The Gospel of Bacon

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It was almost lunchtime when one of my coworkers dropped by my cubicle and asked if I had lunch plans. Aside from eating leftover pizza at my desk, I didn’t.

“Nope,” I told him. “What do you have in mind?”

“Do you like bacon?” he asked. “Because Arby’s has these new bacon sandwiches that are absolutely amazing.”

“I’m intrigued,” I told him, “but I don’t have any cash on me.”

“It’ll be my treat,” he said. “They are good enough that everyone should try one at least once.”

And so we went to Arby’s and had lunch and talked about motorcycle gangs and orthodox iconography. Let me tell you, those bacon sandwiches—I had the BLT—are every bit as incredible as he claimed they were, and the conversation was just as good.

Just before my coworker and I left for lunch, I was embroiled in a conversation with a Facebook friend on the topic of sharing the Gospel.

The conversation stemmed from this post I wrote a little while back about having limited access to non-Christians because I work at a ministry, attend church functions on the weekend, and spend as much time with my family as possible. The point of the post was that it is hard to share the Gospel when everyone I know already knows about it and that the Christian community tends to isolate itself. So my Facebook friend invited me to go share the Gospel with him.

I declined. Partially because I honestly feel pinched by time as it is and partially because I think he and I differ on our approaches to sharing the Gospel.

I’m of the mindset that people understand on some level that they are sinners and don’t need much convincing on that point (not that it isn’t worth mentioning, just that I think people get it without a sermon). Rather, the tough thing for people to grasp is that God would love them enough to die for them in the midst of that sin; that they don’t have to clean themselves up before coming to the cross (because you can’t).

My friend has always struck me as more confrontational in nature, and that if people are presented with the truth of their sinfulness, then that is an expression of love in itself.

After lunch, I started thinking about the two interactions I had just experienced. Both my coworker and my Facebook friend wanted me to share something good with them. One expressed it by invitation citing previous experience, the other as a confrontation that I was doing something inherently wrong.

Which one sounds like better news to you?

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8 responses to “The Gospel of Bacon

  1. I’m apparently the confrontational guy 🙂

    Josh,
    Thank you for letting me know about this post and a chance to respond. First I want to say that you don’t actually know how I witness. You pose the question: What sounds better, invitation citing previous experience or confrontation?

    That isn’t exactly a fair statement. What reader would choose confrontation over previous experience? My method of sharing the gospel can often be from my personal experience (testimony) of coming to the Lord. But lets first look at your analogy before I explain how I share and what I say. As you will see, I am not being confrontational However, according to the bible the gospel to those who are perishing is offensive and foolish to them. Everything we say needs to be said with grace and in love. It’s not a debate of God’s word, it’s not game with a winner or loser, but a conversation where you truly love a person enough to swallow your fear and speak truth into that persons life.

    lets look at your analogy for a minute.
    1. Your friend tells you that he has experienced something amazing and that everyone should try it for themselves.
    2. You were intrigued.
    3. it was free!
    4. Therefore you wanted to try it too.
    What was your motive for trying the burger?
    Was it because you were told that you’ll experience something amazing?
    Did the bacon entice you?
    You wanted to experience something amazing that your friend experienced correct?

    This is the exact problem we have in the modern gospel message. Well intentioned Christians tell their friends how great it is to be a Christian, how blessed and amazing God’s love has been for them and how they to should try Christianity. The gospel message has been reduced down to what Jesus can do for them. He can fix your marriage, your drug or alcohol addiction, money problems, depression or has Joel Olsten says “Have your best life now” And that method works very well in America!

    But that is why our churches are filled with so many false christians, why the divorce rate in church is no different than in the world.

    You see, the good intentioned Christian shares such wonderful news and the sinner responds with the wrong motive. Jesus actually explains this in Mark 4:16,17 that says: Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

    You see, many who come to Jesus come with joy.. they were promised peace, joy and lasting happiness. But many fall away because they didn’t get what was promised to them. Others merely continue going to church because there is no real persecution in America but their lives are never transformed, they live like the world, dress like the world and act like the world. Why? because Jesus said: unless you repent, you shall perish. Many are told to say this little sinners prayer asking Jesus into their heart, branded as a christian and sent on their merry way. Never to hear the true gospel message of salvation. And when someone like me approaches them with the true message of the gospel they are offended by what God actually says in His word. And Jesus said in Mathew 7 “many will say to me on that day Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? cast out demons in your name? and done many wonderful works in your name? and Jesus will reply; depart from me! for I never knew you! you workers of lawlessness. ”

