How do I spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
This is an extremely relevant question today as I think that there are more answers to these questions than separate Christian Churches.
Before I start I actually want to give a background of the person I have to share the gospel with. Firstly he has no knowledge of any Christian doctrines. He does not believe in any other gods, so he is someone without any belief system in place. He has never been in contact with any person who had a view of any belief system. So he knows that the sun rises and sets, seeds ripen and germinate, and plants like humans and animals live and die. That is the sum total of his knowledge on the subject of life. So he does not have any scientific knowledge, and also has not spoken to someone about any philosophical subject. So he does not have any view regarding things that we know of.
So my task is now to convince him that he needs Jesus in his life in order for him not to die as a stranger of the LORD, and thus end up not receiving everlasting life.
Where do I start to convince that this person needs to live like a child of the LORD in order to receive everlasting life? This is really a very important subject for me as I see so many people, people saying that they are Christians, taking the high road to everlasting condemnation. I have tried so many times to talk to some of these people, but I have yet to succeed.
In my talks to these people and my observations on how these people react, I have found that I can separate these people into four groups of people. The first group are those that I would name as the inventors. They will search until they find something that answers all their questions, and then document it. If it was already documented, they will still ensure that the written answer is correct and then they will use that result in their lives. The one thing we have to remember about this group is that they are not always able to read or write, but they can survive. They will go out with people, see how they achieve success, and then do as told or shown. A good example to me as a South African is the Bushmen, who have survived this way for centuries. Unfortunately those that think they know better will normally die out, and that is what we find even in the animal world. They are willing to follow a winning recipe and know how to use it to their own advantage.
The next group are those that will read something, believe what they read, and make it their answer. So they are the followers. They are very easy to identify as they will always have their solution at hand and try to convince you that their solution is the only correct answer. This is the largest group of people in the world.
The next group are those that have no solution at all, but are able to read or hear or see a solution, but that which they read or saw will be impossible to implement for them. These people can at times repeat word for word what they read or heard, but lacks the ability to implement the answer. So they will “know” a lot of things and can quote things day and night long without being able to understand what they are referring to.
The last group are those that live and argue from their own belief system. They have all the answers and will force you to accept their answers, but fail to be able to engage in a constructive dialogue. So you can talk to these people on a daily basis, but they will not change and only believe their answer. These are the most difficult people to live with as they only follow their own solution. I have an example of this group which might highlight some of their ways. I helped at a school for nearly a year. One of the subjects was technology, and we had to cover the subject of what type of material works best for certain situations. One of the items covered was a raincoat, where PVC would be the obvious type of material. One learner said his brother wears a leather jacket and therefore it is better. Eight months on and if we had to match fabric and use, he could not match PVC to a raincoat, as he was right. This group of people really are a lost cause.
Now where do I start my conversation with this person that I am trying to share the gospel with? How do I explain the pro’s and con’s?
The first point I have to make is that I can only make someone a disciple of something that I believe in. If I do not know how to make a fire, I will not be able to teach someone how to make a fire. So now I have to start with my calling that will end up with the person receiving everlasting life, but a further problem I have is that I am not allowed to use any reference material. So I do not have a Bible at my disposal to give to the person in order to give to him to get some background information on Christianity, and no leaflets to use. So where and how do I start?
The first step is to find out what the person’s current life looks like. I have to find out if he can differentiate between right and wrong. I have to remember that even if they believe in killing other human beings, that action not always qualifies as sin. Within their customs it might be seen as perfectly normal. Even though I know that to take someone’s life is normally a sin, even the Bible has exceptions to this rule. When we read the last three chapters of the book of Judges, the LORD expressly tells the other nine tribes to go and kill the tribe of Benjamin. When Israel crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land, they were instructed to kill every person who was not an Israelite before they could accept their inheritance.
Now how do I answer to these questions? In the case of Benjamin it is actually quite easily done. Some people from the tribe of Benjamin raped the wife of a priest until she was dead, and left her body at the door of the house where the priest was sleeping. So they sinned against the woman, but the whole tribe refused to tell who the perpetrators were. Nearly their whole tribe was killed in the ensuing three days. We read that during this time 90,000 Benjaminites were killed, and then we read that when the rest of the survivors returned home, they had no wives or children left. We find that the rest of Israel gave them 10,000 women from Jabes of Gilead, and the rest were told to go and kidnap some of the choir dancers that danced at the annual gathering in order for them to get wives. None of the daughters of the other tribes were given to the tribe of Benjamin.
