Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Great Neglect Of Today's Christian

There should be no greater thrill for us then the thrill of being an active participant in introducing someone to Jesus. What a great experience it is to see their eyes light up and their face beam with the supernatural re-birth, as the love of the Father washes over them and through them. Unfortunately it doesn't happen as often as it should. We have become a very organized and busy bunch of people, goal oriented, purpose driven. Somehow we are losing sight of the fact that our purpose is to be an active participant in the salvation of others.

Jesus should be of such value to us, so important, that we can't wait to tell others about him. Obviously the ones who should be impacted are those we are in relation with. Sometimes it is much easier for us to witness to strangers, since we will never see them again, but our family, friends and co-workers we have to live with. Yet the most effective work is with the group of people we are closest to because we get to encourage them after their re-birth. Besides, it should only be natural for us to want to introduce the most important person in our life to the other important people in our life. That's what Andrew did, because it was only natural for him to do so:

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. (John 1:41-42)

The first thing he did. It was probably the first thing we all did after our re-birth. There is something so incredibly special and powerful in meeting Jesus that we want everyone to know right away. Then over time we settle into routine and we become complacent about it. We start worrying about our reputation and only talk about Jesus if someone else brings him up in conversation. Often though it is not Jesus that is talked about but instead it is about our church or our church activities. Who gives a flying hoot about our church activities, it is Jesus who saves not the church. For some reason, something that should be so natural for us becomes something we have to turn into a church sub-committee. "Outreach", as we like to call it, because a thing that a committee or a group of people try to organize as one of the many church departments. Sometimes I think we do it more from tradition than from calling and purpose.

Just before Jesus ascended he told his group of disciples this:

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The Holy Spirit came. The Church exploded in Jerusalem. Everyone became quite content and no one went anywhere. Jesus told them to go but it was more comfortable to stay. Hey, they were doing the Lord's work! Maybe, but they were not being obedient. Jesus told them to go and they disobeyed so a great persecution arouse and the believers were scattered throughout the world. In fact, the instrument of that persecution was later transformed to become the greatest evangelist of that age and also gave us much of our New Testament, laying the foundation of the teaching of the Church.

Evangelism, witnessing, outreach, participant in the salvation of others does not belong to some sub-committee of the church. In fact the only way we can say it is the responsibility of the church at all is when we recognize that we are the Church. It is the responsibility, no, it is the honour of each of us to be witnesses of the grace and love of Jesus Christ. We are incredible examples of God's forgiveness and intervention in our lives. Andrew did not have his Master's of Theology to introduce his brother to Jesus, but he did have a story. He simply told Peter what he had seen and heard; he told him his story. You do not have to preach to people and you do not have to quote the entire Bible at them. Just simply tell them your story. Tell them what difference Jesus has made in your life. Jesus should be a natural part of our conversation. Remember, this is a supernatural thing that is happening. It is not a matter of powerful words but the power behind the words. While you are talking the Holy Spirit is doing his thing.

The Church was suppose to impact the world with the love of God demonstrated through Jesus Christ. That impact is suppose to happen through you and me. It is not up to the next guy; it's up to us. It should start with our family, friends, co-workers and then we should start bringing strangers into our lives, expanding our world to include others. The Kingdom is all about people. We enjoy the tools of the Church but the real Kingdom is found in the hearts of people so it is all about people. Thus, people and their salvation should be the great priority in our day. The days are getting shorter, the end is approaching, salvation should be a thing of urgency for us. Make the most of every opportunity today, and create some opportunities if you must in order to be an active participant in the salvation of others.

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