If you are a believer in Christ you are a carrier of the gospel message and hopefully this message will be a refreshing of the Word you already know and live.
Our relationship with Christ is not based upon a priest, prophet, church or any other religious figurehead or organization; our relationship with Christ is based on our faith in Him. We have a direct relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). God has placed leadership within the church for its governance, growth and edification yet our relationship with God is singular and completely vertical.
It is this New Covenant that separates Christ from all other religious endeavors. Our relationship with Christ is not based upon ceremony or religious exercise; it is based upon our response to God’s free gift of salvation. This salvation was made possible through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and by His resurrection from the dead. Our faith in Jesus allows us access to the redemption and righteousness He provides us through grace. No one can respond to God on our behalf. No one can believe in Christ for us; we must all come to God through Christ as individuals.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:28 NIV)
As a result of our relationship with Jesus we are attached to each other. We are the body of Christ; we are His ambassadors upon the earth. Chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians teaches that each of us is vital to the whole because each of us is attached to the head; Jesus. We all fill different roles in the church as well as in our families and society yet we are each attached to Jesus.
This is the awesome mystery that Paul discussed in Colossians:
This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. (Colossians 1:26-27)
Christ lives in you.
The same Jesus that lived in the Apostles lives in you. We have the same Word. We are filled with the same Holy Spirit and we have been given the same commission. The message of Christ; the good news of the gospel has to live in me and it has to live in you. We cannot relegate its delivery to “professional” Christians who are in full-time ministry. The “professional” Christian pastor, teacher, evangelist or church worker spends most of their time with other believers; caring for them, teaching them and leading them in their Christian walk. The believer spends most of his or her time among those who have not received Christ and it is in these places that the message of the gospel is needed the most. This message is not a disparagement against leadership in the body of Christ; rather it is a call for discipleship in the body of Christ. As believers we have a responsibility to God to carry His message to an unbelieving world so that they may know they love that we have received.
You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:13-16 NLT)
The message needs to live in me and you. People need to be able to recognize the difference in our lives. People need to be able to hear the message of Christ from each one of us; we need to be able to deliver the truth. We should all grow to the place where we can articulate not only what we believe but why we believe it. We need to be able to give answers to those who have questions about Christ (1 Peter 3:15). This normally begins with sharing our personal testimony.
We all grow in faith, grace and knowledge of both God and His Word and each of us is at a different place in both our walk with and knowledge of God. This is normal since we all have come to Christ from different walks of life and at different seasons of our lives. We should not measure our lives against each other. We should only be concerned if we cease to grow.
My hope is that through this message I can provoke you to be ready and willing to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But you are God’s chosen and special people. You are a group of royal priests and a holy nation. God has brought you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Now you must tell all the wonderful things that he has done. (1 Peter 2:9 CEV)
Get full of the Word
A Christian who does not have the Word of God is like a car that does not have fuel; regardless of how impressive we may look we are not going to get very far. There are two things that can never have enough emphasis placed on them for the life of believers and they are prayer and bible study.
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8 NIV)
It is the word of God that feeds our faith (Romans 10:17). Our faith is based on the Word. Our message is found in the Word. Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh (John 1:14) and Christ lives in you. Know what you believe. Read the word, study the word and meditate upon it. The Holy Spirit will renew your mind and change your world view from one that is earthly to one that is heavenly as you get full of the Word (Ephesians 5:26; Romans 12:2).
The message of Christ is not founded upon our experience with Him it is founded upon the Word of God. Our experience with Christ finds meaning and definition through the Word of God. I know this may be oversimplified but in order to share the message of the gospel we need to know the message of the gospel; we need to know the Word.
Always be prepared
If we are full of the Word of God and are constantly connected to Him through worship and prayer it is amazing how many opportunities will present themselves to share the message of the gospel.
Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times, and tell people what they need to do. Tell them when they are wrong. Encourage them with great patience and careful teaching (2 Timothy 4:2 NCV)
Are we looking for the open doors? Are we listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit? Are we ready to share God’s love with those with whom we work, learn, play, live or just happen to meet? Are we ready?
You will find that when you are full of God’s Word and full of God’s Spirit that you will be used more frequently by Him to touch the lives of others. This happens because when we are full our eyes are no longer focused upon our own situation and needs; we begin to see things from the Lord’s perspective. All around us is a world that needs that message of hope that we have believed. Get filled to overflowing so that you can be used by God to reach a lost and hurting world.
Passing the buck
Following Jesus does not allow for us to cast our responsibility, relationship with Christ or heavenly calling upon those in leadership positions within the church. We each will stand before Christ to give an account of our own lives (2 Corinthians 5:10).
It is very true that some churches have better leaders and more gifted preachers and teachers. It is very true that some churches move more freely in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is very true that some churches have more resources and are capable of providing more opportunities for ministry both inside the body and outside of the body. There is always a more “X” some place other than where we currently are.
Our calling, ministry and life of faith following the Lord Jesus Christ is enriched and edified through the local church. However, it is not dependent upon the local church. We cannot live our lives expecting the church to provide us something that Jesus has already given to anyone who will ask (Acts 2:39).
Our primary pursuit of God must be independent of a church service. Our primary pursuit of God must be found in individual worship, prayer and Bible study. The local church and its leaders have been ordained by God to strengthen, perfect and edify us as believers (Ephesians 4:11-16) they can never replace our individual pursuit of the Lord.
The message in me is growing this week and hopefully the message in you is growing as well. There is a strong possibility that it is growing in different ways. We all should bring something new to the body each week. We should bring a testimony of what God is doing in our lives or has done through our lives to reach others. We should share that which we have learned in scripture with one another.
So here’s what I want you to do. When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight. (1 Corinthians 14:26 MSG)
There will always be times when you need someone to minister to you and I did not write this message to discount, diminish or discredit those times in each of our lives. We all go through things that cause us to need the edification, exhortation and comfort that comes from our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I wrote this message because believers have a powerful opportunity and responsibility each and every day of our lives. We are the body of Christ and members in particular (1 Corinthians 12:28) and as His body we represent the Lord Jesus Christ to this world. We are the carriers of His love, His grace, His faith, His Word, His Spirit, etc.
The message of the gospel is not being proclaimed by angels across the earth; it is being proclaimed by people like us who have been redeemed because we believe the gospel. We cannot simply be spectators of those who follow Jesus and who have been called to a ministry office. We are the body of Christ and it is through our lives that the Lord Jesus wants to reach the world He died upon the cross to redeem.
My prayer is that you will be encouraged and provoked to get full of the Word of God and of the Holy Spirit so that you might know Him and be used by Him to reach your world.