Witnessing in the Den of Iniquity

By Lesley Mitchell

Jesus stated that his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36) but his ministry was to the people in this world. The Jews were under the yoke of a tyrannical empire that was pagan and corrupt, where cruelty and social injustice were the norm. Yet Jesus perfectly maintained His Father's perspective on social and political matters. He never attempted to "capture the culture" for biblical morality. He did not come to earth to be a political or social reformer. He came to establish a new spiritual order. He came to make people new and holy through the saving power of the gospel and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

People's hearts have to be changed and there is a real danger that when corrupt and immoral people get together in groups, the corruption and immorality increase. Christians can be exposed to risk when they associate with worldly people, yet the great commission tells us to get out there and spread the gospel! It's no good sitting in a church and hoping people will come to you. Jesus met with those considered to be outcasts of society — prostitutes, tax collectors, those physically and mentally afflicted. His compassion extended to all of humanity. However, it was spiritual healing that was more important — the forgiveness of sins. Jesus attended social functions (the wedding feast), religious festivals and went to the Synagogue and the Temple to worship. His ministry was not exclusive, and according to Colossians 1:25-27, God has directly commissioned us to make Him known to all peoples.

Wherever Jesus went, he never compromised himself or the message he preached. Second Corinthians 10:3-5 explains that ours is a spiritual battle against worldly ideals and conduct, and if we are to be Christ-like in spreading the gospel we must remain vigilant against being compromised. How can this be achieved? Romans 12:1-2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans describes in great detail the full armour of God that we need to put on to protect ourselves from the adversary.

So, should Christians go to questionable places and use worldly music to attract people to the gospel? Did Jesus do that sort of thing — go looking for people in dens of iniquity in order to convert them? Can you imagine Jesus wasting his breath on a drunken rabble whose sole purpose was to "have a good time"? Would Jesus have ordered a flagon of the best wine, supped with his "mates" and then, after they were suitably inebriated, start to tell them about the Kingdom of Heaven? Or pick up a stringed instrument and put the gospel message to a catchy tune? Jesus was always in control, always dignified, always mindful of his audience — he drew people to himself because he was different, not because he was the same. Some of the most compelling messages he gave were to individuals who were about their daily work and who were to be found in their homes or out in the fields. I cannot think of one example where Jesus tried to get the ear of a rabble or a crowd by joining in with their activities. Jesus picked his moments, and he got the undivided attention of his audience, whether it was one person or a crowd. He did not waste his breath or compete to get a listening ear.

There is definitely a time and a place to spread the gospel message — and some Christians are led by the Holy Spirit to reach out to young people and to go out into the communities where they meet. That's great, and I admire and respect them. That is not to say that any one should feel compelled to join in with this type of evangelical work. We each have our own God-given talents and we should always be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as he leads us and directs us.

Image Credit: Tim Riley; "Dog & Duck dance floor"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Salvation  | Biblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Controversial-Issues  | Witnessing-Evangelism

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Published on 10-4-16