Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to falsehood, who does not swear deceitfully. – Psalm 24
We’ve been out on the streets recently, sharing Jesus with whomever would listen. More than that, in the few gatherings we belong to, some are discovering Jesus, and even beginning to share him with others. It is exciting, watching a movement begin.
At some stage with everyone we meet, the true Gospel has to be shared. It doesn’t have to be denominational, or religious, but it does need to be comprehensive. While tools such as 3 Circles are excellent to introduce people to Christ, and to get them to even think about God and his plan for their lives, it is not enough.
There is a logical, and chronological sequence to the Gospel story, that inevitably starts with redemption. Jesus has redeemed us. From what you may ask, from our sin. When we acknowledge that and only when we acknowledge that, can God possibly forgive us. Why is it then, that so many shy away from bringing this into a conversation? Friends, has it been so long since you have felt the crippling consequences of sin, and what it means to have that lifted? Are we somehow not confident of the redemptive power Jesus will have in someone’s life, when they seek his forgiveness? Do we no longer understand that God will forgive us through Christ, only when we seek his pardon?
We stopped talking about redemption, the moment we decided that the numbers of empty seats in our church would increase dramatically, if people were faced with such a message.
When we are redeemed, we are then made righteous in Christ. Paul spoke more of this than almost anything, a person who turned humbly to God for the forgiveness of sin, was given the righteousness of Christ. Further, if it were possible there could even be more, that indwelling of Christ’s spirit in a believer means they have the power to overcome sin in their lives. We can intentionally pursue righteousness.
As a believer moves through all of this, at last they are able to wander as a child into the very throne room of the Almighty and lift their arms to their Heavenly Father in love and adoration. Throughout their entire earthly lives, this cycle will repeat and draw them ever deeper into God. Transformation is continual.
Why is it we have become so reluctant, or even inept at telling this incredible story? Why, in a world addicted to drugs and sex, filled with depression, disease and violence are we so unable to provide an answer?
Part of that answer is surely that the modern Western believer cannot. We don’t know how. Many sitting in our comfortable churches, have been so used to one person doing all the talking, teaching and thinking that they simply do not know how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a non-believer. I know, because for many years I was one.
For the overwhelming majority in this world, nobody has ever walked into their lives and caused them to stop and think about what is coming. Death has been cleverly carved out of the conversation by the enemy, sin has been nullified and sanitised by secularism, and Jesus is now simply one on a menu of many.
Which leave us, just a few of us, to try and change that. We simply cannot keep turning our back on the world, ignoring Christ’s command to his followers and pretend that we have more pressing priorities. It will not wash, in fact it never has. Surely Jesus expects more from us.