It never left my mind since I came across it years ago–what is born of spirit is spirit, what is born of flesh is flesh, says Jesus. Spirit begets spirit and flesh begets flesh. Life begets life, and death–well, it kinda also “begets” death though we know that death cannot beget anything because it’s dead. The dead cannot reproduce anything, except the bacteria and other microorganisms that start appearing to devour it. In a sense, yeah, I guess death “begets” stuff that devour it to eventual non-existence.
So, I always tell my bible study disciples to make sure first that they have life in them–the very LIFE of Jesus Christ–before they attempt to share the Good News of eternal life. Many traditional church people and pastors raise their eyebrows at this, misreading my position. Some think I couldn’t tell evangelism from discipleship. Actually, you can’t have genuine evangelism unless you tell your prospect about the genuine Jesus discipleship–and especially how he or she must submit to it with his or her entire life after salvation. They can’t grab salvation and reject discipleship. More so, they can’t have both Jesus and the world. Most of them go back to their worldly ways right after salvation, though active in church, have become “nice,” and have become conversant in church and bible lingo.
Can you imagine this? Receiving Jesus but rejecting discipleship? “I have received Jesus into my life so I know I’m going to heaven. But the Jesus discipleship is not for me. I’ll just become active in church.” Worse, they add, “Anyway, our denomination does not believe in the radical Jesus-style discipleship.” Most church people in the world actually think like this. They think the rigid Jesus discipleship is just optional. And the reason is they were told half-truths or incomplete truth during evangelism. And why is this? Probably because the guy who shared the half-truth is living the half-truth. You cannot share what you do not have.
I ask you, who’s discipling you today? I don’t care if you’re an apostle or bishop or denominational founder. If no one is discipling you, chances are, you will never tell your evangelism prospects the whole truth. You’d just tell them to “accept” Jesus into their lives, confess their sins, join your church and that’s it. You’d make it sound and look so much fun. And who wouldn’t want that? Even stubborn sinners still enjoying sin–who have no intention of genuinely repenting from it–can do that and enjoy fun in church and even perform outstandingly there–and one day even become pastor with sin still intact in his heart. I’ve seen it happen many times.
Yeah, Christian life is so much fun. But the “fun” here, according to the WORD, is fun or joy in persecutions, in trials and difficulties, in want and in plenty, in good and bad times, and most especially in losing everything for Jesus and for real everyday holy life in Him. And also for being deep in the Word that makes you prefer being low-profile, meek, considering others better than yourself, and being humble. That’s what makes it “fun,” not the things the world also calls “fun,” like excursions, concerts or musical presentations that do wonders for the ego, church positions and programs, recognition in so-called “achievements,” greatness, titles and degrees (that give you stable church employment) and the like.
First off, true evangelism is sharing what Christ gave you–Himself. And “Himself” is not just salvation–it’s his entire LIFE, Character, and Power. His all. We’re co-heirs. It’s imparting the very LIFE of Jesus in you. Only life begets life. Half life cannot beget full life–if there’s a thing as “half life.” It’s a full life or nothing.
Fear cannot beget life but fear alone. If you received Jesus just because you feared hell, then fear of hell is all you can share during “evangelism.” No LIFE in that. Thus, church people who were converted via fear will have no interest in the Jesus discipleship and just opt for being active in church. “I’m saved anyway, so why bother with your discipleship?”
But true evangelism is really an intro to seeing and being–to experiencing the beauty of the King and getting to roam in His Kingdom–to his courtyards, mansions, chambers, and Throne Room. Jesus said, born again is seeing the Kingdom and entering in. He didn’t stress going to hell, though that is a vital fact. Instead, my Jesus stressed seeing and entering the Kingdom NOW, not after you die and go eitther to heaven or hell. Evangelism should be an invitation to enjoy the King as you are in fact doing, aside from avoiding ending up in hell. And who are, in fact, enjoying the Kingdom NOW? Those with the fruit–who live simply and keep low-profile, meek and humble as they build the Kingdom with the King.
Salvation by grace through faith should be shared including what kind of life should follow it. Everything should be laid out in all honesty right in the beggining. Don’t lay out a trap wherein you first present heaven and then just later on present other “less desirable things” after people have signed up to your membership.
Remember, you’re not just to share fear of hell but most of all eternal life! Eternal life is more than just going to heaven–it is living with the King in His kIngdom NOW! And this entails assuming a new and different Kingdom culture you’d learn in His Word through a Jesus discipleship where the poor and meek and persecuted and mourning are happy. That life in Christ is eternal life, and only that life begets life.