“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19
If you are truly following Jesus the inevitable result will be a lifestyle of evangelism. Jesus guaranteed it in Matthew 4:19. When you follow him he will direct you to go and reach people with his message of hope. Why? Because evangelism and discipleship are inextricably linked like Siamese twins. To separate them causes the other one to die.
When Jesus sent out the disciples they were risking being ostracized by others. And it was this very risk that caused them to trust in the Holy Spirit more and grow deeper in their relationship with God (Matthew 10:19,20.)
What's true of the early disciples is true of us.
It's not optional. It's not just for the specially gifted evangelists. It's for every follower of Christ.
Anything less than a lifestyle of evangelism is a warped and wanting form of discipleship. It's a discipleship that is not willing to pay the price of being potentially mocked or marginalized for following Jesus. It's a Christianity without skin in the game.
This lesser version of "following" Jesus is what we see in John 12:42-43 with the newly converted religious leaders. They had put their faith in Jesus but were not willing to follow him by dying to themselves and proclaiming him to others.
Here's what the Apostle John had to say about these believing-but-not-proclaiming leaders, "Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God."
Before you cluck your tongue at them take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you're guilty of the same sin. Are you openly proclaiming your faith in Jesus at work, school and/or in your neighborhood or are you worried about being "put out" of your circle of influence because of your faith in Jesus?
To follow Jesus is to follow him to death, to a potential social death. If we're not willing to open our mouths and make known the mystery of the Gospel to those we know then we, like the spiritually stunted believers in John 12, love the praise of men more than praise from God.
And this sinful, silent, secret believer is not the real you anyway. In Christ you are an unashamed saint, an unflinching follower of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Unleash the new you with that old message of hope and let the new you be the real you who will no longer be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
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