“There are five Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian, but most people never read the first four.” Rodney “Gypsy” Smith, 19th Century Evangelist
We can all admit to the power of the Gospel proclaimed, read, and lived. With a simple sermon, I watched Billy Graham bring a football stadium full of people to Christ. Peter in Acts 2:14-41 brought about 3,000 to Christ. The Good News of Jesus is beautiful in its power to change the lives for anyone who believes, without exception. John 3: 16-18 sums it up nicely from the mouth of Jesus:
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
The problem is many won’t look in the Bible for truth, instead, they learn misconceived notions about God, Jesus, and Salvation. They get their theology from a Facebook meme without checking the source.
The second problem is we’re not sure how to display the Gospel in our lives, not just the Bible. When Jesus said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” in Matthew 28: 19-20, there wasn’t even a New Testament for people to read. It was through the message and lives of the disciples that people learned of our Lord. I love the “I have decided” shirts that FirstNLR has started giving to those who are baptized with the Matthew 28: 19-20 noted.
It’s a proclamation, and it’s scary, especially for an introvert who is perfectly happy to be behind the scenes like me. However, in light of what Jesus did for us, shouldn’t we live for him and introduce others to him?
Choose Your Method Wisely
There are two extremes in sharing the Gospel. One is the legalists, who condemn everything that is wrong. Truth without love just pushes people away. If they perceive hate from our attitude, then they will lash out. Think of one of the most common charges leveled against Christians.
The other extreme is fear of offending people. So we water down the Gospel, tone down the language, and redefine Biblical truths to accommodate a shifting culture’s morality. Except it doesn’t work, humans have a basic animosity against God and his Word. In John 3: 19-21, Jesus tells Nicodemus why this is the case:
“And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”
Think about it, do you like it when you’re caught doing something wrong? Do you get annoyed or angry that you were busted? That is our sinful nature reacting. We have that working against us, but also having to face temptation. Satan is real, and he’s working against God’s plan to bring people back to Him. Satan will do it to keep unbelievers in darkness, and do it to us to weaken our message and testimony.
You Are The Light of the World
It is hard to find a way to communicate and live out our faith. It’s a command, though, even if you think the Great Commission is just for apostles, preachers, and missionaries. Peter in 1 Peter 3: 15-16 tells us otherwise:
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
We do have to work on that. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called his followers the ‘light of the world’.
“No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
We are his followers. We should be careful that our light isn’t so dim where no one can tell the difference between us and the next person. Not by throwing Bibles at them, instead by showing them what life with Jesus is like. To show the world He is real, and that He is Lord.