    You said in your post that people already understand that they are sinners. That isn’t exactly true.. they know they are sinners but what does that actually mean? to some it could be that they don’t love themselves enough, to others maybe its that they don’t give enough to the poor or that they have stolen or lied to somebody. They see their sin as being horizontal sin. they’ve wronged somebody or themselves. but Gods Law actually shows them what sin is. It shows them that their sins are primarily vertical. When they sin they are sinning against God. King David said: “Against you , you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

    Paul said I had not known sin but by the law. He said he didn’t know what sin was until the law showed him. Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

    Josh, you said:
    “the tough thing for people to grasp is that God would love them enough to die for them in the midst of that sin; that they don’t have to clean themselves up before coming to the cross”

    That is so true when you don’t explain to them the depth of their sin. they think lightly of sin. they think because everyone has told them their whole life that “Jesus loves them” that their $5.00 of self righteousness will clean things up for them on judgment day.

    Look and study this verse. Romans 7:13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.”

    You see what it says? that sin through the commandment becomes exceedingly sinful. By the Law men are taught their inability to yield complete obedience to God, that thereby they may become convinced of their need of a Savior. Many so called Christians role their eyes and think no way am I going to bring up the Law of God… I will offend someone and lose my chance to reach them. But does the bible actually tell us to use the law? Yes it does. 1 Timothy 1:8,9 “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person but for sinners…”

    The true gospel given in LOVE… should produce a repentant heart for those God are calling and convicting. It’s not a prayer asking Jesus into their heart but a crying out to the Lord. Psalms 51 is perfect example. James 4:7 says Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up

    How can you explain the gospel if you don’t explain why Christ died? why did Christ have to suffer and die? because of sin? yes but why did he have to die? because we broke the Law. and so why does breaking the Law require Jesus to die? Because God’s Justice demands it. When you explain the console of God to a person, His Holiness, His Justice, His wrath, His Love and His Mercy, then the gospel makes more sense. And therefore… Grace is seen as it truly is “Amazing Grace” for while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    In closing, I know you mean well when you say you don’t want to confront people, or sound judgmental as you said to me in our private conversation, but convincing someone to come to God as in the analogy of the arby’s story, isn’t how scripture teaches us and if you are going to relate it to your personal experience which is perfectly fine, but then you should be sharing with them how you came to understand how you sinned against God and how that sin had separated you from Him and that you came to a point in life where it caused you to cry out to God over your sin. That you placed in trust, your faith, your whole life in Jesus Christ for salvation. That Jesus Christ was God in flesh who became a man, lived a sinless life so that He could take upon himself the penalty of your sin which is death and that He conquered death and has risen and is seated at the right hand of the father. ” Oh the foolish stumbling block of the gospel” An absolutely unbelievable story for any man to believe and repent without the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to open that mans heart and turn his heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

    I’m not confrontational with people. I’ve used God’s Law to explain God’s Grace. It’s done in a loving non-confrontational way and I’ve only had one man actually get offended at the mall. I’ve had many great conversations come out of my sharing the gospel, especially with the teenagers in the mall. Some of the people I’ve spoken with I truly believe listened intently and eventually gave their heart to Christ. and I will someday know for sure when I get to heaven. And on my facebook, I have several non christians privately tell me that they enjoy hearing what I have to say and that it has given them a lot to think about. My brother in law is so close to given his life to Christ, He has admitted that the Holy Spirit has been working on him. He has thanked me several times for preaching the word to him the way I do. The only people who come against me on facebook and tell me publicly or privately that I’m confrontational or offensive are Christians who have no desire to step out and share the gospel themselves or are the ones that have bought into this unbiblical method of “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”

    If people are going to come to Christ because I talked with them then I want it to be because the Holy Spirit gave me the words to speak, the Holy Spirit used the words I spoke and because the Holy Spirit opened their heart to hear the gospel.

    Study God’s word and see how Jesus used the law, how Paul used the law. How Stephen used the law and all the others and you will see how unbiblical your method truly is.

