Sharing Our Faith
The Great Opportunityby Ron Matsen
Everyone who has called on the name of Jesus Christ for their own salvation now has an irrevocable calling upon their new life, which compels them to take the Gospel to the world around them.
The last commandment of Jesus before His ascension was for His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”1 How seriously should we personally take this command today? Is this command somehow only limited to those who feel they have the gift of evangelism? What needs to be said, understood, and believed for a person to be born again?
For salvation, Man must first understand the existence and character of God, then the purpose and power of the Bible, the person of Jesus Christ, and the nature of Man. This awareness prepares Man for the message of the Gospel. Being confronted with a holy and just God should cause sinful Man, who is deserving of God’s judgment, to naturally seek a way of salvation.
The Bible tells us that believing in the Gospel requires hearing the Gospel. The apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians saying,
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”2
Sadly, the percentage of the world that is hearing the Christian Gospel today is getting less and less. Preaching is one of the simplest forms of verbal communication. Where teaching can be defined as “explanation,” thus sometimes requiring substantial preparation, preaching is simply “declaration.” Paul instructed the Corinthian Church, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”3 For example, if you discovered that your local superstore was having a one-day sale on an item that previously was too expensive to consider, your natural response to the discovery of this good news would be to tell as many of your friends as possible, so they could enjoy the benefit with you. How much more important is the Gospel message before a world lost in darkness and without hope?
The Apostle Paul then points out that every Christian has been given the “ministry of reconciliation.”
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.4
Thus we can fulfil the command of the Great Commission by preaching the “word of reconciliation” to an unbelieving world.
All Christians need to recognize the fact that they are no longer to become entangled in the affairs of this present world, because they have been given citizenship in a heavenly kingdom. As “ambassadors for Christ,”5 we have been given a clear commission to represent and communicate the messages from our ruling King, Jesus Christ, to others. How can we effectively accomplish this task?
The English author C. S. Lewis wrote, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”6 The Christian faith is NOT a simple, private experience of personal interpretations or impressions. It is a serious, public exhibition of a worldview that is based on a belief system that has a foundation of truth that can be examined by an enquiring world.
Christianity does not ask its followers to take a blind leap of faith into the intellectual abyss, but rather presents a perfectly rational response to the evidence surrounding us, within the world of science and through insightful discoveries from the Bible.
The Bible tells us that for salvation, Man must first understand the existence and character of God. Therefore, the road to the salvation of mankind begins with the exploration of the ultimate truth of the existence of God. The beginning of a person’s reconciliation with God is their recognition of God.
The argument for and against the existence of God has raged for ages, with both sides declaring victory but rarely to the converting of their counterpart. To prove the existence of God, an understanding is needed that comes from an “aggregate of thoughts” knit together with “summary logic.” I call it the “algorithm of complex theology.”
Simply stated, it is the idea that many different observations, when consolidated, can yield a unified conclusion.
There are five classic philosophical arguments for proving the existence of God:
The Ontological Argument is based on the widespread intuitive knowledge of the existence of God within every culture. It focuses on our internal witness. It argues that once we mentally grasp the concept of God, we can see that God’s non-existence is impossible. In other words, if you believe in the necessity of God, then you must believe in the existence of God. Questions raised by this approach include, “Why does mankind universally concern itself with the existence of God if he does not exist?” “Why do I believe in a supernatural or spiritual realm?” “Why do people who say they don’t believe in God still ask for prayer?”
The Cosmological Argument seeks to prove the existence of God from the fact that the universe exists. The basis of this argument is built upon the observation that the universe is finite—it had a beginning—and that it came into being through something or someone. This is also referred to as the “First Cause Argument.” It focuses on the principle of the “first mover.” That is, for every action there must be a reaction or for every reaction there must be a preceding action.
The Teleological Argument seeks to prove the existence of God from the fact that the universe is ordered. This is also referred to as the “Argument from Design.” It is based on the principle that if we see design, there must be a designer (God), because we see “design” that infers “purpose.” The study of design in both the cosmos and in life systems reveals the wonders of both the Macro Universe and the Micro Universe. For more on the Teleological Argument for the existence of God, you should check out the “Beyond Series”7 by Dr. Chuck Missler.
The Moral Argument seeks to prove the existence of God from the inherent nature of morality within mankind. It asks many tough questions regarding the basis of Universal Morality. If morality consists of an ultimately authoritative set of commands, where can these commands have come from but a commander that has ultimate authority? The apostle Paul warned the Roman Church that all mankind stand guilty before God because “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.”8
The Religious Experience Argument seeks to prove the existence of God by human experience with the supernatural realm. The focus of this approach is the idea that one can only perceive that which exists, and so God must exist because there are those that have experienced him. While religious experiences themselves can only constitute direct evidence of God’s existence for those fortunate enough to have them, the fact that there are many people who testify to having had such experiences constitutes indirect evidence of God’s existence, even to those who have not had such experiences themselves.
Although you cannot completely, empirically prove or disprove the existence of God using logic alone, we can certainly use the information available to us to guide those that are blind to the glorious light of the Gospel into the direction of truth, so they might seek the truth for themselves. Oftentimes, the best use of Christian apologetics is to unseat the confidence of the unbeliever in their faulty world view, to the point that they seek a better answer for the questions facing them concerning the purpose of their own life. In the end Jesus said,
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.9
Nevertheless, everyone who has called on the name of Jesus Christ for their own salvation now has an irrevocable calling upon their new life, which compels them to take the Gospel to the world around them. Remember, it is a spiritual battle. With great opportunity comes great opposition, so don’t be surprised when the effort to share the Gospel becomes difficult.
After all, it’s a matter of life and death to those waiting to hear your message of reconciliation.
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This article was excerpted from the briefings The Great Commission and Discovering God, by Ron Matsen. For further study in this topic, see Ron’s briefings, The Gospel and The Love of God, in the coming months, Defending the Bible and Human Nature.