The Urgent Call to “Go”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Matt 5:10-13
I have been in love with Jesus just over fourteen years. I still vividly remember the day that I finally stopped running from God, repented of my sin and received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Everything changed in an instant. The Holy Spirit flooded my soul with the most glorious love, joy, peace and ecstasy. Words are utterly inadequate to describe what took place then and the loving Presence which continues to follow and fill my life to this day. I will say I knew that heaven and hell were real, that death had lost its sting, that I would spend eternity with my heavenly Father and that, well, EVERYONE needed to know about the reality of this crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ. So I started getting out there in the sea of humanity, going after the lost, opening my mouth and telling people about Jesus. The rest has been salty, bewildering and exciting history!
“Revival is not the discovery of some new truth. It’s the rediscovery of the grand old truth of God’s power in and through the Cross.” Sammy Tippit
The Salt & Offence of the Earth
In all my “going” I have discovered that the message of the cross of Christ is both the place of greatest offence among people and greatest power over darkness. Those who carry the message of the cross and resurrection of Jesus are the true ‘salt of the earth’ – their portion is offence with man and reward in heaven. The cross is glad tidings to the humble but offensive to the proud, both the religious and the rebellious.
For example, secular humanism is at war with the cross. At the root is the pride of man and self-righteousness. Many in the public sphere will encourage the church to feed the poor, free the sex slaves, volunteer for charities (all great, “kingdom” endeavours) as long as she does not preach the gospel, sin, repentance and the cross. In many camps you can talk whimsically about God, but don’t mention Jesus. Both carnal and legalistic man will never cease to be offended by the cross of Christ and will forever try to replace it with another type of sacrifice.
Rick Joyner writes,
“Since Cain and Abel, the sacrifice has been the main point of conflict between the two seeds, which represent the two natures of man – carnal and spiritual. Satan is not threatened if we embrace the doctrines of the institution of Christianity; in fact he may well encourage it. He knows that the good of the Tree of Knowledge is just as deadly as the evil and far more deceptive. Human goodness is an affront to the cross and is used as a compensation for it. It deludes us into thinking that if we do more “good” than evil, we will be acceptable to the Father, thereby placing us above the need for the sacrifice of His Son. Satan may well encourage us to embrace anything religious as long as we do not turn to the cross.” (Extract from ‘There Were Two Trees in the Garden’)
The Command to Preach the Gospel
We must keep our eyes on the prize. Eternity must be stamped on our eyeballs.
In the midst of all this, Jesus commands His church to “preach the gospel” and to preach “the kingdom at hand” (Mark 16:15, Matt 10:7), which comes via the cross – a heady cocktail considering the increasingly self-determining, individualist, relativist, secular-fundamentalist climate in which great swathes of the west now live. But the advancing church is a proclaiming one nonetheless (be encouraged: everyone is proclaiming something), one that disturbs the so-called peace of carnal, self-satisfied man in order to point him to the true God and redeemer and bring about the activity of the Spirit (1 Cor 2:1-5).
Remember, no man has lasting peace apart from peace with God, which comes via the apparent “peace-disturbing” gospel alone (Rom 1:16). Read the book of Acts; it’s less a picnic, more a series of riots, beatings, prison sentences, mass-conversions, miracles and revivals. Jesus Himself paradoxically warned that He did not come to bring peace but division, for the sake of the only true peace that is found when we are made ready for Judgment Day (Luke 12:51-53).
So if we are not quick to simply trust and obey God’s call to go out into the world and preach the gospel, if we are easily intimidated by the offence of man, crave the praise of man, then the ‘Great Commission’ can easily become the ‘Great Suggestion’; whilst the world goes to hell on our watch. We must keep our eyes on the prize. Eternity must be stamped on our eyeballs.
We don’t do this alone. It’s the love of Christ which compels us and the power of God that accompanies us! As we seek Him and His righteousness first the grace to carry out His purposes follows. God is only too ready to grant us boldness and virtue by the Holy Spirit. And if God is for us, who can be against us? We can ask the Lord for His heart for the lost and His zeal and compassion to reach them. Then as we preach the message of the cross, God promises to confirm it with power. It is impossible for His word to return void, seeds always bring a harvest – it’s a spiritual law. Hallelujah!