When Israel started occupying Canaan, they had to kill all the locals in order to take possession of their inheritance of the LORD. They had to ensure that all the women were killed, as the LORD knew how easy it is for a woman to seduce a man. That is why Israel always fought against the Philistines, as they did not smite them completely.
So I cannot ask if this person has ever killed another person, as not all killings are regarded as murder. When you kill someone in self defence or during a war situation, you will not even be charged with murder today. You may have a temporary charge against you, but that will be dropped the moment it is proved that it was in self defence or during a war.
So how and where do I start? I believe we have to start at the other side of the spectrum, by telling the person about the greatness of the LORD. This means that I can tell the person how plants germinate, animals increase in numbers, and how humans produce offspring. I can then use this to explain what the world looks like, what happens to the sun when it sets at night and where the moon is when we can’t see it. So the whole time I can show the greatness of the LORD, that He made everything, even us a humans and that we had the LORD who provided everything we needed, and that originally we never had to work to supply for ourselves.
But we are now faced with the biggest question of them all. How do I explain Adam and Eve’s sin and subsequent fall? I think it is a lot easier than what most people think. We have to find out what animal is at the top of the food chain, or what animal are they scared of. I am convinced that one of these answers will be a snake. So now I can tell them that a snake got Eve to eat from the one plant that they were prohibited to eat from. The LORD did not make us as zombies, but he made us as people who could differentiate between doing good and bad. By eating from this one plant, they lost all the privileges they had as given to them by the LORD. So instead of ruling over all creation, they lost their position, and as part of their actions, they now had to work for their food. Another thing that happened to them was that they lost that direct line of communication with the LORD. Where they went for a stroll with Him on a daily basis, it was no longer the case.
So now I have to choose everyday what is good and what is bad. So I can use really any aspect of their lives where they have to make a decision, what is correct and what is not. One of the easiest examples that we can use is who looks after the aged, the children, and those that really have nothing. The answer will be that those who can will look after the elders in their community. This I can immediately use as something that we know is correct. So they are already showing their love to their neighbours. And that is what John describes in 1 John 3. It will not be difficult to explain this to them, and then to expand on that by telling them that what they are already doing, is what the LORD expects from us. (This is stated so many times in the Bible, for instance Isaiah 58, Matthew 25 and then all the other references that these chapters refer to.)
I can now come to the difficult part, by asking the person if he sometimes does things that he is not proud of. But, how do I know that it is something I should not be proud of. All people are born with a part of the LORD inside of us that will tell us when we mess up. (Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.) (Joh 16:7-11)
But it doesn’t help me at all knowing that I keep on doing this wrong in my life. So I have to get to this point in my life where I have to seek help to overcome this wrong in my life that the Spirit of the LORD is showing me the whole time. But then the LORD came with a dramatic plan to save us from all these wrongs, and put us in a right standing with Him again. He sent His Son to die for us, but even more, His son overcame death and was raised on the third day to correct this aspect for us. Before He sent His Son, people had to sacrifice a goat or sheep annually to receive forgiveness, but now His Son paid for our sin. But the people did not like the fact that His son was without any sin or wrong doings, so they killed Him.
But that was also the time when the Father showed us that He is the giver and taker of life, by raising His Son from the dead. Now what does this help me? By believing that the LORD did this for us, that when we die, we will be raised again, only this time in the same state as Adam and Eve had before the fall.
So I can live this life after death where everything is made new, and I never have to die again. I can now eat from everything that is available, without worrying about anyone else, as we all will share in this marvellous life. (Rev 22)
But how do I convince the person to change. He must come to the realization that he is doing something that is wrong. He must be told that he cannot fix this problem himself, but that if he should trust in what Jesus came to do on earth, it is possible to come into the right standing with the LORD. Without accepting the fact that only Jesus can put it right, he will end up not receiving everlasting life. So what must we do? It now gives me the opportunity to explain what happens when someone is baptized, and that is where the one that caused me to do wrong and all his followers, will be killed when I am baptized. As that is what happens in the water. My old selfish man dies when I go into the water, and the person that emerges from the water is freed from his sinful nature. It does not mean that I will be perfect like Adam and Eve today, but we now know that when we die, we will end up in Paradise, the place where Adam and Eve received everything they needed for free from the LORD. So I can now ask him if he believes that what I explained to him is possible. That he can get to Paradise but we have to accept what the LORD did to restore this relationship with us. I can now tell him that when I hand him a Bible, he can read 1 Corinthians 10 and see how the LORD treated Israel when they left Egypt. I can now tell him that what happened to Israel, happened as an example to us so that we do not have to go through all their problems.
