So far in our examination of the things that commonly keep us from sharing the gospel, we have seen that there are all kinds of things that get in our way – a wrong view of evangelism, a deficient view of the gospel, and a distorted view of pastoral ministry.
Now we come to what may be the most common obstacle to evangelism: Self-righteousness
Why do I say that?
Look at Paul’s words in a letter that he wrote to his young protege pastor:
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:15-17)
In other words, Paul considered himself to be the worst sinner of all. And yet the Lord Jesus Christ saved him. God gave him mercy in Jesus Christ. And if God would save a sinner like Paul, is there anyone beyond the reach of God’s grace in the gospel? No!
No wonder Paul was so eager to preach the gospel to all men (Romans 1:15-16)! Since the Lord saved him, Paul despaired of the salvation of no man!
Sometimes we fail to share the gospel because we think too highly of ourselves and therefore too lowly of others (or of God’s ability or willingness to save them).
We forget that our salvation is nothing but the sheer love, mercy & grace of God that He lavished upon us in Christ. We forget that are nothing more than sinners, saved by grace.
Self-righteousness sometimes keeps us from sharing the gospel with those who need to hear it, and it can also keep those who need to hear it from listening to us.
May our Lord Jesus Christ pour out His Spirit upon us and change our hearts. May He give us the humility, meekness, and love of Christ that will compel us to share the gospel!
May He cause us to have a right estimation of ourselves, of the lost all around us, and of the amazing grace of God who sent His Son to save sinners, of whom we are foremost!