I have been very discouraged recently in our homeless shelter ministry. Every time we get get up to preach, you can see that nobody seems to be paying attention. Now I realize that you're not always going to have a captive audience, and there will always be some that aren't listening, but what do you do when nobody's listening?
For three years now, I've been preaching through the books of the New Testament, and I've been having a blast, until now. I'm in Romans, and it's a tough book to get through, even for people who have been sitting in Church their whole life. It's hard to see ourselves for who we really are, who God really is, and how salvation had very little to do with me and how God's grace and the faith to receive it is all of God.
Then it dawned on me that I've been making a mistake for all this time. The New Testament is composed of letters to the church, the New Testament is written to Christians. How could a bunch of unregenerate heathens understand or be interested in anything the Bible has to say, when it's not for them? The Bible is not a book of how to clean up your life, or how to live better, how to fix your marriage, how to get a job, how to quit drugs, ect. it's a guidebook on how to follow Jesus.
You can't follow Jesus until you take the first step of repentance and turn away from your sins and turn to Jesus. I can't share all the other steps in following Jesus when they don't even take the first step.
How then shall we preach to those who care nothing for God? Every time we get up, it must be the whole truth of the Gospel. You are a sinner, you're sin has caused a problem and there will be Hell to pay, Jesus came down to die as a sacrifice to pay for your sins, and He rose again on the third day showing that he has power over sin and death, and you can have your sins forgiven if you'll entrust your whole life to him. That's it. There is no reason to go beyond that.
The people we minister to live high risk lifestyles, drugs, alcohol, theft, living on the streets... at any moment, their life could be snuffed out like a candle, a bad drug deal, someone mugging them for their last dollar, exposure to the elements, sickness, ect. They are closer to death on a weekly basis than most of us have ever been in our whole life. What bothers me the most is that they have eyes that can't see and ears that can't hear the truth and most of them will die and go to Hell, and no matter what I may want for them, they could care less.
How then shall we preach to them? We must continue to preach with boldness the good news of the gospel, because only the words of God have the power of life and a hope for a better future.