“To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men.” Tozer
A brief note on pluralism and multi-faith issues: it is not a noble quality for born again believers to be uncritical of other religions. On the contrary, the fact that one is born again through Christ implies that every other ‘way’ to God leaves a man dead in sin (Eph 2:1). Or did the Christ die in vain (Gal 2:21)? The bible is clear that every other religion and god is idolatry. I must criticize and expose idolatry and false religion wisely, unashamedly and in the truth, if I am to love someone rightly. Loving the person will always involve hating the sin. Sin enslaves, robs life and destroys destiny. And hating the sin rightly, will always involve loving the person unconditionally and accepting the person unendingly. Lord, grant us wisdom and courage in the timing and rhythm of the your Spirit.
Jesus is Coming
(in the light of) His coming and His kingdom: Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency
Mark the words of Paul the apostle – “I charge [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom: Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome]…” (2 Tim 4:1-2 AMPC)
When it comes to soul-winning, do you carry a sense of urgency or lethargy? Luke-warmness is not a fruit of the Spirit. God wants us on fire for the reward of Calvary – primarily, souls. Preach His cross, church, whatever the world or even, sadly, parts of the rest of His body might try and ‘placate’ you with. As AW Tozer noted, “To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men.” There is a “false peace treaty” that the world is brokering and parts of the church are bowing to that will endeavour to applaud ‘good works’ in an attempt to tame the only Lion of salvation. But as Isaiah declared “our righteousness is as filthy rags” before a holy God. No one is going to heaven except by way of the cross.
No one is going to heaven except by way of the cross.
Some will say that preaching the gospel is intolerant or unloving. Love, the very person of God, is biblical (in line with His word) or it isn’t love at all. For example, saving love is warning love. Through the cross, the mercy availed as we breathe is dependent on the judgment that comes when we die. The cross is therefore both good news and bad news, depending on man’s response. Truth always offends before it sets free. Often our true love for others will cost us and it will seem easier to love and protect ourselves instead. It is both our privilege and responsibility to proclaim our testimony and the whole counsel of His word (Acts 20:26-27), in love, because we love. Freely we have received, freely we must give. Lord, grant us grace and compassion.
When All Is Said & Done
When all is said and done my gospel-centric life will both attract and repel. Jesus said, “You’ll be hated by all for my sake” (Matt 10:22). Smith Wigglesworth said this: “If you leave people as you found them, God is not speaking by you. If you are not making people mad or glad, there is something amiss with your ministry.” Not that we invite criticism or hatred, but now we see why Jesus warned ‘Woe unto you when all speak well of you.’
Let me try and wrap this up. Beloved Bride – our love for Jesus will fuel our devotion for His lost. Get filled up in the secret place, blaze in the Holy Spirit and get out there in the strength-inducing joy of the Lord and spill salvation over people. Hit the market places, the canteens, the shopping malls, the dinner parties, the changing rooms, sign up with your church’s prison ministry or hospital and street healing teams. Whatever the season, the weather, the circumstance, the audience, preach the gospel, share your faith, talk about your hope in God.
Jesus, the Bridegroom, is Returning Soon
The cause of eternity is more urgent than ever. Pack His wedding feast full. Be part of a hell-plundering, heaven-populating, harvest-obsessed church. Get salty, get anointed, get dirty and bruised out in the world for His glory! Your wisdom will be justified. God waits behind sowers to come in with His plough, to confirm His gospel, His good news, with power. And then, not “if” but “when” you take a few knocks, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.”
Dominic Muir is an evangelist, teacher, author (‘God Hunger: Meditations from a Life of Longing’) and revivalist with a passion for street ministry and the priesthood of all believers. Dominic is also founder of ‘David’s Tent’, a three day annual Christian worship event in the UK ( www.davidstent.net).
Dominic founded Nowbelieve ministries (www.nowbelieve.com ) in May 2005 initially as a web-based evangelistic venture. Soon God’s call on his life was extended to the streets and then to different nations. Dominic now leads street evangelism teams all over the world, as well as ministering at Crusade style outreaches, teaching and discipling at conferences and organising them. He is married to Thea and loves custard, travelling, wild swimming and football.
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