I really enjoy picking out gifts for the people I love, I enjoy giving the gift, I don't enjoy wrapping the gift. In fact, it's tempting just to hand them the present, but it just isn't so special to get a gift in a K-Mart bag. It's nicer to have it wrapped in wrapping paper and bows. But there's something about my motor coordination I guess, the lines must be down between my brain and my hands. My wrapping looks alot like a five-year-old's, so I usually prevail upon my wife, or if it's for her, my sister-in-law. You see, wrapping is extra trouble but a nice gift should come in a nice package.
Well I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I'd like to have A Word With You today about "Gift-Wrapped Good News."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Peter 3:15, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." Now, God says, "You have a message of hope to give to people, and I want you to do that." But it isn't just the message that matters it's the spirit in which you deliver the message. Don't just give them the gift, it needs to be gift wrapped, "with gentleness, with respect." You see, often it is the package that sells the product, and we say we've got the best product in the world. We've got hope, and love, and life in Jesus Christ but how about the package you present it in. This isn't a debate, this isn't an argument for you to win.
I saw a debate some years ago between one of the leading atheists in the world and an outstanding Christian leader. The atheist was mean and illogical and I thought, man, if the Christian was just like a Christian he'll win, but he wasn't. He fell into her trap. They both lost, I think.
We do that sometimes in our personal witness or our preaching. We bomb people with the Gospel. Sometimes there's a meanness, an edge in our package. There is a tendency to see witness as winning an argument. It's not. It's winning a heart. You can win the argument and lose the heart. You can win the point and lose the person.
Paul prayed for boldness in Colossians 4:6 and then he said, "Let your speech always be seasoned with grace." Boldness, but with grace. Peter said "gentleness and respect." People shouldn't feel attacked by the Gospel. Your approach should make them feel more important, not less important. When you share Christ with someone it should make them feel, big not small. They should feel cared for by you sharing, not belittled by it. They should feel loved, not judged. Listen to their views when you talk to them. Affirm where you can agree with them, affirm where they're right. Assure them that your motive is love, not winning. I like this old saying, "I'm a beggar, your a beggar, I'm just a beggar who happened to find bread, telling you where I found it."
You have the Good News about our Savior. Don't just thrust it in their face and say, "Here, take it or leave it." Wrap the gift in love. In a relationship give them the respect that says God and I think you're important. If lost people are not attracted to the package they may never take the gift of Eternal Life.