2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NRSV)
Apostolic and pastoral advice for Timothy
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.
Today’s scripture for reflection is one that is extraordinarily dear to my heart! The Apostle Paul is writing to his mentee, urging him to be faithful to the work of an evangelist. Recently I was teaching a class on evangelism entitled, “Telling Our Stories: Evangelism in the 21st Century” and the group defined an evangelist as, “one who has been sent by God to share the GOOD NEWS message!”
I love this definition because it means that ALL Christians regardless of race, class, gender, or denomination are considered “evangelists” by God.
Jesus made all of us evangelists when he stated, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28: 19-20a).”
This mandate from our Savior has been called “The Great Commission.” It was Jesus’ last request of us while he was on the earth! This statement was his last will and testament to The Church. In this commission Jesus instructs his disciples—all of his disciples—even us 21st Century disciples--to go out and share the GOOD NEWS with everyone we meet!
I love the urgency with which Paul approaches this work. He says to Timothy, “I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message…”
Proclaim the message, my friends! But, I can hear you saying right now, “I don’t know what to say. I don’t talk as well as my pastor. Nobody will listen to me. Sharing GOOD NEWS is for people who have been to seminary.”
Not so my friends! Everyone can be an evangelist, because everyone can share GOOD NEWS! And what is this GOOD NEWS? Well first of all it is, “God loves. God gave. God saves.” This is the “gospel in a nutshell.” Most Christians memorized it as John 3:16 when they were wee babes in Sunday School. “For God so loved the world, that God gave God’s only begotton Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life!”
This is the heart of the GOOD NEWS! God loves us more than we can ever hope or imagine and God proved it when Jesus died on the cross.
But listen, I plead with you, don’t just quote out of context Bible verses at the non-Christians who are sharing your life. Truthfully, they won’t understand what you are saying. Instead, take the time to build relationships with people--by serving them. Earn their trust by listening to them and caring for them and their families. Eventually, God will open the door for you tell your new friend about Jesus.
When this time comes, be bold. Tell your non-Christian friend about how God has blessed you, loved you, and saved you. Tell your neighbor about a time when you truly felt the love of God all around you. Remind your husband or wife about God’s generous provision for your family. Share with your co-worker just how God’s saving power has brought real joy into your life!
Sharing GOOD NEWS is easy my friends, because we ALL have a TESTIMONY! By making our evangelism personal, keeping it real, and telling our stories, God will touch the hearts of our hearers with God’s boundless love.
Listen, when people get a hold of the Truth that God loves them, it breaks open hardened hearts and sets people truly free! Everybody—no matter who they are—desires to be loved unconditionally. And there is no one, who loves us more—or better—than God!
I’ll close with this thought. Please don’t become discouraged if the people with whom you share GOOD NEWS, don’t automatically accept the reality of the free gift of salvation. Paul tells Timothy, “encourage with the utmost of patience…” God was patient with us as God romanced our hearts…let us be patient with others!
Today, since you have read this devotion, you have heard the call of God on your life to go out and make new disciples! Don’t be afraid to do the work of an evangelist, for God has promised to be with you, wherever you go, even until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20b)
Who can you share your GOOD NEWS story with today?
Holy and Righteous God, thank you for giving me a GOOD NEWS story to share! You have been so good to me, I just can’t keep it to myself. Today, I promise to tell at least one person that you love, gave, and save! Thank you for loving the whole world so well. You are amazing!
If your denomination uses the word "evangelist" for an ordained or consecrated minister of the gospel and you have trouble applying the term to yourself, replace the word evangelist with WITNESS in today's devotional! :-)
Today's song, "I've Got A Testimony" can be purchased by clicking the link to the right. The YouTube video is incorrectly labeled. The singer is actually Rev. Clay Evans and soloist.
All of the other songs that have been shared on this blog can be purchased by clicking the words Good News Living at the top of the red box to the right. Find your favorite songs under “Pastor Yolanda’s Favorite Music.”
Would you please be kind enough to answer the one question survey to the right?
We now have enough people interested to start the Good News Living Book Club! Yay God! On the first of every month I will share a book for us to read together. On the last Saturday of every month at 9:00am CST (USA & Canada) we will have a “chat room” book club meeting. I chose 9:00am because this time will allow us to share with our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world! It will be early in the United States but evening in Africa, China, and elsewhere! Please mark your calendars for our very first book club meeting! It will be held Saturday, March 28, 2009.
You are invited to leave comments or questions regarding today’s devotional. These comments are public. To leave a comment, please click “comments” at the bottom of the blog. I would be tickled to receive your feedback; I invite you to respond as you are led!
EACH ONE--REACH ONE! To share GOOD NEWS with a friend please click the "Share With Friends" button to the right! Thanks for reading and please come again.
Pastor Yolanda extends a very special welcome to our friends reading outside of the United States of America! We are honored that you are sharing with us today.
from Pastor Yolanda's blog http://aintathatgoodnews.blogspot.com