Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Reflections on Sharing the Gospel

I was reminded the last couple of weeks of why the church exists.  Jesus calls us the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  He told his disciples to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teach them to observe everything he commanded them.  Paul says that we are ambassadors for Christ.  Peter says that we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

There are those who claim that these instructions do not apply to us, but only to the apostles and the people of their day.  If this were true, then we would have difficulty explaining how ANY of the scriptures apply to us.  It would be nothing more than an arbitrary choosing of what applies to and what does not.  The truth is that the scriptures have been passed down to us and are for us.  John said in the conclusion of his gospel that many more things could have been included, but what had been selected is there so that we could believe.  Paul said that all scripture is inspired of God and profitable for our instruction.  The church does not exist merely for itself, but for the world.  It is through us that the world will know that God had indeed sent Christ into the world.  It is through the church that the world hears the Gospel.  It is through the church that people experience the love of God.  No wonder the churches of the world are depicted as lampstands in the book of Revelation.

The last couple of weeks I once again participated in an evangelistic campaign.  Forty people responded and obeyed the Gospel.  Forty people were baptized into Christ and had their sins washed away.  Forty people were rescued from sin.  Nothing is more precious than to watch a person being born again. 

It also seemed as though many of us were under attack.  The bad news kept on coming.  Campaign workers were dealing in some cases with deaths in the family, loved ones that had been murdered, some missing, and on and on.  It reminded me of the ministry of Christ.  It seemed that all kinds of demonic and satanic activity was on the rise because they knew Jesus was on the march.  I was reminded that the church is on the march.  In spite of all this bad news, campaign workers kept sharing the Gospel and bringing people to Christ.  It was the most important thing to do.  Satan would have preferred we lose our focus, that we retreat, that we stop in our sorrow and despair.  However, God has made it clear that Satan will lose.  The gates of Hades will not prevail as the church storms her gates.  Satan will lose. 

I was also reminded that ministry takes place everywhere.  On our way to and from the campaign, I was so focused on getting to where I was going, I was passing up opportunities to share the Gospel.  My Dad talked to waitresses, hotel clerks, bystanders, and any one else that would listen.  My first reaction was that this was slowing us down, but then I remembered this is what we are here for.  That is what Jesus came for.  Jesus' travels were always filled with "interruptions," and what great interruptions they were.  Jesus did some of his greatest ministry in those interruptions.  I need to slow down and allow myself to be interrupted as Jesus was, and focus on people wherever they may be.

If I am ambassador for Christ entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, I need to stop and notice all those who need to be reconciled.  They are all around every day.  I need to not be so busy that I fail to make opportunities to connect with people in the way Jesus did when he was just sitting by a well when a woman came to get water. 

Lord, help me to open my eyes to the true food, which is to do the will of God.  Help me to lift up my eyes and see that the harvest is white everywhere.