Monday, 16 June 2008


Before I begin I would like to distinguish between those people we as Christians would deal with on a day to day basis including friends and family whom we would have a long term relationship, and those strangers to whom we will rarely have any dealings unless we decide to engage with them. It is the latter group that I am primarily thinking about in this post (with the former group, I would imagine most Christians would be praying for opportunities to sensitively share Christ.)

I ask this question because I believe that in our post-modern, post-Christian, politically correct world it would appear to be something Christians are often embarrassed to do, but at the same time feel guilty for not doing. This is especially true when there are so many people around us who don’t know who Christ is, and why he came. We either feel frustrated because we think that we can’t do it or have decided to put it to the back of our minds, reasoning it away by arguing that ‘it is not my gift' or just plainly deciding not to bother.

I’m convinced that for everyone who is a Christian, to be a witness for Christ can be the most natural thing to do.If you like: it's part of our spiritual DNA put there by Christ and the Holy Spirit. I’m not saying that we should all start an Evangelistic Association and travel the globe like Billy Graham, but that we should be prepared to step outside our comfort zone and speak to others about the most fantastic news that there has ever been since the beginning of time.

Well, why should we bother to tell others about Christ? Before Jesus left this world Mark’s gospel records his great commission to the disciples. Note that he didn’t say: ‘go into all the Cathedrals and preach the gospel'; Nor did he say ‘go into all the churches and preach the gospel'; He didn’t even say ‘go into all the Mission Halls and preach the gospel'. No No No.

However what did he say was: ‘Go INTO ALL THE WORLD and preach thee gospel to every creature.’ That is some statement. The whole world means that there is no place in his world that is exempt. Even the uttermost parts of it, even that which we consider Satan's territory. In practice what does it mean?

As regards places: it’s where people are. There’s no point going to the North Pole because no one lives there. It means Latin America, Australia, Cambodia, Russia, and Belfast.It means pubs, clubs, trains, buses, parks,bookies, schools, work places, even churches, cathedrals and mission halls, towns and cities, hamlets and villages- as our Lord commanded:'go into the highways and the byways'.

As regards people types it means Black, white, Chinese, Japanese, Lawyers, school teachers, soldiers,doctors, prostitutes, gays, hetero-sexual, moral people, socialists,capitalists- every sort of social class, colour, nationality and sexuality.

But do we really believe that Jesus would have gone into pubs and into clubs? After all he was the Son of God;After all he was sinless; He was was totally holy and righteous:totally pure!

‘Jesus came to nice people to make them nicer.’ I think that should be a verse in the TEV Bible that is 'Today's Evangelical Version'.It fits well with the contemporary Church.

In practice I think that is what we are more inclined to believe- because it would mean we could go to church each week and forget about the masses that are without hope and without God. But it's wrong: He was friends with the ordinary fishermen; his friends did drink; his friends were swindlers; his friends included lepers who would have gone about crying ‘unclean, unclean' as the Law of Moses proscribed and he did touch them and he healed them. Some of his friends were even prostitutes-How scandalous. Imagine the holy righteous Son of God- the friend of sinners-the friend prostitutes and gays!

That’s why my friend Patrick Troughton who has been only a Christian two years, and at the age of 70 tramps the streets of Belfast at 1,2, sometimes even 3 O’clock in the morning looking for strays- not cats and dogs, but men and woman, created in the image of God but marred by sin and Satan- often finding them literally lying in the gutter. He does it because God has touched his heart and he heard the word:'As the father sent me , so I send you' and sought to obey it. He now has a passion for the lost in his soul, because he knows the love that God had for his lost soul!

Why should we evangelise? Answer: Because as Paul tells us 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’.
Jesus also declared: ‘I’ve come not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance’ and again: ‘I have to seek and to save that which is lost. Amen

One of Paul’s greatest opponents were the Jewish Christians who tried to keep the gospel message within Judaism. In a similar manner many Christians are inclined to keep this all powerful message that can save the world inside the Church. God wants us to spread it abroad.The complete verse is : 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the chief’. I like that: Paul said it,Wesley said it and Bunyan said it-'Of whom I am the chief'.I join them too. We don't go out to those without Christ with a superior or arrogant attitude rather we go out as forgiven sinners who understand their pain and weakness.We go out with passion but also compassion.

Why should we tell others about Christ?
Not because those we speak to will always be grateful. We may well face opposition. We may well be misunderstood; we may well be physically assaulted. But should we really expect a ‘flowery bed of ease’ when Christ told us that it would be through much tribulation that we would enter the Kingdom!
James tells us to even ‘Count it as pure joy ...all the trials and tribulations you encounter for they build character';and even Paul the master evangelist declared: ‘We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.'

Why tell others about Christ?
Because how are they to know if we don’t tell them. As Paul states: ‘we are ambassadors of Christ’.
Also that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”He then goes on to state:
'How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ'.

Do we hear that word of faith in our hearts? Do we hear his voice saying 'Whom will I send and who will go for us'? The harvest is indeed plentifuil but the labourers are few.
Dear brother and sister will you heed the call?


Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

One of the things that prevents Christians from sharing Christ with the unsaved is the mistaken notion that this sharing has to take a certain form, be done by a certain method, in a definitely proscribed venue, or only by the "qualified." This is the lingering vestige of the Church Age when everyone was "Christian" (except for the Jews and the occasional odd fellow in the neighborhood—stay away from him!).

