A few years back, Michael W. Smith challenged us in his song “Live the Life” to live a life that truly displays the love of Christ. We must be united in love to make the difference we were destined to make. In his song, he encourages us to “be a light for all the world to see.” I want to focus today on effective evangelism. In what ways can we as the Body of Christ can put aside distractions and begin to engage the lost around us? What will make the largest impact?
1. Commit to identifying fully with Christ and His kingdom. Let me explain this further. In today’s Christian circles, much talk is made of being relevant. “I can’t separate myself from the world if I want to reach them” is a common phrase used by Christians. But it is perhaps the most dangerous statement a Christian can make. In short, most often, the phrase is used when believers want to find an excuse to compromise.
For example, the Grammy Awards are on tonight. How many Christians will sit through hours of sin being flaunted just because they wanted to “engage culture?” I can engage culture without knowing the words to a Taylor Swift or Jay-Z song. Does my curiosity about my culture trump my obedience to Philippians 4:8 where Paul commands to think on “things that are pure?” I don’t want to come off as self-righteous. I’ve made my share of mistakes. But I think there are two words that should take the place of “relevance” in our vocabulary: courageous and approachable.
First, be courageous and go into all the world the way God would have us do it: on His terms. Would Jesus blare secular songs from a loudspeaker in hopes that people would actually listen to Him? I don’t believe He would. Instead, through a life of love and courage, He traveled from town to town inviting people to follow Him on His bold journey that broke the chains of sickness and despair. He offered them hope and was willing to die to proclaim the truth exactly the way the Father wanted Him to. We must live a life so different from the world that there is no confusion that we offer a different way of life. We are to live as strangers in a foreign land (more on that in a later post).
Second, Jesus was approachable. People came to Him with their broken lives and their questions and He took the time to minister to them. They weren’t seen as mere numbers in a Jewish popularity contest–they were souls important to God that could be changed forever by an encounter with the Son of God. Jesus took the time to be available to those who sought Him. And so we must be available, living a life of genuine faith that makes people feel they can share their lives with us and get answers.
2. We must strive to unite as much as possible, putting aside minor differences. What does it say to the world that we are willing to hurl nasty insults at each other over the type of music we play in our worship services? Do we ignore potential evangelism partnerships because the minister at the other church doesn’t belong to your denomination? I am not saying denominations are bad; I am simply stating that cooperation between denominations must occur if we don’t want the world to think that we place more value on the hymn books in our pews than on the needs of the community. Paul wrote his letters not to individual denominations but to city churches and their leaders. They took responsibility for reaching their cities and villages. What were the main issues Paul addressed? Simply put, the problems Paul addressed were issues of groups of Christians disagreeing on doctrine. Paul’s answer almost always was that they should pursue unity through the correct teaching of the Word and fellowship. So we must be committed as much as lies within us to put aside minor differences and work together for the sake of the Gospel.