April 20, 2010

SALT - Sheena


Sheena answers these 7 questions!

1. What is your name?

2. How long have you been a Christian?

3. How did you become a Christian?

4. What would you say is your favourite piece of Christian worship? (Be it a song, hymn, liturgy, prayer, sermon, Psalm or other item)

5. What is your favourite Bible verse to encourage somebody else?

6. Apart from somebody in the Bible, who in church history are you most encouraged by?

7. When was the last time God answered one of your prayers?

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April 11, 2010

POD - Psalm 101


Psalm 101

As read by Destiny

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1 I will sing of your love and justice;

to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.

2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life-

when will you come to me?

I will walk in my house

with blameless heart.

3 I will set before my eyes

no vile thing.

The deeds of faithless men I hate;

they will not cling to me.

4 Men of perverse heart shall be far from me;

I will have nothing to do with evil.

5 Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret,

him will I put to silence;

whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart,

him will I not endure.

6 My eyes will be on the faithful in the land,

that they may dwell with me;

he whose walk is blameless

will minister to me.

7 No one who practices deceit

will dwell in my house;

no one who speaks falsely

will stand in my presence.

8 Every morning I will put to silence

all the wicked in the land;

I will cut off every evildoer

from the city of the LORD.

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April 7, 2010



Christian Disciples are Empowered!

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G'day and welcome to Partake and to our series "Easter Weekend 2010"!  This is the seventh podcast of this series.  Last time we looked at what is a Christian Disciple and what should be the goal of being a follower of Jesus Christ.  Today we look at being empowered to be a committed disciple of Jesus Christ. The catalyst of this empowerment is the arrival of the Holy Spirit into the life of the new believer.

Throughout his ministry Jesus had talked about how after he departed, that the Holy Spirit would come (John 15v26). Jesus, Himself, said it would be better for him to go away and send the Holy Spirit to live in us (John 16v7). We know from the other writings in the New Testament who the Holy Spirit is and what his ministry is.  The Holy Spirit's prime role is that he will glorify Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is to be praised and glorified (John 16v13-14). He will testify (John 15v26) and be a witness for , Jesus Christ (Acts 1v8). Another part of His role is to be the paraclete or comforter.  He is one called to stand alongside those who are followers of Jesus Christ (John 14v16).

Holy Spirit empowerment!

The Holy Spirit ministers to the Christian Disciple, in the same Jesus would if he were here in person.  The Holy Spirit interprets and illuminates God's Word to people (John 16v12-15; 1 Corinthians 2v10-16)! Moreover, He was sent to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16v8). The Holy Spirit lives inside all those who call themselves a follow of Jesus Christ (Romans 8v9; Gal 2v20; Colossians 1v25-27) and He is their seal of assurance that they are now God's possession (2 Corinthians 1v22; Ephesians 1v3). He enters the moment the person has been born again or become a follower/disciple of Jesus Christ.

All Christian Disciples are commanded to be filled with the Spirit and to keep on being filled with the Spirit!  Being filled with the Spirit, in the biblical sense, means allowing the Holy Spirit's to have control or domination of our lives. The imperative here is that we are to be filled (Ephesians 5v18), and go on being filled. He gives power to enable Christian Disciples to evangelise (Acts 1v8; 4v8, 31).  It is he who is transforming the Christian Disciple into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 7-18), as the Christian Disciples walks in, lives in, and are being led by the Spirit (Galatians. 5v16; Romans 8v13). It is he who equips us for service. God is working in you to will and to act accordingly to his purpose (Philippians 2v13) and to be His witnesses (Acts 1v8). It is He who equips Christian Disciples for service through the giving of spiritual gifts.  Where people's lives become more holy and more like Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12v3; 2 Corinthians 13v7), which is the greatest evidence of the Spirit's work.

