A while back I did a series on that, but just pulled statements from the Gospel of Matthew. In a quick tour of the first half of Matthew, we outlined a list the Top 10 Shocking Statements by Jesus. Then we continued in a second week with the second half of the book and did 10 more…so we ended up with a Top 20.
Here’s my list:
Shocking Statement #1: And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” bible.us/Matt4.19.NASB
Shocking Statement #2: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but... bible.us/Matt7.21.NASB
Shocking Statement #3: “So that you may know that the Son has authority on earth to forgive sins…Get up, pick up your mat… bible.us/Matt9.6.NASB
Shocking Statement #4: “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” bible.us/Matt9.12.NASB
Shocking Statement #5: Do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you…bible.us/Matt10.19.NASB
Shocking Statement #6: But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. bible.us/Matt10.30.NASB
Shocking Statement #7: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, & I will give you rest.” bible.us/Matt11.28.NASB
Shocking Statement #8: “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.” bible.us/Matt12.6.NASB
Shocking Statement #9: For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother & sister…bible.us/Matt12.50.NASB
Shocking Statement #10: The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls & finding one pearl… bible.us/Matt13.46.NASB
Top Ten Shocking Statements by Jesus in the second half of the book.
Shocking Statement #11: I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. http://bible.us/Matt16.18.NIV
Shocking Statement #12: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves & take up their cross & follow me… http://bible.us/Matt16.25.NIV
Shocking Statement #13: Whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven… http://bible.us/Matt18.4.NIV
Shocking Statement #14: If your brother or sister sins, go & point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen…http://bible.us/Matt18.15.NIV
Shocking Statement #15: Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… http://bible.us/Matt20.25.NIV
Shocking Statement #16: The tax collectors & the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you… http://bible.us/Matt21.31.NIV
Shocking Statement #17: Jesus took bread broke it & gave it to his disciples, “Take and eat; this is my body.” http://bible.us/Matt26.26.NIV
Shocking Statement #18: My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done. http://bible.us/Matt26.42.NIV
Shocking Statement #19: Jesus cried out in a loud voice…My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?http://bible.us/Matt27.46.NIV
Shocking Statement #20: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…I am with you always…http://bible.us/Matt28.18.NIV
Then I was scrolling through my email and came across a forward article about our nation from a patriot in our @LosAltosGrace Church family. The title of the email article was “We Are Not Coming Back.” It caught my attention because it was written by a Rabbi…
It was written originally in the days following the 2012 Presidential Election (Read it on his blog here). It certainly talked about politics and was very insightful. The part that grabbed me was this paragraph:
Obama also knows that the electorate has changed – that whites will soon be a minority in America (they’re already a minority in California) and that the new immigrants to the US are primarily from the Third World and do not share the traditional American values that attracted immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a different world, and a different America . Obama is part of that different America , knows it, and knows how to tap into it. That is why he won.
The bigger question for me is not how the elections will go in this different and new America, but how can we see the Gospel and disciples of Jesus penetrate this different…and new America. This “new America” has long been rooted in our urban areas. I saw it for 8 years as I lived in downtown Columbus, Ohio. And now I’m living in one of the largest urban areas in the world…I’m still praying and wrestling with what is it gonna take?
This different or “new America” provides us with great challenges and opportunities for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s take our energy, prayers and creativity and leverage them toward seeing our Jesus draw many to Himself!
Many prayers in the next 24 hours will be made for “revival” and I’m in favor of that. But what about our prayers for the thousands of people in our country who have never had a “__vival”; that is a “first life with Christ”, been “born again” nor even known about Jesus. We must pray for these and for the church and Jesus’ disciples to sow the Good News!
We see the fields white for harvest. Isn’t that what we should see in this different and new America? God is bringing the world to us and let’s see Jesus bring the world to Himself through US.
“The Gospel is like a seed and you have to sow it. When you sow the seed of the Gospel in Palestine, a plant that can be called Palestinian Christianity grows. When you sow it in Rome, a plant of Roman Christianity grows. You sow the Gospel in Great Britain and you get British Christianity. The seed of the Gospel is later brought to America, and a plant grows of American Christianity. Now, when missionaries came to our lands they brought not only the seed of the gospel, but their own plant of Christianity, flower not included! So, what we have to do is to break the flower pot, take out the seed of the gospel, sow it in our own cultural soil, and let our own version of Christianity grow.”
