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Helping Others Toward Jesus

One of the main themes of the Bible is what is commonly referred to as “mission.” The concept of mission is that God the Father sent Jesus the Son to rescue those who believe from sin and hell so that they can glorify and enjoy God as they submit to and obey Jesus in all things. Now, God the Son, Jesus Christ, is sending Christians to lead others to faith in him by the power of the Holy Spirit. (John 20:19-23)

Mission is for Everyone

Too often we wrongly believe that it is only the pastor’s job to lead people to Jesus. Biblically, however, every Christian is a missionary, sent by God to bring people to Jesus for his glory. If you are a Christian, it is your high calling to live missionally so that others can know Jesus. (Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:11-21)

The big idea behind mission is that we would use our relationships with others to help them toward faith in and obedience to Jesus in action, word and lifestyle.  At Living Hope Church, where I serve, we call this life-on-life discipleship, friendship evangelism or simply “mission.”  We’re not trying to win people to Jesus in a day.  We’re trying to help people toward Jesus through authentic relationship over time.

evangelismHow to Live on Mission

Living “on mission” can seem scary and overwhelming, but it’s much more natural and easy than you might expect.  Here are a 8 ways you can live on mission naturally.  Don’t worry about doing them all at once, just take the next step in helping others on the journey.

1. Get with God. In John 15, Jesus tells his followers that they can do absolute nothing apart from him.  This means that we must first be sourced in, dependent on and submitted to Jesus as we seek to lead others to him.  We must live out of the overflow of our enjoyment of and relationship with Christ and we must prayerfully ask him to bring people to himself.

2. Live Differently. The statement “seeing is believing” is critical for helping others toward Jesus.  People can’t physically see Jesus, but they can see the affects of Jesus’ work in your life.  In Matthew 5:13-15 Jesus tells his disciples to be “salt” and “light.”  Salt has many properties, but one of them is that it makes you thirsty.  Light also has many properties; one of them is that it reveals to the eyes what is hidden.  Jesus is saying that we are to live in a way that reveals him to others in action, word, worldview and lifestyle so that they would see Jesus in our lives and grow thirsty for God. We bring Jesus’ example to life for others through our example to others.

3. Answer Honestly. People will take notice when our actions, words and lifestyles are different than theirs; they’ll want to know why and will likely ask for the reasoning.  In 1 Peter 3:15 Peter  tells his readers to “always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks for the reason for the hope that you have.”  In other words, Peter is telling us that people are going to ask why we live the way we do; we must be willing to honestly tell them that it’s because of Jesus.

4. Establish friendships around shared interests and experiences. If you want the opportunity to live differently and  answer honestly then you need to put yourself in an environment where you can make friends. Make it easy for yourself by making friends who enjoy the things that you enjoy. Mission will be much more natural this way. In John 1, it was Nathaniel’s friend Philip who invited him to meet Jesus. It was the strength of the friendship that moved Nathaniel to accept the invite.

5. Extend invitations to others. The number one reason why people don’t attend church is because no one has ever invited them. Don’t be satisfied with a casual relationship with those far from God. Be deliberate in pursuing them so that they might actually come to know Jesus. You can do this by simply extending invitations. Invite your non-Christian friends to eat with you, to hang out with you, to meet your Christian friends in a context that isn’t church related. Over time, take your invitations a step further and invite them to a gathering with members from your church, to a Community Group or to a Sunday Service. If you’ve done 1-4, you’ll be surprised how willingly they might accept.

6. Accept invitations from non-Christian friends. Jesus was constantly spending time with people far from God.  The religious teachers in Luke 5 even criticized him for spending so much time with the irreligious.  Jesus responded by reminding the religious teachers that sinners need him.  When your non-Christian friends invite you to a meal, to play sports or video games, to go shopping, hang out or visit a party–go with them.  Light shines brighest in the darkness. Living differently in their environment will open many doors to speak with them about Jesus.

7. Ask good questions. In Luke 20, a group of religious teachers come to question Jesus. Instead of getting defensive, angry or frustrated, Jesus responds by asking them questions in return. In doing so, Jesus identifies their motives and discovers how he can further reveal truth to them. We can use the same method in our relationships by questioning the behaviors and worldviews that we see and hear around us. Most people aren’t really sure why they do what they do. By questioning their beliefs and lifestyles we can get them asking questions that provide us the opportunity to speak with them about Jesus. This can be as simple as asking our friends if they have any faith preferences and then genuinely listening to them without judging, condemning, correcting or criticizing.

8. Share the gospel. Paul tells the Corinthian church that he “delivered to them [the gospel] as of first importance.”  The gospel is the good news about who Jesus is and what Jesus has done.  It is the truth that Jesus is King who rules all peoples. He deserves all we are, have and do and he should determine who we are and how we live.  The gospel is also the good news that Jesus used his authority as King entirely for our benefit by dying on the cross to deal with our sin and bring us back to God.  Don’t let your friendship be wasted by missing the gospel.  Honor your friends.  Tell them about their need for Jesus.  Tell them of God’s love for them.  Invite them to trust in Jesus and to let Jesus lead their life. This, as Paul says, is of first importance.

Mission can be difficult.  Use these 8 suggestions to help you along the way!

This post summarizes a sermon series I preached at the Living Hope Church-Maryville Campus called “Mission: Living Out & Inviting In.” You can view the sermon series by clicking here.

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