Are you one of those people who sits on long train journeys with headphones in, music blaring, in your own little world?
On a recent journey I took with my headphones in I found myself in my own little world I realised that I was not doing anything good for the gospel. See, in life we see the gospel throughout the world, through what we see, in what we do and what we hear.
As we go about our days rushing from one place to another you can’t help but notice things in other people’s lives like the phone conversation you overhear, the homeless person sat in the cold rain and the joy and love of a married couple strolling together. But what should these things that we see do to us?
These things that we come across in our day to day lives should remind us of the gospel. When we see people in distress or struggling alone this should stir in our minds the story of the gospel. As we see people in these situations it should also draw us to think why we need the gospel.
Let’s break this down.
Recently on a train journey I came across a lady on the phone. The phone conversation did not appear to be going very well and by the end of the phone call she was in tears. Then like every morning I walked past several homeless people shivering in the cold after another night on the streets. What do these sights and sounds show us about the need for the gospel. They show us that this world is a fallen world. That this world is a broken and imperfect world. When we talk about the gospel and when we talk about the good news of Jesus Christ we cannot and should not avoid the reality that the world in which we live in is not the way it should be… I am regularly drawn back when I think of the fallen state of our world. God knows this problem and in fact God has fixed this problem. Jesus knows how difficult life can be with the loss that we can encounter. I am drawn to John chapter 11 where Jesus loses Lazarus, Mary blames and accuses Jesus, saying, ‘If only you had been here.’ When Jesus sees the troubles, the pain, the anguish as the scriptures say he was moved deeply and it greatly troubled him. The gospel, the good news tells us that this world is not perfect. However, the gospel also tells us that our God is moved greatly and deeply at the site of the troubled state we are in. That means only one thing… hope.
As we continue through John 11 we realise that this deep and troubled feeling on Jesus is what stirs in Him action. This is also true however with the salvation of mankind. Back in Genesis when Adam and Eve committed the first sin God cast them aside, He sees them separated from Him and is moved deeply. God threatens the evil one that He has a plan of salvation to rescue His people, His beloved people, from the grasps of Satan. This is the hope mentioned earlier. This is the hope of Jesus Christ. In this broken world where we encounter pain and suffering we know that Jesus came to change all of that. He encountered pain and suffering himself taking on pain and suffering that he did not deserve. Jesus came to fix this broken world. Jesus came to walk alongside everyone, including those who have lost, those who are lonely and those who sleep in the cold. God cares. So how should this have any impact on the good news? What should this mean for us when we are evangelising to those who do not yet believe.
It should encourage us that we do not need to start by telling people where they are going wrong and just shout ‘repent!’ at them. We need to, like Jesus, see what is wrong and walk alongside those who are in pain and suffering. As we do this we will be moved greatly and we will be affected by what we see and in doing so we will react with action. An appropriate action will help bring the good news to that person to point them to the Lord Jesus.
My prayer for you is that as you go about your day, meeting new people and enjoying your old friend’s company that you look into their lives and look for any trouble so that you can walk alongside them. I hope that you can help them through their troubles, weep when you need to weep, allow yourself to be moved greatly and deeply so that you will be able to most effectively tell of the good news of Jesus.
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