Christians, start asking “Christians” about the gospel.
It has occurred to me that fellow brothers and sisters in Christ have been making a huge assumption about people who call themselves followers of Christ. The assumption is that the person is a follower of Christ.
I recently preached a message about how Christ is our King and Master. In light of that truth, His commands are not helpful suggestions. They are commands that cannot be ignored. The greatest of those commands is found in Matthew 28, where Jesus commanded his followers to become multiplying disciple-makers. My sermon was intended to help followers of Christ understand the necessity of sharing the gospel and discipling other believers, but what about people that already share the gospel?
For those of you who already understand and obey Christ’s command to share the gospel with others, here is a word of advice.
Don’t stop the conversation when someone says they go to church or professes to be a Christian.
There are so many times that people have told me they are believers, but then I ask them a simple question. What is the gospel? If you ask someone that question and they struggle for words and give some kind of confused answer, you know you are not talking to a Christian. They might be able to answer yes or no questions about the truths of the gospel, but a 3-year-old can do that.
Often Christians are relieved to here that someone goes to church or professes to be a believer, and then they redirect the conversation and let that person continue on in their confused, hell-bound, unbelieving state. Please do not do this.
Never assume someone is a Christian unless they can clearly articulate the gospel and the trust they have put in Christ for salvation. Never assume someone has heard the gospel unless you were there personally to witness them hearing the gospel.
This assumption we have been living with has led to countless souls being confused into thinking they are Christians. They need to know they are not. They likely will not be fond of that information, but we must tell them. We must share the true and life-giving gospel with them. They must understand that if they do not know the gospel, then they do not know Christ.
Additionally, do not stop the conversation just because they do know the gospel and can clearly express their trust in Christ. Continue the conversation as an opportunity to disciple them or to be discipled by them. There may be other important truths you need to speak into their life, or vice versa. Discipleship does not stop at evangelism, and it can happen in casual conversation.