2011 is upon us. Here are 5 quick, yet powerful reasons to share the good news in the new year with as many people as possible:
1. Love for God
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:14, "the love of Christ compels me…." The apostle had a deep and abiding love for the Lord and it spilled over into his passion for evangelism.
When you love someone you can't help but talk about him or her. With that in mind who do you talk about more? Your family, your job, your pets, your favorite sports team or your God?
If you truly love God you, like Paul, won't be able to shut up about him. You'll share the good news out of the overflow of his love for you and your love for him.
2. Compassion for others
"When Jesus saw the crowds he had compassion on them for they were harassed like sheep without a shepherd" Matthew 9:36.
To see others through the eyes of Jesus is to have your heart broken for the lost. How do people make it without Jesus? How can our fellow humans survive the pain and strain of this world without lasting hope of Jesus Christ in this life and the next?
I dare you to go to a local shopping mall and do some serious people watching. As you watch imagine them like sheep without a shepherd. Imagine the danger they are in from unseen wolves that want to digest them for dinner. Look at them closely as they, like little lambs, wander and wonder what life is all about. May this little imagination exercise, not only break your heart for them, but stir you to steer any conversations you may have with them toward the foot of the cross.
3. Judgment Day
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:10,11 "For we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive what is due him while in the body, whether it is good or bad. Therefore, because of the fear of the Lord, we persuade men…."
If the apostle Paul was terrified of Judgment Day and if it motivated him to share the gospel with as many as possible, how much more it should inspire us! Judgment Day for the Christian is a day of reckoning. While it doesn't determine whether or not we go to heaven (that was determined on the day we trusted in Jesus!), it does determine how many rewards we will carry with us into eternity.
Imagine looking into the eyes of Jesus on that day. Will you hear "Well done, my good and faithful servant" or not? Will he reward you for being a faithful witness to his gospel on that great and terrible day?
4. The Imminent Return of Christ
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare" 2 Peter 3:9,10.
I saw a bumper sticker that read, "Jesus is coming back soon and boy is he ticked." Although that may be a crass way to put it, it's pretty accurate. Read the book of Revelation if you doubt that. Whatever your eschatological stance, the imminent return of Christ should motivate you to reach as many as possible before he returns and the cup of his wrath overflows.
Tic Tock. Tic Tock. The clock is ticking so let's get talking!
5. The Reality of Hell
Hell is real. Hell is eternal. Hell is horrible. Have a problem with the doctrine of hell? Take it up with Jesus. Of the 12 times it is spoken about in the New Testament, 11 are mentioned by Christ.
Those who don't know Jesus are on a highway to hell. We have the message that can provide the exit to escape it. If that doesn't motivate you to share your faith then check your pulse, you could be dead.
May your 2011 be one of reaching out with the hope of Jesus Christ to all those around you. May your new year bring in new children into the family of God.
Forget making resolutions this year. Let's focus on making disciples instead.