The greatest evidence for the power of the Holy Spirit is not by way of signs and wonders and tongues, healings or other miracles.  The greatest evidence that you have the Holy Spirit living inside you, controlling you and of you being submitted to Him is by being continually transformed into the very image of Jesus Christ.  Transformed by allowing yourself to be so intimate with Jesus Christ, that people will notice you have changed and will ask you why!  Being filled with the Spirit is allowing yourself to be continually controlled by Him and exercising His will, power and authority.  That is one of the reasons the early church grew phenomenally and why the church is still here 2000 years later.  The Pharisees and Sadducees are long gone.  The Roman Empire collapsed. But... But... But... Jesus' church still stands, is still growing, and will one day be joined with Jesus in eternity, to the praise, honour and glory of Him who will return!

How are Christians empowered by the Holy Spirit?

Paul writing in 1 Corinthians 12v1, 4-7 "Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. ... There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good."

When Jesus said to His apostles "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14v12), it was through the promised Holy Spirit (John 14v17), and impartation of Spiritual Gifts, that His words were fulfilled.

Part of the empowerment in the life of a Christian is to enable them to serve - serve God and serve others.  In order to be enabled to serve, the Holy Spirit gives to all Christian disciples "spiritual gifts." The term "Spiritual Gift" derives from the Greek word ‘Charismata'. They are also called grace gifts, which may refer to any gift God gives out of the abundance of His grace and are given to all Christians as God sees fit (1 Corinthians 12v11).  There are four main passages in the New Testament regarding Spiritual Gifts.  These are Romans 12v3-8; 1 Corinthians 12v1-10, 28-31; Ephesians 4v11-12 and 1 Peter 4v10-11. The lists of gifts, given in the New Testament are representative of spiritual gifts and are not to be taken as a conclusive listing.  The gifts quoted in various passages of the New Testament are: "administration, apostle, discernment, evangelism, exhortation giving, faith, healing, helps, knowledge, leadership, mercy, miracles, pastor, prophecy, service, teaching, tongues, tongues interpretation, wisdom." As Christian Disciples however, Paul commands that we "try to excel in gifts that build up the church." (1 Corinthians 14v12).  When the church is built up, unity will inevitably prevail.  The diversity of Spiritual gifts within each local church helps build unity.

All Christian Disciples have Spiritual Gifts, for "in his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well." (Romans 12v6)  God the Holy Spirit, through His infinite wisdom, mercy and grace bestows these gifts that belong to Him, upon His servants, Christian Disciples, and these gifts are to be used primarily to bring glory to Jesus Christ! (1 Peter 4v11).  They are opportunities for Christian Disciples to serve other people.  Some gifts like teaching, helping or leadership quite possibly are enhancements of natural abilities whilst others like faith, healing and miracles are from the Spirit's empowerment alone.

The reason that the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual gifts to Christian Disciples is so that the body of Christ is built up (Ephesians 4v12), for the common good of the church (1 Corinthians 12v7, 14v12) and "so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 4v12).  These three reasons signify that God wants Christian Disciples to be active in service and not still like stagnant water.  That is why we have been given gifts.  If these gifts are not used for God's purposes, then they are meaningless.  So, what is an appropriate response by Christian Disciples in relation to these gifts?

As the Bible is primary to spiritual growth and understanding, the Christian Disciple needs to study God's word diligently, enhancing the relationship and building bonds.  Then the Christian Disciple needs to pray and ask in deep prayer and cogitation.  Thirdly by asking the advice and wisdom of the leaders in the church we attend or from friends who know you well.  Lastly, it is also through asking questions of your self.  What do I enjoy? What am I good at? If God blesses what you are doing and it is fruitful, you may have discovered an area where your gifting lies!

As Christian Disciples, we are dependent upon each other, just as one part of the human body has dependence on another part.  That is why we serve each other and use the gifts generously given by God.  As all Christian Disciples have gifts, we have a responsibility to discover and develop them (1 Timothy 4v14)!  God has called Christian Disciples and equipped them with spiritual gifts, and they are not to be neglected!  We are to discover, discern, develop and put into effect our spiritual gifts, so that God can be glorified and His church built up!