Only now can I ask him if he believes that the LORD wants to give him back the life he lost through the sin of Adam and Eve. We have to realize that not all people have this life already, but if he does what I explained to him, he will be the example that others would like to follow. He can now decide that in order to help him to stop doing what in his own eyes is wrong, he needs to do what I explained to him. Once he does this and asks the LORD to remind him when he does what is wrong and he stops doing what is wrong, he can then explain to his own people in their own language what to do, which is a lot easier than me talking to him through an interpreter or a barrier caused by language.
So if he is willing to accept this, we can now share communion, where the bread shows us that Jesus gave us His flesh and by drinking wine, we share in His blood. I have then become one with Him, and because of that, I will now receive everlasting life and not everlasting death when I die. The one issue that is of paramount importance is that we have to be old enough to know that I can never return to wander in my old ways, but that I declare that I will ask the Holy Spirit daily what to do. If I do not do that, I will end up like some of Israel who fled from Jerusalem to avoid being taken captive by Nebukadneser, and that I then declare that Jesus cannot save me as we cannot leave our old sinful life more than once, as we then crucify Jesus again. I can now explain what prayer is, and that the LORD is always with us and all we have to do is ask Him to tell us right from wrong. So I am now in the same relationship as what Adam and Eve had before they sinned and listened to the devil. The only thing is while on this earth we are bound by the rules that came into effect when Adam and Eve sinned, so I still have to provide for myself and those who depend on me. So after having shared communion, we can now go through the water to be baptised. I know that even though we were baptised we will still do things that we should not do, but we can ask the LORD to forgive us, and He will if we stop doing the same sin again. (1 John 1:8&9) But I know that the Holy Spirit will always be by my side, and help me to make the right choices. These wrong choices are known in the Bible as sin, but I know that because the LORD lives inside of me, I can overcome this sin. I can now take the person and lay hands on him and ask the LORD like Moses did, to take from His Spirit that is resting on me, and to give it to him as surety that he has been saved.
As he now knows that he will live forever even when he dies, he has to start living as an overcomer. He has to understand that he has to make the correct decisions, even if he loses out. If he decides to go back to his old life, he must understand that he is lost forever.
He can now start living as someone who shows the love of the LORD to his neighbours. That is the primary purpose of the Bible to show people how to live in love. So I have to take care of others and show my love towards them. That is when those closest to you will ask you to share how they can live a life like yours. So now you can start making them disciples.
While laying hands on the person and to asking the LORD to baptise him in the Holy Spirit, I can ask the LORD to provide him with the gifts that he will need in his daily life. For those people that do not know what these gifts are, I suggest that you read 1 Corinthians 12 where they are all explained. I can now give the person a Bible, and ask him to read about Adam and Eve, How the LORD took Israel as nation away from Egypt, and what they did right and wrong in their walk with the LORD. He can now read about the covenant the LORD made, that He made it between Himself and His son, and that we are only benefactors of that covenant. I can then point out to him to say that he is only responsible for himself, as we find in Galatians 6 verse 5 and Ezekiel chapter 18 that I will not pay for someone else’s wrongs but only for my own. So I cannot pay for someone else’s deeds and will not be judged for the deeds of others, except if I have children who are still under age and they do things contrary to a Christian. So that means that my children are my responsibility until they come of age, which according to the way the LORD handled Israel, was age 20. I can now tell the person he can now do the same as what I did to his immediate family and friends, and that they can all study the Bible together to see how they should live. They can get together and pray for one another, even if it feels if the whole world is against you. You are their example, so you will have to watch your step. Just remember that 80% of what you say comes from your unspoken words, so how you act and react.
