Luke 10:13—Was Jesus wrong about Tyre and Sidon?

There are many sad moments in the life of a soul winner when someone rejects the Gospel message. We beat ourselves up as we try to figure out how we could have done better. Was there a better Bible verse that could have been used? Should we have been more familiar with their pet false doctrine? Should we have studied our Bible more so we could have handled their objections better? Was there something about the way we explained the Gospel that could have been better?

The Reformed theologian steps in here and says, “Unless the person was regenerated (born again) first it wouldn’t matter. The reception of the Gospel does not depend upon our wisdom of words. No matter how many Bible verses you used, no matter how well you explained it, unless God changes the sinner and enables him to understand, he will not be able to understand the message.”

Imagine saying all that to Jesus when He cried against Chorazin and Bethsaida:

Luke 10:13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

The reason Jesus gave that Tyre and Sidon did not repent was not because they could not, but because the witness they had was not as powerful as the witness that Chorazin and Bethsaida had. In order to justify Christ’s statement that a greater witness would have worked, the Reformed theologian would have to say that Tyre and Sidon were regenerated in order to hear the message. But that would present another problem for Reformed theology: if they were regenerated to be able to understand, they then resisted the call of God and were judged.

We should be concerned about being soul winners and getting the message right and presenting it well.

Rom 10:13-15
13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Ultimately, the Work of the Holy Spirit drawing the sinner to repentance, mixed with the message delivered from the Word of God, and the response of the sinner is what brings about the decision to get saved.  We might not  hold ourselves ultimately responsible, but doesn’t this put some kind of pressure on us to do well with our witness? Yes, it does.

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