Jesus is Not Your Savior

Thursday is for Discipleship

Jesus_is_LordI have written before about the “unitary nature” of disciple making. Basically, my point is that spiritual formation or discipleship that neglects evangelism is counter productive to its own mission.

Disciples that are focused on their own growth and development hurt their own growth and development if they are not sharing their faith. That is as simple and straight-forward as I can put it. But if I left it there, some would simply say, “Well, so be it. I want to grow in Christ, but I guess I will just have to settle for a lesser spiritual experience because I just can’t see myself talking to people about my faith.”

Then the justifications start:

  • “I’m not good at it. “
  • “I’m not out-going enough.”
  • “I’m not very persuasive.”
  • “What if I mess it up?”
  • “I’m not spiritually gifted that way.”
  • “I just don’t know how to bridge a conversation to spiritual issues?”
  • “I’m afraid I will offend somebody?”
  • “All my friends know I’m a Christian. They can ask me if they are interested.”
  • I’m just not very comfortable speaking up.”
  • “I’ll just live my life in a way that hopefully will draw people to Christ.”

Here’s a shocker. None of them work. And if we persist in them, if we will not be persuaded from them, if we will not share our faith with others, if we will not risk being rejected by others for the sake of the Name, we may not have any part in the Name. He may not be our Savior at all. Strong words? Yes.

All of these things may be true. In fact, I will grant that for many of us they are true. Most of them are certainly true for me.

But here’s the problem: Jesus won’t let me (or you) escape with such lame excuses. He promises to make us fishers of men when we obey his command to follow him. He keeps his promises. He never, NEVER, breaks a promise.

“Follow me and I will make you to be fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17; cf Matthew 4:19)

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33; cf 7:23; 25:12; Luke 13:25)

So there is only one conclusion. If I will not open my mouth and tells others about my Savior, he’s not my Savior. I’m not saying that telling others is what saves you; that would be heresy. But an open mouth to your family and neighbors is one of the chief proofs that you are following Jesus and not some figment of your imagination.

By all means, live a holy, sacrificial, compassionate, self-giving life of service to others and joy in worship, love one another yes, that too is one of the ways that we show that we belong to him. But Jesus says that telling others about him is one of the ways and it is not optional. It is required of all of us who claim him as our own.

For more on this see here and here.

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4 thoughts on “Jesus is Not Your Savior

  1. My dear brother Marty,

    I love your heart for people receiving Christ. I know you have a passion for believers to experience the joy and the growth that comes through sharing Christ with others and may your tribe increase. You truly want to light a fire under our laxness about evangelism and that is needed. And now comes the but to your post.

    The but will be in the form of questions with comments.

    Does the assurance of my salvation rest upon the finished work of Christ or the work of Christ plus my being a faithful witness to others of His message of salvation?

    The answer that states that the proof that my salvation rests upon the finished work of Christ will be the fact that I am a faithful witness of His gospel message I find confusing. Not that this would be what you would answer.

    I believe you understand the gospel and have a soteriology that would find the following congruent to the gospel and your soteriology.

    Did Jesus die for my sins of failing to share the wonderful salvation that can be found in Christ? If not I am in danger of hell fire. I have failed on numerous occasions in my years as a follower of Christ. I have wimped out, I have been distracted and too busy with my own agenda. And as ugly as it is too admit publicly on a blog, I have actually ignored the promptings of the Spirit to share with another person more than once. I have been disobedient to our God. Did Jesus die for these sins? How many of them? Could there be a point where I have failed too many times? Denied Him too many times?

    Am I alone in my experience of these failures?

    Is there salvation offered for these sins, these failures?

    I believe the ultimate answer for my despicable and obviously ungrateful heart as well as my lack of zeal to share the gospel is found in the gospel. Only Jesus alone can transform my heart. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame (even the frame of trying to make myself evangelistic) But wholly trust in Jesus Name.”

    Marty did you give a law kind of post so we will run to the gospel? If so keep preaching the law and showing us that our only salvation is in the gospel.

    In God’s fresh mercy,

    steve

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  2. Hey Steve,

    Hope you are well and the last trip went well. Keep praying for Paul. He’s in South Africa at Lusanne Conference.

    Good push back on the last strongly worded post. I think some of what appears to be an all LAW post is due to my desire to keep the posts at less than 500 word if possible. Let me try to clarify what perhaps I muddied.

    We are saved by trusting in the complete and finished, once for all time, propitiatory sacrifice of our Sovereign and soon coming King. NOTHING I do (no work of righteousness, no victory over temptation, no emotional worship experience, nothing I do) or is done to me (i.e. water baptism, receiving communion) does anything to save me.

    I am not talking about our failures to be bold our wimping out at times when we sense the Spirit’s prompting to open our mouths, or our distracted and overly full lifestyles that keep us from any meaningful relationship and interaction with non-Christians. And oh how wonderful it is to know that there is forgiveness in the cross of our Savior even for these ugly failures on our part.

    But I am saying that in the Spirit of what Paul said to the Corinthians [cf. 2 Cor. 13:5], we should “test ourselves, to see if we are in the faith” (i.e. have savingly believed at all) if there is no willingness to be made into fishers of men.

    Failure is a part of the Christian life. Even failure in witnessing. But it ought to be repented of and forsaken, not embrace and justified. Hope that helps. Appreciate you brother.

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  3. Yes Marty how disgusting at times that I have embraced all kinds of excuses, rationalized my own weaknesses, given myself a pass on certain sins and even more horrific has been my unwillingness to repent and forsake. That is why I must preach the gospel to myself every day. I need a Savior to save me today from my sinful self. I agree that I need to repent of my heart that at times doesn’t care to be made fishers of men.

    Here is something like how I preach to myself the gospel and place my faith in my only hope – Jesus.

    Dear Lord Jesus, I don’t always care for and love people the way You do. All too often I am judgmental in thinking I know who will be open or not to the gospel. I need You to change and transform this rebellious heart, You want me to love my enemies even so I would want them to become my brothers and sisters and share with them Your gospel. Jesus I need Your heart and Your love for the people around me that are on their way to an eternity separated from You. Forgive me for my uncaring rebellious heart. You have said I am righteous through you, that I can live out the life you have called me to because Your Spirit lives in me. I ask to be filled with Your Spirit so I may be bold and not fearful, to be a light in a dark world. Even as I think about being Your light I feel so inadequate – yet You said You would live through me – Lord Jesus I am desperate for You – You are my only hope. As I go through this day let me live in Your righteousness in the power of Your Spirit and may I be a faithful witness to Your gospel.

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  4. The best way I have recently heard it summed up:

    “We are not going to go into heaven sitting at the marriage supper of the lamb ON THE BASIS of our own righteousness but we are not going to be there without righteousness through our sanctification.” (Michael Horton)

    Praise God that all of our failures in evangelism, all our timidness, and all our fears of man have been placed on Christ and crucified with Him.

    But that is not all…

    Praise God that all of Christ’s success in evangelism, all of His boldness, and all of obedience to rightly fear God only has been placed on all of us through our faith in Him.

    But that is not all…

    Praise God that is by faith alone that we are saved, but that faith is never alone! “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6) The Holy Spirit really does transforms our hearts by granting us greater faith in Christ and that faith is working through love so that we will truly love God and other people more.

    So may our failures to share the gospel and wimp out point out to us our desperate need for Christ as we see yet again the great sin that remains, but let us never look at our sin without fixing our eyes on Jesus! “For there is more mercy in Christ than there is sin in us.” (Richard Sibbes)

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