As we are not to neglect our gifts, or let other Christian Disciples neglect their gifts, we are to fan the gift into flame (2 Timothy1v6).  Much like blowing on embers and stirring them up will restart the flames of a fire!  To do this Christian Disciples are to employ the gift faithfully and by asking God to continue their development, strengthening and opportunities to use them! Seek gifts that build up others, commands Paul (1 Corinthians 14v1-12). Ask God faithfully for gifts that give opportunity for service to God and others!

A Warning!

The Holy Spirit can also be grieved or quenched! Mainly this is when the Holy Spirit is not allowed to do the work He wants to do within the life of a follower or disciple of Jesus Christ.  But I am also persuaded, that it occurs a lot in churches today, where churches in a town seem to be almost in competition with each other.  One church will say we do this and that's the Holy Spirit way, and your church can't possibly be a true church because you aren't doing things the same way as us.  As we have seen, all Christians have spiritual gifts, or charismata, so therefore all Christians and churches are charismatic.  That makes a mockery of the labels we place on churches: for example "we are a Charismatic Church" Oh how the Holy Spirit is limited in our generation and put into boxes and labelled, by those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit works in quiet ways as well as spectacular ways.  We only have to look at the variety of churches in the New Testament letters. The Holy Spirit is working in every church in some capacity, because the Holy Spirit lives within each individual Christian! So to say a particular church is a Holy Spirit church and that others aren't, is surely grieving the Spirit and limiting His work. The Holy Spirit works in different people and different churches as the requirements change. The Holy Spirit manifests Himself in different ways, and the way He is working in you, may just be completely different to the way He is working in somebody else.  The way the Holy Spirit is working in your church, may well not be the way He is working in another church.  Each person and each church has differing needs, outlooks, personality, temperament and desires - the Holy Spirit knows best how to operate within each one. , So let us let Him get on with the job, and we get on with job of showing we can work together as a united body of believers to world that needs the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Be empowered. Be going for Jesus. Be telling others and showing others of the incredible love Jesus Christ has for all people. Remember, Jesus already has all the supremacy and authority - so let us, as His followers and disciples, avail ourselves of Him! Be empowered by the Holy Spirit who lives inside you, changing your heart from a house to a home fit for a king.  . Thank you.

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April 6, 2010

Easter 2010 - Hallmarked


Hallmarks of Following Jesus

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G'day and welcome to Partake and to our series "Easter Weekend 2010"!  This is the sixth podcast of this series.  Last time we looked at Jesus ascending into the clouds, proclaiming He has authority over all things and commanding His disciples to go all over the earth, tell everybody the good news, baptize them and disciple them! Today we are going to look briefly at what a Christian Disciple is and then look briefly at what the goal of being a Christian Disciple should be!

1. What is a Disciple?

Before He ascended, Jesus commanded "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:18-20).

In these verses Jesus commanded his Disciples to go and make other disciples.  In order to fulfil this command, He assigned the three tasks of going, baptizing and teaching as obligatory activities of daily life.  Baptism was symbolic of coming under the Lordship of the Trinitarian Godhead - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Baptism leads to teaching, which is a core part of disciple making.  Teaching was not just to be an oral activity, but an activity of helping everyone, particularly the weakest.  These instructions to Jesus' Disciples are just as applicatory to us today.  Some people today think that going to church makes them a Christian Disciple! But going to church doesn't make you a Christian Disciple, than going to Kentucky Fried Chicken once a week makes you a Christian Disciple!

The word ‘Christian' means ‘a little Christ'.  As Christians we are to be ‘little Jesus', as it were.  Key to our being as Jesus, is to be actively engaged in discipleship. Discipleship of Jesus means that Christians are to train, be trained, instruct and be instructed in the way of life Jesus showed.  To listen to some Churches today, it is all about just believing and nothing to do with training, instruction and following Jesus' way in life. Even though scripturally, sex is only to be within the confines of a committed heterosexual marriage, a lot of people who would call themselves evangelical Christians believe that it is fine to have sex before marriage.  They have fallen into the belief, that belief is enough.  They are being taught that church is all about having a high entertainment value.  A disciple of Jesus Christ is not just somebody who believes in Him. Rather it is following Him and letting Him permeate every aspect of life. Church is not about entertainment as its primary goal, but rather it is about worshipping God with awe and majesty and learning how to follow Jesus more closely.  That is why Jesus commands us to take up our cross daily.

