Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”
Acts of the Apostles 5:40-42 NLT
There are some in the high councils of today’s religious bodies that tell people they can’t share the good news about Jesus Christ. They point to a lack of formal training. They point to someone’s past – that has not been hidden and made to appear perfect on the outside – as a disqualifier for sharing the gospel. Do they mistakenly believe that followers of Christ who seek to show Christ to the world are seeking the same titles and positions that they long for?
But there are those who heed the very words of Christ who warns of accepting titles of men in Matthew 23:
“Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Matthew 23:8-12 NLT
I have been divorced. I have a past. And I have not been indoctrinated into the doctrines of men, into the division of religious denominations, or into the dogma and political purposes of the high council of today’s day and age. And some of the religious even today would verbally flog me in their congregations for preaching in the jails and in the streets and in my home to guess who – yes, to sinners who are lost and in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So where is the disconnect?
When Paul speaks to the church about offices, he is speaking of duties and responsibilities as a servant to the people – not of seeking titles and exaltation and positions and authority over others. He is speaking of a life currently free from reproach and distraction, not a life that has always been free from sin and stumbling.
And yes, if you are serving such a pious and religious gathering of converts who see themselves as blameless, you will have to live above their claims of righteousness if you seek for them to lift you up and exalt you as their teacher. But are we even talking about the body of Christ at that point, or just a body of religious hypocrites? Aren’t those the same who will not be seen among the lost sinners of this world, who will not feed the hungry, who will not visit the imprisoned and the afflicted? So it is good that they have a commandment and the law to humble them, that they might find the light even in the midst of their deep darkness of empty religious practice.
There are two very different perspectives when it comes to a relationship with Jesus Christ. There are two kinds of “piety” when it comes to the Lord. I ask you to listen to the words of each of these two songs and see if you can tell the difference:
For those not seeking titles, for those simply happy to be a servant of men and a follower of Christ – taking the warnings of Christ seriously in addition to the warnings of Paul, resting upon the whole Word of God – I tell you the truth, do not fear man who might tell you not to preach Jesus, but fear God and follow His call upon your life to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.
It was never between you and other men, it’s between you and God. If you are called, make sure you are fulfilling your purpose to prove yourself chosen.
If Christ says that you are forgiven, that you are free, and that your forgiven sins are as far as the east is from the west – then who is the man who will throw stones at the innocent? Who will be the first that is thirsty for innocent blood? Who will say that you are unworthy, but that voice of guilt and shame that means to paralyze you, instead of encouraging you to press on.
I preach the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord ’s favor has come. ”
Luke 4:18-19 NLT
If I am too be flogged, ridiculed, persecuted by religious men who say I have no training, who say I have no qualifications – I say, for what? To be a disciple, a student, a follower of Jesus Christ? My sin was what qualified me for His grace, my faith is what set me upon the path for His glory, His Holy Spirit alive in me is the source of my renewal, my walk is my testimony of His power, and His reconciling me to be more like my teacher is the fulfillment of His promise.
Which of you brood of vipers will step forth against the Lord my God, who watches over me? Which of your giants seeks to be slain by the stone that the builders refused?
You will say that I am fighting against the wind. You will ask, who do you draw your sword against, friend? And it is not drawn against mere men, but against the enemies of my Lord, against the snakes with their silvery tongues speaking smooth words to the itchy ears, against the scorpions who sting once the trap has been sprung filling their victims with the poison of death, against the evil that ensnares and imprisons my brothers and sisters.
I will not cut you down, friend, but it is time to choose which side you serve, while there is still time. Do not think that you are meant to make peace with the enemy – peace among men, yes, but against the enemy, we are called to make war.
Have you forgotten your armor? Has no one instructed you how to weild your sword for battle? Have you thought the hirelings that you followed would fight the battle for you? They have seen the enemy and ran for cover, carrying your bags of silver with them back into the darkness.
You should have been teaching and training others by now, but have you barely equipped yourself? Put on your armor, gather up your sword, prepare yourself for battle. Make way for the coming of the Lord.
If He comes today, are you ready? If not, get yourself ready, or today decide and acknowledge to yourself who you are really serving. Do not claim with your mouth what you are not willing to testify to with your life.