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January 16, 2017

Four reminders on how all Christians can be competent evangelists

by Dave Malnes

The Lord set forth a mission – a strategic plan – to rescue a fallen world from the consequences of sin. The plan centers around a clear message. The strategy is to incorporate the church to transmit this message to the world.

Why do we as Christians have such a difficult time carrying this plan out?

By grace, the Lord forgives and provides peace for his people through Jesus Christ who died and rose again on our behalf.

God provides this clear gospel message through his Word. He speaks for himself through his Word and does not want the message of salvation to be a secret. He wants all people to hear and believe the message of his love and mercy.

The Lord sets apart his people to be his messengers (Acts 1:8) so that he may work through their proclamation of the Word.

By the gospel the Lord gives believers the power to proclaim.

The Lord works through the proclamation of the gospel to call others to see and believe.

This has been the strategic plan since the establishment of the church two thousand years ago. It is still the plan today.

Faithful Christians know that God has commissioned his church to proclaim the gospel message to the world. Faithful pastors proclaim the need for ALL believers to go out and make disciples through the power of God’s Word.

Then why do Christians have such a difficult time carrying out God’s clear commission for all believers? 

The Apostle Paul fully understood the frailties of our human nature. He wrestled with sin and weakness too. To help encourage the new Christian believers, the Holy Spirit inspired him to provide words of instruction how believers are able to fulfill the commission to proclaim the gospel.

Here are four reminders for Christians how they can be competent evangelists and proclaim the gospel to a fallen world.

#1        The confidence to proclaim the gospel comes from Christ.

“Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not at that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant… (2 Cor. 3:4-6a)

2-cor-3-4-to-5

Proclaiming the message of salvation is not about ourselves. Christians tend to disqualify themselves from proclaiming the gospel because they feel that they are not competent enough. This is what happens when Christians look in the mirror and see their image staring back at them. We see the flaws. We see the inadequacies. But God tells us that our competence to proclaim the gospel is a direct result of the power of Christ through us. Christ died FOR us. The image of the cross replaces the image of our self. Evangelists trust God’s promises that all Christians are competent to proclaim the gospel, because the power is in the message and not themselves. Our confidence rests in something outside of ourselves – Jesus Christ.

#2        Believers are transformed in Christ to proclaim his name.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17)

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In Christ, we are new creations whose sins and past mistakes have been washed clean. We relish in our new nature in Christ instead of being restrained by our human nature in sin. Whose image are you going to trust? The one image looking back at you in the mirror derides, accuses, and scoffs at your inability to be God’s messenger. Or, do we trust the image given to us in Christ – perfect, unblemished, and totally usable. Evangelists trust God’s promises that we are new creations who have been set apart to carry out a very important purpose. Basking in complete forgiveness, prompted by love and concern for lost souls, believers are transformed in the Word to proclaim what Christ has already done for them.

#3        A life in Christ brings credibility to proclaim his name.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”  (2 Cor. 4:7)

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Christians are jars of clay. We are fragile, thin-skinned, and easily shatter. Yet, God’s strategic plan keeps the treasure of salvation in these jars of clay. Amazing!! Now, God is asking believers to reveal this treasure to others. But, there is an important promise attached to this commission. Any power and strength that believers reveal is a direct result of that all-surpassing power of the Holy Spirit within them. We no longer need to be timid in the face of adversity or fear, but we can embrace our weaknesses and fragility as clay pots because “God’s power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Our platform is the life of Christ within us. This gives us the credibility to step up and proclaim the treasure within us to others.

#4        Believers are given authority to proclaim the gospel

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Cor. 5:20) “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

2-cor-5-202-cor-5-21

God has set us apart to be His own. He has also given authority for all believers (Matt 28:18) to carry out his strategic plan – to be his ambassadors to a foreign world. By faith, believers carry out this responsibility. The act of providing this message is not prompted by duty or the expectance of a reward, but compelled by love and concern for lost souls. This love is rooted in sincere thanksgiving for what Christ has already done for us.

 

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