The largest growth we have seen in the history of the church was in its earliest years when Christianity was illegal in Rome. Being a Christian was executable by death, yet somehow it grew more exponentially than any other time in history. Today in the West where Christianity is legal, we actually see Christianity shrinking, yet in the Middle East and Asia where Christianity is often times illegal and grounds for execution, Christianity is growing more than ever before in those areas. I have written before about how I believe this persecution actually can serve as growth (if you want to go back and read that article, click here). Another question must be asked though. What would lead people to share their faith so boldly if it can lead them to be martyred if they are caught?
The joy of our salvation.
Nothing should shut our mouth faster than the sorrow the comes from the realization of our brokenness. We are not capable or competent to do enough or to fix ourselves. We are broken and sinful, and when we realize this, we stop boasting in ourselves. Yet, we realize the forgiveness, the salvation, the freedom, and the joy we have in Christ. When we have this inside of us, our mouths are opened to sing the praise of the one who has called us out of darkness and into the marvelous light of his presence (1 Pet 2:9). We are so full of God’s joy that we are overflowing with hope (Rom 15:13).
The realization of our brokenness shuts our mouth, but the joy of Christ opens our mouth to shout his praises.
We must rethink our ideas of evangelism and telling others about Jesus. We often times think of evangelism as inviting people to church with us, but this could not have been farther from the truth in the days of Peter and Paul. Inviting people to your church would have led to the death of every believer there. Yes, some people were preaching about Jesus in the streets like accounts have of Peter and Paul. Yet, many other people like Priscilla and Aquila were furthering the kingdom in a much different way. They were continuing through life with this joy overflowing from within them. The way they lived their lives and loved others was radically different. These conversations about Jesus and sharing him did come up, but it was much more organic. People always had their answer ready for the joy and hope they had inside of them (1 Pet 4:10).
If we are aware of our brokenness and need for a savior and we know what Jesus has done for us personally, we should be so filled with joy that it is overflowing into all areas of our life and everyone around us. So I must ask you, if you know Jesus but you are not filled with such a joy, do you truly know Jesus and all he has done for you? Or has the joy faded? Cry out as David did, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Ps 51:12, NRSV). Ask Jesus to fill you again with his joy that can only come by abiding in Jesus.
When you are filled with the joy of Jesus, it shows to those around you. Your witness multiplies unlike ever before in your walk and does much better than inviting others to church. You reflect the magnetic nature of Jesus, whom crowds consistently flocked to in his ministry walk.
Find your joy of Jesus and the salvation he offers.
The joy of the gospel is just that. We were in darkness. We were broken and desperate. We were incompetent and incapable. We still are. Yet, God loves us so much that he offers us salvation by faith through faith in Jesus. This is joy. We were in darkness, and now are in the marvelous light of his presence. We were broken and desperate, but Christ has restored us anew. We were incompetent and incapable, but he was fully able to and did.