Sharing the Gospel is Surrendering our Life

There is a pendulum swing in Christianity. For so long, the church has focused solely on words. Following Jesus, in this paradigm, was a belief statement to be believed. If you believe that Jesus is Christ, the son of the living God, repent and are baptized, then you are saved. So evangelism naturally focused on getting people to believe the right things in their head. Salvation, in that world, comes through having the proper beliefs and doctrine combined with a few religious practices, not through having a transformed life of love. A good evangelist would present the gospel to people through sharing it and asking them if they accept it. It was about bringing them to a decision point. And if they accepted the belief statement proposed, we would baptize them. As a follower of Jesus, if you weren’t presenting it in such a way as to make the person come to a point of decision, then evangelism was not effective.

If you were with me at Hilsboro Family Camp this year, you would have seen the death throes of doctrine only. It seems like a session could not go by without one of the sermons being on us having correct doctrine as if correct doctrine alone mattered. If you were to preach a sermon on love and not mention proper doctrine, then you were doing a disservice to the gospel according to the preachers of doctrine only. But in that world, it is okay to preach a sermon on doctrine and not mention love. Oh, how they must hate the teachings of Jesus in the gospels. He preached on love many times without mentioning doctrine.

Now, we are seeing a shift to not using words but just being loving. This is just as much of an error as the previous error. It’s the pendulum swinging back and forth. In this model, people just do loving actions with no intention of sharing the gospel because what people believe is fine for each person. We should not meddle in people’s beliefs.

It’s like someone watch one too many Star Trek episodes and has taken the Prime Directive, “Nothing within these articles of Federation shall authorize the United Federation of Planets to intervene in matters which are essentially the domestic jurisdiction of any planetary social system, or shall require the members to submit such matters to settlement under these Articles of Federation; But this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII”, too seriously.

The happy, or should I say difficult, middle is where we need to be. We need to love people and also look for opportunities to share the verbal message of the gospel, but we realize that Jesus’ love, like the color blue, cannot be described through just words; it is best exhibited through our loving actions. This most often comes about through natural Christ-filled living among friends, co-workers, and family members. We need to broaden our natural sphere of relationships, whether through nurturing hobbies we do with other people or joining clubs or groups, in order to have more people we come into contact with.

And we need to create ministries within our churches that will allow us to show God’s love to people outside of our normal sphere of relationships. I think we are doing a good job, but we’re only beginning. Being a Christian is living with two, on the surface contradictory, beliefs. We understand that we are fallen sinners yet we realize the potential that God has designed us for. We live in grace when our fallen nature wins out, but we strive toward perfection.

Sharing the gospel is about surrendering our life, dying to our own will and desires, and living life the way Christ would have us live. It’s about letting Jesus live through us and reflecting Him for those around us to see. We need to live in such a way that when people see us, they really see Jesus.