for Christ

The third stage in the to Christ – in Christ – for Christ vision is where the process comes full circle.  At this point the person who has come to Christ is sent out and becomes His witness.  The believer now has a ministry of his or her own.  We can describe it as:

  • Sending and being sent for Christ as the Holy Spirit empowers us, according to Acts 1:8.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

From the example of the church in Antioch we can see how we work together with the Holy Spirit in sending people out to do the work of the ministry.

As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.  So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. –  Acts 13:2-4 (NKJV)

The Holy Spirit called Barnabas and Saul to a specific work.  The church then “sent them away” with fasting, prayer and the laying on of hands.  Still, the two were “sent out by the Holy Spirit” and not just by the church. 

May all our missionary endeavors be so well directed by His hand.

in Christ

Leading people to Christ is only the beginning.   The next step is to continue a life in Christ – an abiding, lifelong process.  Without this, any decision or commitment we make to Christ will be lifeless, growth-less, fruitless.  So the next phase can be described as:

  • Abiding in Christ so that our lives bear much fruit, as Christ explains in John 15:5.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Abiding in Christ and encouraging others to do so is the essence of discipleship.  The goal of evangelism is not merely decisions, but disciples.  The Gospel of Matthew ends with these words:

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” – Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)

A disciple is literally a “learner”.  The disciple is constantly learning.  The disciple-maker must be a disciple first and then a teacher of others – teaching others to “observe all things” that Jesus has commanded – all of which we find in His Word.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.'” – John 8:31 (NKJV)

to Christ

Evangelism need not be complicated.  No less a follower of Jesus than Simon Peter was introduced to Christ by someone who was a rank amateur in sharing his faith – his brother Andrew – who had only recently met Jesus himself.  Let’s look at the text:

One … who … followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.” – John 1:40-42 (NKJV)

Andrew told Peter about Jesus the very day he met Him.  To be sure, Andrew still had a lot to learn about his Lord.  That education lasted a lifetime.  Nonetheless, without a shred of understanding of his apostolic gifts or authority, without ever reading or even seeing a gospel tract, and though he didn’t yet know Jesus very well, Andrew led Peter to Christ. 

This simple act is Part One of the to Christ – in Christ – for Christ vision we have for each believer at Horizon Central.

Leading others to Christ, as we see (again) in John 1:40-42:

One … who … followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.” – John 1:40-42 (NKJV)

It’s true that no one can come to the Father except through Jesus, but it’s also true that people can come to Jesus from anywhere at all.  People only need someone who knows Him already – someone just like us – to introduce them to Him.