For the past four months, I’ve been teaching basic doctrine to the leaders of a local church plant. They are wonderful, teachable, curious followers of Jesus, but I could tell some weren’t all that interested in the doctrines I learned to love when I came to true faith 50 years ago.
By and large, younger Christians are interested in the so what? topics. So, how does this affect me, or my family? How does that work itself out in real life?
So, I was teaching on the doctrine of the Church, (capital “C”) the Church universal, all true believers, living and dead and one of the young leaders asked me to summarize the goal, the mission of every true follower of Jesus. Here’s how I answered that question.
Make God look good It’s more than simply loving God emotionally and having tearful worship. It‘s loving God enough to make him look good, and to everyone you know, so they would want to get to know him and love him as well. An angry, complaining, opinionated, unkind Christian makes God look angry and unkind. More young people have been lost to the faith by unkind Christians than to the Dali Lama.
Make life better for others Jesus, couldn’t have made it any clearer, “love your neighbor… do unto others” and almost every word of the Sermon on the Mount screams that you and I must care more for others than we do for ourselves, or we shouldn’t embarrass Jesus by calling ourselves Christians.
Introduce others to Jesus, his teachings and live them out yourself This last purpose is really based on what has been called the Great Commission. “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20 The good news is that Jesus is still more popular even among non-Christians than his “followers” are. Young people are looking for the real thing in a faith that they admire and see that works in your life as well. Remember the “so what?” question at the beginning of this blog? These three purposes are my best attempt to provide a framework for the answers to that question.
I’ve taught these three purposes to our older grandchildren and many of the men I’ve mentored so whether they decide to follow Jesus or not, at very least they will always know the mission of every true Christian whether they use this exact wording or not. If you have another way to express what it means to follow Jesus, please share it with us. If not, consider memorizing these three points so the next time you are asked, you’ll be ready “to give an answer to the hope that’s is within you.”