They Need the Gospel, Too!
Jesus never sat still. At the height of His popularity, when His “congregational” membership was at its peak, Jesus surprisingly moved on. “Let us go into the next towns,” He declared one day, “that I may preach there also” (Mark 1:38). Really, Christ’s sudden departure from a comfortable situation is not all that surprising when you consider that He had already left the comforts of heaven to dwell here as a man (Phil 2:6-8). It was His nature to leave His own comfort zone to reach the lost (cf. Luke 19:10). If a genuine love for the lost was powerful enough to move God from heaven to earth, shouldn’t it also move us?
Will you talk about the Gospel? — Jesus took every opportunity to introduce spiritual principles into discussions. He turned a discussion about well water into a conversation about eternal life (John 4:7-10). His presence at a funeral gave rise to a dialogue about the resurrection (John 11:23-25). He used a question about fasting to indicate His coming death (Matt 9:14-17). He related fishing to the saving of souls. He used the weather to talk about judgment to come. He took a coin and taught a lesson on obligations to government and to God. With Jesus, “small talk” always seemed to have a spiritual application! I wonder if we need to be more like Him in that respect. Some people can talk all day on any given subject, yet how often do we try to introduce spiritual principles into our conversation?
Will you work in Christ’s service? — Evangelism isn’t always easy, but think of the wonderful fruits! Just as Jesus had to leave a comfortable situation in order to reach others, so must we do something that feels a bit unnatural. Paul had to tell Timothy not to be afraid (2 Tim 4:7). Elijah ran from his responsibility when he was threatened (1 Kings 19:1-3). Even Peter allowed the opinions of the majority to influence his decision in denying Christ (Matt 26:69-75). Why do we think we are different? Teaching the gospel is going to evoke a reaction on the part of those who are taught. Some will receive the word gladly. Some will become angry. Still others will be saddened by the implications for their lives. Whatever their reaction, the fact remains: they need the gospel, too! We render ourselves ineffective in the cause of Christ when we stubbornly refuse to teach others — no matter how uncomfortable it may be!
Will you rely on God? — I am convinced that Jesus would not have accomplished His mission here on earth if His prayer life had not been what it was. Jesus, the Son of God, prayed more in one day than most people do in a month. That kind of time and energy in prayer shows a dependence on God like nothing the world has seen since. Teaching the lost must start on our knees — that’s the Lord’s example. He rose early in prayer (Mk 1:35) and continued through the night at times (Luke 6). Jesus conquered the cross in the garden of prayer (Matt 26:39). How can we teach others to rely on Him if we do not believe and practice such ourselves?
What will you say to others? — His word is powerful (Rom 1:16). It changes the lives of the vilest offenders (1 Cor 6:9). Why then do we worry so much about, “saying the right thing?” If it were up to us alone, it’s difficult to see how anybody could be saved. God’s word does the real work in evangelism, not us. We’re merely vessels to carry it to those in need. Jesus realized that people needed to be taught, and He refused to tell them unprofitable stories that entertained without enlightening. Let’s be committed to using God’s words as we reach out to those who need the gospel. — John Baker