The Gospel: Why not preach that Jesus
gives happiness, peace, and joy?
Two men are seated on a
plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put
it on as it would improve his flight. He’s a little
skeptical at first, since he can’t see how wearing
a parachute on a plane could possibly improve his flight.
He decides to experiment and see if the claims are true.
As he puts it on, he notices the weight of it upon his
shoulders and he finds he has difficulty in sitting
upright. However, he consoles himself with the fact
he was told that the parachute would improve his flight.
So he decides to give it a little time.
As he waits he notices that
some of the other passengers are laughing at him for
wearing a parachute on a plane. He begins to feel somewhat
humiliated. As they continue to point and laugh at him,
he can stand it no longer. He slinks in his seat, unstraps
the parachute and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment
and bitterness fill his heart, because as far as he
was concerned he was told an outright lie.
The second man is given
a parachute, but listen to what he is told. He’s
told to put it on because at any moment he’ll
be jumping 25,000 feet out of the plane. He gratefully
puts the parachute on. He doesn’t notice the weight
of it upon his shoulders, nor that he can’t sit
upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what
would happen to him if he jumped without the parachute.
Let’s now analyze
the motive and the result of each passenger’s
experience. The first man’s motive for putting
the parachute on was solely to improve his flight. The
result of his experience was that he was humiliated
by the passengers, disillusioned, and somewhat embittered
against those who gave him the parachute. As far as
he’s concerned, it will be a long time before
anyone gets one of those things on his back again.
The second man put the parachute
on solely to escape the jump to come. And because of
his knowledge of what would happen to him if he jumped
without it, he has a deep-rooted joy and peace in his
heart knowing that he’s saved from sure death.
This knowledge gives him the ability to withstand the
mockery of the other passengers. His attitude toward
those who gave him the parachute is one of heartfelt
Now listen to what the modern
gospel says: "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll
give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting
happiness." In other words, Jesus will improve
your flight. The sinner responds, and in an experimental
fashion puts on the Savior to see if the claims are
true. And what does he get? The promised temptation,
tribulation, and persecution—the other "passengers"
mock him. So what does he do? He takes off the Lord
Jesus Christ; he’s offended for the Word’s
sake; he’s disillusioned and somewhat embittered...and
quite rightly so. He was promised peace, joy, love,
and fulfillment, and all he got were trials and humiliation.
His bitterness is directed at those who gave him the
so-called "good news." His latter end becomes
worse than the first, and he’s another inoculated
and bitter "backslider."
Instead of preaching that
Jesus improves the flight, we should be warning sinners
that they have to jump out of a plane. That it’s
appointed for man to die once and then face judgment
(Hebrews 9:27). When a sinner understands the horrific
consequences of breaking the Law of God, he will flee
to the Savior, solely to escape the wrath that’s
to come. If we are true and faithful witnesses, that’s
what we’ll be preaching—that there is wrath
to come—that God "commands all men every
where to repent: because he has appointed a day in which
he will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts
The issue isn’t one
of happiness, but one of righteousness. It doesn’t
matter how happy a sinner is, or how much he is enjoying
the pleasures of sin for a season, without the righteousness
of Christ, he will perish on the day of wrath. Proverbs
11:4 says, "Riches profit not in the day of wrath:
but righteousness delivers from death."
Peace and joy are legitimate
fruits of salvation, but it’s not legitimate to
use these fruits as a drawing card for salvation. If
we continue to do so, the sinner will respond with an
impure motive, lacking repentance. Can you remember
why the second passenger had joy and peace in his heart?
It was because he knew that the parachute was going
to save him from sure death. In the same way, as believers
we have joy and peace in believing because we know that
the righteousness of Christ is going to deliver us from
the wrath that is to come.
With that thought in mind,
let’s take a close look at an incident aboard
the plane. We have a brand-new flight attendant. It’s
her first day. She’s carrying a tray of boiling
hot coffee. She wants to leave an impression upon the
passengers and she certainly does! As she’s walking
down the aisle she trips over someone’s foot and
slops the hot coffee all over the lap of our second
passenger. What’s his reaction as that boiling
liquid hits his tender flesh? Does he go, "Man
that hurt!"? Yes, he does. But then does he rip
the parachute from his shoulders, throw it to the floor,
and say, "The stupid parachute!"? No, why
should he? He didn’t put the parachute on for
a better flight. He put it on to save him from the jump
to come. If anything, the hot coffee incident causes
him to cling tighter to the parachute and even look
forward to the jump.
If we have put on the Lord
Jesus Christ for the right motive—to flee from
the wrath that’s to come—when tribulation
strikes, when the flight gets bumpy, we won’t
get angry at God, and we won’t lose our joy and
peace. Why should we? We didn’t come to Christ
for a better lifestyle, but to flee from the wrath.
to come If anything, tribulation drives the true believer
closer to the Savior.
Sadly, we have multitudes
of professing Christians who lose their joy and peace
when the flight gets bumpy. Why? They are the product
of a man- entered gospel. They came lacking repentance,
without which they cannot be saved.