It's about intimacy
I'm Jessai. I am from Utrecht but currently live in Germany. There I go to the Awakening School of Ministry. God is my everything and because God thinks evangelism is important, I have come to think so too. I like to share the gospel, often one on one or in groups and sometimes in a square or on the train. It's amazing to see what God wants to do as we work with Him to reach people with the gospel. Every few weeks I will write a blog about evangelism in which I will share testimonies but also practical tips. Before the first blog I had it on my mind to talk more about intimacy first. For me, this is the most important part of sharing the gospel. It must be real!
What is the Gospel?
God had a relationship with man, but sin broke it. Sin leads to death because it distances man from the holy God who is our life. God created man for a relationship with Him, and when Jesus came to earth, it was not only to save people from eternal death by forgiving sin, but also to reconcile man to Himself and tear the veil. In 2 Corinthians 5:15-21 Paul writes nicely about this. We are called, like Jesus, to reconcile this world to Him.
But what does that atonement entail?
Reconciliation means that the relationship we have with God has been restored. When this relationship is restored, it means that we can be in contact with God again. The gospel is deeper than a license to enter heaven. Without love it all means nothing. This is described so beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:
And though I distribute all my possessions to the sustenance of the poor, and though I hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
We can be so fervent, no matter how generous and no matter how willing to lead for the gospel, but if it's not out of love...it's no good.
As in a mirror
verse 12 talks about looking at God as in a mirror. This verse is referred to again in the next book of Corinthians. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 it says:
Now we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transfigured into the same image from glory to glory, as wrought by the Spirit of the Lord.
Love comes from intimacy. If we don't go out of love, for God and for the people around us, it will profit you nothing. Earlier in this chapter, Paul writes about being living epistles. The new covenant is written on the hearts of the people who accept it. And where and how were the stone tablets written? In the presence of God by God Himself! We must first go up the mountain to be alone with God before we go out into the world to share the good news engraved on our hearts with the world.
“there is no such thing as 'Jesus and…' in following Him. "Jesus is the Good News," "Jesus is Atonement," "Jesus is the Word of God." We must stick to the first love. “
The last verse I want to share on this subject is from Song of Songs 1:16-17.
My mother's sons were enraged against me, and they made me keeper of the vineyards. My own vineyard I have not guarded. Thou Whom I dearly love, make known to me where Thou feedst the flock, where Thou maket it rest at noonday. For why should I be like a veiled one among the flocks of Your companions?
Sometimes we become a 'guardian' of various things we do. It will be 'Jesus and evangelism', 'Jesus and pastoral care', 'Jesus and theology'. They become things that must and they are a bit next to your life with God. It is as if we see Jesus through a veil. But there is no such thing as 'Jesus and…' in following Him. "Jesus is the Good News," "Jesus is Atonement," "Jesus is the Word of God." We must stick to the first love. Where our focus is not divided but our first, second and third focus is on Jesus. I urge you not to go out alone. I call you to come back to the peace and the intimate relationship with Jesus. From there we will go and we will change the world. Out of our own strength we get tired but Jesus is the good shepherd! Jesus leads us to places to rest. I'm not saying that we shouldn't take to the streets. But his yoke is light. We don't have to pull the team alone. Let's reach the world from the rest, peace and relationship with Jesus.