Grace for the Gospel – Demario Davis
By: Demario Davis
April 7, 2017
Too often, when we think about sharing the Gospel with others, we go right to the goal of telling others about Christ, and in the process, we skip over humanity. We’re willing to tell people about what we know, but are we willing to deal with people—to first hear from them about what they are going through? Before we can expect people to understand the Gospel, we need to seek to understand them.
Everyone is dealing with different battles. By getting to know others and the unique perspective they have on the topical issues of our culture, we are showing them that we care about the things that are forefront in their minds—we are showing them the grace of Christ. Whether or not we agree with the people around us, we can approach all people, in regard to any issue, in a gracious way. And by responding to others with this kind of love and grace, we can then gain the space to share the Gospel with them.
In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul talks about the power of meeting people where they are and understanding who they are, so that he can show them whose they are.
“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” —1 Corinthians 9:19-23
There’s no room for Christians to share the Gospel if we’re not first willing to face the harder, frontline issues that people are dealing with in today’s society. By standing beside others in their walk of life and meeting their outward needs—and doing this with grace—we can show them the love of Christ. If we see others hurting and do nothing to meet their pain, when we later try to share the Gospel with them, our message will be irrelevant. People don’t care how much you know, but they know how much you care.
There are a lot of people hurting particularly about the racial tensions that we face today. As Christians, we are to sympathize with everybody’s side of the story and be gracious enough to understand what they’re talking about, why they’re feeling the way the are, and to love them without bias. Christians have to stand in the middle to bridge the gap between blacks and whites.
The greatest way to show people the love of Christ is through the way we love each other within the Church, but it’s also how we stand with others outside the Church. Inside the Church we need to learn how to love one another—brothers and sisters of the opposite race—in a way that is genuine and authentic so that we can then extend that outwardly. When two people take the time to understand each other’s stories and backgrounds, that’s when they find common ground. That’s when we can take this power to our greater community and build a foundation to share the Gospel.
“By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” —John 13:35
Love starts with us. When we are living out genuine love, people will want to know what we have to say and why we do what we do. They will want to hear about the hope that we have in the Gospel.
When you are able to show others that you love and understand them, especially when it goes against your own lifestyle or preferences, you will get their attention. When Jesus met the woman at the well, He caught her attention because He was different. Though He was not affiliated with her people or accustomed to her way of life, He showed her that He knew and cared about her. People didn’t normally treat this woman with the understanding and respect that Jesus did. He responded to her and, gaining her attention, shared the Gospel. Because of this interaction, this woman’s life was transformed. Because of this woman’s transformation, her whole community was transformed.
Jesus didn’t jump on the issues of her culture or attack her lifestyle choices, instead He heard her story and responded with grace. He used a topic that she could relate to—water—and brought the message of living water to give life to her soul. In the same way, we should not be quick to jump on the hot topics of our culture, racing to voice our personal opinion. If instead we decide to hold off on voicing our opinion and instead we wait for the opportunity to share the Gospel through grace, we can bring truth and hope that they need to hear. Our goal should be to listen and hear others first, then we will have built the space to tell them about the hope that we have through the grace of Christ.
Demario Davis is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Demario’s Increase profile here: http://theincrease.com/author/demario-davis/
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