19:10, Jesus explained His mission, “The Son of Man came to
seek and to save that which was lost.” He lived, He died, He was
resurrected in order to accomplish this mission. Then He
established His church to carry on this work. It stands to reason
then that we must be busy seeking and saving the lost. We must be
impacting the world with the gospel message of salvation. How are
we doing with that goal? Have we accomplished it yet? I believe we
can all agree that we still have a lot of work to do to seek and
save the lost. But how can we have the Maximum Impact with the
gospel. We live in a day of mass marketing. We can put ads and
shows on the radio and TV. We can rent billboards. We can do mass
mail outs. But were you aware that even today with all of these
advertisement avenues, the number one means by which anything gets
spread, even the gospel, is by individual word of mouth? That is
exactly what works with Christ’s gospel. Understanding that the
great weight of spreading the gospel is on our shoulders as
individual Christians, how can we impact our society? I would like
to share a formula with you for having the Maximum Impact with the
gospel. Regrettably, I did not come up with this formula, I read
it in a book by Bill Hybels entitled, “Becoming A Contagious
Christian.” While I do not agree with Mr. Hybels’ theology or
plan of salvation, I do believe he has grasped the keys to
evangelism in a way that has sometimes eluded us. His formula:
HP + CP + CC = MI
That is, High Potency plus Close Proximity plus Clear
Communication equals Maximum Impact.
HP = High Potency
Jesus said we are the salt of the world in Matthew
5:13. But this salt is supposed to have taste. In fact, Jesus
asked, “If the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made
salty again?” We have to be potent salt.
According to Romans
12:2, we are supposed to be different from the world. That is
the exact essence of having high potency. We ought to stand out.
People ought to be able to look at us and tell that we have
something they are missing.
No, this does not mean we become “Jesus Freaks,”
“Bible Thumpers” or “Radical Christians.” Rather, as a
marquee I saw recently explains, “God wants spiritual fruit, not
religious nuts.” While clearly obeying God’s word is going to
offend some people no matter how diplomatic we are about it, God
does not want us to live our Christianity in offensive ways. But
He does want us to stand out. How? That marquee explained it. God
wants us to bear spiritual fruit.
describes the fruit of the Spirit. When we are bearing these
fruit, we will stand out properly. We must bear love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and
self-control. Can you imagine what kind of impact we would have on
people in the world if they really saw these attributes in us? How
do you think it would impact people if they saw our goal was to
love instead of seeking our own? How do you think it would impact
people if they saw us maintaining joy throughout the stresses of
life? How do you think it would impact people if they saw us
grounded with peace in the midst of turmoil, controversy and
emotional upheaval? How would it impact people if they saw
patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control from us?
Would we stand out as different then? You had better believe it.
CP = Close Proximity
Salt can have all kinds of savor, flavor and potency, but
if it stays in the salt shaker, it will not do any good. Salt has
to touch the food for it to have any impact. The same is true for
our spiritual fruit. We can bear all the spiritual fruit we want,
but if it is locked up here in a church building or in our homes,
it will never have any impact. The only way we can have any impact
on those who are not saved is to be near them.
That is exactly how Jesus lived. How often did He get in
trouble for being with the wrong crowd?
In Luke 5:30,
the scribes and Pharisees asked, “Why do you eat and drink with
the tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus responded, “I have not
come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” We cannot
get sinners to repent if we spend all our time with the righteous.
In Luke 15:2,
the scribes and Pharisees again complained, “This man receives
sinners and eats with them.” Jesus responded with the parables
of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. His point was
that people are lost and need to be found. The scribes and
Pharisees should have been rejoicing that God was looking for
sinners to save.
No, this does not justify Christians involved in sinful
activities claiming they are just trying to get close to the
sinners. Nor does it mean Christians’ best friends should be
among the worldly. We must certainly be careful, bad company
corrupts good morals (I
Corinthians 15:33). But perhaps at times we have taken this
verse too far. We are so worried that we might be considered
guilty by association that we never contact the very people we
claim we want to save. We must follow in the footsteps of our
Savior. According to Matthew
11:19, Jesus was accused of some pretty awful things because
of those with whom He spent time. However, He understood that in
time, wisdom would vindicate Him.
Remember, Jesus was seeking the lost (Luke
19:10). And so are we. We cannot seek the lost by always
spending our time with the saved.
CC = Clear Communication
The final key to our formula is clear communication. We can
have all the spiritual fruit in the world and we can spend all of
our time around those who need to see it, but if we never actually
communicate the Gospel message to others, they will have no idea
how to get what we have and be what we are.
Every case of conversion recorded in scripture was preceded
by teaching. In Romans
10:13-15, Paul demonstrated that the only way to get people to
call on the name of the Lord and be saved is to teach them. There
is no other way. While we may somewhat facetiously speak of
contagious Christianity, we have to understand that salvation is
not something that can be caught simply by hanging out with people
who already have it. Salvation can only come by obeying the
teaching of Christ (Romans 6:17).
What does that mean for us? That means we each need to
consider how we would clearly communicate the gospel to others.
There is no set mold for how you approach this. But you do need to
consider how you would do it. You can provide tapes, articles or
sermon outlines to teach people. You could tell people about what
you have done to obey the scriptures and how it has helped you.
You can have a one-on-one Bible study with lessons that you have
written or lessons that someone else has written. You can have a
group study in your home that gives people opportunity to learn.
You can write down a list of verses to go through with someone.
The issue is not so much how you clearly communicate the
gospel to someone. The point is that you do clearly communicate
the gospel to them somehow. Make it fit you. You do not have to be
like me. You do not have to take my approaches or anyone else’s
approach. But you do have to figure out how you are going to
clearly communicate the gospel.
It takes all three: HP + CP + CC = MI
We cannot take shortcuts. If we are going to spread the
gospel with Maximum Impact, we have to have all three keys, High
Potency, Close Proximity and Clear Communication.
If we leave out Clear Communication, people will long to be
what we are but will never learn how. No one can call on the name
of the Lord unless they are first taught (Romans
If we leave out Close Proximity, the necessary people will
never see the Gospel lived or hear it taught properly. Even Jesus
had to spend time with sinners to get them to repent (Luke
If we leave out High Potency, we will not be any different
from the world and will not be saved ourselves. Additionally,
those who hear our teaching will have no reason to believe that
what we say can help them at all. After all, we are no different
from them. Our light must not be put under a basket but set out on
a lamp stand (Matthew 5:15)
When all three are present, we can have Maximum Impact with
the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That does not mean everyone will be
saved. It simply means we will be doing our job. We will be
planting and watering the seeds, we must leave the increase up to
God (I Corinthians 3:6-7).
We can impact Franklin and the Middle Tennessee area. We
will impact Franklin and the Middle Tennessee area. We must simply
work at it. Are you willing to work?
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