A couple of weeks ago I spoke on the DNA of a Christ follower trait, the trait of being evangelistic. Someone who indeed proclaims the Good News. This is obviously a key trait. It is an important part of being like Jesus joining with him in his seeking and saving of the lost.
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And to make the point of course I used Luke 15 where Jesus tells the story: lost sheep, lost coin, lost son. And makes the point how important lost people are to God and how important they ought to be to us. And I kind of use the concept of being a contagious Christian which is a phrase based on a course in evangelism of course called “Contagious Christian.”.
The idea being that you kind of have this disease that is passed on and transmitted to others and so I used, as my main point, symptoms of a contagious Christian. The kind of follower of Jesus who passes on the disease, the good disease.
The first symptom was that an evangelistic person really does value people and how important that really is. I told a pretty amazing story from Queen Victoria’s day. A military expedition that was probably one of the most massive expeditions ever launched relative to what they were seeking to accomplish. Basically the situation was that the emperor of Ethiopia had 53 European captives and had them deep in the interior. (Read more about this story Here.)
Queen Victoria wrote to him and tried to get him to release the captives; he wouldn’t. And so the government ordered this full scale military expedition from India to go right into Ethiopia. It included 32000 men and heavy artillery, 44 elephants carrying the guns, fifty thousand tons of beef and pork and 30000 gallons of rum.
They built landing piers and water treatment plants and a railroad telegraph line and all the bridges. Fought one battle, rescued the captives, packed up and went home. Just powerful picture of the value that the queen and the government placed on their citizens. And that’s certainly a trait of a contagious Christian.
Also talked about building a distinctive lifestyle which harkens back to the trait of being holy and different in the right way. Titus talks about making the Gospel attractive which bothers some people. Especially people who are kind of turned off to the idea of being, you know, seeker sensitive and stuff. Titus actually speaks of making the Gospel attractive versus making the Gospel repulsive.
The Gospel has its challenges for people. It will offend people. It will challenge our pride and our self-sufficiency. But the manner in which we share it doesn’t need to be offensive. The message itself may be. The Cross may be a stumbling block but our attitude and a heart towards people should never be.
So that was a second simple symptom. Having a distinctive lifestyle and then working to be ready. The passage in first Peter about always being prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have. And I spent some time here talking about that, you know, we prepare for all kinds of things. We prepare for job interviews and we prepare for holidays and retirement. Why would we think that we wouldn’t need to prepare for the most critical task there is: sharing the basic gospel of Jesus Christ in a clear way.
Then a fourth symptom was that an evangelistic person makes sacrifices and takes risks to share Christ. That we go out of our way, that we inconvenience ourselves.
I came across vision statement from one church, Congregational Christian Church in Winchester, Indiana. They say we will purposely inconvenience ourselves and our personal agendas if it affords an opportunity to tell another person about how they can have a personal relationship with God. That’s a great value that we’re willing to inconvenience ourselves.
And so I challenge people to pray for those in our lives who don’t know Jesus. That’s more than half the job. To get trained and then to learn to be a friend.
There there’s an old stat out there. Don’t know how valid it is today, but the old stat was that after two years a new Christian has no non Christian friends, which means they have no contact, no relationship. And the Gospel typically flows through relationship.
A lot of Christians need to learn how to be friends with people who don’t know Jesus and be there and be in a relationship so that when a crisis comes we’re there to encourage them, support them and possibly share the gospel. We don’t befriend them as a project. We befriend them because they’re valuable.
And so my summary statement of an evangelist person is this. A Christ follower is evangelistic. Someone who values people. Who lives a distinctive redemptive life working to be ready to share their faith. Taking risks and making sacrifices to create opportunities to share the gospel. That’s a bit of a mouthful but that covers basically all of the key points of this message.
And so as Christian leaders we are to be evangelistic. We are to model what it means to be sharers of the good news. Being friends with those who don’t know Jesus and making that a part of our lives. Thanks for listening. Have an outstanding day and always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have. Press on.