The word Disciple derives from the Latin word discipulus, which itself is formed from the Greek word for pupil or learner, mathētēs.  The New Testament uses this word not only of Jesus' followers but also of those who followed Moses (John 9v28); the Pharisees (Mark 2v18); John the Baptist (Mark 11v2) and of Paul (Acts 9v25).  Therefore a Christian Disciple in its base form is a follower of Jesus, or a learner of Jesus. A learner is a person who is undergoing constant life change and being transformed increasingly like Christ.  A Disciple is somebody learning to be like Jesus in every facet of life, practising His presence with him or her and so engaging their life with Him so that He truly lives through them.

What is the primary mark of being a Disciple of Jesus Christ? It is that the Christian Disciple loving God totally and is loving people openly (Matthew 22v37-40).  As Christian Disciples, we are called to remain in this world, and to be growing and maturing.  Being a Disciple is not about how much you have of God, but rather how much of you, God has.  That is a another mark of being a Christian Disciple - handing control of all aspects of life to Jesus, because in all things He has the supremacy and the authority!  This is partly why the New Testament churches were seen as radical communities.  They were places filled with people dedicated in every aspect of life to Jesus Christ and His total supremacy, authority and will.  That is to be exhibited in the goal of all those who claim to be a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

2.  The Goal!

I wonder what you think the goal of being a Disciple of Jesus Christ is?  Praying a lot? Perhaps it is reading and memorizing the whole Bible?  Doing lots of evangelism or doing lots of work for the church?  As admirable as those things are, they are not the goal for a Disciple of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 2:3-6 "We know that we have come to know Jesus if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."

The ultimate goal for any Christian Disciple is to be as John wrote in the passage I read earlier: to walk and live as Jesus did.  That doesn't mean walking around in sandals, wearing white clothes and traversing the terrain where Jesus Himself walked.  The Apostle John means for us to be radical and holy, living lives worthy of that of Jesus, and in complete obedience to Him.

How can we be radical, obedient and holy? Jean Calvin said that denying oneself and relying on God for all things is the goal of the Christian life.  This can only be attained by total submission to the Holy Spirit and living a life of constantly "dealing with God" in all matters and letting Jesus permeate every thought, attitude and action.  Jesus already has all the authority and supremacy over every conceivable situation the Christian Disciple finds them selves in! So as a Christian Disciple, you may as well allow Jesus to take control of the situation instead of worrying and trying to do it in your own strength!  That is how Christian Disciples are to be radical and holy.  That is how a Christian Disciple endeavours to reach the goal of being Jesus to others!  This is done by a constant renewing of the mind (Ephesians 4v23), with a heart willing to be transformed by the Holy Spirit.  It is by loving others in such a way, that the end of a Disciple's generosity is only when the resources have expired.  A Disciple must live and walk as Jesus did (1 John 2v6).  There is no better way for a Disciple of Jesus Christ to fulfil this goal, than by imitating Jesus and obeying his command to "...take up your cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9v23).  This is seen as a higher challenge for the mind!  Dietrich Bonhoeffer extrapolates this further when he comments on Discipleship as a leading to death for all who follow Christ; either as a physical death or in being ostracized from the wider community.

For the first century Christians, just as in some parts of today's world, systematic persecution and martyrdom was a reality, as evident in the story of Stephen (Acts 7v59).  Yet it also means enduring suffering, for this is how a Christian Disciple maintains a "communion with Christ".  For it is through suffering, that we share with the crucified Jesus.  The bitterness of our cross is made sweeter, the more we dwell on the sufferings of Jesus and our enabled fellowship with Him.

As Christian individuals, we are linked together in a Christian community through rebirth, and our relationship exists only through our relationship with Christ.  There is no such thing as an individual member of the radical Christian community.  Members are interdependent upon one another, bound by a corporate and inclusive personality.  The church community is to be dynamic by nature, and individualism is oxymoronic and not coherent with New Testament teaching.

