Last night in our community group gathering, 11 believers, in a ring around the living room, discussed two sections of Scripture that encourage people to talk about God, about Jesus, and the Spirit. Talking about Christ can be difficult for some. Maybe you’re a newcomer to Christ. Maybe your heart is into the relationship, but your head is not, so you lack the skill or experience in putting your heart into words.
Whatever the case, the discussion last evening had us in a few different places. For example, in 1 Peter 2:9, Peter says we are a people chosen to “proclaim” (ESV) God’s excellencies. We have good reason, he adds: “once we were not a people, now we are God’s people; once we had not received mercy, now we have received mercy.”
This comparison of who we are does give us good reasons to talk about, or “proclaim,” all the ways we find God to be good. And we’re told these are the very reasons (or are among the reasons) we were chosen.
Furthermore, Matthew 28 tells the story of Jesus instructing his followers to go and make disciples, or learners, of all nations. Another pretty clear message. Go and make disciples.
Our discussion was good last night. The question we camped on, for the most part, was kind of like, “What is it that keeps us from talking to people about the Kingdom, the Gospel, the Christ?”, or something like that. Because you know, as “saved” as we might feel, there is in most humans a powerful desire to not be judged. So rather than put ourselves out there, maybe we ignore the admonishment a little and don’t say anything about Jesus in certain circles, or maybe ever.
I have two dear friends in Corpus Christi, Texas, who, when we spent a couple of years together in Alaska, pretty much always talked about Jesus to me; to everyone, really — as if they would suffocate if they didn’t regularly refer to Jesus. That was a rich time, and sometimes I feel like I will suffocate if I don’t hear my friends’ voices telling me how much they appreciate Jesus the Creator, or even the Created world given to us as a gift. Sometimes I feel as if I’m gasping for it.
Their near-constant acknowledgment of the presence and preeminence of Christ was a way, whether they knew it or not, of immersing me in the Gospel. In a sense — and I don’t want to underplay the literal meaning of this — they were baptizing me in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. I was certainly a learner in their midst; and in being there, was submerged in the Word of God.
As I relive our discussion from last night I, my heart is roused. Whether it’s a neighbor in a meltdown, a homeless guy at the bus stop, a colleague who is clueless, or just a group of the usual suspects, I pray that I would just find the time to be available to the world and possessed of a ready word about the One who saves.