Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Look At Evangelism

Matthew 28:19

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Those who know me well – know that above all else – I would label myself an evangelical. As a Christian pastor I believe that Jesus is Lord and that there is no other way to salvation except through Him. You could call me a John 14:6 kind of guy. In this passage Jesus tells us what is required to go to heaven. John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Having said that – the passage for today has a lot of meaning. Today’s passage is part of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28 – Matthew 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

A number of pastors and church leaders as well as church members read my blog page each day. Are marching orders as pastors – as Christians – is The Great Commission. Because of the way some go about evangelism and the way that some have turned away from evangelism – in some circles evangelism has become a dirty word. It is anything but!

Whether you have been turned on or off by someone’s approach to evangelism – the bottom line is this – in order to go to heaven we need Jesus. That is the church’s great commission dear friends – to spread the story of Jesus and His grace to the world. We must experiment – using different methods to reach different people with the truth of Jesus’ saving grace. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to breaking down the walls of sin and rebellion – but the grace of God is for everyone and so we have our work cut out for us. Read the Gospels and the book of Acts for examples. Matthew was writing to a largely Jewish audience and so he quoted the Old Testament the most – because that method would reach them. When Paul – for instance – was reaching out to the Gentiles he used other methods – appealing to their culture and even their religions as he shared the one truth of the Gospel. We must be willing to think outside the box in bringing Jesus to as many people as we are able – trying new things – because doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

Church – never tire of trying new ways to reach the lost around your church and in your broader community. To stop trying is to stop being the church. Our marching orders are to make disciples of Jesus Christ – of all nations (all types of people not just our homies). A church that is not willing to go outside their comfort zone to reach people for Jesus is just not being the church of Jesus Christ.

So here are a couple of questions. How is our discomfort with going outside our comfort zone hindering the gospel of Jesus Christ? How has our unwillingness to reach out to people with the Gospel truth in a way that we are not comfortable with holding the gospel back?

If the United Methodist Church wants to make disciples for the transformation of the world we cannot be afraid of evangelism. Evangelism cannot be a dirty word folks – it must be the life breath of the church – reaching the lost for Jesus. For some – claiming that there are lost and saved will be a stretch – hell and heaven is reality – and for some a hard pill to swallow. But people need Jesus to save them from their sin – from their lost state – not through some church ritual but through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world but His salvation only becomes effective for those who will receive Him as Lord and Savior. And folks won’t do that without hearing about Jesus!

1 Timothy 2:1-4 – 1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Romans 10:12-15 – 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

I’m sorry if this truth makes some uncomfortable – inside or outside the church – but the truth is the truth and if we are to be the church – we must embrace evangelism. It cannot be seen as a dirty word! We must be willing to stretch ourselves and our boundaries. We must be willing to do whatever it takes to reach others for Jesus. Check your comfort zone and see what it would take to stretch beyond it for Jesus.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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June 27, 2017 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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