-D. T. Niles ( from Sri Lanka)
For too long the truth, adventure, mystery and joy that comes with giving away the life of Jesus has been stolen from the ordinary believer. We have been taught methods of sharing Jesus that feel more cold, distant and dutiful than life giving. We have heard that just a few gifted ones will really be successful at evangelism. This is yet another blow designed to sideline the ordinary person from engaging in the supernatural work of sharing the life of Jesus with those thirsty to taste the goodness of God.
The great commission is often seen as Jesus’ marching orders to make disciples, which must include ongoing sharing of Jesus’ good news with those who have not yet heard. The great commission and Jesus’ similar instructions to the twelve in Acts 1:8 were delivered directly to His twelve Apostles. This has caused some to believe that not every follower of Jesus is responsible to engage in giving away the life of Christ; it simply is not their gift. This is not the truth. An often overlooked statement in the great commission instructs the Twelve to be teaching their disciples “to obey everything I have commanded you.” The Twelve were to teach the ordinary believer to obey everything Jesus taught them including the making of disciples or being a witness to all the world. Everyone is responsible to be intentionally sharing the life of Jesus with the world.
The truth is that the ordinary person is a competent minister of the good news (2 Cor. 3:6). The truth is that success in evangelism should be measured by conversations about Jesus not conversions to Jesus. Ordinary people are only responsible to tell about and demonstrate the love of Jesus. Only Supernatural beings are responsible for the results, “I planted, Apollos watered but God was causing the growth.” (1 Cor. 3:6-7). Everyone is an evangelizer and success is measured by obedience to share.
The church needs to rediscover what has been stolen from her. We need to give back the cold, distant and dutiful methodologies* of evangelism for the more adventurous, risky and romantic renditions that only Jesus can create and place in our souls. The church needs some fresh adventures in understanding how Jesus is getting the message into the souls of people. When we think about engaging people with the truth, we should capture the understanding that Jesus is a customizer of methods, not a cookie cutter.
Jesus will take a believer, with all their experiences and fears, and have them cross the paths of not-yet-believing people who are a perfect fit for the customized approach Jesus gives the believer. This requires trust and obedience, but it is exactly what Jesus promised. Jesus said He will give us the right words at the right time, every time (Luke 21:13-15). This takes our faith and evangelism to a whole new level of adventure.
I can count fifteen people who shared Jesus with me in some form or fashion before Ralph shared the same truth with me and my life was transformed. Who was more important in my choosing to follow Jesus, the fifteen or Ralph? Was Ralph more gifted or skilled or persuasive than the others? Did Ralph ‘close the deal‘ because he has an anointing? I believe that all sixteen who told me about Jesus were equally vital to my process of turning to Jesus. All salvation experiences are mysterious. Some are dramatic, some are mundane, others cannot be marked by an event. Salvation is always a supernatural event where the God of the universe enters the life of a human being permanently. When the rich young ruler heard what was required by Jesus to gain eternal life, he became very sad. Jesus’ disciples asked him if a rich man can’t be saved “…then who can be saved?”. Jesus answered, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” (Luke 18:18-27).
Enjoy the freedom of not knowing what God is doing in another soul. Enjoy that it is a mystery. Be assured, however, that God is doing something in the souls of those with whom you share His truth. Trust in His perfect and powerful ability to draw people to repentance in the way they need. Obediently follow His lead, even when it doesn’t make sense; because most mysteries don’t make sense.
The bottom line regarding evangelism is to enjoy it (weird huh?). Jesus is an artist of the soul. He created you specifically to engage the people He brings in your life with His truth. Enjoy His adjusting the delivery of the message to fit the current need of the one listening to your words.
