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Yeshua Explored

Saving souls

todayDecember 7, 2020 16

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Think of the person you’d least like to reach with the Gospel (be honest now, we all have a nemesis out there, however we may deny it). I have someone in mind and it deeply shames me even to entertain such an unhelpful and self-condemning notion. But honesty has its downside, so I am giving us all a chance to redeem ourselves here.

Take that person and (in your mind’s eye) sit them on a chair facing you. Now comes the interesting bit. We are going to strip them down (tastefully) to the basics. First, physicalities. Remove their gender (especially if they have adopted one of the more exotic varieties), their age, their appearance, even the aspects of their personality that you may find annoying. Next jettison any emotional response they stir up in you. Next come spiritual attachments, known and unknown, acknowledged and denied. These can be religious allegiances, but they can also be spiritual blockages, even unsavoury attachments, such as those connected to freemasonry, witchcraft, compulsive behaviour, or addictions.

What do we have left? The person, unplugged, just a lost soul quivering under the spotlight, the core of their very being, all other layers stripped away. And what does that soul need more than anything else? Jesus, pure and simple. And there’s where your evangelism comes in because if we can view our worst enemy in this way, then everyone else in the world will just slip into place.

Why was this exercise necessary? Think of Jeremy Corbyn (or anyone else of similar profile). Strip away the wizened old ‘social justice warrior’ persona and ignore any emotions he may provoke regarding his negativity towards Israel and look beyond the clutch that Marxism has on him, strengthened over years of devotion to this flawed ideal. Now look at him, a lost soul in an old man’s body, someone who has followed a defective path and is seemingly a million miles away from where God would want him to be. Now think about loving him into the Kingdom.

By extension, think of the millions of aborted babies, killed through their inconvenience to others, or the foot soldiers (cannon fodder) of countless wars, slaughtered unthinkingly at the whim of the strategy of others, or those born with physical or mental deficiencies, considered ‘less than human’, or the inconveniently old, betrayed by the entropy of time, or the millions who are trapped into following a religion that would doom them to destruction, or those sexually confused on a ‘pride’ march, taught by others to celebrate their differences and to define themselves by their gender identity. All souls as worthy of God’s Kingdom as anyone else, but overlooked because of physical, emotional or spiritual factors, because they are not like us and therefore a problem for others to deal with. God’s Kingdom is not an old boys’ club, or a ‘members only’ exclusive society, or any other reflection of the world’s Kingdom. It’s a place of true diversity, inhabited by the choice of God, not man, however that pans out theologically.

Jesus could have ignored the lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors and other social pariahs and stuck to his own, nice provincial Jewish boys who would look like him and share a common background. But he didn’t.

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:30-32)

He was in the business of ‘saving souls’ and so should we be. We are not expected to judge others, to focus on ‘the sin’, but rather we must embrace the mindset that all are sinners and all have fallen short and, although we may perceive some sins to be worse than others, we must refrain from adding our prejudices and ‘righteous anger’ and just consider that naked soul sitting, quivering, on that chair. God will judge, not us:

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbour? (James 4:12)

This is a tricky one, especially when confronted with extremes of gender identity and everything within us winces with indignation. And it shows. They know it and will do all that they can to provoke you into a reaction, even if you are just showing it in your eyes. Great self-control is needed here and perhaps we should remind ourselves of the model we should aspire to:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Well that’s easy for Paul to say, we may think. He was never confronted by a bricklayer with stubble dressed in a mini-skirt and stockings! But, then again, he surely saw sights far worse, in the corrupt and licentious Roman culture in which he lived and preached. So we evangelise without prejudice, confident that God will put the people in our paths that He can trust us with and that He will give us all that we need to get the job done. All we need to do is rely on Him and not any judgement that comes from the flesh. It’s all about practice, really, so now may be a good time to prepare yourself for the next person God will bring before you … perhaps sooner than you think!

This is an extract from the book, Shalom, available for £10 at

Do you have problems reaching others

Written by: Rufus Olaniyan

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