Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sharing the Gospel?! It's not MY job!





Who has the responsibility to share the Gospel? Many pastors will say it’s their ministry or outreach team. Ask the congregants, and many will say it’s their pastor or outreach team. 

While Christians delegate the evangelical mission to anyone but themselves, the Gospel isn’t shared, and no one is making disciples. When believers realize that evangelism is every Christian’s responsibility, they tend to respond in two ways: they accept the mission given to them by Christ, or they choose to invoke the list of Spiritual Gifts and absolve themselves from the responsibility altogether.

Preach the word; be ready in season and
out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort,
with great patience and instruction.

~ 2 Timothy 4:2 ~

The Holy Spirit endows Christians with spiritual gifts, the divinely-inspired abilities and talents Christians need to fulfill the mission of their faith. The New Testament gives multiple lists of these gifts (Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians and 1 Peter), of which evangelism is but one. When Christians avoid sharing the Gospel by claiming “it’s not my gift,” several issues arise.

Jesus tells us evangelism is the mission statement for the Church; to invoke categories of gifts in defense is the type of legalism He preached against. Having other gifts doesn’t negate the responsibility, even if the believer lacks ability. 

Offer to preach a sermon with the message, “If giving (a spiritual gift) isn’t your gift, don’t give to the church.” The pastor’s response will confirm multiple gifts are not only possible, they’re a reality.

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and
preach the gospel to all creation. He who has
believed and has been baptized shall be saved;
but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”

~ Mark 16:15-16 ~

What is your primary responsibility as a person professing faith in Christ? There are a variety of answers that seem obvious, but which answer gets top priority? Whether you grew up in a Christian church or recently gave your life to the Lord, the correct answer may surprise you. Just prior to Jesus’ Ascension, He gathered His disciples and gave them a tasking order that would serve as the mission statement for the early Church. 

Their mission was clear: share the Gospel and make disciples.  As Christians, sharing the Gospel of Christ is a shared responsibility for all of us.  It always has been, and it always will be.

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Michael I. Kaplan lectures regularly to faith-based organizations on the topics of apologetics (reasoned arguments or writings in justification of theological doctrine), biblical studies and spiritual warfare.

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