I can now leave the person on his own and do follow up work with him and those who he managed to persuade to follow Jesus. I have to mention here that I will talk to some people and even though they said that they wanted what I explained, but they continued in their sinful ways, there is nothing I can do as the LORD will see through their motives and decide who will be saved. I can explain scripture to them that they do not understand, and help those who have+ problems in understanding the message of Jesus. But as I mentioned in my introduction, there are four types of people in the world. So not every person that I share the message with will accept it. But all I can do is pray to the LORD that He will change their lives and open them up to accept this message of Jesus. Some people will not understand the message of baptism, but they have never learned that in order to live, I need to die. It is my work only to do the planting of the seed, and the LORD will do the rest. He will germinate that seed; let them grow even though some will die. Jesus tells us what will happen to the various seeds in Matthew 13. I can only pray that the LORD will change a person’s heart to receive the gift of everlasting life.
So that is my way of making disciples of Jesus. If I did not cover the subject in this short description, it will not change anything. It does not help teaching people doctrines of man if we do not even know the doctrines of the LORD, as is spelled out to us in Hebrews 6: “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” (Heb 6:1-2)
And that was the first four doctrines. We still have to look and discuss the next two doctrines, those about everlasting life and everlasting death. The person will know about these two doctrines as he had to make the decision to follow Jesus and receive everlasting life before we shared communion the first time.
I know that there are many different belief systems amongst Christians, but I believe they interfere when we try and make disciples of Jesus Christ. A thing like predestination is not even necessary to explain, as it hinders my task to plant seeds and is something made up by interpreting only certain passages of the Bible, but leaves the love of God on the sideline. The same thing with the rapture theory, as it is manmade doctrines and cannot be justified unless you brainwash your disciples. People will say that this way I described leaves it to the individual to decide if he wants to be saved or not, which is something I do not have control over as the Holy Spirit is the One doing the convincing. So it depends on the individual and I do not control that, nor the individual that receives the message. That only the LORD knows about.
Unfortunately today we find that 95% or more of Bible believing Christians do not live as Christians. They do not show that they love their neighbour. They cannot understand that what people do or say may hurt others, and it is my duty to show the love of God to the people around me. Being a Christian is not a once a week event where we all gather together, sing a few songs and listen to a motivational speech by someone who will do anything to impress his listeners, but a 24 hour 7 days a week, 365 days of the year lifestyle.
We all have choices to make every day. These choices will influence others, and may have positive or negative effects, but I cannot blame my incompetence on the LORD. When people get power hungry, they will fight for their “rights”, but that is not how we differentiate between Christians and non Christians. We can only differentiate between the two when we look at the respective fruits of their labours. Do they show love to others or not? We see this throughout history where people were involved in wars, genocide and all sorts of atrocities. Even family members behaving like animals against their own children. That is not love and cannot be classed as Christian behaviour. You will be surprised what people have had to endure in their lives growing up in so called Christian homes, things like rape, assault and the like. And we have to remember that these people made a choice to do this, so we cannot blame this on the LORD. He is not micro managing every aspect of every person’s life. His commandment is to rule over His creation, and will judge us one day according to His commandment of love. So bad things will happen to good people, and good things will happen to bad people and I cannot control that. My life is all based on decisions and actions of others. They will one day have to answer to the LORD.
I specifically tried not to use Bible verses to show people that I can live a life as a Christian without being bombarded by Bible verses. But I will end this by quoting the verses I believe that shows the difference between those that are attending Church meetings, and those that are Christians. “This is the message that you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because what he was doing was evil and his brother’s actions were righteous. So do not be surprised, brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love one another. The person who does not love remains spiritually dead. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life present in him. This is how we have come to know love: the Messiah gave his life for us. We, too, ought to give our lives for our brothers. Whoever has earthly possessions and notices a brother in need and yet withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God be present in him? Little children, we must stop expressing love merely by our words and manner of speech; we must love also in action and in truth. This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and how we will be able to keep ourselves strong in his presence. If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in the presence of God. Whatever we request we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” (1Jo 3:11-22)
In closing I would like to end this by quoting from the last book in the Old Testament. “Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other. The LORD listened and took note, and a scroll of remembrance was written in his presence about those who fear the LORD and honour His name. “They’ll be mine,” says the LORD of the Heavenly Armies, “in the day when I prepare my treasured possession. I’ll spare them, just as a man spares his own son who serves him. When you return, you will see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not.” (Mal 3:16-18)
I hope that you will be part of the righteous.