by Ted Kyle
Can people hear the Good News of Jesus Christ too often? Think about it.
I remember meeting a man, the husband of one of the faithful ladies who never missed a service at the little church I served in Oregon. This man never came inside the church building. He would wait in his car for the service to be over.
I was told that there had been a time when he attended the services. He listened attentively to messages about the way of salvation. There was a stretch of several weeks when at the invitation he became rigid, his hands tightly clutching the back of the pew ahead. He was engaged in a struggle against the inward call of Christ.
But then the intensity of his struggle diminished. He had "won," and God ceased to work in his heart. He stopped attending services, and became as he was when I met him: affable but no longer interested in spiritual matters.
This experience reinforced a lesson from a missions course in college. The text told of the findings of a secular mission to bush tribes in Africa: the object was to teach improved hygiene to stop the ravages of disease that needlessly slaughtered the young and the weak.
The team traveled by truck from village to village. At each stop the group showed a film graphically illustrating the need for good sanitation, such as proper waste disposal and clean water. Over the course of several months the team showed the film to these villages several times.
And they reported an interesting phenomenon: In each village, they got the best response the first time the film was shown. Perhaps as many as one-fourth of the audience "got the message" and respond positively. The second time, only a few responded, and by the fourth or fifth showing hardly anyone even came to see the film. The novelty was gone. The attitude was: "Old stuff. I've seen it before."
So why am I relating this in the context of telling the gospel story? Should the gospel be kept hidden, to be displayed only on great occasions, like the crown jewels?
Never! It is our duty to present everyone with the good news of Christ Jesus, I subscribe to the belief that every church service should include at least a briefgospel message and an invitation.
Along with the message should go a warning: Today is the day of salvation. I believe people deserve to be reminded that too much hearing, without response, can push them away from the path to heaven and plant their feet ever more firmly on the road to hell.
All need to be reminded that failure to respond to Christ's call is a positive reaction to Satan's claim on our lives.