I can recite passage after passage about evangelism. “Go into all the world and make disciples” (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:15); “You are the salt of the earth – You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-16); “You are to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the whole earth” (Acts 2:8); “We have this ministry of reconciliation – we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:16-20).
I can recite and preach and teach these scriptures, and I have and I will, but there are a couple of things that we need to get straight.
1st) When you examine the context of the “Go!” passages, they will tell you one thing, “PREACH JESUS!” Than it says go, that we are the messengers of Christ’s message, so it follows with preach Jesus. Look at 2 Corinthians chapter 4:3-6.
This is not about the church. This is not about music, this is not about people and personalities, and this is not about the preacher. This about that person and Jesus! “We preach Jesus,” Paul says. Let me ask you. Do you? Do you preach Jesus? Are you winning them to Jesus or are you winning them to the church?
Paul emphasizes our role in 1 Corinthians chapter 5. We are ambassadors of Christ. Not the church, not the functions of the church, not the people of the church, but Christ. You represent Jesus!
What am I saying? When you have been given the privilege, tell them about Jesus; through your life and your language. Don’t compartmentalize your life where you keep Christianity from the other parts of your life, which will keep Christianity and Jesus from most of the people you encounter. Let Jesus be in you and reach others through you all the time.
The church that has failed has failed because it has not preached Jesus and preached him exclusively.
It’s been about the church, it’s been about power, about personalities, about moral teachings, about social justice from a Biblical stand, about so many things except Jesus. Jesus has been claimed. It’s in his name, but . . . is it really? That’s what we should always be examining and challenged by. Can you say with Paul, “I am NOT ashamed of the Gospel for it is the Power of God to those who are being saved” Rom. 1:16?
2nd) We need to understand the people we are connecting with. We must not just know and show Jesus, we must reach them where they are at.
What is it that puts them in touch with Jesus? Everyone is different, but there are some common things with each age group. Do you know something about the different age-groups? Do you understand what is important to someone that is 16 and 26? How about someone that is 36, and 56? Even those who are 66 and 86?
I gave you a quick summary of some of the characteristics of different age-groups and generations. Talk with them, listen to their hurts, their concerns, their life experiences – good and bad, talk and listen and be sensitive and be Jesus, reflect his light, shine his glory into their lives.
Find common ground. Are you interested in helping the poor? Is that where your heart is? You may be 45 or 55, but there may be a 15 year old or a 25 year old whose heart is there too. Get together, work it together and you will find what is common between and you will have a great conversation that leads to Jesus.
Go on a Missions trip together and work together and find common language with those you work alongside. Their age doesn’t matter. The common effort and the common language does matter.
Martha was in her 60’s when in 2005, she went on a missions trip to the Inner-City Mission in Springfield, Illinois. It was a youth missions trip and Martha volunteered to be a sponsor. Just like the teens who went, Martha had a heart for the homeless. And in an effort to help the homeless, Martha and a couple of teens connected on the trip. Wanting to help the homeless was the common language between the two generations.
We live in a post-Christian age. There is little knowledge of Biblical morality, no sense of who God is and what God is about. The world’s way is about God being who I want him to be, so I have created God in my own image. There was a song a long time ago that declared, “Jesus is the answer for the world today. Above him there’s no other, Jesus is the way.” I don’t remember who sang it, and I don’t care, but it tells the truth of Scripture. Though this song was a part of my youth culture 35 plus years ago, the song sings the reality of what is eternally true. Jesus saves. Jesus is the answer for the Bible believers of the Great Generation, as well as the answer for those who are truly skeptical of a misguided and misunderstood church. Jesus is still the answer.
Peter declared to the religious leaders refusing to accept Jesus’ message, “There is salvation in no one else except Jesus Christ, the Lord” (Acts 4:12).
Is that your message? Does the way you live life show that Jesus is the only way? Does your language, your dialog, reflect the beauty of life given to Christ?
Take the message and run with it because there is supernatural power in the truth, in the message of Jesus, who died for all people, once for all. Go, make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.