When a church is filled with people who have been gripped by the Gospel and are living it out, it has a significant impact on the way the church functions. Instead of begging people to be involved in Jesus’ mission for the church, the people are excited and eager to do something to be a part of Jesus’ mission for the church. Where the people have not been gripped by the Gospel the results are vastly different. Listen to the story of one churches experience with people who were not gripped by the Gospel.
There is a story about four people in the church whose names were Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. The church had financial responsibilities and Everybody was asked to help. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it. But you know who did it? Nobody. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
Then the church grounds needed some work, and Somebody was asked to help. But Somebody got angry about that, because Anybody could have done it just as well and, after all, it was really Everybody’s job. In the end the work was given to Nobody, and Nobody did the best job that Nobody could do.
On and on this went. Whenever work was to be done, Nobody could always be counted on. Nobody visited the sick. Nobody gave generously. Nobody shared the Gospel. In short, Nobody was a faithful member. Finally the day came when Somebody left the church and took Anybody and Everybody with him. Guess who was left. Nobody!
While this is meant to be a humorous story, it’s really pretty sad because it rings true in many churches and in the lives of many Christians. One of the reasons that this pattern is so sad is because it is a far cry from what the Church is supposed to be. The somebody, anybody, nobody pattern is completely foreign to Scripture. Instead what you find in Scripture is that everybody was committed to fulfilling the mission that Jesus had given His church.
When you read the New Testament there are several metaphors used to describe the Church. The one that is probably the most common is that of a body. Specifically the church is called the Body of Christ. A part of what this means is that the Church has a very specific responsibility in the world. As the Body we are to be Jesus’ hands and feet to take the Gospel to those who need it.
When I say the church it’s important for us to understand what the Church is and what it is not. When the Bible speaks of the Church it isn’t speaking of some sort of nebulous entity that has the responsibility to take the Gospel and make disciples of all nations. Instead the Bible is talking about all those who have been redeemed by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. If you have been born again, then you are a part of the Church and a part of the Body of Christ. As such, there is no responsibility that Jesus has given His Church that you are not responsible to help fulfill. This includes the mission of sharing the Gospel and making disciples of all nations.
If we are to be faithful in sharing the Gospel to make disciples of all nations then we are going to have to do more than show up to church, leave and do nothing else. If we are going to be faithful to share the Gospel to make disciples of all nations then we will have to do more than have a designated night where we meet at the church to go out and knock doors. To be faithful to share the Gospel and make disciples of all nations will require us to live in such a way that we see the opportunities we have from day to day to share the Gospel with others and then take those opportunities. Before we can faithfully be the Body of Christ that fulfills Jesus’ mission for the church, we will have to be so gripped by the Gospel that it becomes more than a truth we affirm. We must be gripped by the Gospel in such a way that it changes the way we think, the way we live, the way we act and the way we view the world around us.
In the blog this week we’ll look at four words that describe those that are gripped by the Gospel.