Love Through Christ's Message
Getting Personal With Christianity 4
Apostles are the ones, along with the Seventy, set apart and commanded to spread the gospel as was the case in the New Testament when Jesus Christ first organized His missionary force during His three-year ministry. There is a caveat regarding sharing the message of salvation to others for Saints in the Church. We are commanded to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
If we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, then are we not to share with them what has been shared with us? The answer is yes. We are to share what we have learned about God with all who will listen. That can be intimidating.
I hate to make a sales reference when talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the best way for me to relate it, however.
I saw a commercial that blew me away because of how convincing it was at eliciting a response from my materialistic side to purchase it. The commercial showed me how effectively it convinced a few interviewees that a weapon of mass destruction had struck in their city, the video below.
I want that TV. Sure, I would have been ticked about the experience initially, but the graphic power has me sold.
The most effective way that Christians can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ is through demonstration. Does the gospel make us happy? Does it give peace in our lives? It will show in our daily walk without words ever having to leave our lips. Our behavior may cause another person to ask us about our beliefs.
The Message that we have to share is the knowledge that life is not meaningless and we can have salvation by following Jesus Christ's teachings. The message is Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead. That other stuff about the salvation and peace are natural occurrences because of Him. We call it the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
It may take a lifetime to understand fully the efficacy of the sacrifice Jesus made suffering for our sins and hurts as found in the book of Isaiah. We may never in this life understand the science of His resurrection along with all of the Saints who had been dead who rose immediately after Him.
It only takes a few moments to share our faith. We believe that it is true that we can be saved through the grace of Christ because He paid the penalty for our sins, which is death; and He suffered for those sins that we would not have to suffer if we would repent and follow Him.
Guilt is a motivating factor to share the Gospel. The scriptures can elicit much that seems to be in the form of chastisement leading to guilt, then repentance. If all the tools of sharing the Gospel are not explained to a person, it could lead to a bad experience which can further exacerbate a desire to share. I don't like to feel guilty. It works, though.
First and foremost about the gospel is honesty.
There is nothing more damaging to Christians than faith promoting lies. NEVER pretend to any experience to build the faith of others or interest other people as an introduction to Christ's teachings. In the end, faith based on a lie is an abomination to God. There is a scripture that comes to mind: Proverbs 31:16-17.
These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue....
A Christian who feels it is appropriate to invent fictitious stories and peddle them as the truth shows no faith in the power of God, showing a form of Godliness but denies the power of God. Such an act of priestcraft demonstrates a lack of trust that God will reveal Himself to potential converts. Peddling fiction as reality damages faith. It suggests the faith-by-fiction person thinks he or she knows better than God.
The moral of the story is: Be honest always.
If the principles of the gospel are a sore trial for you, but you are holding on in faith like Job, then be true to that experience. If we are not happy, we are not to pretend otherwise. We are also not to be miserly either--a tortured soul so that others would think that we are pious. There is a fine balance we should attempt to maintain with the hope that peace will come through Christ's teachings. If what Christians believe is of worth, there is no need to fib about it.
True Christianity is how we unite with our family and in our community.
Sharing the Gospel can occur through acts of service or random kindness. The most important place Saints will share the Gospel is in their homes. Start there first with kindness and service, then radiate out.
Jesus Christ's example inspires love for God and humanity as people read of His mortal ministry of service. Service will lead others to question why we, as the servers, do the things that we do. It may even lead them to do the same works and seek out Christ.
Fear is not of God
Sometimes instead of repentance, some Christians experience other things like I-am-not-a-missionary disorder or I-am-not-going-to-church-anymore syndrome. I am sure all are familiar with holier-than-thou-itis and condescension-oids.
Due to a lack of faith, some of us will fall into these categories of spiritual illness. It would not be conducive to the Spirit of God to accuse a Christian of these ailments, but knowing why a person may experience these woes may help to avoid falling into the same pit.
Fear is the big motivator for I-am-not-a-missionary disorder or I-am-not-going-to-church-anymore syndrome. Fear can cause us to avoid fulfilling our responsibility to share and thereby forget the importance of the covenant. God may not have called all Christians to serve as apostles or in quorums of the Seventy, but He did call us to be witnesses of His love.
Paul in his counsel to Timothy wrote that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." [2 Timothy 1:7] God gives power to His faithful, love to His faithful, and intelligence to His faithful. If we have faith to live the word of Christ to love God and our neighbors as ourselves, then we all are ambassadors of Christ. We love people enough to respect them where they are on their spiritual paths and share our lives with them to the degree that we can as did Paul, in somberness and truth.
Avoiding Church or concluding that we are not appropriate missionary people suggests coping behaviors people use to deal with guilt associated with not fulfilling a spiritual duty. Instead of pushing us to love our neighbors through service, we avoid leaving our comfort zone by not thinking about that part of the Gospel or skipping church altogether. Fear of rejection and persecution are real factors that many of us struggle to overcome. However, with patience for ourselves and faith in our ability to change through the repentance process, we can rise to the level and share the love of God with others. It could be as simple as a hello or as comprehensive as a discussion about faith.
Pride Comes Before the Fall
Pride is also associated with those excuses, a refusal to change or try to change to meet the demands of the covenant Saints make with Christ to reach out to others..
Pride is associated with holier-than-thou-itis and condescension-oids. There are so many spiritual disorders associated with pride that cannot be covered in this article. Pride gives people the false sense that they are somehow better than others because they are chosen to be called the people of God.
In a horrible display, a group of ancient Americans founded a system of belief where each man would worship by standing on a pulpit called the Rameumptom and repeating the same words. Listed in part is the prayer these people gave:
Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ... O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God. And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen. [Alma 31:16-17]
Rather than share their beliefs, these people felt that God cherished them above all others. Though they were not followers of Christ, there are some of us who claim to follow Christ and feel that all who are not Christians will perish because God favors us above others. God is no respecter of persons that He thinks one group has more value of His children than another. Misinterpreting the Scriptures that way is a fatal flaw because Peter clarified that,
Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. [Acts 10:34-35]
Simply, the Gospel is free for all people. God will hold all of us accountable who refuse to share the truths that we enjoy due to the pride of self-indulgence.
In the last days, it is said that men or people shall be lovers of themselves. What better way for a person to love him or herself than to think him or herself superior to others? It is time for us to see God as the Father to all humanity that He is!
Through many personal and vivid experiences, I have come to a sure spiritual knowledge that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way to eternal happiness and immediate peace if applied with earnest. It is okay for us to have apprehension about sharing things with others. We can learn to deal with the butterflies in our tummies while actually using one of, or multiples of the many ways to share the gospel--the ways that suit our talents and gifts.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2018 Rodric Anthony Johnson