Today we will look at sharing Christ with the people around us - otherwise called 'mission' or 'mission work'.
Usually, there is a group in most churches mandated with this task. And the members in such groups are them who have 'been called' to share Christ and spread Christianity.
I am from such a church and the process is mainly:
- A mission area and date are identified and announced
- A committee is appointed to oversee the whole mission. If a mission group exists, they are given that duty.
- In the weeks that follow, teachings are done on how to effectively share Christ with others.
- 'Mission Christians' are invited to come and speak to the body of Christ on their experiences, methods and results.
- On the mission day, the church members meet in church and are then distributed in groups of not less than two on to the mission area.
- Door to door is done in the morning and mainly an open-air crusade in the afternoon.
- The major call to action is usually one - accept Christ Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.
- At the end of the period, a report is done with numbers showing that such a number of people has joined the church.
- Everyone then 'relaxes' until the next 'mission'.
Now, I have no major problem with this process but I would like us to look and consider what the people in the Bible did after experiencing Christ. Let us see if we can learn a better way of reaching out.
NOTE: Kindly if you can, read these scripture before you continue, I won't post the whole Biblical text here, just some select verses.
- The man born blind (John 9)
- The Samaritan woman (John 4)
- The demon possessed man (Luke 8:26-39)
- Cornelius the centurion (Acts 10)
1. The man born blind (John 9)
This man as the Bible records was born blind, not because he had sinned or his parents had sinned; but so that God's power can be made manifest in him. He met Christ, who through some mud and some washing, opened his eyes.
There was then a disbelief among his neighbour and friends asking, 'is this he who was blind and now see?' Some answered, 'it is he'; whole others replied 'he is like him'. But the man replied 'I am he'. And he explained how Jesus had restored his sight.
They brought him to the Pharisees and they asked him the same question, 'how is it that you see'? And he answered of what Jesus had done. They asked him what he thought of Jesus and he replied 'He is a Prophet'.
The Pharisees in their disbelief even called in his parents to enquire of them on whether he had really been born blind; which they confirmed. They called him in again to interrogate him on exactly what happened.
John 9:25He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
After much interrogation; and the man standing firm on his testimony about Christ, the pharisees got angry and threw him out.
2. The Samaritan woman (John 4)
The Samaritan woman met Jesus at the well and immediately Jesus started a conversation with her.
This conversation went from a simple request for drinking water; to the living water; to Jesus telling her of her husbands; to worshipping God in truth and in spirit; to finally Jesus saying He was the Messiah.
The woman after encountering Christ was so impressed, so astonished that the Bible records:
John 4:28-29The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
And the city reacted to the woman's testimony
John 4:30, 4:39-42Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Is not this what we desire to achieve in missions? The salvation of a whole city? Here is an example left for us to follow.
3. The demon possessed man (Luke 8:26-39)
This man was possessed by so many demons that they had driven him crazy that he lived in the tombs. The people had tried to bind him up with chains but he would tear them apart and run into the wilderness.
On this day, he met Christ and was delivered from this demonic possesion. The Bible records that he then sat at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind.
This man then did a very noble thing (which is not mostly talked about when people share his story) - he wanted to be a disciple and follow Christ; but Jesus told him to go back to his own house and declare the wonders of God.
Luke 8:38-39Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.
4. Cornelius the centurion (Acts 10)
The Bible records the story of Cornelius and gives his testimony as a devout man, one who feared God with all his house, gave much alms to the people and prayed always.
One day, he received an angelic visitation and was requested to invite Simon the Peter. He immediately sent people to him and on the third day Peter came over to his house.
The Bible records that Cornelius was waiting for them - and having invited over his family and near friends.
Acts 10:24And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and he had called together his kinsmen and near friends.
Acts 10:27And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
Peter then shared with them the Gospel and all of them believed; and there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as Peter was speaking. Even though they were Gentiles and not Jews, God poured out His Spirit upon them all.
An example to follow
We find in these scripture the formula and examples set before us to follow by ordinary people, people like us. They were not disciples neither religious people - actually most of these people would not be welcome in the religious system of that time. The woman and Cornelius were Gentiles, the man was blind and the other man was demon possessed.
(Would such people be accepted in today's 'churches'? I don't think so; but that's a topic for another day.)
But these people all have something in common:
They had all encountered Christ and they couldn't keep quiet about it.
The Samaritan woman loudly proclaimed, 'Come and see a man who has told me everything I ever did'; the man born blind joined her shouting, 'He is a prophet - for I once was blind but now I see'.
Cornelius after the angelic visit couldn't keep quiet. He called over his family, from near and far and invited over his close friends. Can you see him in your mind loudly proclaiming of God's wonders and telling them of the Angel? Can you see him telling them that Peter would be coming over? Can you sense his joy and excitement?
When Jesus healed the demon possessed man, He told him just one thing: "Return to your own house, and declare the great things God has done unto you". And the man obeyed, he started right there and then going through the country side declaring the things Jesus had done unto him.
Sharing Christ is actually very simple just that we have made it such a complex and scary process.
It is simply this:
Mission is sharing what Jesus has done unto you with other people.
There is no planning involved, no designated mission area or dates, no seminars and conferences to attend, no crusades. It is sharing what Christ has done for you with your neighbour, with your workmates, with that man and woman on the streets, and with everyone.
This is not pride or blowing your own trumpet. You are not saying, 'come and see me' but 'come and see Christ'.
But not many Christians these days do this - for the very simple fact that we have not experienced Christ. We don't know Christ. We have no testimony of our own.
How can you preach on the testimony of another? How can you talk of the 'Jesus whom Paul preaches'? Can your faith find an anchor in the 'great things that God has done for my pastor'? When troubles and temptations come, can you find shelter and a way out in the 'Jesus whom my mum professes'?
You must seek Christ on your own. You must pray for your own testimony, seek for your own 'Jesus touch'. Before you even go to talk to others about Jesus, ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Seek for your 'I once was blind but now I see' testimony.
For in that one experience will you quench all doubts on whether Jesus saves. On that one testimony will you find hope and shelter, saying, 'Jesus did this for me, I trust that He will also do this other thing for me'.
And after this, mission will not be work or a burden anymore to you; it will not be something you do when the church organizes one. Mission becomes part of your daily life. You can't wait to tell other people about Christ. You can't keep quiet about Christ, and His amazing grace, and His saving power. You just can't keep it to yourself.
What can you give such a person to deny Christ? What can you threaten him with? Like the man born blind, what can you do to him that he would deny Christ? Isn't the fact that he can see greater than anything you can throw at him?
And so I tell you and I tell myself too, "Seek Christ while He may be found".