As we saw in our first study, serving others, as Jesus did throughout his ministry, is to be part of the life of anybody who would call himself or herself a follower of Jesus Christ. It is one of the hallmarks of being a Christian. Another hallmark is that of allowing others to serve us, just as Peter had to allow Jesus to wash his feet. By both serving and being served, we reflect the life of Jesus Christ. When serving and being served are out of balance, then usually it is our own innate pride that is at fault.

But how were the early church and the first Christian Disciples so dynamic and effective? The answer in our final Podcast released tomorrow. Thank you!

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Jesus’ Authority & Command

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The Story continues

G'day and welcome to Partake and to our series "Easter Weekend 2010"! Last time we looked at the resurrection and how Jesus Christ was raised to life by God Father in the power of God the Holy Spirit! Before that, Jesus was forsaken on the cross as he bore the sins of the world - the sins of all history - past, present and future. God had to turn his back, and forsake His son, because God is holy and the Father couldn't bear to look upon sin. So He had to forsake Him, abandon Jesus if you like. But it was never going to be a permanent forsaking or abandonment! Only a temporary abandonment and this was shown in the resurrection when Jesus came to life again! Think of when you were taken to your first day of school, and your parents left you behind. You were forsaken and abandoned by your parents then. But that was always also going to be a temporary abandonment as they came to collect you later on in that day.

So, as we have seen, the good news is that Jesus is still living. The rest of the four Gospels and the beginning of the book of Acts tell us a little more of what Jesus did before He ascended into the heavens.

45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." 50When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. Luke 24v45-53

Jesus' resurrection is the catalyst for the mission of the church, beginning with the disciples and throughout history. Jesus' mission to earth is coming to an end and shortly He will be returning to the right hand of the Father. Before He does so though, He has some more words to say to His disciples.

Jesus' Authority

Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus' authority is a major theme. Let me read from Matthew 28v16-20

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Where Matthew records Jesus doing miracles, this is to highlight Jesus authority in action and not just merely in words. Matthew records Jesus' authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9v6) and he imparted authority to his disciples for a short time when they went on a mission in Matthew 10. Jesus has authority (Matthew 28v18) over all things, all people, all circumstances and happenings. Jesus has authority over all spiritual beings, whether angels or demons. Jesus has authority over all nations, governments and rulers. Jesus has authority over all earthly and spiritual authorities. Jesus has the authority. This means regardless of what ever the Christian Disciple faces, Jesus is in control. Therefore, as Christian Disciples, we can obey him without fear of retribution from those who would seek to harm us. We can obey him regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. It is a great comfort to know, that he is in control of everything!! Through his death on the cross and his rising from the dead, Jesus has conquered all enemies.

Now people sometimes confuse authority with authoritarian. Authoritarian means severe, rigidity and a dictator. None of these things apply to Jesus. We have been given a free will, but as his Disciples, we should choose to exercise our free will to obey him and live a life worthy of him. As the Christian depends on Jesus' authority, the Christian Disciple gains wisdom, guidance, and power.

But the story does not stop there! Jesus walks with us, wherever we go and in particular in the darkest periods of our life. Just as he did with the two people on the road to Emmaus, he walks with those who proclaim to follow Him (Mark 16v12-13, Luke 24v13-32). Jesus speaks whenever the Bible is faithfully preached and read from, just as He opened the eyes of those on the Emmaus road when He explained the Scriptures (Luke 24v27). Jesus meets us in the Communion or Lord's Supper, with the bread and wine, which symbolise His flesh and blood as an act of remembrance of what He did for humanity.

One of those people is Elizabeth. Here is her story of how Jesus meets with her!

Easter is a time of reflection and promise for me. It is a time to be one with Christ. I have gone through many trials and tribulations in my life. It is because of the Promise that Christ gave us when, He died and then resurrected that I know I am able to overcome any obstacle placed before me. I can rise above in faith knowing that I have been given divine inheritance to move forward as a soldier marching to war for God and reaching towards victory in his name.