What you said, Christ "didn’t say: ‘go into all the Cathedrals and preach the gospel'; Nor did He say ‘go into all the churches and preach the gospel'; He didn’t even say ‘go into all the Mission Halls and preach the gospel'. No No No." you are absolutely right! Praise God! That is an explanation of why, since I was a young disciple in my mid-twenties, riding the bus to and from work, I always carried, and always read, my New Testament, whenever and wherever, if my mind wasn't needed for something else. Reading the Bible in public in those days, even silently, almost always incited people to talk to me or react to me in such a way, that I became convinced that "the Word of God is alive and active." All we have to do is simply walk with Jesus (who is made visible in His written Word, the Bible), and people simply notice. Then it's not our choice to be "the stench of death to unbelievers" and "the fragrance of Life for those who seek salvation"… we just are.

Many years later, when Brock and I were led to read the Bible (one complete gospel, and the whole book of Revelation) in public in Portland's Pioneer Square, or at the Saturday Market, we witnessed the marvelous effect that reading the Scriptures aloud publicly had on passers-by. At bus stops, at rapid-transit stops, in front of the Skidmore fountain, from the steps ringing the Square, in sun, in rain (under the bus shelter roofs), there we were on Saturdays, from 10 or 11 in the morning to 3 or 4 in the afternoon, reading two whole books of the New Testament, aloud, publicly, cover-to-cover.

Doing this got us, Brock I mean, in trouble with "church". Competition, I guess? (Why was a good Baptist hanging around with a Greek Orthodox, and doing that in public?) I don't know. But we felt that the Word of God goes out to the people every day, and at least one day a week, we could follow Him there, giving our voices to His divine utterance, the gospels of His first and second comings.

We're not doing that currently, but we haven't stopped witnessing. Our witness is not according to a plan or program or even idea that we frame for ourselves. If one of us wants to witness again this way, we just do, and ask the other to come with and share this testimony. If someone other than Brock wanted to do this with me, I would say Yes. That's just the way it is. We just walk by faith, following Jesus, who speaks to us in ways that He chooses, and we respond Yes to Him, because in Him the answer is Always Yes. Count the cost? No more than the Father did when He sent His Son to die for us, and if that Son could lay down His life for me, can't I at least follow the One who is preparing a mansion for me in His Father's house?

Anonymous said...

I dont think we have any right to try and convert someone. How do we know we are right after all?They might in fact be right.

Sceptic pomo

Andrew Kenny said...

If a person is convinced of the truth that Christ came into the world to bring man and woman into a living personal relationship with God,they have no option but to share it with others. Of course this should be done in a winsome compassionate manner, but nevertheless, it must be done.

Anonymous said...

No one can know what the truth is?

Sceptic Pomo

Andrew Kenny said...

Sceptic Pomo
I don't agree with you that no one can know the truth. At the very least: 'the truth is out there somewhere'.

However if God created the universe and has created humans who can communicate at a most intimate level with each other surely it is reasonable that God should be able to and would want to communicate with us.

This I believe he has done through Christ, who was God in the flesh. Christ actually said that he was the Way ,the Truth and the Life no one can come onto the Father except by him.

Anonymous said...

But how can we even know if christ existed and did the things he was supposed to, like healing,raising people from the dead,and that he did actually die on the cross and did rise from the dead? It is too big a gulf to believe it all!

Sceptic Pomo

Andrew Kenny said...

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence that Christ did exist and did the things the gospels say he did, is not that it was documented by a Jewish historian, but that his closest friends, the disciples, were prepared to suffer and even die for what they believed (knew) to be true.No one would be prepared to die for a lie!

Also if they had conspired to make up a story, surely one of them would have eventually broken down when things got too hot.

Anonymous said...

Even if you could prove Christ existed most Christians I've met aren't particularly people i would actually want to be like,too judgemental and arrogant. s.p.

Andrew Kenny said...

I do agree with you that Christians should be more like Christ. Ghandi complained that he would have become a Christian if he had met one!Ghandi did however meet many fine Christians who were missionaries in India and had given up everything to follow and serve God.
Perhaps one of the real reasons he didn't become one was because it wasn't a price he was prepared to pay, of course I may be wrong.One of the first steps in becoming a Christian is to realise that we are not good enough and that we need God's help.

In Christ God has provided that help. When He came to earth was born in poverty, lived a sinless life and at the age of 30 started his open ministry of healing the sick,setting people free from evil spirits that bound them and preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God- forgiveness of their sins, a restored relationship with God and the power to live a Christ-like life.He then died on the cross not for his own sins but -the sins of the whole world.And through that sacrificial death men and women can enter into a relationship with him- not as slaves but as children of God. As children they must therefore learn to become more like Christ as they let him become more and more a part of their lives.If you have never met a Christ-like Christian at least you can read about the life of Christ in the gospels found in the New Testament, the lives of his disciples in the Acts of the Apostles and the lives of Christians throughout history who started hospitals,fed the hungry and opened schools,as well as preaching the message of God's love for mankind.

Anonymous said...

Good points despite the fact that Christians also did terrible things such as the Crusades etc. What they did was vile.

Scepticv Pomo