Should church be bribery? Should you bribe people to come to Jesus?
No. That’s not even close to the gospel. A “bribe” is basically saying “what I have to offer isn’t good enough on its own, let me sweeten the pot so you’ll be interested.” We don’t do that. We teach the gospel. We teach it accurately. We teach it completely. We teach it clearly. And we don’t add things like “If you come to Jesus, you’ll be happy, healthy, and wealthy because that’s what Jesus wants for you.” We don’t add things like “If you come to church with me I’ll give you my iPad.” Jesus didn’t do that. He asked people that wanted to follow him to do hard things. And a lot of them walked away from Jesus. You never see Jesus running after someone saying, “Ok, ok, ok…you’re right, I see how hard that is. Let’s do this ________.”
Believing the gospel, following Christ, and committing to a community of believers in the church takes courage, dedication, and discipline. If we soften that, water it down, use bribery we have not shared the gospel at all.
Luke 13.3. We don’t bargain people into heaven. You either repent, or you perish. There is no deal making. And that’s a tough message.
John 1.11. And because it’s a tough message, you will get rejected…often…but do not cower and water down the gospel. Even Jesus got rejected.
John 15.18. Don’t bargain with people. You tell them about Jesus; the real Jesus; the Jesus that’s hard to talk about.