A couple of lessons ago, we drew a contrast between defending our faith and sharing our faith. We are usually prepared to go one the defensive regarding our faith and practices, but we sometimes fall short on being able to simply share our faith. This lesson will expound on this concept some more as we continue to grow in our ability to reach out to others with God’s word.
Our evangelic efforts are mostly rooted in Matthew 28:18-20 – a directive given to go out and bring people to Christ. Evangelism is one of our main tasks, but, in this lesson, we are going to examine four other directives we are given by our Savior.
The Other Directives
Matthew 9:9-13. Go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” We cannot afford to believe that we have it all figured out and be quick to point out the ills in everyone else’s life. Our ministry needs to be characterized by mercy and compassion.
He is quoting from Hosea 6:6. In this context, God is discussing true religion and true repentance. The people seem to believe that lip-service will appease Jehovah and that God will deliver them from captivity because that is His job. God recognizes this repentance is superficial, and this is when God states that He desires something deeper than ritual sacrifices.
The people who were criticizing Jesus’ appearance of character were the one’s who were most intimately acquainted with God’s word, but they had not learned the deeper meanings within it. (Mark 7:6-8)
Mark 5:15-20. “Tell others how the Lord has had mercy on you.” Again, we like to start out by telling others how they are wrong. We turn God’s “good news” into “bad news,” and we turn others away by a message of self-righteousness. I Peter 3:15. Our evangelism focuses on our hope, and it is typified by meekness and humility. I have hope because of what God has done for me, not because of what I do or have done.
Romans 1:15-16; II Timothy 2:2 say God’s good news has the power to positively impact people on an individual basis. On a secular level, we share things we like and enjoy with others, and this should be no different when it comes to spiritual matters.
Luke 10:29-37. “Go and do likewise.” The parable of the good Samaritan illustrates an application of how we are to treat others. Again, the concept of mercy is heavily emphasized here. Just showing compassion and kindness is a significant portion of my Christianity, without which any teaching I might do will be potentially ineffective.
John 8:2-11. “Go and sin no more.” Jesus does not excuse her sin in this instance, but He demonstrates mercy – He gives her a new lease on life – and He tells her to correct her life. We can easily point out others’ faults, or we measure ourselves by standards based on what others do, but this does not excuse faults in our own lives. I John 2:1. We are given God’s word so we can make ourselves more complete in His sight. Our goal is to be Christ-like, and Christ lived a sinless life. That is our goal, and, by the blood of Jesus, we have the power to achieve that goal.
Romans 6:1-11 makes it clear that when we are baptized, sin loses its power over us. We can overcome.
Going and making disciples is an important task, but if that is all we are focused on, we are being narrow-sighted, and our Christianity will be incomplete. We must broaden our focus and learn to fill our lives with God’s word. If we do so, we will have little time for finding fault in others, hating our neighbor, or quibbling with a brother or sister, and our efforts in evangelism will become more effective.
lesson by Tim Smelser