It’s always been the church’s responsibility to passionately and intentionally reach people who don’t yet know Jesus. But we’ve usually not been very good at that. And too often, we’ve not even been concerned about sharing our faith with others.
Article 7 of our USMB Confession of Faith is rooted in Christ’s command to share his good news with the world (Matthew 28:19-20): “The Holy Spirit empowers every Christian to witness to God’s salvation. The church, as a body, witnesses to God’s reign in the world. By its life as a redeemed and separated community, the church reveals God’s saving purposes to the world.”
The Holy Spirit empowers us to be God’s ambassadors of the good news. The world needs to hear our individual stories about how Jesus has changed us—transformed us. I have a story to tell. You have a story to tell. People live near each of us who could relate to our story, and it just might make an eternal difference. When people hear what was accomplished on the cross by Jesus for our salvation—redemption and payment for our sin—substitutionary atonement (that Jesus took our place)—then they can become new creations in Christ Jesus. People need to know, must know, that they can have victory through Jesus.
We cannot be silent about the truth that we know. Jesus gave up his place in heaven to come to earth as a man, yet fully God; selected a core group of disciples; taught amazing truths; was falsely accused and convicted, tortured, abused and nailed to a cross where he remained in agony, bled (his blood an atoning sacrifice for us); died; was buried and then miraculously was resurrected from the dead after three days and then ascended into glory to be at God’s right hand. This is good news that we cannot be silent about.
Who is being baptized as new believers in our churches? Who are we connecting with who are far from God, needing someone to care enough to invest themselves in relationship so that they might understand and come to know the truth about Jesus? Who will remain lost (a word Jesus used) because we just aren’t talking about Jesus? Because we’re too shy or too busy.
Jesus says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” He said this after encountering Zacchaeus, certainly a man who needed to be made new. Succinctly, Jesus came because we were lost. Broken. Sinners separated from God. We were headed for the judgment of God’s wrath upon our souls (yes, that is a biblical reality). But Jesus came. He intervened for us. He gave his sinless life—for us! For others. For the world, if we believe.
The Bible also speaks about when Jesus returns. Readers, this will not be Jesus as quiet, meek, mild and gentle. Jesus is returning in overcoming power and for judgment. Our Confession of Faith reads, “When Christ returns, he will destroy all evil powers, including the Antichrist. Satan and all those who have rejected Christ will be condemned to eternal punishment in hell, forever separated from the presence of God.”
A lot of us don’t often think about Jesus in this way. Yes, Jesus loves us, and he is kind, gentle, forgiving and gives us grace. Praise him! But his coming wrath is also real. Judgment is real. Sin, if not forgiven by belief and faith in Jesus, will result in forever being separated from God. Forever.
These truths should lead us to evangelism, spur us to grieve for those who are lost and motivate us to do all we possibly can to reach people, perhaps even our closest loved ones, with the truth!
“Jesus, help us to be your hands and feet, your voice. Help us to proclaim your good news to those who are eternally lost without you. Help us, Lord, before your triumphant return, to do all we can, that some might be saved!”