I’ll never forget my first day of college.  In particular, I remember registering for classes.  As I scanned the course listing for my major, I came across a word I didn’t know.  I was excited to take a certain history class, but I confused when I read that I needed a “prerequisite” before I could enroll.  What was a “prerequisite?”  I couldn’t even pronounce the word.  As any good college student would do, I consulted my new collegiate level dictionary.  I discovered that a “prerequisite” was “something…necessary to an end or to the carrying out of a function.”  When it comes to the function of sharing the gospel, there are certain prerequisites.  God’s people have been commanded to share Christ’s message with the entire world (see Mark 16:15), but they must embrace certain attitudes and activities if they want to see a harvest of souls into the Kingdom.  Let’s observe three.

A Proper Understanding of Eternal Life

Some fail to share Christ because they don’t have a full appreciation of the gospel.   They see the saved as being people who are simply rescued from everlasting hellfire.  Jesus regarded salvation as involving so much more.  He said, “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent —Jesus Christ” (John 17:3).   According to our Lord, eternal life doesn’t just entail living forever.  It involves a robust, life changing relationship with the one, true God.  To effectively share with others, believers must be gripped by this reality.  They have been called to introduce people to the living God, not just to sell spiritual fire insurance.

A Proper Understanding of Ministry 

Paul taught that all have a part in gospel proclamation (see 2 Corinthians 5:18).  Some are hesitant to be influencers for Christ, because they have a misunderstanding of how ministry works within the body of Christ.  They incorrectly assume that witnessing is a task reserved for a select group of super-holy people.  They never discover that the Lord has gifted each of His people with unique spiritual abilities.  The Lord has given each a special endowment to either speak truth, serve, teach, encourage, give, lead, or show compassion (see Romans 12:6-8).  He intends for the outworking of these gifts to contribute to the overall work of making disciples.

An Obedient Heart 

In John 14:21, Jesus said, “The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”  Our Lord’s words were given to His disciples shortly before His crucifixion.  He desired to share a secret of effective Christian living.  For them to experience the full abundance of Christ’s life, they needed to obey His teachings.  When they did, they would receive a deeper, more meaningful manifestation of His presence.  This is what Jesus meant when He said “the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father.”  He didn’t mean that we can earn God’s love by our obedience, He meant that we experience more of it.  When our souls are in alignment with Him in this way, we are naturally more equipped, eager and energized to do what He desires.  This includes sharing the gospel.

Dr. Patrick Latham

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