Anyone who does not know Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior is separated from God with a heart darkened by sin. We do not believe that all unbelievers are as sinful as they could be, but that all people sin because they are sinners, and none can make any credible step toward God on their own. The only hope for sin-darkened hearts is God’s gospel grace providing their justification before God through the atoning work and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.
The gospel found in Scripture says the one true holy and righteous God had mercy on sinful people by providing His sinless Son (Jesus) as a sacrifice on the cross. Jesus willingly offered Himself as an innocent and sinless blood sacrifice, appeasing the wrath of God by paying the penalty for the sins of those He came to save. The confirmation of victory over sin, death, and hell was verified when Jesus rose from the dead after three days. More than 500 people saw Him over the course of forty days (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) before He ascended to a place of exaltation at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Through the grace of regeneration, the darkened sinful hearts of men and women are given life by the Holy Spirit and enabled to receive Jesus as the sole means of their cleansing and forgiveness. Because they trust the work of Jesus they are declared righteous before the righteous God. By the power of the resurrection, made effectual by the Holy Spirit, believers are enabled to live lives that are transformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus.
Being recipients of such abundant mercy creates a longing for needy believers to share this gospel hope with other needy unbelieving people. In a sense, evangelism is beggars trying to show other beggars where to find bread. Consequently, those who have been brought to saving faith in Jesus should never be puffed up and arrogant but humble and thankful. The reality of being made right with God through the work of Jesus should also fill every believer’s heart with delight and the desire to share gospel truth with others.
The desire of every believer should be to make the most of every opportunity to present the gospel to unbelieving people in his or her natural web of relationships (co-workers, friends, neighbors, etc.) as well as unbelieving spouses and/or children of attendees and members of Nor’wood Bible Church. Nor’wood Bible Church should be characterized by gospel intentionality as we lovingly connect with unbelievers whom God brings across each member’s path.
The following is a list verses that are connected to Jesus describing the gospel mission of His followers.
Matthew 28:16–20 “16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”
Mark 13:10 “And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.”
Mark 14:9 “And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done [anointing Jesus with a very expensive oil] will be told in memory of her.”
Luke 24:44–49 “44 Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’”
John 20:21 “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’”
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The verses above relate to what is commonly known as “The Great Commission.” These were the instructions Jesus gave to His disciples after His life, death, burial, resurrection, and just prior to His ascension. As such, these commands carry much weight. These verses do not apply only to the original disciples. The fact that Jesus says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age,” makes it clear these verses apply to all the followers of Jesus in the New Covenant era. These commands certainly have application to the global mission activity of the church, but they also have direct application for every church and every follower of Jesus in a local church. Specifically stated, followers of Jesus are commanded to make disciples of Jesus. Sharing the gospel is to be the common responsibility and main concern of every local church and every member of that church. What we must do at Nor’wood Bible Church is to understand this responsibility and take the necessary steps to see it realized.
Biblical disciples need to be actively and purposefully looking for opportunities to initiate, pursue, and develop relationships so that the glory of God through the gospel can be shared with unsaved individuals. These relationships will be with people with whom we come into meaningful contact, often in the natural course of our daily lives (family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, shared interest groups, church attendees, etc.). In these relationships, we want to intentionally raise issues that will stimulate thought and conversation on significant subjects such as the existence of God, religion, suffering, evil, the life purpose of men and women, etc. God can use such interactions to cultivate the soil of an unbeliever’s heart. God is ultimately in control of all things, and He uses hardship, trauma, and tragedy to unsettle the unsaved and cause them to question their worldview. Followers of Jesus need to be attentive to these circumstances in the lives of unbelievers with whom they have relationships. In such times of distress, an intentional believer may be blessed with the opportunity to share the gospel message of salvation. As the relationship continues and deepens in trust, the unbeliever may accept invitations to attend an evangelistic course, attend a small group or attend church. This is the fruit of an intentional follower of Jesus with a God-centered and gospel-focused life who consistently seeks opportunities to present the gospel.