Reaching people with the gospel is one of the mandates of the Master. Romans 10:13-17 reminds us that "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" but without a messenger obeying the call to preach the gospel no one can respond to the invitation. The Lord gave this commission to His church promising a partnership with authority and power to do the work of the Kingdom.
Jesus promised, "if you follow me, I will make you fishers of men." Using another illustration of an abundant harvest, He declared "the harvest is plentiful but workers in the fields are few." The great commission is the call of God to every believer regardless of our education or our place in life. Everyone is called to the "mission" with the master, a "co"-"mission," where He leads we follow. He is working in us and through us to touch the people around us.
Jesus promises, "I will never leave you on your own, I am with you always even to the end of the age." He promised not only the power of the Holy Spirit, but also His presence and the "presents/ gifts" of the Holy Spirit - power, presence, and divine enabling to touch lives with His redeeming love. Our Lord did not commission us without accompaniment ... He did not call us to "just do something" but He sent us to BE his heart, hands, feet, and voice.
While God’s heart and desire are to touch the nations, He still uses individuals ... people whose lives have been changed by the power of the gospel. We must come to terms with our identity as the people of God living out our faith and influence in everyday life. Demonstrating the Gospel is not what I do ... it is, first, who I am ... being Jesus to people. My prayer is that "one can become a thousand" - each believer touching one life and that one reaching many.
Here is a great illustration of how Jesus affected one and that one touched many: John 4:1-30, 39-42, tells the account of Jesus meeting a thirsty woman at a well in Sychar. Jesus was going back to Galilee when the scripture says "he felt the need to go through Samaria to a city known as "drunk-town." I believe Jesus went there with a sense of divine appointment that "He needed to go through Sychar."
There was a broken, needy woman there He wanted to meet. She was thirsty, drawing water from a cistern, not aware she was to soon have an encounter with the One who gives living water. Jesus functioning in the gift of the "word of knowledge" began to uncover the broken heart of a woman needing love and security. The common human need for water led her to the well, but the eternal savior Jesus knew of her greatest need.
As He spoke into her life and focused on the real need she had, she forgot about the water pot and the water and ran to tell the men of the city about "a man who told me all things I ever did." That simple but powerful encounter turned an ordinary sinner into an evangelist. She had no degree, no outstanding authority to address the men and the culture of that day, just an amazing testimony of this one who declared the Christ you are hoping for is the one who is speaking to you right now.
Most people can be approached with the gospel by simply meeting basic human needs: water for the thirsty, food for the hungry, love for those feeling rejection and needing security, and shelter from the cold and heat.
Here some examples of what Jesus did that we can do also:
- Recognize there may be a divine appointment when we have an unexpected detour from our daily journey.
- Be willing to work when we're weary. Jesus being weary from His journey sat on the well.
- Overcome preoccupation with our own needs.
- Allow the gifts of the Holy Spirit to reveal needs beyond the scope of human intuition.
- Don't judge the brokenness of the people we meet but show the love of God.
- Stay away from religious arguments.
- Resist religious disapproval as Jesus did when others said, "why are you talking to this woman.”
- Don't fall prey to the fear of "guilty by association" accusers.
- Offer Jesus. He is the healer of broken hearts and the savior of our soul.
- Realize touching one will affect the community.
See the results of Elevating one and Elevating the community:
- Many of the Samaritans came to believe in Jesus because of the words of the woman.
- The men of the city were so impressed with Jesus they asked him to stay with them for two days.
- Many more believed, not only because of the woman, but because of the words of Jesus.