Two passages say more about our ministerial calling from God than any other. In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says,
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
First and foremost we are called to share the Gospel, to share Jesus, with the world. This is more than just evangelizing. Disciple making is a process. It requires time and patience and caring and relationship. We tend to think of special classes of people doing this, we call them pastors, and we couldn’t be more wrong. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not something that can only be understood by special people with special training. I’m not demeaning the office of Pastor. My point is that the pastoral office is a calling that comes on top of this Great Commission. If your pastor were not your pastor, if he were a plumber, he should and would still be making disciples and teaching them to obey God. By default, every born again Christian is engaged in this full time ministry. When you received Christ you received a calling to do these things and I’m truly sorry if you’re just now finding out. This is why James says in Chapter two verse twenty-six of the book that bears his name,
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
I’m not saying you have to start a blog or found a ministry and neither was Jesus. You must be willing to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and aware of your place in time and in the world and recognize when you have the opportunity to speak. Seize those opportunities. Pray for those opportunities to increase; pursue them. Two ways you can guarantee they’ll increase is to listen, really listen, to what people say to you about themselves and their lives and study what your faith means and how you can know that what you believe is true. This is where the second major passage comes into the discussion.
1 Peter 3:15 is the classic apologetic verse,
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”
This is not stated as a negotiable request. In English we would call it an imperative statement. It’s a command from the chief Apostle of our Lord, someone more acquainted than most with the requirements of a life in Christ. The verse comes among a series of statements about how we as believers are to relate to each other and to those who would persecute and slander us. It says nothing about earned degrees in science, philosophy, or theology. It is applied without qualification to all believers, but it is not a command to do a thing (give an answer) so much as it is a command to ready yourself to do the thing. The command is to learn, train, discuss, THINK CRITICALLY! So read your Bible, but don’t just read your Bible. Start with something like Can Man Live Without God? by Ravi Zacharias or How Do You Know You’re Not Wrong? by Paul Copan. Follow that up with Tactics: A Game Plan For Discussing Your Christian Convictions by Greg Koukl. The first two books will challenge your mind and your heart. the third will show you a low impact methodology to challenge others.
I am not calling on you to become a full time formal Apologist. I’m asking you to recognize that you’re already living out an apologetic, either intentionally or on purpose. You can show the world a lame, mute, deaf Christianity, a faith based on little to no evidence or rational thought, and let the skeptical world go on disbelieving without noticing you, or worse yet because of you, or you can be a force for active, mobile, felt, heard, impactful, and reasonable faith. You can be a spark that lights the world on fire if only you’ll recognize and accede to the calling.
Next Week: The Curious Case Of Mr. Doubtwell
Coming: January 20