If we learn to enjoy sharing the life of Jesus with others as He leads us, we will most assuredly share that life more often and with more passion. The Scriptures teach that the more we sow, the more we will reap. The power behind people coming to Jesus is not in any delivery, method or medium. The power behind people coming to Jesus is always in message (Rom. 1:16). Give away the message often and with joy and enjoy watching God at work!
* God can, has and will continue to use a more formal, methodological approach to giving out the Gospel. It is not wrong to do so, however, it has robbed the fun of spiritual reproduction from the ordinary believer. The giving out of the Word will never return without effect on the one hearing the truth.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know if this is helpful to you and your church.
©2012 Ed Waken
Conversations Not Conversions – Ed Waken
Who Is In Charge?: ReTooling Leadership 1
Jesus’ Example: ReTooling Leadership 2
The Leader’s Priority: ReTooling Leadership 3
Organic Evangelism Principles
The Deal on Disciple Making – Video
Becoming missional: We reap what we sow
I’m reminded of a story about D.L. Moody. Someone once criticized him for the way he brought everyone to the front to respond to the Gospel.
“Well, how do you do it?” Moody asked.
The man had no answer because he wasn’t leading anyone to the Lord.
Moody’s response: “I prefer the way I do it badly to the way you don’t do it at all.”
There’s much I don’t like about the way the Gospel is preached in this country–for example, televangelism. But can I criticize if I am doing nothing myself?
Another story, this time about John Wesley.
John Wesley was an itinerant evangelist traveling widely in order to preach the Gospel. One day, someone challenged him that he should only speak to people about the Lord when he sensed God prompting him. He tried it for one week. During that time he spoke to virtually no one because he never sensed the Lords’ prompting. At the end of the week he concluded this didn’t work and went back to speaking to everyone he met.
I speak to myself: we have lost the art of abundant Gospel sowing.
The principle of sowing and reaping applies. The harvest we reap is directly proportional to the amount of seed we sow. (Obviously other factors such as quality of soil, water etc. need to be taken into account). In general, we reap little because we sow little. Are we trying to harvest in fields where little or no seed has been sown?
The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptists have produced a wonderful video called Like a Mighty Wave. It can be downloaded from their video resource section It examines the ten common practices of movements where many people are finding Christ and many new churches are starting. One of these practices is abundant Gospel sowing.
What does it look like for us to sow abundantly in a way that fits our simple/organic principles? If we cannot do it here in our own culture, how do we expect to do it on the mission field?
-By Felicity Dale
Reposted from her blog: Simply Church here
|Jay & Jan Bell|
Meet Emily. Yesterday Emily, a young wife and mother of two toddlers, cut my hair. She is a God-seeker and I have been planting myself into the soil of her heart over the years through friendly “God-talk.”
Hey Emily, have you been keeping up with the “Tebow talk?” She said, “Yeah, kinda, but what’s it all about?”
Well, Emily (as she is clipping), it’s about a Bible verse, the number 3-16 and his journey as the quarterback of the Denver Broncos (as I am praying). I then explained how he wore John 3:16 as eye reflectors during his years as QB at the U. of Florida. She asked, “What does John 3:16 say?”
Slowly, with a smile, I quoted the verse with passion.
But, Emily (clip, clip), check this out. During Monday nights play-off game against the favored Pittsburgh Steelers he threw for 316 yards. She exclaimed, “No way!” And, Emily (pray, pray), each pass averaged 31.6 yards. “Get outta here!” And the Broncos’ time of possession of the ball was 31:06 minutes! “Jay, are you making this up?” And, Emily, the TV rating of the number of people watching the fourth quarter was 31.6. “Jay, that’s so weird!” And the only interception of the game was thrown by the Steelers QB when the play was 3rd down and 16 yards to go. “Jay, what does all this mean?”
Emily, may I answer your question with a question? And my question is just one word: Coincidence?
Emily, do you have a Bible at home? “Um, let’s see, yes.” Let me send you these 3-16 numbers in an e-mail and then lay the verse and the numbers on your husband.
My head is no longer in her hands, but her heart is still in God’s hands!
Jay & Jan work with Encompass World Partners mobilizing people in the USA to love and reach out to Internationals.
If you would like to be on the email list for Jay & Jan, drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org