Christ’s Foot Soldiers

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you…” Mt. 28:19, 20. AMP

Christ left all of us with this ‘Great Commission;’ yet, many of us feel awkward, ill-equipped, or we are afraid that we might fail in our attempt to position someone to enter the kingdom of God. I mean, that would be like failing God, wouldn’t it? Not! God only asks for our best efforts. He takes it from there. 

However, it wouldn’t hurt to explore some ways to increase our kingdom efficiency. Obviously, in order to be persuasive, we must be living out our Christian principles to the best of our ability, in order to come from a place of authoritative instruction – leading by example:

“…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Mt. 5:16 CSB

“Yet wisdom is vindicated and shown to be right by all her children [by the lifestyle, moral character, and good deeds of her followers].” Lk. 7:35 AMP

Having that wisdom also demands one to be facile with the scriptures, to be able to make their case for the necessity of salvation. 

Along with our Christian professing, there must be an outpouring of love for everyone, i.e. all the ‘potentially saved,’ wrapped up in compassion, for the suffering of most of the world in the common human condition. We couple that with our faith in God, to equip us for any task He sets before us – through the Holy Spirit.

This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us…we [also] know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted to us] the requests which we have asked from Him. 1 Jn. 5:14, 15. AMP

You are literally saving lives. You can begin to do so by relating your life changes after having asked Jesus to be the Lord of it.

Finally, just like everything in our relationship with God, we must ask Him in prayer for our direction, to show us which field to plow and where to sow the seed, to fulfill His purpose in us. After all, we cannot accomplish much of anything without His help…

The most trepidation begins when we approach someone outside of church, yes? The best way to create a ‘bond’ is to find a common thread – the weather, conditions in your city, or offering compassion for any stressor the other might divulge, all the while offering solutions and performing acts of kindness. 

Once you have established a rhythm, or even the beginnings of a friendship, you might even flat out ask him or her if they are a child of God. A door will open. You can tell them that you are a Christian, how that’s been beneficial, and what one must do to become one. 

If they rebuke you, you can repeat back their objection and add, ‘I’ve heard that too, but I found out it wasn’t true.’ Ask the how they think we ‘got here’ on planet Earth, and where do they think we go when we die.’ At that point you can refer to scripture, asking if you can sit with them for a short time and share what you know about God, Jesus and the two types of eternal life – blessed or cursed.

Simultaneously, we can ask Jehovah God in our hearts, which of His words He would have us share in that moment. You only have one goal: to have this person accept Christ as their savior. Any other changes you think should be made, will be between Jesus and this newly saved soul. This is the time where we turn our egos off. 

We let God do the talking by showing them the scriptures that demonstrate the ‘why:’ 

“…through His name everyone who believes in Him [whoever trusts in and relies on Him, accepting Him as Savior and Messiah] receives forgiveness of sins.” Acts 10:43 AMP

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” Jn. 3:36 ESV

“…the person who hears My word [the one who heeds My message], and believes and trusts in Him who sent Me, has (possess now) eternal life [that is, eternal life actually begins – the believer is transformed], and does not come into judgment and condemnation, but has passed [over] from death into life.” Jn. 5:24 AMP

Suppose you happen to come across someone who is totally noncommittal, doesn’t feel the need. Then, you have to show it to them:

There is certainly no one righteous on the earth who does good and never sins. Eccl. 7:20 CSB

…see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him. Mal. 3:18 CSB

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rm. 6:23 CSB

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Cor. 5:21 NLT

“…you will die [unforgiven and condemned] in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am the One [I claim to be], you will die in your sins.” Jn. 8:24 AMP

God wants us to be His Son’s foot soldiers – marching forth and sharing the gospel. We can do that in so many ways – in thoughts and prayers, in the telling of His word, in actions, in listening, and being aware of our surroundings and events and discerning their purposes. We can ready ourselves to be in God’s service in every moment.

Disaster strikes. Ask yourself, ‘What is God’s lesson in this?’ Look to see how you can best serve the victims in this situation, (including yourself). Look at someone’s actions towards you. Are they unforgivable? Not! (Mt. 18:22). [Be advised that if the perpetrator is not safe to be around, forgive them from a distance.]

Pray for everyone and also for yourself, that you may be positioned to serve, to be the arms of God and use our five senses as well, to emulate the footsteps of His Son. Listen for opportunities to speak about the kingdom, to encourage others in life’s travails, celebrating their victories, and staying in the the word so that you may be able to recall those scriptures that apply for the benefit of yourself and for everyone you encounter. 

