My Jesus, My Hesitation – Part 2

The world is more willing to receive the gospel than Christians are willing to give the gospel. – Tahir
Dispatches from the Front, by Tim Keesee

Last month, Marg featured a post on the hesitation Christians have in speaking about Jesus Christ and His good news.
Many of us, His followers, fail often to proclaim His greatness and goodness. We fail to spread, with the urgency of wildfire and with the compassion of a mother toward a sick child, the desperately needed news of Christ’ eternal rescue .

Onward Christian soldiers, we can gladly sing that great hymn but we are found guilty of disobeying the orders of the Captain we claim loudly to follow. When applying for jobs, we (hopefully) pray and (hopefully too) dream of having a great time sharing the gospel at the workplace. But then walks in the fear of people, and too often we find we have let our Lord down.

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2 Timothy 1:7-8 tells us God has given us the Holy Spirit with power and love, so we can suffer as a true soldier for our beloved Master. Instead we worry if our reputation at the workplace will be destroyed if we speak the truth of God. Instead of dying to our selves & thus embracing life, we choose the sin of silence, the guilt of a silent witness.
The prophet Hosea experienced in micro-scale, the unfaithfulness of God’s bride, the church. We don’t wanna go there, because that might remind us of what we have been doing.

So what does God do about our hesitation to speak the gospel, our silent rebellion?

Like anyone wronged deeply, the King gets off His throne and prepares to act for justice, against this sin of His own people. The One before whom emperors & presidents are mere water-vapour, rises
and what does He do?

“Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”

(Philippians 2:6-8, NLT)

Like apostle Paul said “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. (1 Tim 1:15, NLT)

There is nothing worse than betraying the One who loved us & took away our infinite debt to God. But know that there is no need for you to prove anything to God or to justify yourself, or to justify yourself before people. If you have all your faith in Him, you are justified by grace. Without shame, we can joyfully find our refuge in Him and speak about Him. Let the consequences of such speech drive you to Him (Acts 4:29-30).

My Jesus, My Hesitation – Part 1

“I want to talk about Jesus to my seniors. But then, I think again- what if he has a bad opinion of me if I do that?

What if that affects my appraisal and I am denied a raise in salary, which will then affect my family?”

This was a dear brother in Marg admitting his hesitation to speak about our Saviour Jesus Christ, to his senior colleagues. He is a follower of Christ & he has disobeyed Christ’s command (Matt 28:18-20) to make disciples.

I admire his honesty in a world where hiding one’s flaws is the norm. Listening to him helped me because- the fear of “what would people think when they hear that I am a Jesus-freak” is a perennial battle from which I would rather fly. And the recent anti-Christian power surge across India, does not help.

I believe talking about Jesus should be a joyful rhythm in one’s life, not an excruciating process where you check over & over before you speak your mind about the power, mercy & love of Christ and encourage others to surrender and follow Him!

Then what’s the problem with my brother at his workplace? And why do I hesitate to speak up?

It’s not hard to grasp– I want to preserve my self and I think that’s O.K.  I do not want to be identified with Christ, if that means discomfort of any sort.

 

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This mean I do not want people to know my real ID – I am a Christ-follower, but try pinning an ID card saying “Christian” to my chest, and I might fight you like a beast. I do not want to identify with my beloved Jesus nor his servants who suffer across the planet daily.

What’s worse- it is easy to continue life without letting ANYONE in my society or workplace know that I follow the “mighty Messiah” I sing of, with my church family. My “reasons” to stay this way abound:

I need to support my family first.
I need to use “wisdom”.
I need to be a good example first.

I hope those arrested in M.P because they were bold for Christ better not hear that I would rather NOT identify with them, the people of God.

Do you bring up Christ in conversations these days gladly?  Will you be honest in your response?

“The world is more willing to receive the gospel than Christians are willing to give the gospel.”   – Tahir.

From “Dispatches from the Front” by Tim Keesee.

The Importance of Having 3 Wheels In An Autorickshaw – Part 2 of 3

Last week we saw signs of what it looks like when our church is NOT living like it is God’s family. This is part of a series where I am comparing the “family of missionary slaves” model of being the church to an autorickshaw.

This week, let us look at how a local church looks like when it’s no longer living as missionaries. And I am assuming I am not the only one in all of God’s Kingdom who goes through times when I am no longer very eager to talk about Jesus before others who are not Christians.

 

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“This missionary is stationary and empty. Intriguing!”

When considering the three wheels of an autorickshaw, I am persuaded to think that the front wheel is the missionary wheel. The front wheel gives control & direction to the autorickshaw, just as the missionary aspect gives the church right direction. It is the main thing. The primary task of the church is to show the world Christ Jesus, it’s Savior and it’s Judge.
After all, it was Jesus’ own chief purpose in life. After all, God’s Holy Spirit is given to Christians, to proclaim the gospel in word and through our new lives.

In the midst of creating God’s community and serving with much grace, Jesus’ one purpose was to be a missionary by proclaiming the Good news that forgiveness is available to those who turn from their sins and put their trust in Him. He began with not just good deeds, as some might claim, but used audible gospel words.

So how can we know if His church is no longer keen to live like missionaries for their Lord Jesus?

Problem II. Our church is not living as God’s missionaries.

Symptoms
1. We don’t pray desperately for people we know to get saved- Neither do we pray for our zeal. When was the last time you and your church prayed regularly for someone’s conversion from sin to Christ? I mean – does it hurt you that someone doesn’t believe in our precious Lord Jesus? That they would perish on the final Day?

2. We don’t find time for evangelism, because we have our life-priorities wrong. We are called to seek first God’s kingdom, which implies there has to be repentance and re-orientation in how we live our personal life, career and recreation for the gospel and God’s mission. Like the disciples, we can find ourselves in a corner, trying to earn our own fish through our jobs to feed ourselves.

But this is NOT coastal Kerala lunch-time! This is the kingdom of God, if you indeed belong to Him!

3. We find our time spent mostly in places where only other Christians are found. Easy life?
When did Jesus say hanging out comes at the cost of initiating and developing relationships with non-Christians? But that is exactly what a lot of us end up doing, don’t we?
Remember how Jesus Christ pursued us while we were still sinners? Let’s go do likewise – consistently!

4. We are seldom invited by non-Christian friends to hang out with them.
As my church community elder recently reminded us in a sermon, Jesus was so often invited by ‘sinners’ for their parties. And He gladly went.
Are you invited by your lost friends? When invited, Do you let a couple of believers tag along and go?

Why not? Maybe it’s time to ask the Lord the reason?

5. We fear men and women above God- we are afraid of confrontational talk and discussions that can bring us trouble in any form.
A lot of times, being a servant of Christ could mean nothing but being the most loving spiritual whistle-blower in town.

6. We have been bad examples before non-Christians and that hinders the gospel.
Repent and asking forgiveness to the Lord AND to our non-Christian friends is a good starting point out of that mess. I have been there. God will come to our aid, even when we don’t deserve Him.

7. We don’t hear or read of others’ salvation stories and learn from the experience of veterans in sharing the gospel.

This should be self-explanatory.

8. We do evangelism, but we do not rely on Holy Spirit to give us Jesus-type of love for others.
When with non-believers, do you talk about their bad behaviour behind their backs, with little intention of addressing the problem with the person concerned? That’s sin- that’s gossip. 1st Corinthians 13 reminds us that without love, God counts this “evangelism” nonsense-noise.

Are there any other points you see that are missing from these symptoms? Please write in from your experience of sharing the gospel.

Next week : Signs that our church is not living as God’s slaves.