Reaching OUT or Relaxing IN

What should outreach look like for the Church? Donald English makes the following observation in his comments on Mark 1:16-20

we today too often expect unbelievers to make all kinds of adjustments—in dress, initiation into our ways of worship, language and thought form—before a proper conversation can begin. We build up our strength where we are, and invite outsiders in to our setting, one by one, so that they are at their weakest and least comfortable. In so doing we put so many obstacles between them and the simplicity of the gospel itself. We have much to learn about starting where people are.

~ English, D. 1992. The message of Mark: The mystery of faith. The Bible Speaks Today (53). InterVarsity Press: Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL

Just passing by

John Wesley (1703-1791), founder of Methodism
John Wesley (1703-1791), founder of Methodism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A stranger visiting a Methodist community in Britain asked an old Cornishman to explain the obvious morality and spirit of the villagers. He replied, “A man named Wesley passed this way.” And so must the church of Jesus Christ constantly remind the observing world that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. There is an irresistible contagion about the Christian. Above all others, the preacher—by word and ministry—must preach: Jesus is here! ~ Jones, G. C. 1986. 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 303). Broadman Press: Nashville, TN

Evangelism: abstract or actual?

Sounds like an idea 😉

It is not enough to be in favor of something in the abstract. Everybody wants a clean kitchen, but it is not going to happen unless someone takes responsibility. In a similar way, we don’t want to be the kind of church that approves of evangelism in the abstract. We want to be the kind of congregation where we take the responsibility to urge you to take responsibility to pray for and reach out to non-believers that you know. But we also want to give you clear opportunities—otherwise, we are just trying to guilt people to do things that God did not equip them to do. ~ Doug Wilson

Protected: Donkeys in the Church

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

To be united with Christ

Concerning the Bible teaching in Romans 6 of a believer’s union with Christ, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says this:

“… we are not evangelizing truly unless we present this truth – that in salvation we are not merely forgiven … we were in Adam but are now in Christ, … we are taken out of one position and put into another.

Evangelism is not simply saying, ‘Come to Christ; he will do this, that and the other for you.’ No! The glorious thing about salvation is that I am taken out of Adam, that I have finished with him, and am dead to sin. I am in Christ, and all the blessings that come to me come because of my union with Christ.”

The significance of this is often either missed or overstated. It is missed by those who think that union with Christ is for the spiritual elite. But scripture has no such distinction. As Lloyd-Jones says, “this is true of every Christian“. It is overstated by those who claim to have achieved some sort of sinless perfection here and now (or at least aspire to it as possible).

Lloyd-Jones continues;

“… we must never interpret these verse in terms of [our] experience. … What [Paul] is dealing with here is something that has happened to us, something that is true of us … We may not be as well aware of it as we ought to be; … It does not mean that [we] are not Christians, thank God for that. If we were saved by our understanding, and experience of truth, well then, God help us! … we are saved by this tremendous action of God through the Spirit, who takes us out of Adam, incorporates us, implants us, baptizes us into Christ. … he is not dealing with experience, but status, condition, position.”

Unless this is true, any effort to apply or obey imperatives will be fruitless and frustrating. The indicative thing God has done for those who put their trust, faith, hope in Christ is that he unites them with Christ. Discipleship, Christian living, personal holiness is possible because of this, not because of your efforts, your understanding or anything else. It’s all about Jesus!