In every congregation of believers, each individual carries the dynamic power of the life-giving force of transforming life inside them. Every single one of them could and should be a grave threat to the enemy, breaking captives free from the enslavement of sin and reconciling them with their Creator. This is, after all, why Jesus paid the ultimate price of His death, isn’t it? This is the gospel.
I’ve found recently that, instead of preaching to the lost so that they’ll be saved – assaulting the gates of hell with the glorious gospel and rescuing thousands upon thousands of souls in need, we seem to be basically preaching the same messages over and over again to these believers who are already saved.
What exactly is the point of that?
The reality is that these believers are not operating in this power at all. They’re wrapped up in religious bondage, so self-absorbed in their own state of affairs over whether or not they’re “right with God,” or “qualified” either by relationship status or technically – you know, knowing the right formula, the correct order in which to do their devotionals, pray, and reconciling many of the small details that they feel they must have in order to do the will of God. Why bother spending all this time, effort and energy trying to free people from their religious bondage? Why not let them sit there in their guilt, shame and condemnation?
The answer is threefold, but really quite simple. First, we proclaim the glory and beauty of the gospel of grace because it is Truth and it is beautiful. Secondly, we refuse to let people remain in their guilt, shame and condemnation because we love them and letting them remain in bondage is not a very kind thing to do to someone you love. Thirdly, and most importantly, we encourage all the saints to be effective agents of the Kingdom.
Matthew 10:5-8 (The Message)
Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
"Don't begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously."
Here in Matthew, Jesus is saying that you should go out to your neighborhood, your office, your job site, your bowling league, your softball game, your grocery store, wherever you go, and proclaim the Kingdom of God. You do that by healing the sick, raising the dead, operating in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. If you believe that your sins, mistakes, shortcomings and bad choices disqualify you from this supernatural ministry, you will not be an effective agent of the Kingdom. When you come to a revelation of God's grace, however, you suddenly realize that it is Christ's perfection which qualifies you rather than your own imperfection which disqualifies you. Jesus Christ is holy, righteous, perfect, unblemished, in intimate relationship with the Father, and possesses all power and authority. If you are in Christ then you share these attributes. In the spirit, you are identical with Him in every way. This revelation emboldens you, gives you confidence, and empowers you so the next time your co-worker complains of an aching back you are ready to lay hands upon him and declare the Kingdom of God is here!
So why bother spreading the message?
So Jesus can get everything He paid for.