The Rules of Engagement

Pic from Flickr by nacornett

There is a misconception in the minds of some of our church people today. Somehow, there is a mindset that says, the pastor is the only one in the church that can do evangelism. When a pastor preaches verses such as Matthew 28:18-20 or Acts 1:8, it is almost like the theme from Mission Impossible starts playing in the heads of our people.

“Your mission if you choose to accept it…..”
That is the problem. It has never and will never be our mission. It has always been God’s mission. God created us for His purposes, not ours. God did not create us so that we could have our say, vote on the color of the carpet, or think that we are in control. It is God’s mission.
If you call yourself a Christian than you carry the name of Christ. Your life should be in the process of conforming to the image of Christ. The Great Commission is not an option. The fact that Jesus even trusts us to share the message of the gospel shows that He has given us the ability to carry it out.
A major problem lies in how we engage lost people. For far too long, the church has told people that they need to accept Jesus or invite Him into their lives. STOP IT!!!
There is nothing in the New Testament that says that we need to accept Jesus…as if Jesus needs our acceptance. We don’t invite Jesus into our lives. It’s not about us! It was, is now, and always will be about Jesus. God has given us works to accomplish that fit into the overall story about Jesus. These works include engaging lost people…i.e. evangelism.
If you hate evangelism, if you don’t desire to see lost people saved, if you “don’t feel like it,” if you are just not passionate about Christ…you need to check your salvation. You need to see if you are truly following the Shepherd. Does Christ hold you in the palm of His hand?
If you are a disciple of Christ, you should be compelled to see lost people saved. You should want to know that your words, testimony, and life are pushing people towards Christ.
Jesus called us to follow, deny ourselves, abide, and renounce. This changes how evangelism is done.
Since there is nothing in the Bible that even hints at “accepting Jesus” or “inviting Him into our hearts” how do we do evangelism?
Look carefully at how Jesus did evangelism. Look how the disciples did evangelism. Look how Paul did evangelism. You just constantly push people to Jesus. You cannot convict people and force them to repent. They are drawn by Christ to Himself and convicted by the Holy Spirit. The fact that the Holy Spirit lives in a person’s life is shown by the change in their lives after salvation. They want to be like Christ. They want to be in the Word. They want to surround themselves with other believers.
Knowing this. This should change how you live your life. What does that mean?
Radical sacrifice.
Jesus said that you would know a tree by its fruit. Jesus did not say that you would know a tree by its knowledge, amount of verses memorized, or church attendance.
Is Jesus your passion?
Do you value Scripture as your highest authority?
Does your life look more like Christ every day that you are alive?
Do you know Jesus?
Do you abide in Jesus?
Do you hear the Shepherd’s voice?
Does the love you have for friends, family, and other things pale in comparison to your love for Jesus?
Are you a slave to Christ or are you a slave to something or someone else?
You can know a lot about Jesus and never know Jesus. Just because you know a lot of information about someone does not mean that you have a relationship with them.
The church can no longer afford to sell people a false idea of what the Christian life is like. People need to know that Jesus has called us to both radical sacrifice, and radical abandonment. Jesus has called us to pursue Him above pursuing any of the things that this broken world has to offer. Jesus wants us to be unapologetically unashamed of Him and the gospel. As a result of this, you will have boldness and confidence. Why? Because your boldness and confidence comes from the resurrected Savior.
Dive into the Bible. Read it. Devour it. Be prepared for the next time the Holy Spirit leads you to encounter and engage someone.
You speak upon the authority given to you by Jesus to share the gospel and you walk, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The Rules of Engagement are:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20. ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8. ESV