Is Every Christian Called to be an Evangelist? (Part 7 of 7)

Consider Colossians 4:2-6

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.                                                                                           (Colossians 4:2-6)

This is a call to do evangelism, that is, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

From time to time there is a little bit of discussion among Christian folk about what Paul means here. Is every Christian called to be an ‘evangelist’?

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How to be Bold in Witness? (Part 5 of 7)

Why is it that Christians are often reluctant to be bold in witness? For me that is simple – it is often hard work, or I am too chicken, or I am too distracted, or I am…

I know the excuses, because I have used them all. I am the reluctant evangelist.

It is not uncommon for me to be standing on the sidelines of a soccer pitch watching my sons play football. Alongside, stand the other parents. A perfect opportunity to speak about Jesus?

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Believe and Confess (Part 4 of 7)

The Apostle Paul in Romans argues that a Christian cannot rightly call themselves a disciple unless they both believe and confess that ‘Jesus is Lord’.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”                                                                                                    

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”                     (Romans 10:9-13)

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Bold in Witness & the Great Commission (Part 3 of 7)

Bold in Witness

What does it mean to be bold in Witness?

Jesus asked his disciples to be his witnesses. And that is what Jesus’ first disciples did.

To be a witness, you have to be willing to make a stand, to testify, to speak on behalf of the person or the event that you are bearing witness too. The aim is to provide enough reason or evidence for someone who is not a witness to ascertain the truth behind what you say.

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Celebrity! (Part 2 of 7)

I love celebrity. I mean real celebrity.

A celebrity is someone who is publicly known for something distinctive – something that others can look at, write about, or admire. A celebrity is someone who others want to follow, or know, or be like. Maybe they can move faster, or jump further, or climb higher, or dive deeper, or hit harder. Maybe they can sing louder, or act more convincingly, or dance more expertly, or write more creatively, or speak more persuasively, or make people laugh more hysterically. Maybe they can make more money, or invent more things, or manage more people. There are many reasons why someone becomes famous and stands out in a culture.

When we follow celebrity, there is always a cost – it may be our time, money or energy.

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Bold in Mission (Part 1 of 7)

What an incredible city. As I look around, Athens was imposingly magnificent. Over there, the massive harbour of Piraeus – helping make the city a centre for trade. Over there the Temple of Zeus with its imposing columns scaling up to the high ceilings and with statues everywhere, one to this god and another to that god – they like their religion! Over there at the entrance to the city stands the beautiful Hadrian’s Arch, on one side it dedicates the city to Emperor Hadrian and on the other side to Theseus! – there is politics behind everything and this city was no exception. Over there the huge two-tiered covered colonnade called the Stoa of Attalus, the largest marketplace around – making this city a centre of culture and fashion. The Epicurean and Stoic philosophers would sit day by day in the marketplaces and argue about ideas – there is so much idealism just pervading this culture. And all of this, sitting in the shadow of the Acropolis. Many Greek cities have some kind of citadel constructed on hills overlooking their cities, but none were as formidable or as famous as the Parthenon perched high above Athens – making this a city of power and a tourism gold mine.

But it was at the Areopagus on Mars Hill, just a few hundred feet down from the Acropolis where the governing body of the city met and it was there they brought me. You see, I had been preaching the good news about Jesus and his resurrection and the people of the city thought that I was advocating for a foreign god and so, interested, they asked me about this ‘new teaching’ – I guess I was presenting an idea which they wanted to postulate about!

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How does a Christian become more resilient in suffering? (Part 6 of 6)

Living now in the face of Suffering.

How does a Christian become more resilient in suffering?

Some practical suggestions:

1. Pray – it is a brave person who prays that they may suffer for the sake of Christ! Prayer is one thing that you can do under any circumstance of suffering – and listening, is our Father in heaven. Don’t pray that persecution may stop (the Bible doesn’t say it will!). Don’t pray that you will be rescued (God may have plans for you in your suffering!). Don’t pray that those who make you suffer will be punished (that is not how Jesus prayed!). Instead, pray that you would be strengthened and obedient through your suffering. Pray also for other Christians who experience different degrees of suffering to you (Eph 6:18-20

2. Reset your expectations – The Apostle Peter suggests that Christian take the same attitude as Christ. Expect that a part of the Christian life (not all of it) will involve some tough stuff and that will be most acute when you stand for your faith. Peter’s strategy in the face of the suffering was to remember the Lord, recognise that standing for Jesus does not put you at fault, and realise there is no reason to be ashamed (1 Peter 4:14-16)

3. Proclaim Jesus – know what you believe so that when put on the spot you are able to stand firm for Jesus (c.f. Eph 6:14-17, 19-20). One of the best ways to defend yourself, is to continue to proclaim Christ (John 15:27).

4. Love those who make you suffer – Jesus in the Sermon of the Mount taught his disciples to ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ (Matt 5:44 c.f. Romans 12:14, 17-21). There is a humility that demonstrates a Christlike attitude which is on display whenever a Christian suffers.

5. Recharge – You have been given a Christian family who can be a wonderful support. Under God, use them to help you recharge and then return to continue standing firm for Jesus (Heb 10:24-25).

Christian suffering when put into a Christ-shaped perspective calls for a resilience that trusts that God will one day put all things right. Christians should live out the good will of God not just at times of comfort and convenience but also in the times of challenge, conflict or persecution.

‘And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen’.                              (1 Peter 5:10)

 

For more in this Series:

Resilient in Suffering

If you are going to live for Christ, are you willing to make a stand?

Living for Christ will involve Suffering!

Strategies for Resilience in Suffering

Suffering and Judgement

How does a Christian become more resilient in suffering?

 

Suffering and Judgement (Part 5 of 6)

Suffering and Judgement

Personally, I don’t really like the idea of suffering, even for a good cause. It is a brave person who prays – ‘Lord, make me suffer so that you will get the glory!’

I wonder, what the original readers of 1 Peter might have been thinking as they contemplated all the different kinds of suffering that might lie before them. Like us, I am sure they would have been uncertain.

Peter, seems to have understood that uncertainty and offers some perspective by looking at the role judgement plays in suffering.

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