Go therefore and make disciples – Jesus
As I said in part one of this series, being saved means being sent. Jesus rescues us to make us rescuers. In giving us salvation and his Spirit he was commissioning and equipping us for mission, the mission being to make and multiply disciples. We are invited into many things – seeking justice, extending mercy, restoring the broken, embodying and extending the kingdom, but our primary task, as Followers of Christ is to make disciples. We are in word and deed to be proclaiming gospel truth and inviting others into gospel trust.
A genuine encounter with the grace of God, creates in a person a desire to share that grace with others. God is glorified most through more people experiencing his mercies and forgiveness, coming to know his love and kindness, and being adopted into his family. It’s not as if there is only so much to go around. Our infinite God has infinite grace that he wants to shed abroad in the hearts of whosoever would come to him. Our responsibility as Christians is to make the good news known, calling sinners to repent, believe and be baptized into his body where they can experience growth and participate in mission themselves.
Being on Mission with your Relationships
So in seeking to be intentional in the ordinary and often overlooked parts of our lives it means that every relationship has meaning. Each person we come in contact with has a soul. A soul created by God to bring him glory. Some have been awakened by God and put their hope in Jesus, but many have not. I’d imagine most us know people who don’t know Christ. They may be spiritual, they might claim religious affiliation, but have they encountered God in the gospel? Have they been convicted of their sin and convinced they need a savior? Are they worshipping God, involved in biblical community, invested in Gods mission, maybe, but maybe not?
Generally we tend to approach our relationships in one of two ways, under assumption or with indifference. We tend to either not bother to talk about Jesus with people, assuming they are a Christian or that they are at least good people and therefore not in need of hearing the good news, or secondly we simply don’t think about, or worse don’t care about their spiritual state. Neither of these is beneficial for them or you.
If you are like me its just easier to keep to yourself, to enjoy the benefits of our relationships without mucking them up with tension inducing talks of spirituality. But this approach is not the approach God took with me, and certainly not an approach that reflects the saving grace and loving kindness I have experienced in Christ. I confess it just feels easier to stay clear of these conversations. But what I am doing in remaining unintentional or indifferent is choosing to save my own soul at the expense of another’s. I am in these moments pushing back the Holy Spirits conviction in order to love and benefit myself. But wasn’t this the old me? Wasn’t this the way I acted before I followed Jesus? Exactly.
Living mission with our relationships begins with reminding myself of the gospel. It’s preaching to my own heart and mind the riches I’ve received in Christ. It’s pointing my gaze back to the cross on a daily basis, because it’s the love of God that chases out the fear of living for him. Sin stills wants its way with us. Satan still tries to play us with terrors and temptations, thoughts of what we will loose if we run people off with our “religious talk”. What we need to remember is that God is already at work in the hearts of men and women. Our role is messenger, not messiah. We cast a net of conversation and where the Spirit is working people respond. Our part is to remember the gospel, rely on the Holy Spirit and be attentive to opportunities to speak the truth in love to fellow souls.
What I am not saying is that our relationships should be viewed as evangelistic projects. What I am saying is that no relationship is beyond the need for or the power of the gospel and therefore should be taken seriously and pursued with intentionality. We should see it as needing to always try and “bring up God”; a Christian full of the Spirit and walking with Jesus will eventually bring up the love and joy of their life with the people around them. It’s natural. What’s unnatural is not sharing it.
Try this. This week pray for God to open your eyes to the people around you. To speak to your heart (if he hasn’t been already) and direct you toward conversations you might have with people. What opportunities are before you? How do the stories you hear everyday give voice to Gods story? How could you help people see God at work in their lives? What Christians has the Lord put in your path that might have good connections with the nont-yet-Christians in your life? What friends and family would allow you, if asked, to just share your gospel story? What relationships, if you asked, might join you for a meal, visit your church, check out your community group on an enjoy night? What would it do to your heart and your faith to see people come alive to grace? Can you imagine seeing mom, dad, brother, sister, friends, co-workers, even enemies and strangers, being baptized, joining the church, singing worship songs and sharing in mission? What if the people we are now afraid to talk to about Jesus suddenly where people we couldn’t stop talking about Jesus with? My guess is that it makes your eyes widen. I bet it makes your heart flutter at the thought.
What if you prayed right now? What if you risked this week? What if you saw God move this month?
To be continued…