Getting Practical: The Hardest Trust to Get Across

Posted: December 8, 2010 in Ministry

After the post “The hardest truth to get across” a student posted this question: “How, practically, does one illustrate to another the depths and disgustingness of sin without making the other person close up to anything else you have to share with them?”

Here was my response:

I got a one initial thought before I’ll list a couple practicals. The natural reaction of someone hearing the indictment of sin is to close up and want to say, “im not that bad…” So although it takes discernment, winsomeness, and love to illustrate the vileness of humanities sin, it ultimately takes a supernatural work of the Spirit to feel the weight of sin and feel conviction ( John 16:8-9).
Some practicals:
1.) Because the Spirit alone convicts sin, pray that the Spirit would convict the individual to see their sin and trust in Christ.
2.) The primary means the Spirit uses to convict sin is the hearing or preaching of the word/gospel. (see 1 Thess 1:5 or Rom 10:16-17). If you can show them in the Bible the holiness of God and the reality of human sin, that seems to bear much fruit. Some passages that have been convicting for me are Gen 6:5, Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3. with that, never end with sin, always show the hope they have in the Godman, Jesus Christ. Show them in scripture that their sin is so serious that God himself was the only one that could atone for it.
3.) Fight to see your own sin. I think that the more you can see personal sin the more you’ll be able to show others their sin. When a guy sees that your admitting guilt to sin and are grieved for your own sin, he may be more likely to see his own. When your having a conversation with a guy you can say, “here is how I am a sinner and need Jesus.”
4.) lastly, get specific about sin. telling someone they are a sinner and have fallen short may not mean anything to them. But if you can show them specific shortcomings and why it offends God, the sin can become more real to them. For example CJ Mahaney described the sin of pride as contending for the supremacy of God. So instead of saying “you’ve got the sin of pride,” you say something like, “you are prideful and that means that you are making yourself your own savior and God.”

So again, there is some offensiveness to telling someone they are a guilty sinner that is worthy of punishment, some people may not receive that news the greatest. But we have more than bad news, we have the message of hope that Christ came into the world to save sinners. Mark Driscoll says, “Tragically, if we lose the offense of the cross, we also lose the attraction of the cross so that no one is compelled to look at Jesus.”

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