The terms “small print,” “fine print,” and “mouseprint” all refer to less noticeable print that is dwarfed by the more prominent larger print it accompanies. Small print is frequently used by advertisers selling a product or service. Some merchants who hope to deceive the consumer into believing an offer is more advantageous than it really is will sidestep the legal technicality which requires full disclosure of all terms or conditions (even the unfavorable ones) by relegating the “bad news” to the tiny type font at the bottom of the page and trumpeting the “good news” of spectacular sale prices with brightly colored oversize type fonts.
The small print often contradicts what the larger print says. For example, if the large print says “No Credit? No Problem!” the fine print may murmur “Subject to bank approval.” You are probably familiar with television advertisements that flash small print text in camouflaged colors, and for the briefest periods of time, making it all but impossible to read.
And when the advertiser reads the small print disclaimer out loud, you’d think you suddenly landed in an auction with the fastest speaking auctioneer in the cosmos! Sadly, we have all grown cynically accustomed to “small print” advertising designed to mislead us about the price, quality, or content of a particular product.
But make no mistake, there is no small print in sacred Scripture, even though many in the pulpit today preach as if there is. Far too many preach a “small print Savior,” for fear that people will refuse to “sign up” if they know the truth about what is involved. They preach blessing without burden. They preach success without sacrifice. They preach getting without giving. They preach living without dying.
The irony in all this is the truth that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The more we water it down to try to make it more palatable, the more we strip it of its supernatural power.
Listen, the Gospel is designed to both repel and attract. Sadly, many who sit under shallow “small print” preaching, which is crafted to attract by tickling the ears of the listener, are ill-equipped for the promised trouble to come.
Jesus said the day of tribulation will come; and when it does, if all they have built their faith on has been the shifting sand of small print, they will find themselves tipped over when the waves of challenge begin to wash over them. They will be confused by challenge, surprised by suffering, and derailed by difficulty. But this is not for you!
[Jesus] said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:23-26)
Jesus refused to hide the truth of the Gospel in small print in order to increase His “success rate.” In fact, it seems as though He went out of His way to make it clear just how difficult it would be for one to follow Him. If the rich young ruler showed up in the church today he would be at the top of the list of potential elders. Yet after a conversation with our Savior, who refused to shroud the Gospel in “small print,” the rich young ruler went away sad.
You see, the Gospel Jesus preached—and the one we are to be preaching with both our lips and our lives—is a Gospel of self-denial and self-sacrifice. He refused to tell people what they wanted to hear just so He could get someone to sign on the dotted line. He spoke the truth and the truth was this: to follow Jesus is to follow Him to the cross on the Hill Golgotha, where dying to self is the only way to live for the Savior.
We know the apostles fully understood there was to be no “small print” in sacred Scripture when they spoke these words, which were “strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.” The words were: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!