I am absolutely serious about this statement – believing in the Lord Jesus Christ will save your life. That’s what the Apostle Paul told a man who asked him how he could be saved – “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
I’m also serious about this statement – God wants every Christian to personally tell people how to be saved. That’s what the Apostle Paul told the believers in Corinth – “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”(2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Imagine that! God reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, not imputing our sins to us, and has given us the “ministry of reconciliation.” The Greek words are diakonian tes katallage and mean “service of exchange.” The word reconciliation carries the idea of a change on the part of one person based on the action of another person. In this case, a change in the human heart and mind based on the loving work of Christ in their lives. Every true believer has gone through a spiritual exchange. We now live “an exchanged life!” That’s what Paul shared a couple of verses earlier when he wrote: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Many people are concerned about what they will have to “give up” to become a true believer in Christ. Let’s see now – what do we have to give up to follow Christ? Oh, I know!
We give up being lost – to being found!
We give up being blind – to gaining sight!
We give up being dead – to being alive!
We give up being alone – to belonging to God!
We give up tears of deep sorrow – for tears of soaring joy!
We give up fear and frustration – for hope and peace!
We give up a world of darkness – for a universe of light!
I believe God’s children receive a far better life than people who reject His offer of salvation. There is every good reason to give up everything we are and have to be reconciled to God. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) And what does God want Christians to do with this precious gift? Tell others about the Lord Jesus and His wonderful Gift! Every true believer has been given the ministry of reconciliation.
Paul went on to say that we are ambassadors for Christ – “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20) That means we represent our Lord wherever we go and speak the words He gives us to say. What are the words we should speak as Christ’s ambassadors? Paul calls it the “word of reconciliation.” Notice that he did not say the “words” of reconciliation. Paul used the singular form of the word (logon) and said that God committed it to us. The word “committed” (themenos) means “placed in.” What is the word that God has placed in every believer? A better question might be – Who has God placed in every believer? Jesus, of course! Jesus is the Word of God. We preach, teach, live and breathe Jesus Christ. Jesus is the One Who reconciles sinners to God. It’s not our words that do this Mighty Work of Heaven. It is the Son of God Who offers Himself to the lost and dying of humanity through our ministry of reconciliation. The “Word” in us that we speak is the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the Good News of God’s Love and Mercy. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful to save anyone who believes!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
“… that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14
If estimates of the number of Christians in the world are true (between 1.8 and 2.4 billion), then all we have to do as the Body of Christ is share the Gospel with two people today and we’ve finished evangelizing the world. How long could that take? We should be done before lunch! So why hasn’t that happened? Why are most of the people we meet in our daily life still lost in their sins?
The truth is not attractive. The number of true believers is far less than the lowest estimates and the majority of true believers have probably never led another person to receive Christ as their Savior. Truth be told – most Christians go to their grave never having shared the Good News with another soul. Why? Why would someone who has experienced the salvation of God not share that Good News with another human being? There is no good answer. We stand mute before our Lord and Savior trying to find a way to explain our lack of love and gratitude for His amazing Sacrifice. Jesus commanded His followers to tell others about Him, so why wouldn’t we do that?
I think the reason most Christians never tell another person how to be saved is because we don’t really love and fear God. If we love someone with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, we want to please them. We will love what they love, want what they want, believe what they believe, fight what they fight, support what they support, oppose what they oppose, do what they do, go where they go, say what they say. What does God love? People!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made ussit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:2
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Ephesians 5:25
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him … We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:9, 19
It is clear from Scripture that God loves people and wants them to be saved! If we are going to face a Judge who will examine everything we’ve ever done in light of a Perfect Law, we would be wise to do what He tells us to do. Here’s how Paul explained it.
“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:9-15
“Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men … For the love of Christ compels us.” God wants us to make our aim – our goal, our purpose – in life to please Him – and what pleases Him is that we persuade people about God’s Love for them … “For the love of Christ compels us.” Knowing that God will judge us based on what He has commanded us to do, we should be about the business of persuading people about the existence of the Living God, their sin against Him, their desperate need for His Grace and Mercy, and His Love for them shown through the Gift of Christ’s Death on the Cross and Resurrection from the dead.
What is the motive for doing this? The Love of Jesus Christ – it compels us to share the Gospel with lost people – “that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
Do you see that? The Gospel is not just about what God did for us – it’s also about what we do for Him – “that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
If you want to be involved in this ministry of reconciliation, here’s some great news – God will work through you! God will equip you for this amazing ministry. He will teach you, prepare you and empower you for this ministry. God will also prepare the hearts of people to be ready to hear what you say. If you really want to share Christ with other people, the Lord will make it happen for you. The ministry of reconciliation is not of human origin. It’s from God. God makes His appeal to the lost through us. Remember that – it’s God’s appeal. He is the One Who sent His Son to die as payment for the penalty of sin. He is the One Who sent His Spirit to dwell in the lives of His children and give them spiritual gifts to serve the Lord. The gifts are from God – the ministries are from God – the power is from God. It is all from God!
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Here are some questions that may help you pinpoint problems in your heart that keep you from sharing the Gospel with others:
What is the primary reason you don’t share the Gospel with others?
What can you do to overcome this problem?
What steps can you take in the next 12 months to learn how to share the Gospel with others?
What Christian(s) do you know who can help train you in sharing the Gospel?
Would you like to be a “minister of reconciliation?”
How important do you think it is to be an “ambassador for Christ?”
Are you ready to make this a spiritual priority in your life?
These are important questions and our prayers are with you as you seek God’s wisdom for your life!
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”