Friday, November 4, 2011

Abducting Jesus (10) - "Calling the Qualified" (continued)

So then, just how do people become disciples if not by attending more Bible studies and classes and sitting through more services?

By encountering Jesus!

Listen, sometimes the truth is so simple that it somehow becomes difficult for us to accept.  The simple truth is that Jesus Christ changes people's lives!!!  We become disciples by following Jesus.  We remain disciples by following Jesus.  That is the simple discipleship formula.  Everything else is stuff that we have added to the equation, and quite frankly, it messes up a lot of people.  It exchanges relationship with the life-changing Lord for religion.  It is not the way that people are set free!

Instead of believing people are qualified for ministry and sharing their faith by the number of classes and programs they attend, what if we believed what the Bible actually teaches?  That what qualifies a person for ministry and spreading the Good News is whether they have met Jesus and received His Spirit!!  Could it be that simple?

Well, let's look at some examples of people who changed the world around them with the life-giving truth of Christ.  Let's see, for starters there was the Philippian jailer in Acts 16 who was supposed to keep Paul and Silas imprisoned, Levi the tax collector (hated by many) in Mark 2, and a severely tormented, demon-possessed man that no one could ever restrain in Mark 5, and let's not forget the woman at the well in John 4.  We could add Roman centurions and Pharisees to the list (think apostle Paul!).  What do all these people have in common?  History records testimonies of each of them bringing other people to faith in Christ.  They reached other sinners, entire households, sometimes whole geographic areas with the gospel message.  The other thing they have in common is their reputation for sin and/or hostility toward the early Christian movement before meeting Jesus.

Do NOT miss this reality.  After a genuine encounter with Jesus (no more, no less), they all became "empowered people on mission" (aka. the Church)!  Not one was told to go to training, attend a class, sign up for a program, order evangelistic materials, join a club or small group, or anything!!!  They were all immediately qualified to carry out all ministry and missional tasks!!!  Why?  They had encountered the real Jesus, and He TRANSFORMED them!!

Now, for the last important point here.  WHEN did these people win others to Christ?  When were they ready to introduce others to Jesus?  When did they lead people they knew (other "sinners") to faith?  In every case, it was within 24-48 hours after meeting Jesus!!!  No six-month "Growing in the Lord" course.  No four-year ministerial course of study.  No ordination process.  No seminary.  No Bible college.  No membership class.  Nothing but JESUS!

Oh, how I need to hear that again!

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