Gospel Gold Standard
Making Jesus known is not easy. Many believers think it is simply a matter of advertising the church, so that those who are interested might enquire further. But that was not the Apostle Paul's approach: and his highly intentional approach to evangelism and discipleship attracted much opposition. But in order to fulfil his commission he had seven key objectives.
Firstly, his message was exclusively about Jesus Christ: Paul was not promoting a religion, a way of life, or an ethic - he proclaimed the need to believe in the crucified Christ (1 Corinthians 2:2) as God's only answer to the personal human question, "How can I find peace with God?" Secondly, he had to warn ('admonish') people that, without Christ as the centre of their lives, they were heading for eternal disaster. Thirdly, he taught the truth about Jesus which had been revealed to him: nobody can work out the Jesus story by themselves ... they need God's revelation explained to them. Fourthly, he was determined to present Christ to everybody, irrespective of their cultural, social, intellectual or religious background, because "Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12). Fifthly, he presented the truth about Jesus wisely, stirring rebellious people to stop resisting Christ and receive Him, so that they could be made perfect in Christ and acceptable in heaven. Sixthly, Paul committed himself to the task, without holding anything back, being willing to struggle through the difficulties and endure the suffering. Seventhly, he knew he could not work alone: proclaiming the message about Christ effectively demands everything: it is impossible without the energy of Christ but for those who allow Him to work in them, the effect of a Christ centred ministry is truly remarkable.
Compared with this description of true gospel ministry, much which passes for evangelism is tepid and timid, hoping that people will like us. That kind of gospel is a long way downstream from the apostolic 'gold standard' of ministry! In a world which so greatly needs the salvation Jesus offers, every believer needs to play a part in gospel ministry. It will be helpful to assess your 'ministry development' needs by using Paul's seven objectives as a checklist. And don't forget that gospel opportunities are mainly outside of the church. They are found in the workplace, as you travel, in the community, online, in cafes, in social networking, as well as with family and friends. Perhaps today's prayer will be a good starting point in placing yourself before the Lord as His servant.
© Dr Paul Adams