“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel” Mark Sturgell @pdncoach clarifies the preaching of the gospel and it’s true biblical view point of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Please take the time and follow Mark on twitter http://twitter.com/pdncoach
and read some more of his posts on his blog titled “Purpose and Now” http://purposeandnow.com
“When a sinner saved by Grace meets a sinner in need of Grace”
28You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ … 30He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:28, 30 (NIV)
As a business coach, I work with individuals, teams and organizations to help them become more successful in a variety of ways and, personally, to live more fulfilling lives. I can be a conduit, or I can get in the way if I’m not disciplined and understand the true nature of my role. With groups, there are certain dynamics that still prove destructive to sustaining a productive and positive work culture, even though they have been institutionalized in a variety of ways over decades of time. The same is true for Christian evangelism. Despite my good intentions, I can easily become the obstacle instead of the conduit by acting like, if not believing, I am the source of transformation.
I run into dysfunctional environments (all too often) where people must work together to achieve common goals yet are operating under the idea of “Work to Rule”. Work to Rule behavior can be defined as “a job action in which employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of a workplace to cause a slowdown.” Work-to-rule can also be an attitude that “I know the rules and I’m not going to deviate from them.” Sometimes people work to the wrong rules or to rules that are obstructive outside of a limited context.
How is this related to evangelism? Let’s explore.
With The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), we are commanded to “go and make disciples…baptizing them…and teaching them to obey” the teaching of Jesus Christ. In John 3 we learn that no one can see the kingdom of God “unless he is born again,” and this occurs only through the action of the Holy Spirit.
“I’ve been saved and I can save you, too.”
Evangelical Christians, however, tend to confuse these two basic Christian tenets: making disciples and being born again. While we don’t intentionally confuse the two principles, we may confuse others with our approach to ministry and “slow down” conversion to faith and the fulfillment of John 3:16. We rightly connect “making disciples” with being “born again” and see ministry as the purposeful opportunity to “save souls”, but we confuse our role in the whole matter. We begin to believe our teaching and example saves souls, this becomes our rule, and by “working to rule”, we get in the way of the transformational work of the Holy Spirit.
Our commission is to make disciples by teaching people to obey Christ, but we cannot save souls or cause people to be born again. Working to that rule slows down the process, an effect I call “I’ve been saved and I can save you, too.” Ever meet someone like that? They turn away lost souls rather than attract them to Christ.
We can bring (baptismal) water to flesh, but not Spirit to spirit. We must attract people to the teaching of Christ, leaving rebirth in faith to the Holy Spirit, and not confuse the two. Certainly, evangelism must seek to change both “hearts and minds”, but it is the work of the Holy Spirit that ultimately brings someone to be “born again.”
Please, remember your role and don’t get in the way.
The Great Commission
19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
On Being “Born Again”, from John 3
3″I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
4″How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
27To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ … 30He must become greater; I must become less.
31″The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony…
36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”[l]