Monday, October 24, 2016

October 24, 2016 - The Love of the Game

As a 4-5 yr old boy I had already fallen in love with the game of basketball… I don’t remember a lot from that age other than a fight with my next door neighbor and playing hoops on our driveway on Boeke Rd in Evansville, IN. I’m sure I could probably come up with some other memories but those stand out…

How did I fall in love with basketball at such a young age? It was difficult for a little guy to shoot at that 10’ goal and I certainly didn’t know all of the rules. But I do have some memories of my older brother and his friends playing, and of my dad taking hook shots, and my mom shooting free throws. (And I fell in love with other sports as well as a result of the influence of others that loved them…)

I don’t remember my dad giving me a rule book to study (I couldn’t even read at that time.) And I don’t remember anyone trying to force me to do everything just right (wasn’t big enough or strong enough to do everything right… and still mess up.) On that driveway I just played; the fundamentals and the rules came through a process. In fact if my dad would have started with rules and fundamentals I’m not sure I would have fallen in love with the game; the rules and fundamentals just helped me play more successfully.

So when it comes to evangelism and discipleship I want us to grasp some truths…

Evangelism: We need to stop trying to introduce people to Christianity; and instead focus on introducing them to Christ! It is way too common to hear supposed Gospel messages focus on the process of how a believer should play the game instead of focusing on the gift of the Person of Christ. The Gospel is about Christ committing to us, not us committing to Him! He did the work! We accept the gift! As my pastor stated yesterday: “By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone!” When Christ washed the disciples’ feet (John 13) He took the role of a servant/slave; when Peter tried to deny the washing Christ told him that he (we) must allow Christ to serve him (us) for salvation… not us serve Him for salvation! Salvation is about us allowing Christ to be our slave…

Discipleship: This is the process that makes the game better; makes us more successful. This is what we need once we are on the team! This is where our commitment comes in; not for salvation but because of salvation. This is where we, as believers, are encouraged to serve. Remember that salvation is “By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone…” Discipleship adds… “for good works!” (Check out Ephesians 2:8-10 for the full picture.)

God showed His love for me by sending Christ to serve me… I fell in love with the person and provision of Christ, not in the process of serving Him. The process came as a result of gratitude.

Bottom line: In evangelism drop the “ianity” and simply introduce people to the person and work of Christ! That is “good news” to one in need! That is amazing news to one that would feel unworthy… the God of the universe came to be our servant!

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