We are called as fishers of men (see Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17). The question posed is, What exactly are we using to attract people to our message?
One of the keys to Jesus' effectiveness at changing the hearts of men from the world to the Kingdom, was His ability to not look at people where they are, but to look at them in the sense of where they could be.
He called people out of their sin, but not simply by condemning their sin; rather, by giving them the gift of hope in something greater.
The main message that Jesus spoke of was, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." This phrase has become synonymous with evangelism, but how can we truly use the message of Christ in preaching the Gospel without a true understanding of Jesus' heart behind the message?
The word repent has become a word that brings connotations of weeping, guilt and, at times, pain. In actuality, true repentance has nothing to do with pain, guilt or sadness. In reality, the message of repentance has its foundation in the hope of the Kingdom of Heaven being available. You see, Jesus never condemned the people, but rather gave them something better.
Changing from one way of life and one thought process, which is what true repentance is, doesn't come by simply realizing that your current way of life is BAD, but rather by the reality of a BETTER WAY. "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." That is the central theme of Jesus' message. That message is what actually causes repentance.
In our quest to condemn sin, we have actually begun to condemn the people that are caught in the traps of sin. We place the focus of our message on how bad sin is, rather than on how amazing Jesus is.
The problem is that many people have tried religion; they may have tried to do all of the right things, but that didn't change them. What finally changed them was the reality that something better existed. That God had ordained a DESTINY for them, a DESTINY that had eternal significance. And the knowledge that the Kingdom of Heaven was a living reality available to THEM...that is what changed them
The GRACE AND LOVE of Jesus Christ is the greatest message of hope in all of eternity. Our message should be a message of HOPE, and leave the conviction of sin to the Holy Spirit.
If we begin to stand for what Jesus stood for, more and more people would be attracted to our cause.
Jesus' message of love and grace is sufficient. This message is what causes those in sin to leave their current life and to embrace a new life in Christ. For the most part, those outside redemption do not know that the core of our message is love and grace.
Why? Maybe because it hasn't been the core of our message.
The more love we acquire, the less sin we will desire.
What changed the woman caught in adultery recorded in John, Chapter 8?
The Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus. This woman was caught in the act of adultery. There was no question that she had committed the sin in dispute. The law of the day was that this woman should be stoned. This, in the eyes of everyone present, is what should happen. Jesus stooped down to the dirt and began writing on the ground. He then posed a question to all of her accusers and condemners that had gathered: "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first" (John 8:7).
Soon all of her accusers were convicted of their own sin and left. Jesus was left alone with her. He then poses a question to the woman, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" The woman replies, "No one, Lord." To this Jesus responds, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." No committee needed. No discussion of what should be done. No process of healing needed. Only one thing was needed: pure and undiluted love and grace. Jesus didn't send the woman out to sin again, rather the love that He showed changed the woman.
Was this too much grace? Did Jesus allow her to "get away" with her sin? Should something more have been done?
The love of God is so beyond our human understanding that we feel the need to insert something "more" into the process. Divine love changes people. Condemnation does not. That day the woman found hope. In her search for fulfillment and pleasure she fell into sin. In the very moment the religious system wanted to condemn her, Jesus saw an opportunity to show her the love of the Father. That is evangelism.
After Jesus' instruction to the woman, He addresses the religious leaders that were gathered to Him and says, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." For the most part, our mindset says, "If you don't walk in darkness, then you can follow Jesus." The truth is that encountering the LOVE of Jesus CAUSES you to not walk in darkness. Follow Him and you will not follow darkness. Show people love and the darkness ceases to have power.
We weren't called to gather people to our buildings, but rather to go out and be "light in the world".
It is hard to see the eternal potential created within someone when we become aware of their faults. We even seem to label people according to their sin instead of according to God's design for them. Once we see a person's or a people's sin, we immediately link them to that sin .What caused Peter to follow Jesus so quickly could be Jesus' willingness to look past Peter's faults and into his heart. Jesus continually called Peter to a high calling. He drew him to His heart and did not let Peter's faults, even when Peter denied their relationship, disqualify him from that high calling.
We should pray that God would give us the eyes of Christ, that we would be able to see the lost through their eternal DESTINY. Only then will we be able to effectively call them out of darkness by showing them the light.
As Peter was fishing one day, Jesus came walking by. He simply said, "Follow Me." This wasn't Peter's first encounter with Jesus; his brother Andrew had taken Peter to Jesus prior to this in John 1:42— although this time Jesus called him not just to be near Him, but to be a part of His life in an intimate way.
What would cause Peter to drop his entire life and follow this Man? It is found in the way Jesus saw Peter. Peter was a fisherman. Not a pillar of society by any means. If you've ever been to a fishing wharf, it's not the most godly place on earth. Peter was probably not the most godly man on earth, but Jesus was able to see past that.
Jesus didn't see Peter according to his present circumstances, but SAW HIM ACCORDING TO WHO HE WAS CREATED TO BE.
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