“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
A quote that is often attributed to Francis of Assisi. It is certainly a challenge to any follower of Jesus to make sure that our lives are representing the King we claim to be following. But is it a concept that we see in scripture?
“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” Matthew 4:23
“…and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Luke 9:2
“Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.'” Luke 10:9
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?…Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:14, 17
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation…” Ephesians 1:13
Throughout the New Testament you see Jesus preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God. He sends out his disciples to do the same and when they come back with more followers He teaches them the same method and then sends them out to preach. Paul spells it out pretty clearly that we must use words in order to share the gospel.
Actions are certainly very important. The goal is not to remove the need for our actions to reflect our commitment to Jesus, but to emphasize the need to use words as well. The truth is we can all identify people that do “good” things that are not submitted to Jesus. What separates our works from theirs is the message that we proclaim along with our action.
We must learn to sprinkle our conversations with salt.Tweet
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
This passage is known as the “Shema Statement.” Jews during Old Testament times had this memorized and would recite it daily. Many of us are aware of the first part describing how we are to be devoted to God with all of our heart, soul, and strength. But the passage doesn’t stop there. It goes on to say that we should be talking about the things of God regularly throughout the day. In this passage you can see the Great Commandment summarized: Love God, love people.
What is more loving then telling people about the gospel of Jesus Christ? We absolutely need to meet the physical and emotional needs of a hurting world around us. But we must be careful not to neglect the spiritual need.
I’m not saying that we must present a full gospel presentation to everyone we meet tomorrow. But what would it look like if we began to use our own “Shema statements” with our interactions with friends. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- God bless you. (Start simple!)
- If you could ask God for any miracle in your life, what would you ask? (Try asking your waiter/waitress next time. Pray for them right there)
- Can I tell you what I’ve been learning about God?
- Have you ever sensed God was near you? If so, how was that?
- Today is such a beautiful day! God is amazing isn’t He?
- I’m a follower of Jesus. Have you heard of him? What have you heard/do you know about Jesus?
- I like to pray a lot. Can I pray for you? (Use B-L-E-S-S to pray for them in Jesus’ name: B-ody, L-abor, E-motional, S-ocial, S-piritual)