Know Christ, Grow in Christ, Proclaim Christ
Before we move on in the 4-fold vision of KF study, it would be good for each one of us to remember that according to Scripture, following Jesus Christ as Lord is not our religion, but our life.
- Col 3.4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
- Phil 1.21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Following Christ is not a set of man-made rituals or rules. It is a life of fellowship with the Triune God. It is being Spirit led into a deeper and more intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ and The Father.
Our prayer to The Father and vision is that God would to KF a passion to proclaim His Name and His gospel to as many people we can in as many places as God opens the doors to do so.
We are so thankful for the doors God has opened up for us to minister the gospel and reach the lost in India, Nursing Homes, Prisons, Open Door Mission, partnering with TFH and Compass Care Pregnancy Center, music outreach, and the proclamation of the Gospel via Internet and numerous Cable access stations in our area.
Matthew 28.18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations (the same Greek word often translated make disciples), baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen
On the basis of Christ’s authority and commandment, the disciples were sent to teach, or more literally, make disciples of all the nations. So we see that being a born again Christian is much more than saying “the sinners prayer” and go on living your life the same way that you always did before you prayed.
Jesus was named Immanuel (“God with us”) at His birth (Mt 1:23), and now He promises to be with His disciples to the end of the age. Being a born again Christian means that we will never, ever be alone again forever.
Know this beloved, there was not one gospel for the first century and another gospel for us today. There is only one gospel, One Savior and Mediator between God and men, The Man Christ Jesus. Revelation 14.6 the everlasting gospel.
Mark 16.15,16; 19,20 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God (a position symbolizing the authority that Jesus shares with God the Father). And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen
And that is the gospel that we are called to preach?
1 Cor 15.1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
Matthew 24.14 the gospel of the kingdom.
Luke 24.46-49 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
In reaching the gospel it is necessary to mention the importance of repentance. There is no salvation apart from repentance of sin. Now in one sense, repentance is a life long change into the image of Jesus Christ. But a person who has genuinely repented will bear the fruit of repentance.
We are called to preach the gospel under the power and anointing of the Holy Ghost.
John 20.21-23 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
The gospel that we preach is a gospel that grants remission of sin to those who repent and believe on Christ.
Acts 1.6-8 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The gospel that we are sent to preach is to be proclaimed unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Once again we see that our witnessing is to be done under the leading, inspiration, and empowerment of The Holy Ghost.
Quick review of the bullet points of these sections of Scripture
These words of Jesus are His final words as found in Scripture before His ascension into heaven. They are the mandate given to the church regarding His purpose of reaching the lost world with the gospel that bears His Name. The highlights of these words reveal that:
- The gospel is to be proclaimed to every creature and every nation. There is no ethnic group or race of people that are off limits.
- The Holy Spirit will provide us with all the power and anointing that we need to carry out this task.
- Jesus promises that He will be with us always in this task.
- We are called to be His witnesses, not attorney’s.
- After souls come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we have the responsibility to make disciples.
- You will see that as you work your way through the book of Acts through the Revelation that these highlights or bullet points were the content of the messages shared by the apostles and first century Christians.
This mandate to proclaim Christ is NOT given to a select few of God’s people like Pastors or Evangelists. It is the mandate and calling that is to taken up by every part of the body of Christ.
Every Christian is called to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ because a part of our armor includes having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
Tell me, how well would you fare as a soldier under enemy attack in Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria if you didn’t have any footwear on? Not too well, and certainly not too long.
When Jesus says that the gospel is to be preached to every creature and every nation; that means that wherever there are sinners, we need to look for opportunities and be prepared to share the gospel.
So every single one of us here this morning claiming to know Christ is called by God to be a missionary of The Lord Jesus Christ. We are called to ambassadors of heaven on foreign soil.
When you leave your house in the morning, you are entering your mission field. Shod your feet beloved.
When you leave this church building this morning, you are entering your mission field. Shod your feet beloved.
Some helpful things to consider when sharing the gospel.
Note the difference of the content of the message that was used by the apostles when they were preaching the gospel to those who never heard of Christ. In both Acts 14 and Acts 17, the message of the gospel was preceded by the declaration that The Living God Who created heaven and earth, is the same God Who became flesh and died on the cross for our sin.
- Acts 14.15,16 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
- Acts 17.22-31 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars ‘hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, to the unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead
There is no gospel if there is no living God and Creator of all things and all creatures. As creatures, we all owe our existence to The Creator and every man is in the family of the human race. But it is only by repentance and faith in The Lord Jesus Christ that we become part of the family of God.
Note how the apostles preached when they went into the synagogue. He took them right to the Scriptures to prove to them that Jesus was The Christ.
- Acts 17.3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
Look up the words preach, preached, preaching, taught, teaching in the Book of Acts and note what they preached and taught. You will note that they kept the preaching of the gospel separate from the social, economic or political hot topics of their day that were mentioned in the epistles.
- Acts 4.2 preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
- Acts 5.42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
- Acts 8.5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
- Acts 8.12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
- Acts 8.25 And they (Peter and John), when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
- Acts 9.20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
- Acts 10.36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
- Acts 10.42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
- Acts 13.38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
- Acts 17.18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
- Acts 28.31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
- Rev 14.6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.
Do not fall into the trap of making the Christian response to the social topics of the day the gospel beloved.
Effective evangelism takes place when we preach with our lips and with our lives.
There is the tendency to emphasize the verbal proclamation of Jesus Christ and the gospel that bears His Name with our lips and underestimate the importance of proclaiming Christ and the gospel that bears His Name with our lives.
Beloved, we must strive to proclaim Christ both with our lips and our lives as well.
The mandate of The Great Commission is to “Go”. This is a word of action! We cannot “go” if we are sitting still. We cannot “go” if we stay where we are. We cannot “go” if we do not make a move.
This verb literally means, “as you go”. As we pass through this world we are to carry the Gospel message with us, sharing it with everyone we meet along the way. There are two ways we can do this.
It involves our Lifestyle –
- 5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven
Like salt, our life should create a thirst in people for the Lord. Our joy, our peace, our differences from the world should cause them to want to know why we are like we are. Our lives should be like a great spotlight which directs its beam toward Jesus. If He is the focus of our lives, men will see Him lived out through our lives day by day!
- 1 Peter 3.15,16-But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
It involves our Lips – We are told to “teach”. That word has the idea of “making disciples or to instruct”. We are to live the right kind of life, but we are also told to share our faith. We are to tell a lost world what Jesus did for us when He saved us and what He can do for them, if they will trust Him as we did. It is not enough to just show it, we must also say it!
The word “preach” is a present tense, active voice, imperative mood verb. The imperative means that it is a command. The active voice means that you are to be involved in carrying out this command. The present tense means that it is something we are supposed to be doing all the time.
In fact, we are preaching all the time. Every moment we live we are preaching through our actions and through our words. We are either pointing people to Jesus are we are pointing them away from Him. We are either saying “He is my Lord and Savior and you need to know Him too”; or we are saying “My relationship with Jesus really doesn’t make a difference in my life.”
Let me close with this. Too many times when we preach the gospel, we make much mention of the benefits that are ours through faith in Christ. The forgiveness of sin, the place prepared for us in heaven, the end of all sorrow and pain and suffering. All glorious truths. But, the most important truth is that we will be beholding the beauty and glory of our God and Savior forever.
Mark 1.1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
So many times we miss the fact that the main thing in proclaiming the gospel is that Jesus Christ IS the gospel.
- 2 Cor 4.4-6 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus ‘sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.