"Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this,
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
– Jesus (Mark 12:30-31)
This Sunday, September 25 – EVANGELISM
Why is Evangelism such a scary word?
Evangelism is defined as “Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.” Evangelism is done simply through participation and invitation, by the Holy Spirit. We make the process a bigger deal than it is, missing out on sharing the Biggest Deal everyone should know. Read the Great Commission again, for the first time.
“16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ – Matthew 28:16-20
Let’s break this down…
Vs. 16 – Eleven disciples went to Galilee.
Eleven, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus is dead. The remaining eleven have followed instructions given to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, by an angel and then Jesus himself. (read Matthew 28:1-10). Here is one of the most important passages about Women sharing faith. The disciples would not have known without their witness.
Vs. 17 – they worshipped him; but some doubted.
If you think you have to have your faith all figured out to invite others to know Jesus, note that the instruction is for everyone, those who worshipped Jesus and those who doubted.
Vs. 18 – All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Thankfully it is Jesus who takes the responsibility. As Martin Luther states in his explanation of the third article of the Apostles’ Creed. “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.”
Vs. 19 – Go. Make disciples of all nations.
As a church we have not done a very good job at this, with 11 AM Sundays being the most segregated hour in our nation. The Apostle Paul is quoted twice in his letters,
Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus"
Ephesians 2:11-22, “[You are] no longer strangers and aliens, but are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
One way of the best ways to be inclusive is to make sure others are included, at church and in our community. First and foremost, trust the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you.
When God sends someone to St. Luke’s, welcome the person. Introduce yourself. Invite them to enjoy a cup of coffee and a treat. Take time to get to know them.
Out in community take notice of others. It can begin simply with a smile that might lead to a conversation. Also, when there is a need whether it is yours or theirs, invite or offer participation. You never know where such an encounter will lead.
Vs. 20 – Two parts…
…teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
What did Jesus command? To love one another, including our enemies. To forgive as I have forgiven you. Evangelism should never be coerced. Even more so, you should never condemn someone for not believing or believing is something other than Jesus. I appreciate Josh Kerby, Author for Journey Quest, words:
Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35.) The way we love demonstrates who we are. The way we live is the first word we speak about the Gospel and the transformational power of the cross. How we treat others is the living example of the love God demonstrated to us on the Cross. To be a disciple of Christ means to love others unconditionally, forgiving the inexcusable of the past, showing mercy, and loving unconditionally with eyes focused on Jesus.
“I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Jesus.
Evangelism, you are never going it alone. In fact, it is when you do go it alone you separate yourself out, or worse push people away.
Our part is simple, participation and invitation. It is goes back to our theme, “Stewardship is Heart Work.” Evangelism is simply inviting another to participate with us in service, worship, in community, sharing, and learning, or better yet, you participating with them.
Question is, “How will God use you to share the Good News of Jesus?”
Look for future blogs about…
October 2 – Community
October 9 – Switching it up, we will talk about Discipleship.
October 16 – Stewardship