“If we are ‘out of our mind,’ as some say, it is for God.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:13
I’m going to get this out of the way right up front: The greatest followers of Christ are a little bit nuts. Think about it: The most effective, world-changing followers of Christ tend to be a little off their rocker. Take Paul and Silas, for example. In the city of
they were arrested, severely beaten, and thrown in jail. As they sat there, bloody
and bruised and in horrible pain, what did they do at midnight? They started
singing hymns of praise to God. How about Noah? He built the world’s biggest
ship in the middle of the desert. How about Ezekiel? He preached to a pile of
dry bones. And what about Jesus himself? He touched contagious lepers. That’s
not sanitary! He jeopardized his
reputation by eating with prostitutes and lowlifes. That’s not smart! And on Passover week he walked into Philippi Jerusalem knowing full-well that he was going to be
arrested, tortured and nailed to a cross to die. That’s crazy, right?
But I’ve got news for you. If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you ought to be a little bit nuts yourself. In this world where we are surrounded by “normal” people, Jesus Christ calls his followers to be abnormal for him. As I mentioned in last week’s column, if you really want to please God, and at the same time be the biggest blessing to others, lead people to Jesus Christ. It sounds a little bit nuts to lead people into a saving relationship with a man who lived 2,000 years ago—doesn’t it?
But we know that Jesus was no ordinary man. He’s the God-man! And every single person in the world needs him much more than they realize. If we want to please God, leading people to Jesus Christ is the right thing to do. But God doesn’t want us to just do the right thing. He wants us to do the right thing with the right motives. And in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul points out three godly motives for persuading people to believe in Jesus Christ and be reconciled to God.
Godly Motive #1: The fear of the Lord. Sadly, most American Christians seem to have forgotten how vital it is to fear God. But we should know better. As followers of Christ, we know that God is a holy God, set apart from all sin and all selfishness. And He expects us to be set aside from all sin and all selfishness. If we’re not, there’s a good chance we’re not really saved. God is a just God, and He will justly punish sinners in hell for all eternity. So, every one of us should maintain a healthy fear of God. Our healthy fear of God--and of the eternal consequences of rebellion against God--motivates us to persuade people to turn from their sin and be reconciled to God through Christ. Because we know what it is to fear God, the thought of anyone around us spending eternity in Hell should scare us.
Godly Motive #2: The love of Christ. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it 100 times: God loves you. But God doesn’t just love the new you. God loved you when you were unlovely. God loved you when you were unlovable. And that’s one of the most remarkable things about God’s love: It’s undeserved. It’s unconditional. You might even say: God’s love is a little bit nuts—a crazy kind of love. According to verse 15, Jesus loved us so much that he died for us. And he died for us so that we could live for him. As a wise Christian once said: “Christ died our death for us that we might live His life for Him.” And Christ’s great love should compel us to live every day of our lives as a thank you gift to Him, as an offering to him, as an act of love to him. And as we live our lives for Jesus, what is one of the best ways to truly show Him our thanks and love? Persuading sinners he loves to accept him and be reconciled to God.
Godly Motive #3: Understanding our duty and privilege. According to verses 18-21, there’s another reason why every Christian should make personal evangelism a top priority. You should persuade people to accept Christ and be reconciled to God because it is your duty. And it is your privilege. Once we get to heaven, we won’t be able to evangelize. We won’t be able to lead anyone to salvation in Christ, because everyone in heaven will already be saved! So, it’s our duty to take this opportunity we have here on earth to lead people to Jesus. If you and I don’t do it now, we won’t ever be able to do it again. And it is our privilege. Do you realize that the angels would love to be able to do what we get to do every week? The angels would love to be able to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with people and see them snatched out of Satan’s grasp. While you’re here on earth, you have a golden opportunity to bring dozens of people to heaven with you. God wants to draw people to Himself through you. So, let Him! Don’t neglect your duty. And don’t squander your privilege.
So, the next time you catch yourself saying, “Evangelism isn’t my thing,” remember that your life as a follower of Christ is not supposed to be about doing “my thing.” It’s supposed to be about doing “His” thing. Saving lost souls is definitely “His” thing. And there’s nothing crazy about that.
Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for our worship service every Sunday at 10 a.m. at the new Dr. Ralph Baker School in Victorville. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.