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Live Forever; Ask Me How…

You know they’re out there.  People disguised as friends and neighbors but secretly they have an agenda.  You may see them at work or playing on your softball team, or they may even be members of your own family.  One thing is certain, however, they want you, mind and body, to join their organization.

In 1959, Jay VanAndel and Richard DeVos founded a company called American Way that has since grown into a marketing giant.  The company employs literally millions of people in 88 countries around the world and in 2009 generated over $9 billion (US dollars) in profit.  You may not recognize it by its given name but I am certain that each of you knows someone who works for this company.  The company’s more familiar name is Amway and it has provided work-at-home opportunities for people around the world for the better part of a half century.

Immediately some of my readers will shut this page down or hit a back button or otherwise disengage from reading further.  Ah-ha they think,  another Amway zombie trying to sneak his pitch in sideways, and not without good reason.  Amway members often employ covert and even dishonest tactics to get their gospel out.  Amway, and multilevel marketing, as a whole, have become such a cliché that unless the victim, er, prospect is carefully prepped and vetted, the marketeer will no chance of making his pitch before said prospect spooks and bolts like a gazelle with a good whiff of Eau de Leone in his nose.  With all the mystery and secrecy of a Colombian droga traficante setting up a sale in midtown Miami, they use words like “business opportunity”, “business meeting”, and “entry-level position” to disguise and delay exposing their real intent.  They will even go so far as to take you to the meeting without telling you where it is in the hope that since you are dependent on them for a ride home, they can entice you into their down-line before you call a cab.  Their marketing model consists of various levels and rings and minerals and gemstones.  They are masters of the grand hurrah whiz-bang motivational speech.  Their conventions are often mistaken for Neo-Nazi rallies or fundamentalist revival meetings from all the yelling and marathon motivational jargon.  In short, they use every possible angle to get their message to the people they think will be receptive to it.

The funny thing is…I am not writing about Amway members today.  I have another group in mind entirely.  Like the Amway faithful who will do anything to grow their down-line, these people have an agenda and a message, and it means more than anything to them to present it to people who might be receptive.  They knock on your door on a peaceful Sunday afternoon.  They call under pretense of finding out if you still have that used washer and dryer for sale in order to invite you to their meetings.  They leave pamphlets and literature in restaurants and public restrooms and stores all over the country in the hope that you will pick one up and read it.  Just what we need, another marketing outlet vying for our attention.  Oddly enough, it is just what most people need even though most people have much less interest in this message than in an Amway pitch.  I am talking about the average faithful Christian and his or her desire to spread their message to every person they meet.

I just said “average faithful Christian”.  That is not exactly true.  The “average” Christian will spend a life-time and never tell another living soul that they are believers, much less try to encourage that soul to join them.  It makes for an interesting comparison.  There are MANY more professing Christians in the world than there are Amway members and yet the Amway crowd is much more visible when it comes to spreading the word.  Lets limit our discussion to the above average faithful Christian who, for better or worse, takes the command of our Lord seriously when He said…

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

So few Christians take Jesus at His word it’s a wonder that the message goes on, and yet it does.  What is the difference?  The Christian message is much harder to accept at face-value.  It is much easier to believe that you can make a million dollars selling soap door to door than it is to believe that some man died for you thousands of years ago and then rose from the dead.  With so few purveyors and such an unlikely message how can the Christian gospel continue to spread?

The difference is also all the proof that is necessary that the Christian message is real.  There is a supernatural element to the Christian gospel that strikes a chord in all who hear it.  Not everyone who hears the gospel accepts it, but everyone who hears is affected by it in one way or another.  Some people respond badly to the message.  People who, when approached by the most persistent Amway believer, would politely explain that they were not interested, might explode into a fit of temper when handed a gospel tract by a stranger on the sidewalk.

The Bible tells us that no one can believe except that they are called.
John 6:44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The gospel message, by itself, is no more powerful than an Amway sales pitch, but anytime the gospel is presented, the Holy Spirit of God makes unspoken communication to the hearer.  The response is always based upon the hearer’s receptiveness but there is always a response.  Even those who quietly walk away without saying a word are making a decision.  They have heard and are now responsible.  I think that knowledge is what provokes violent negative responses from some people.  At some level they KNOW that they are responsible; that they have made a decision with consequences.

In order to be an honest reporter we need to define our terms.  What is the gospel everyone talks about?  You already know it, even if you are not a believer.  Jesus Christ was born of a virgin.  No sexual intercourse was involved at all.  He lived 33 years on the Earth preaching and healing and generally being kind to everyone he met and living a perfect sin-free life.  He was betrayed by a follower and sentenced to death at the hands of the Roman Empire.  Three days later he rose from his tomb and spent the next few weeks being seen by believers and unbelievers alike before returning to Heaven with the promise that he would return again some day.  The reason all this was necessary is that mankind, as an imperfect entity, was unable to exist in the presence of God who wished us to join Him in paradise.  Our imperfections had to be paid for but no one could live the perfect life necessary to appear before God.  Jesus’ perfect life was used as a sacrifice for us.  He lived the life we could not life and paid the price we should have paid for our imperfections and faults.  We can take advantage of this sacrifice if we will only accept the gift and believe the giver.  Boiled down to its essence, this is the Christian gospel.  Believe and be saved.  It is a gift.

Romans 5:18  Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Because one man sinned, we are all guilty.  While it doesn’t seem fair, it is the only way the system can work.  If one can condemn us all then one can save us all.  That salvation, as the verse clearly states, is a free gift.  Simple belief is all it takes.

  Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Uh oh…if you read the last few paragraphs then you are about to make a decision.  You can walk away as an unbeliever or you can accept the gift.  There are only two choices.  Remember, not voting is the same as a “No” vote.  You will make a decision in the next few seconds, if you haven’t made it already, and the decision will have consequences.  Please take a moment and consider before you decide.  Even an Amway sales person deserves a hearing.




1. Laurel Scales - June 7, 2012

Good job! It is sad that something so simple proves so difficult for so many.

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