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Friday, April 23, 2010

Are You Sharing the Gospel?

By pastorboy

Do We Really Love the Lost? 

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.(Matthew 9:36)

I just came back from my district conference, a time when the gathered churches in our district come together to talak about the ‘politics’ of overseeing some 90 churches. It differs from a business meeting in that we open and close with praise songs, we worship as we hear the Word presented, and we go about the mundane tasks of electing men and setting policy. The benefit surely is that it can be a time of encouragement and sharpening iron. I personally enjoy seeing so many of my friends that I know from the other churches. I enjoy speaking with the leadership ( I truly love our District Staff- great people of God from the Superintendent to the administrative professionals).I love my adopted denomination, indeed I love the people.

But I have a bone to pick, and this is not just with CM&A people, it is with all who name the name of Christ. We go to these conferences, yes, we go to church. We read and study the Bible, we are built up and equipped. I say for what?!

The theme of this conference was God’s heart for lost people. Indeed, it borrowed a line from our CM&A core values which says: Lost people matter to God, He wants them found. This is from the scripture, Luke 19:10:

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Jesus came to seek and to save the Lost. This is the example that he left for the church to follow. It is why we are here on this earth. Unfortunately, I believe that many pastors and therefore many church-goers have that knowledge that lost people matter to God and He wants them found, but they do not live like they know it. Our speaker left the pulpit and went into an institutional chaplaincy because he found himself insulated from the outside world in the church. That is so true. I mean, we like church people. We love fellowship. It is easy to ‘preach to the choir’. It is easy to talk with one with whom you agree. In fact, the fellowship is sweet, it is enjoyable, and we are built up and equipped in our local church. Again, I ask, for what?

A core value is something that drives you, that motivates you, that is at the center (the CORE) of your life. I am afraid that as a denomination, in my admitedly small knowledge of the whole, it seems as though we need salt water in order to lead a missional life that is seeking to save the lost. I would say that many Pastors and church-goers hide the light of the world under a bushel basket called the church.

We are called to pray, and indeed we must. We are called to study the Word, and indeed we must. The soil needs work, indeed, we need to take the time to pick the rocks and prepare the ground. But there is a time to put the hand to the plow and get the work of planting done. If the seeds never get planted, there will never be a harvest.

I challenge the Pastors, Associate Pastors, Elders, Deacons, and other leaders to make a point of leading a lifestyle of evangelism, applying the attitude of seeking the lost. I challenge congregations to set aside hours of our leaders’ schedules so that they can intentionally go where lost people are and strike up a conversation. When the leaders get a taste of the gift and the blessing of Evangelism, the church members will follow. Believe me, I would love to sit and hear AMEN’s from a crowd of my friends whom I love. It is like sipping milk from a bottle, very comforting and relaxing. It can lull a baby to sleep, but it not for the adult who has grown out of it. Evangelism is like drinking water from a firehose. It will wake a Christian out of their sleep, make them rely on prayer and the study of the Word, indeed on the power of the Holy Spirit more and more. And it demonstrates that we love and reverence God more than we fear men. And it will show up on Sunday Morning and Wednesday Nights as well as your Pastors and Leaders are finding themselves leaning on God more for their ministry. They will also be swallowed up in a singular passion for lost people.

he challenge is this: If you believe that God wants lost people found, what are you doing about it? The Biblical method is NOT to make your church more attractive through programming, cool events, media, or music. The Biblical method is, and will always be, God’s people built up and equipped in the local church going out and seeking the lost and proclaiming the glorious Gospel. If you leaders do it, your people will surely follow. Even if they do not, indeed, even if they disapprove, as a Christian leader you are supposed to be doing all things for the glory of God anyway.

For you pew sitters: We are willing to give money, yes, and even until it hurts. But are we willing to share the Gospel with our co-workers? We go to missions conferences and are wowed by the stories of Missionaries, but do we have the guts to hand a stranger a gospel tract, or to start up a spiritual conversation? We pray for the lost to come to a knowledge of God, but do we open up our mouths and share that Gospel? You are the ones ‘in the world’ earning a living, going to school, raising the kids. Indeed you are the ones who support the work of the church and the work of the missionaries. But you are responsible to share the good news of the Gospel within your circles of influence. Don’t just be built up and equipped in the church; you are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Eph 2:10). Prayer is a good work, indeed, so is Bible Study. Whatever we do to the glory and magnification of God is worship, but in all things that we do, the best work is to share the Gospel with those all around you.

Each Christian has been given a command: Preach the Gospel to every creature (MK 16:15) It is not an option. Go out and share the Gospel today.

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