The Mandate for Verbally Communicating the Good News:
Follow the biblical thought process:
Ephesians 2:8-9 - "For it is by GRACE you have been saved ..."
- Salvation is a work of God -- what He did for us.
- Salvation is a gift of God -- what we couldn't do for ourselves.
Ephesians 2:8-9 - "For it is by grace you have been saved THROUGH FAITH ..."
- The work God did on our behalf must be believed.
- The gift God offers must be received / accepted.
Romans 10:17 - "Faith comes from HEARING the message..."
- The message people need to hear is the Gospel -- how Jesus died for our sins, was buried, was raised from the dead, and appeared to others before ascending back into heaven. (1 Cor. 15:1-11)
- The message people need to hear is that God made a way for man to be reconciled to Him through the death of Jesus. In Him we can have forgiveness of sin and newness of life. (2 Cor. 5:17-19)
Romans 10:14 - "... And how can they hear without someone PREACHING TO THEM?"
- To preach, in this context, is to herald or proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
- To preach, in this context, is to communicate what God has done in sending Jesus so people can believe. It is to verbally witness as His ambassador.
The Motivation for Communicating the Gospel:
Christ's love: "For Christ's love compels us ..." (2 Cor. 5:14a)
Personal conviction: "because we are convinced that one died for all ..." (2 Cor. 5:14b)
The Messengers who bring the Good News:
Those who have been reconciled to God are in turn given "the ministry of reconciliation." "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." (2 Cor. 5:18-20)
The Message to be Shared with Others:
"... that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them." (2 Cor. 5:19)
"Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor. 5:20-21)
The Means of Communicating the Message:
- Matt. 28:18-20 - teach
How? -- "go and make disciples of all nations"
- Acts 1:8 - witness
How? -- "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you"
- 2 Cor. 5:11-13 - persuade
How? -- "not trying to commend ourselves to you" "For Christ's love compels us"
- 2 Cor. 5:11-20 - appeal to
How? -- "as though God were making his appeal through us"
- 2 Cor. 5:20 - implore
How? -- "on Christ's behalf"
- 2 Tim. 1:8 - testify
How? -- "do not be ashamed"
- 2 Tim. 4:2-5 - preach, correct, rebuke, encourage
How? -- "with great patience and careful instruction"
The Mission to Communicate the Gospel Message:
That the Good News of Jesus Christ must get verbally communicated is a given. The means by which it gets communicated is the variable. We must never lose sight of the message.
The Gospel must remain central and not be lost in the process of trying to be relevant.
The Gospel must remain intact and not be watered down.
When the Apostle Paul said "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some" (1 Cor. 9:19-23) notice what is adapted. He said "I" have become all things, not the message. He used "all possible MEANS" but still preached the Gospel message.
We all could probably agree that Paul would have used open air crusades, one-on-one witnessing, neighborhood Bible studies, and church planting as POSSIBLE means. But, would the Apostle Paul have used the media (TV, radio, film) to communicate the message? Would the Apostle Paul have used the Internet to communicate the message? Would he have used multi-media stage productions? Would he have used tracts and other booklets? -- If it was available then, according to this verse, he would have used "ALL possible means."
The Outreach Ministry Manual includes this content along with some Scripture and questions to further reflect on each of the above points.
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