Apprising Ministries is pleased to bring this sermon by Dr. John MacArthur to your attention. In this message MacArthur goes over the purpose of evangelism and then using Christ’s encounter with the Young Ruler contrasts the Biblical methods of evangelism with the man-centered methods of contemporary evangelism:

He came to Jesus seeking salvation based on his felt need. He was experiencing anxiety and frustration, and he wanted to experience joy, love, peace, and hope. Yet that is not a good enough reason to come to Christ. It isn’t wrong; it’s just incomplete. If we offer people happiness, joy, and peace, we’ll have a great response. All we would need to do is find all those who are psychologically incomplete. If we can offer people the panaceas to their anxieties through Jesus, they’ll take Him right away. But that is not a complete understanding of salvation…

You cannot bring people to Jesus Christ simply on the basis of psychological needs and anxieties, or the lack of peace, hope, joy, or happiness. They must understand that salvation is for people who want to turn away from the things of this life and turn to God. It is for those who see they have lived in violation and rebellion against holy God. They have to want to turn around, confess their sin, and affirm their commitment to live for His glory. All the young man felt was a personal need. He felt anxiety. And he felt there was something lacking in his life. But that is not enough.

Our Lord shifted the focus from the young man to God. He tried to show the young man that the real problem in his life was what he was doing to offend holy God. When He said, “Keep the commandments,” He held up the man’s life against the divine standard so he might see that he came up short.

You can read the entire text of this sermon here.