  2. I could do this all night but here is one more. KJV Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

  3. A child was once told by his father that a certain vase was priceless. the child was forbidden to touch it or even go near it! A few months later the boy noticed an identical vase in the grocery store and noticed the price tag of only $5.00. From then on not only did the son doubt the credibility of the father, but he also lost all reverence for that “so called” priceless vase. In fact one day while his father was out he decided to take a closer look at it, it was much lighter than the one in the store but sure enough it was identical. As the boy heard the car pull up to the house, in his hast, the boy dropped the vase and shattered it into a thousand pieces! A hot flash came over the boy! suddenly however, he remembered he had $5.00 in his bank account. He consoled himself with the fact he could easily replace it. When the father entered the home, The son told his dad that he broke that vase in the cabinet but not to worry, he can get a new one at the supermarket with the $5 dollars he has in the bank. His father turned pale! walked slowly towards the boy and said with a trembling voice “son, that was no cheap imitation vase it was an antique worth 25,000 dollars. The seriousness of what the boy had done struck him. His mouth went dry, tears streamed down his face, sobbing he fell into his fathers arms blurting out I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. The father gently wiped the boys tears and said “son I can see that you’re truly sorry, But there is no way you’ll be able to pay for another vase. It’s going to take everything I’ve got but I’ll pay for a new one myself. Conflicting emotions gripped the child, horror on one hand that his father would have to go through such expense and yet gratitude on the other hand that he would do such a thing for him despite his deliberate disobedience. Utter relief and appreciation consoled his grief.

    Now what was it that produced contrition, sorrow, in the heart of the child? It was the knowledge of the value of that vase and thus its cost of replacement. As long as the child continues to think its a cheap vase there is no way he’s going to be sorry for what he’s done. Would you get upset about breaking a vase that you think is worth $5bucks? a vase you think you can easily replace? there’s no point in getting hit up, no point in getting upset and crying, things can be easily righted. But when he found out it’s true value that it was worth $25,000 dollars! then he was able to see the seriousness of what he had done and thus find a place of sorrow of heart. Does that make sense?

    Although the sinner has shattered the vase of God’s Law into a thousands pieces, he’s not to concerned because he doesn’t realize the value of Gods Law, he really does think his $5 dollars of self righteousness will fix things up with God on judgment day. Now preaching Grace alone Modern Evangelism has actually circumnavigated the divine means of producing contrition within the heart of a sinner. It leaves the sinner in ignorance as to the value of the vase of Gods Law. So how on earth can he find a place of sorrow of heart?

    While the sinner doesn’t value God’s Law, there is no way your going to be sorry (repentant), I mean what’s wrong with a little bit of lust, little bit anger, a fib here and there, Your $5 of self righteousness will clean things up with God on judgment day. You go to church, you put money in the plate, what more could God require of you. The is no sorrow of heart because there is a lack of knowledge as to the value of God’s Law.

    Now words fail me to express the value of Gods Law to you. The bible says that the Law is Perfect, Holy, Just and Good. Romans 2:20 says that it is the very form of knowledge and truth. But to say that God values the vase of His Law is understatement of eternity! The bible tells us that God Loves Righteousness, He Loves Holiness, He Loves Justice and truth. Jeremiah 50:7 says that God is referred to as the habitation of Justice.

    But the actual value of God’s Law was demonstrated in what it cost the Father to make things right. To replace the Law that you and I shattered. What did it cost God to make things right between transgressing sinners and Himself? did it cost him $25,000? NO the bible says we were not redeemed with silver and gold but with the precious blood of Christ. That was the cost. Some say that Calvary was the demonstration of God’s Love but that’s not the total truth. Yes it is a demonstration of God’s Love, but the bible referring to the gospel says: for therein is the righteousness of God revealed through faith to faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from Him against all ungodliness. How angry is God at sin? look to the cross. How much does God value Justice, righteousness and truth? look to the cross! look to the battered and bruised body of the Son of God. See the blood stream from His wounds, Hear his cry of anguish “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me” As the fury of a Holy and Just God came upon his body to make His Soul an offering for sin.

    You see, some say that Jesus died for our sins, but that’s not the total truth. If Jesus merely had to die when John the Baptist pointed Him out as the lamb of God, Jesus could have said I am He I am the lamb, thrust me through with a sword, for I have come to die for the sins of the world. No… the bible says: Christ must suffer. Christ must suffer. D.L. Moody said to create God only had to speak, but to redeem he had to suffer. But more than that, the bible says that It Pleased the Lord to bruise him. You see we have no idea or understanding of what happen that day over 2,000 yrs ago, so horrific was the sight of the Son of God riding in our agony for our sins, the bible says that he was more marred than any man, That God clothed the cross with blackness, that creation may not gaze upon the perfect Son of God. But more than that, it pleased the Lord to bruise him. What does that mean? How do you paraphrase that? it made God happy to bruise the son of God? Well the only way I can paraphrase that is like that father looking at his son with the shatter vase at his feet, tears streaming down his face and the father saying son, it’s gonna cost me everything I’ve got to pay for a new vase but because therein your going to see a demonstration of my love for you… that it pleases me to do so! And it pleased the Father to bruise the Son because he was commanding our love towards Him that while we were yet sinners Christ Died for Us!

