Witnessing for Christ appears innocent, but, in my view, it creates greatest causes for failure in accomplishing the mission of spreading the gospel. Christians are expected to go out into the world and preach the gospel. The methodology applied has always revealed the misunderstanding that has made Christianity unacceptable, yet being the only way to solve all problems of the world.
As witnesses to the story of Jesus at that time, it was necessary for the early disciples to go about trying to convince ordinary people about what had happened in Jerusalem. Today, such kind of witnessing may no longer be as necessary as it was at that time.
But, generally, failure comes from inability to appreciate that the gospel of God’s Kingdom is not a religion, which implies there being worshipers of an object or a superhuman controlling power. In religion, those not obeying what comes from the controlling power, expect punishment in due course.
Operating under a religion implies having no liberty to choose what is right and what is wrong, except to obey the controlling power. Worshiping under a religion is as easy as following codes of conduct and accordingly expecting to be rewarded for doing so.
But God’s Kingdom implies there being a King who uses grace to rule over His subjects. Whilst in total control, the King expects His subjects to conduct themselves under the tenets of total freedom. Those accepting the gospel take full responsibility in applying the principles of God’s Kingdom. They exercise natural righteousness not the righteousness that seeks to impress other people.
This type of righteousness comes about by way of rediscovering true identity, through Jesus, thereby relating to God as one’s true source (Gen 1:26-27). That, naturally, changes the mindset of that individual, so that as God thinks, so the person thinks.
The convert becomes the child of God. Just as we know, even in this world, children do not worship their fathers. But they have a bonded relationship that identifies with their fore-bearers.
At His second-coming, Jesus will be identified as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). The multitudes of those kings and lords, under Jesus’ authority would be part of the royal family, relating to Jesus, in the same way that brothers relate to one another.
In the case of Christianity, Jesus is King. He declared how He expected those under His authority to worship Him (Matthew 6:1-18). This type of worship is different and cannot be displayed similarly to how ordinary worshipers display worshiping in this world. That type of worship is personal, as not to be considered as worshiping, by those used to seeing worship according to known traditions and patterns of this world.
When practicing that type of worship, one cannot be identified as a religious person. That person relates to people in ways that seek to address their problems. He/she produces fruits that those people enjoy, without him/her necessarily receiving benefits. He/she provides what people want, without even expecting or seeking accolades from those people. He/she uses compassion and mercy, more than following religious guidelines, when helping other people.
The gospel is good news about the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. There is one major difference, between the kingdoms of this world and God’s Kingdom. In this world, ordinary people are expected to die for the king. In God’s kingdom it is the King who dies for the people. As long as those preaching the gospel fail to appreciate this reality, the mission of the gospel is misplaced.
There is only one and only gospel that Jesus instructed His disciples to herald across the world. It is the gospel about God’s Kingdom. This type of gospel has got nothing to do with idolizing Jesus, necessarily. While healing and other niceties can come from the applications of that gospel, those niceties are not necessarily the gospel, which is about God’s Kingdom.
The true gospel helps converts to discover their true identities. As God’s children, they cease to conform to the customs of this world. Their behavior is not different from how Jesus behaved in this world, except that their missions may not necessarily be comparable to Jesus’. Those people may not necessarily even call themselves Christians, as characteristically known today.
They do the work of God by way of influencing others to appreciate principles of God’s Kingdom, which is a reality that changes people’s lives towards positive conduct. While unattractive to ordinary people, the principles of God’s Kingdom can cause the convicted ones to leave everything behind, to be part of the mission of the gospel (Matthew 13:44-45).
There is difference between those doing ordinary witnessing for Christ and those influencing others to appreciate God’s Kingdom. The former simply tell the story of Jesus; what happened to Him and that He was resurrected and went to heaven, where the righteous go, after death. The latter practice the principles, as highlighted in the gospel of God’s Kingdom; producing fruits that other humans appreciate and contagiously apply in their lives.
The converts may not even notice how they got to be convicted to accept Christ, as discovering what naturally makes sense. They then own and feel responsible to apply what they discover, which may not necessarily be according to those who influenced them.
A true convert ceases to be subservient to anyone, except to appreciate the authority of Jesus. He/she may consult the person who influenced him/her, but taking full responsibility on what makes a difference in other people’s lives. All hierarchical structures known today,as displayed in Christianity, have got nothing to do with the gospel.
True converts cannot wait to put into practice valuable principles that change people’s lives upside down. The most important aspect about the gospel is that it is not the business of showoff, seeking to receive accolades in this world. It is the business of revealing the greatness of God, where only Jesus shows the way towards salvation.
However, when He was here, Jesus never preached about Himself. He did not instruct people to seek Him first, to attain salvation. He simply told people to seek first the Kingdom of God, before other things could be added (Matthew 6:33). Jesus also did not make altar calls, as now the normal practice among Christian churches. He also did not seek to impose His teachings to people who did not require such teachings.
The principles of God’s Kingdom can even be acceptable to anyone of the religions of this world. The Buddha may find the principles workable and applicable in ordinary life terms. The same would be the case with those from Islam and other religions of this world. What is required is to first show respect to those religions, in order to access communication with them.
It may not even be necessary to mention the name of Jesus, when communicating the principles of the gospel. Other religions are prepared to listen, only when the evangelist talks about workable principles of God’s Kingdom, as these can be found to be desirable by all human beings.
Jesus, actually referred to this method in one of His parables, concerning the effects of leaven, influencing change on the dough of flour (Matthew 13:33). This business of always projecting Christianity as better than other religions of this world does not come from the Bible. (See the characteristics of leaven)
Paul also demonstrated the usage of this methodology, which could go a long way in addressing the problems of this world (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). My own view is that the enemy of Christianity (Satan) has used Christian titles, now revered by our renowned Christian leaders, in Christian world (See here) and also (here)
Even though the Jews rejected Jesus and caused Him to be crucified, they have no reason to reject the principles of God’s Kingdom. Those convicted to Kingdom principles seek to answer this question: How far have people been glad, as a result of my existence on this planet?
This is contrasted with the question like: Having existed this far on earth, has anyone ever made me happy?
True Christians toil, not for their own benefits, but for the benefit of other people. To them, things of value are what is experienced by others, before considering own benefits. It is the principle of giving, more than anticipating benefits to self.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99