Paul’s exposition in 2 Cor. 5:19-21 answers our question. He first states, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.” Salvation, says Paul, is all the work of God. According to the riches of His grace He gave His Son as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. This is now the Lord to whom all authority in heaven and on earth belongs.
Second, Paul also declares that “God has set up among us the word of reconciliation.” In other words, God has established the content of the message we preach. Our proclamation, our kerygma, is a biblical message only when it proclaims the basic events of the incarnation, of the cross, and of the resurrection of Christ.
Therefore, in light of these two unchangeable propositions, Paul declares: “Be reconciled to God!” This is more than invitation; it is an urgent summons to unregenerate man. In Christ, God has accomplished all that is necessary for salvation. Man needs only to accept what God has completed and apply it to himself.
Jesus told His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” The task of world evangelism has been committed to us for our generation. We need to get with the business of following our Lord’s sacred commission. The longer I walk this world with God the more convinced I am that I am in the gospel “business” (this is one possible meaning of the word koinonia in Phil 1:5; the term is societas in Latin). I am also convinced that I must use every possible means God has given me to demonstrate His love to others.
For me, this has meant working mainly among students as the objects of my Great Commission labors. My model is the apostle Paul, who for two years worked in the school house of Tyrannus, reaching the intelligentsia for the Lord. The result of his labor was that “all those who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10). At other times, I am engaged in personal outreach, even as the earliest Christians were: “And daily in the temple, and in every home, they did not cease to preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42). Both collective and personal disciple-making are necessary.
Michael Green, speaking at Lausanne in 1974, said, “The early church succeeded because every man was a missionary; the modern church fails because ‘missionary’ has become a dirty word.” In the early church, every believer was expected to be a witness for Christ.
Why should it be any different today?
August 23, 2005
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. If you would like to know more about becoming a follower of King Jesus, please feel free to write Dave.