Many Christians are often afraid of talking to their lost friends about Jesus, but perhaps the more disturbing reality is that many of us rarely talk to other Christians about Jesus.
Why is this? I think the reasons we don’t talk to our lost friends is obvious–we don’t want to ostracize them, we don’t want to hurt our relationship with them, we are worried about what they will think about us, we think we know how they will respond and its not good! All of those things need to be addressed and perhaps I will write on that issue soon, but why is it that we fail to talk about our relationship with Christ with our brothers and sisters in Christ?
Maybe you don’t have this problem, maybe all you ever do is talk about Jesus–if so please enlighten the rest of us! As a pastor, I wish I could say that is me, but let me attempt instead to try and take the plank out of my own eye long enough to encourage you and address this question!
I think I don’t talk to my Christian friends about Christ that much because I am proud. Yep, that is it–I am a very prideful person. I know that if I talk to my friends about Jesus then I will be vulnerable–I will have to show my weaknesses and talk about some of the areas where I am struggling. If I do that then people will know that I don’t have it all together. They will know that sometimes I really love myself more than I love Christ. They will see that I am not the perfect role model.
You see I don’t talk to other Christians about Jesus because my relationship with Christ isn’t perfect. I work with the students at my church and I am constantly reminded that I am to be a good role model for them–so I am always thinking about how I can do that. The reality is that I am a sinner and I will never measure up to the kind of role model that I ought to be! That is one of the great challenges of being a pastor–you always feel like you have to be super-Christian who is never phased by anything impure and never loses his temper and always has something encouraging to say. The problem with being super-pastor is that by doing so you actually point the people of your church toward a goal that they were never meant to attain and we teach people to excel at looking good as opposed to growing in grace by faith.
We won’t reach perfection until Christ returns and finally defeats sin and Satan. What we are to do instead is simply to let our “manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). What does it mean to let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel? Well first I think we have to know something about what the gospel is.
The gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ. It is the good news that Jesus Christ died for sin once and for all in order that he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). It is the good news that God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). It is the good news that the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). It is the good news that we are saved by grace through faith not by works so that no one may boast (Eph. 2:8-9).
You see the gospel is the good news that though we have desperately fallen short, Christ has paid the penalty for sinners like us and we can merely receive his grace by faith! That is it, we don’t have to try to earn God’s favor by being unrealistically good. To live in a manner worthy of the gospel means to live in such a way that we continually point each other to and remind ourselves of God’s perfect, unearned grace!
If we could all be a little less like the Pharisee and a little more like the tax collector, we might point each other more towards Christ and we might help each other grow in God’s grace and mature out of the sins we keep struggling with, including our pride!