We begin a quick two-week message series on practical, everyday evangelism for normal people, that we’re calling “Contagious, Not Obnoxious.” Because of the majesty and grace and command of our God, the Christian message is something intended for all. The abundant new life in Christ that we experience is something to be shared and passed on – naturally and contagiously. But how? Even when Christ’s command to “make disciples” is compelling and motivating, it can be confusing how we do that in a way that won’t be ineffective or perceived as obnoxious. We try to clarify some simple, helpful, loving steps that get us on the path to contagious living.
In 1517, seeking a debate on practices of the Roman Catholic Church that he believed to be at odds with the Bible’s witness to God’s love and our salvation in Jesus Christ, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Luther’s action is the symbolic start of a movement that came to be called the Reformation – a calling of the Church to ground itself solely in the Good News (the gospel) about Jesus Christ and in the Bible that carries that Good News to each new generation. What is that Good News? That we are made right with God not by our own good behavior but by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. As St. Paul wrote: “[All who believe] are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith” (Romans 3:24).