I’ve been going to The Porch at Watermark with my cousin off and on for a while, and I’ve been curious to see how their Sunday service flows in comparison. So, I decided to visit Watermark this weekend to check it out. Honestly, part of my curiosity was because at The Porch they offer solid teaching, but it seems to be sensitive toward unbelievers and new believers. There isn’t anything wrong with that, I just wanted to know if that’s how Sunday morning went or if the gospel came across more explicit. Not only did I get my answer, I also walked out with a gut check with a side of conviction.
It’s no secret that Christians are called to be like Christ. It’s also no secret that doing this is hard. Really hard. In fact, it’s impossible. The only way that we can even come close to being like Christ is to be transformed by the gospel. So, when JP said that he would be preaching on the power of the gospel, I knew it was going to be good.
To keep this brief, the part that hit home was when JP said that God seeks out the lost. That part wasn’t really revelational in itself, but it was when he said that we should seek out the lost, too. Christ stepped out of Heaven and put on flesh, leaving His world of comfort and eternal peace to walk toward a cross so that He could reach those who need redemption. As JP pointed out, so many of us are reaction evangelists. Meaning, we’re more than happy to share our story or even flat out teach the gospel to someone who asks, but we aren’t intentional about seeking out the lost and we aren’t really even attentive to the moments the Spirit brings to us to share our faith until they’re gone.
The reason this hits so hard is that I’ve always felt more gifted toward teaching and equipping the church than I have reaching the lost. Often times I forget that we don’t equip in a vacuum, but rather we equip Christians to do something. What do we equip them to do? Jesus answers this in the Great Commission when he tells us to “make disciples.” As much as I’d like to pretend that I’m making disciples by just encouraging and doing what I can to teach fellow believers, I’m missing the point if I’m not reaching the lost. I’m like a combat instructor who wants to teach people to fight but doesn’t go to war himself.
JP ended with a killer illustration about how churches often start out wanting to reach the lost and help the sick and dying, but then eventually they are developed into a place of comfort where we all grow lazy and content inside our holy huddles (to use a horrible 90’s cliché). Then we become a place that has lost its mission and a people who have drifted from their purpose.
The next four words JP said just poured white-hot conviction all over me.
Such a small phrase, but such a powerful impact. You see, the only place in Scripture that I’ve read this phrase is in the book of Romans. The most prominent of which is Romans 6:2. The reason this instance sticks out in my mind so much is because it’s right after Paul assumes his readers’ question of “Should we continue to sin so that grace may abound.” Paul’s answer, “May it never be!” is the strongest form of negative expression in the Greek. The only way I can think of to phrase it in English is “Hell no!”
You might be offended by that statement. That’s ok. But take that offense and put it on hold. Because just as Paul told his readers that they shouldn’t sin to receive more grace, we haven’t been given grace to sin by clinging to our comfort and avoiding sharing the gospel out of fear of whether someone will reject the gospel, or even if they’ll reject us personally. So, let’s take any offense we may have felt at that statement and turn it toward our sense of apathy and idolatry and repent.
Where do you feel you avoid sharing the gospel? Why do you avoid it? What steps can you take to get out of your comfort zone and place faith in Christ by sharing the gospel with the lost and dying?
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”