I recently shared a post called Jesus is not a Christian.
I had some ‘clever’ responses from people saying that Jesus could never be a Christian because he is the son of God. But I think most people got the general point I was trying to make – that our whole understanding of what it means to be a “Christian” needs to radically change. (I personally prefer to call myself a follower of Jesus!) If we say we are followers of Jesus then we must live like him in every way (1 John 2:6)
I listed some characteristics and attitudes that seem to show the difference between the prevailing culture of “churchianity” here in the UK and how Jesus thought and lived. Let’s dive into the first one…
Jesus preached the Gospel, Christians are just nice to people
Whenever I suggest this amongst a group of Christians I normally get a divided response! Some seem to leap up in the air and shout “amen” and the rest of the room seem to slide off their chairs onto the ground. Typically those who leap in the air are given the label “evangelists” and those trying to hide are described as normal church members or helpers of some sort.
However I want to suggest there is another way.
If (and it is a big IF) we believe that Jesus has commanded every single one of His disciples to make more disciples then sharing the Gospel is a no brainer! I mean how else are we all going to personally make more disciples if we shy away from sharing the Gospel with anyone? So there is a deeper issue here – making disciples is not just for leaders, evangelists or ministers – it is for every person who calls on the name of Jesus for salvation and becomes one of his disciples. Do you actually understand that when you entered the Kingdom of God you became personally responsible to bring more people into this Kingdom? Maybe this was never explained to you when ‘prayed the sinners prayer?’
So if me and you are called to make disciples and to find people who want to repent, be baptised and become obedient life long followers of Jesus then preaching the Gospel is not something we opt in or out of. Preaching the Gospel to those around us is not a calling or gifting issue – it is an obedience issue!
Here are some words that Jesus said,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:18)
“We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” (Mark 1:38)
Jesus loved people more deeply than any of us but he didn’t do ‘friendship evangelism’ or start a ‘street pastor’ team. He lived a lifestyle of proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and mobilized His disciples to do the same. He did this because that is why He came. It was fundamental to his very nature as ‘Immanuel’ and his mission to reconcile sinners to God.
Yes, how you and I share the Gospel radically with those around us may look different. But let’s not wash our hands of our responsibility to share the Gospel altogether! According to Jesus it’s basic level entry for all his Disciples,
“Come follow me and I will show you how to fish for people” (Matthew 4:19)
So if you are a disciple of Jesus then I want to ask you a question – “Have you shared the Gospel with those people God has put you around and how long will it be before you share it with them?
To read more about what it means to “Preach the Gospel” and to hear practical stories about how we have done this then get your copy of my book “Accidental Apostle”