Years ago, I came to the conclusion that I have only two types of relationships with other people. There are those who are in the body of Christ, and I fellowship with them on that basis, encouraging and exhorting as appropriate. Then there are those who are not in the body of Christ, and I am trying to lead them there. That’s it. There is no other scenario.
In view of the reality stated above, sharing the gospel (good news) of Jesus becomes a paramount concern, and it is something that all of us have a calling and responsibility to do. If you doubt that, consider the final words of Jesus in Matthew 28:
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'” – Matthew 28:18-20, NASB
In this final word, Jesus commanded his disciples to go and make disciples, and then to teach those disciples to obey everything that he had commanded. Well, what is it that he just commanded them to do? To go make disciples, and teach them to obey all commands, which includes going and making disciples who would then teach those disciples to go make disciples. This is a cyclical, self-perpetuating command. Every one of us is granted this privilege and responsibility to go make disciples.
Now that we know that, and before the anxiety level red-lines, and the stomach acid overflows, let me share with you why it is that this should cause you no great concern.
The apostle Paul said to the church in Rome:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” – Romans 1:16, NASB
An entire industry has sprung up around the fears, anxieties, and hesitancy many feel when attempting to obey the command of Jesus to go and make disciples. A plethora of how-to books and training seminars promise to infuse us with knowledge and confidence to make us adequate to the task. Men and women prance around on stages shouting impressively as the sweat rolls down their faces because they are working so hard to tell the crowd about Jah – heeeeee – zus with a level of showmanship that I could never hope to emulate (nor would I want to). The printing industry rolls out tracts, fliers, posters, and bumper stickers with clever wording and eye-catching graphics, all designed to compel men and women into the kingdom.
All of that is rot.
Consider, again, Paul’s word to the church in Rome – that he is not ashamed of the gospel, because IT is the power of God for salvation.
The power is not in me, my presentation style, the cleverness of my words, my salesmanship, my finesse, my diction, my accent, the graphics or PowerPoint I choose to employ – none of that! The power is in the gospel, and if we could but return to that simplicity, we would see the name of Jesus spreading to all humanity, preaching the gospel to every creature as Jesus commanded (Mark 16:15).
Even in the person to whom we speak – the power is not in them. The power is in the gospel as we speak it, and in the gospel as they hear it.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” – Ephesians 2:8, NASB
“So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.” – Romans 10:17, CSB
In John’s gospel, Jesus has been saying some very hard things to the disciples, almost as though he were trying to shake them awake, to get them to think beyond what they have always been taught and their long-held beliefs. In the middle of that discourse, he said this:
“The Spirit is the one who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” – John 6:63
It is the Spirit who gives life. It is not our flesh, or our efforts. It is not our cleverness or skill. It is the Spirit! And Jesus just said here that his words are spirit, and they are life! And so it becomes tremendously important for us to know what those words are.
My message of encouragement for you today is to spend time with your Bible, and particularly spend time in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and even more particularly spend time with the words Jesus spoke in those four gospels. Read them. Meditate on them. Engrave them on your heart and mind. And then share them with others. Those words are spirit, and they are life to all who hear!
Victoriously in Christ!
Over to you: When do you or will you set aside time to meditate on Jesus’ words? Do you have a special place to do that?