Matthew 10:16 – “Look, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
The dominant myth prevailing in evangelism is that we must make the Gospel acceptable so the perishing will be attracted to it. There are a lot of Christians who present a false gospel in their evangelism. They don’t do this on purpose, but they do it nonetheless. Christians with good intentions often present watered-down, non-offensive, less confrontational gospel. They argue that “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, after all.”
However, the truth is that there is no way to present the true gospel without being offensive. An Inoffensive Gospel is No Gospel At All. The gospel is an offense. If you take the offense out of the gospel, you also remove the saving power of the gospel. In the gospel presentation we preach Christ crucified and the cross reveals the shameful sentence on sinful man. The sentence that is inherent in the cross is that every man is a sinner, and he is on the way to eternal judgment.
The world is always hostile to Christians -not incidentally hostile, but purposefully hostile. Wolves are intentional about the harm they inflict upon sheep. In such an environment, the question becomes “how can we advance the kingdom of God effectively without becoming predatory ourselves?” In a polytheistic setting we can’t be silent and we have to speak, but we need to be wise.
When Jesus told the Twelve to be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves, He laid down two techniques of kingdom work. As we take the gospel to a hostile world, we must be wise (avoiding the snares set for us), and we must be innocent (serving the Lord blamelessly). Wisdom does not equal dishonesty, and innocence does not equal gullibility.
We should strive to be gentle without being pushovers, and we must be sacrificial without being taken advantage of. We are aware of the unscrupulous tactics used by the enemy, but we take the high road. Peter admonishes us, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12).