation of the law of God empowered by the Holy Spirit, God will draw the sinner by his Holy Spirit to himself. He will make the sinner aware of the crushing, burdensome, putrid wound of sin, which will lead the sinner to seek the healing “oil” of the good news of the gospel.

This was Christian’s quest as he headed towards the Celestial City. Christian wanted relief from the burden that was crushing his back. The sinner who has been awakened to his or her sin will (and needs to) experience the crushing weight of his or her sin so that they will truly turn from that sin and turn to the “oil” or the grace of God.

Evangelists and Evangelicals, I plead with you – make the same pledge as the Paul Mason Wineries did, (except keep the pledge.)

Whereas they pledged to sell no wine before its time, pledge that “When you see that men have been wounded by the law, then it is time to pour in the gospel oil.”

We will “sell” no oil until we see the wound!

1 comment:

Josh said...

So true and so timely. Praise God for His sovereign work and timing!