Jesus is my light, my love, my essence in life. I live to be close to him and to serve him well with all my heart and soul. I Celebrate the Christ that lives in me through the Holy Spirit and that empowers me to keep going on even in the midst of chaos or turmoil. He leads me to greener pastures, He restores my soul, He shows me unconditional love, He leads me to his heart forevermore. I am filled with the Christ like spirit and I receive God's joy, love, hope, and wisdom to know what is right in my life.

You Go

If Jesus had not risen from the dead, then the Disciples would not have had a story to tell. But Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, and the early church exploded numerically as the twelve Disciples exercised Jesus' authority and His power. We read about the growth of the early church in the Book of Acts and we read about the early church in the letters of the New Testament.

In these verses from Matthew 28, which I read earlier, Jesus commanded his Disciples to go make other disciples. In order to fulfil this command, He assigned the three tasks of going, baptizing and teaching as obligatory activities of daily life. Baptism was symbolic of coming under the Lordship of the Trinitarian Godhead. Baptism leads to teaching, which is a core part of disciple making. Teaching was not just to be an oral activity, but an active of helping everyone, including the weakest. These instructions to Jesus' Apostles are just as applicatory to us today. If we are following Jesus Christ, we are the product of the original disciples and early church following Jesus' words abundantly.

Christianity is a faith whereby all Christian Disciples are to show and tell others of the goodness of God. Indeed God Himself is a missionary God. Ever since Genesis 3 and the fall of man, God has been on a mission to bring and call people back to himself. That was the purpose of the nation of Israel, to be a light to all nations of the goodness and glory of God! That was purpose when God, who is outside of time and space, entered human history taking on human flesh and restricted himself in a human body as the man we know as Jesus Christ. Jesus' whole mission was one of calling people back to life in God. As followers of Jesus Christ, all Christian Disciples are to evangelize. Evangelism is showing and telling others of God's message of reconciliation to all people of all time. It is not forcing people to adopt Church standards (1 Corinthians 5v12) and nor is it simply a message of join the church as a symbol of good works (Ephesians 2vv8-10).

Tell Others!

Telling others about Jesus is evangelism. Talking about Him, letting him permeate conversations. Revealing how He has changed your life! Showing the Gospel by living a constantly transformed life, reveals that Jesus Christ still lives today. The prime motivation for evangelism is out of gratitude for what God has done, in that we love because he loved us first. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5v14, "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died." As his servants we are to tell and live out God's reconciling message

We are all to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4v5), telling and showing people the love of God. In the last words of Matthew's Gospel, all Christian Disciples are to make disciples throughout the whole earth! Making disciples is not just evangelism but ensuring that guidance and care is given to new believers. How is this achieved? How can the Christian Disciple exhibit Jesus' authority and power in evangelism? Who gives the impetus for Christian Disciples once Jesus had ascended back to the right hand of God the Father?

Its not easy! Nobody said that it would be! The messages Christians tell others is called the Gospel. It is anathema and unpopular with people. The Gospel is never popular, and if it is, then it is not a truly Biblically Gospel. There is a false Gospel being preached where financial prosperity is the central claim. There is a false Gospel where Jesus is a cure-all being the central claim. There is a false Gospel, which says Jesus when laden with the sins of the world, was not forsaken by God the Holy Father, who cannot stand to look at sin. For Paul, and for all true Christian Disciples, the true and legitimate Gospel is "Jesus and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2v2).

Finally, part of Evangelism is verbally identifying with Jesus Christ. Never apologize for what you know and believe to be a superior way of life. However, that does not mean to be smug and arrogant about it because we are commanded to walk humbly and meekly. It means to just be natural about it. As a college principle told me a long time ago and I still remember the words "Let your spiritual life be natural and your natural life be spiritual." One way to do this is to project the idea that you are not your own boss - Jesus is your Lord and allow him to take both the strain of life issues and also the glory and majesty. Remember that those who reject you also reject Jesus.

In the next of our series, the final one, we will look at what a Christian is, what the goal of those calling themselves Christian is to be and the role of the Holy Spirit in their life.

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