    One of our biggest problems as you stated Josh is trying to make Grace amazing in the sight of the world. How can Grace be seen to be Amazing Grace as it is? Well Romans 5:20 Tells us… Moreover the Law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, Grace did much more abound!!! If you want light to shine, let it shine in a dark place. And the Law is the black backdrop, it paints the blackness of sin that the light of Grace may have contrast.

  4. Well, I happily confess to being a sinner in the eyes of some others, I believe each to his own in terms of belief but if I ever make it to your part of the States I will happily get a bacon butty with you lol

    • Hi Paula, I know what you mean. I don’t care much about what other people think of me and the sin in my life unless they are trying to help me overcome that sin. But what does concern me is how my sin is seen through the eyes of God. You see, sin actually means “transgressing” Gods law Or “Breaking” Gods Law. When we steal or lie or lust, that sin is being committed against God. And for that reason I don’t happily confess my sin but rather sorrowfully confess to Him. When we stand before God on judgment day He will judge us. God’s Holiness and love for justice is so perfect that even if you broke his law only once, that you’re guilty of breaking them all and the penalty (or wages of sin) is Hell. Anyone who is guilty of breaking his law will not go unpunished. God seems to contradict himself because he also says that he forgives and overlooks the sins of many. We’d call any earthly judge a corrupt judge! If they forgave someone who raped or murdered another. So how can a perfect, just and Holy God forgive your sins when His Law demands Justice? Ahhh.. Here is the wonderful and beautiful news! Your sins and penalty have been paid for in full. God loved us so much that He came down as a man, lived perfectly sinless so that he could be your sacrifice and pay the penalty of sin for you Paula. Gods Law, Is wrath and justice has been justly satisfied through Jesus Christ who died for you and then defeated death and rose again on the 3rd day. Salvation is a free gift but it requires something many ppl don’t preach these days. If the Holy Spirit is working on your life through hearing this news, it will create in you a new desire, it will cause you to be broken over the sin in your life and cry out to God for forgiveness. Jesus said, unless you repent you will perish. We are called to repent and place our trust, our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. Its not just a mental or verbal prayer we say but a life changing work God will begin in your life starting with giving you a new heart with new desires. Paula, I pray you’ll read this and that God begins moving in your life and that you will come to know Him. I encourage you to read King David’s prayer in Psalms 51 and make that your own. Cry out to God and He will hear you. Read His Word and tell others you love and meet why and how God has changed your life. God bless!

      • But you assume I care about your God, which I don’t I care about my own beliefs, which actually far out date yours in terms of historical reference, with due respect it is exactly that kind of preaching which turns people away from your brand of organised religion, you assume your way of belief is the only one with any validity, I would point out God did not right the bible infact you will find many things written in there directly contradict the ten very simple commandments your God is supposed to have given you directly, in fact it could be argued that the bible has in itself become the false idol which you were all warned to forsake, you see if there is a judgement day then which ever deity is before me can judge me on my actions and the purity of my heart but there maybe quite a lot of people who claim lots of things in the name of their god and put words in his mouth might just have more to worry about, Namaste

      • Thank you for your response Paula, there is no other message I can give you for which to be saved. Many people (unlike me) do water down the message and try to convince ppl to accept God for the wrong motives and reasons and though they are more successful in getting “decisions” to follow God, God was never at work in their life and they create many false converts. The truth of it all is that Jesus is the only way to salvation. A person must repent and place their trust in Christ. Every person will stand before the true living God and give an account of their life. I don’t need to debate the bible, God has written his law on your heart. When you lie, hate, steal and lust you do it with knowledge knowing its wrong. You and only you can make the choice to accept what God has said or reject it. Accept Jesus Christ or reject Him. I pray that you truly think about the day you stand before God with your sin displayed before Him and that you come to understand that the message I gave you is the only message that will save you on that day.

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