Who Should We Engage with the Gospel?

Cast People

Who should we engage with the gospel? How would you answer that question? Especially, when we consider Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7:6:

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

Who should we engage with the gospel?

I know most of you are thinking: Shouldn’t we engage anyone and everyone with the gospel. I believe that is partly right, especially when we consider Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:16-20 to go and make disciples. So yes, we should be willing to engage anyone and everyone, but how can we best steward our time in a hostile world, especially, when there are so many who need the gospel?

Let me offer you a few principles that I think might be helpful in answering our question.

(1) We should not consistently engage those with the gospel who are looking for an argument.

Proverbs 17:14 and 18:19 say,

The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.

A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.

(2) We should not consistently engage those with the gospel who are fools and do not desire to know the truth.

Proverbs 14:7; 18:2; 23:9 say,

Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words.

Why I Am and Am Not Asking this Question

I am not asking this question in order to give myself or others an excuse to not share the gospel. We should be willing to share the good news with all who will listen, and even those who will not.

I am, however, asking this question to challenge you to see that our time and resources are precious. As a result, you should spend your time and resources on those who are willing to listen and are actively seeking to know more about Christ.

For instance, there are a few guys who frequent the Starbucks in my town that I engage with the gospel periodically. I don’t, however, engage them on a daily basis. Why? Because they don’t care to know the truth. They are fools who only want to argue that Christianity is not true. For me to consistently engage them is unfruitful and sucks up my time and resources that I could employ to get to know others. Instead of fretting over engaging them, I rest in the fact knowing they have heard the gospel, are consistently prayed for, and if God so chooses to save them, He will work to soften their hard hearts.

Challenge

Let me challenge you to share the gospel with others, but to be strategic in who you seek to consistently engage. Spend your time and resources on those who are willing to have an honest conversation with you.

Question for Reflection

  1. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

Resource

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4 thoughts on “Who Should We Engage with the Gospel?

  1. I think we need to be careful, particularly with the way you take “do not give what is holy to the dogs.” This saying, or proverb, seems to be more a warning against giving those who are outside the community of God the “spiritual high” or similar things that come from, for instance, the Lord’s Supper (Communion), Baptism, the deepness of Christian fellowship (though certainly there are different kinds of fellowship), but not the gospel. To be sure the gospel is holiness, but it is also good news, news that must be proclaimed.

    1. Trey,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree we need to proclaim the gospel. I am certainly not against that. I am, however, trying to push myself and others to be strategic with our time and resources. If people are consistently rejecting the gospel message we are throwing at them, we may need to move on. I believe that is what Jesus is telling us in Matthew 7:6. Here is how one commentator puts its:

      Disciples are not to be judgmental, but that does not mean that they are to lack discernment. They must recognize the realities of life. Cf. Davies and Allison: “The gospel of the kingdom—in Matthew 13:45-6 the kingdom is a pearl—was to be preached to all; but its heralds were also instructed to shake the dust off their feet when they were not received into a house or town (10:14).” We must bear in mind that some hear the gospel only to rebel. Disciples are not called on to keep offering it to those who continue to reject it with vicious contempt. Jesus taught all sorts of people generously, but before Herod he refused to say a word (Luke 23:9). Paul preached to the Jews in Corinth for a time, but in face of persistent rejection and hostility he turned away (Acts 18:5–7; cf. 1 Cor. 2:14–15; Tit. 3:10–11).

      Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992), 168.

      Again, I want to reiterate we need to share the gospel, but I think there comes a time when we have to recognize our witness is not getting through and our time may be better served talking with others. This doesn’t mean we don’t talk with those who seem hard hearted. I still talk with the local Militant Atheist at the Starbucks in my town, but I limit my time with him and others like him.

      Thanks again for interacting and pushing me to think deeper about my position and God’s Word. I love the interaction.

      Blessings,
      Casey Lewis

  2. Kimberly

    My first response to your question was, “Uh, everyone.” And then I read the post and said, “Oh yeah, probably not them.” Some people are only looking for an argument or simply don’t want to hear about God. The problem comes when we judge that for ourselves. We don’t know the heart of man; only God does. I think we should still sow the seed, hoping that it falls on good ground and takes root, following the Holy Spirit’s lead all the while.

    1. Kimberly,
      I think you make a good point when you say we should still be faithful to sow the seed and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work. May we be faithful to do so.

      Yes, the problem does arise when we try and judge for ourselves. You never know where people may be. I am guilty of this from time to time. When I catch myself, I have to remember that God saved me and extended grace to me, so why not someone else. I did not deserve His grace. I was not somehow a better person. I was in just as much need.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. You have certainly made some good points.

      Blessings,
      Casey Lewis

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