If a communication breakdown occurs, don’t take it personally. Instead, look to see how you can clarify your words to bring greater understanding. Everyone you speak with has a different life experience in their head. Rather than reacting, ask them, ‘I know you have a reason for saying that. Can I ask you what that is?’ It opens the door for you to be able to hear their past experiences and how that has molded their world view. It is an empathy and compassion builder, making a way for a greater connection.

People like those who are most like them, and thus relate to them better:

Although I am free from all and not anyone’s slave, I have made myself a slave to everyone, in order to win more people. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law – though I myself am not under the law – to win those under the law. To those who are without the law, like one without the law – though I am not without God’s law but under the law of Christ – to win those without the law. To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every means possible save some more. 1 Cor. 9;19 – 22. CSB

Ask God for awareness; see what is going on around you and pray to understand God’s purpose in it. 

If you are being chastised, thank God for the correction and change direction. 

If you are lauded for your efforts, accept it with humble gratitude. If you’re a recipient of a gift, be grateful to the contributor and to God for sending it to you through the giver. Then, after you’ve relished the gift for a moment, ask yourself, ‘How can I best use this in the service of Christ?’

You don’t have to be anything that you are not. God created you in love for His kingdom purpose – a purpose that always contains what’s best for you as well. Soldier on…

To be continued. 

Goodnight and God bless.

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All God’s Children Are Preachers

Or they should be. We have all received Christ’s Great Commission:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words]…” Mt. 28:19 AMP

Fortunately, God never leaves us at a loss. He sent the Holy Spirit to the apostle Paul so that he could teach his disciple Timothy how to lead the church. And knowing how to be a church leader is something all God’s children should learn, because we are all walking, talking and acting ambassadors of the church of Christ.

So, we come from the same place Jesus came from, when we represent Him – from love and faithfulness:

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Tim. 1:5 ESV

And before we get too far into the how of our commission, we must ground ourselves into the why:

…God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time… 1 Tim. 2:3 – 6. NKJV

Our Creator wants everyone to be saved; and the only way for that to happen, is for all to be led into a personal relation with God through Christ. So, we must testify:

And great, we confess, is the mystery [the hidden truth] of godliness: He (Jesus Christ) who was revealed in human flesh, was justified and vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. 1 Tim. 3:16 AMP

We have to ‘train’ for our mission, separating ourselves from the ways of the world, and walk by the spirit. Godly behavior is a reflection of our faith in God’s word, which locks us into His kingdom. We stay strong by staying in His word; and we’ll need that strength when we come up against ungodly resistance:

Have nothing to do with irrelevant, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness…for godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for that life to come. 1 Tim. 4:7, 8. ESV

For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 1 Tim. 4:10 NKJV

Let’s return to seeing how we attend to our ‘commission’:

…pursue righteous, godliness, faith, love, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life, to which you were also called… 1 Tim. 6:11, 12. NKJV

…keep the commandment unstained and free of reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ… 1 Tim. 6:14 ESV

Paul wrote a similar command to his disciple Titus, with regards to the self-conduct needed to confess God’s word:

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy word [of God] as it was taught to him, so that he will be able both to give accurate instruction in sound [reliable, error-free] doctrine and to refute those who contradict [it by explaining their error]. Titus 1:9 AMP

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned…so that everything may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. Titus 2:7, 8 & 10. ESV

Okay. We’re out there ready to spread the word. What is our leading message?

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify of Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:11 – 14. NKJV

…when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4 – 7. NKJV

Returning to Paul’s message to Timothy, we see how God equips us for spreading His salvation message:

For God has not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim. 1:7 NKJV

We are meant to use that power to deliver the message, keeping it pure, and teach others to spread the word as well:

By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 2 Tim. 1:14 ESV

…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Tim. 2:1, 2. NKJV

Again, all of this requires that we stay in the word of God:

Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, correctly handling and skillfully teaching the word of Truth. 2 Tim. 2:15 AMP

Remember though, do not let your knowledge puff you up, but rather stay humble in the task that you have been entrusted with. You are saving lives, as you tell the good news with gentleness – disarming the hearer with love:

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2 Tim. 2:24 – 26. NKJV

Paul is saying  that we need to be intimately familiar with the accurate meanings of God’s word (via the Holy Spirit), so that we are always prepared to engage in communication that is rich in salvation for the ears of the recipient. And to be the most effective, the speaker must be one who has separated him or herself from the ways of the world.

Finally, Paul sends us on our way, reminding us that time is of the essence:

…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and understanding. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching…As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Tim. 4:2, 3 & 5. ESV

God wants all His children out soldiering for His kingdom, gathering souls for their salvation – while there are still people willing to receive His message.

That is the greatest love we can show to others, presenting them with a chance to latch onto endless love. Whether they accept it or not is entirely up to them. We can tell Jesus that we did our part.

You’re equipped, you’re ready – get on out there!

Goodnight and God bless.