Evangelism 2

Evangelism 2

Let’s recap quickly:

Definition: The preaching of the good news with an aim to persuade.

We want to create a culture of evangelism

  1. A culture motivated by love for Jesus and his gospel[1]

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

  1. A culture that is confident in the gospel

Romans 1:16

  1. A culture that understand the danger of entertainment

Ezekiel 33:30-32

  1. A culture that sees people clearly

2 Corinthians 5:16a

  1. A culture that pulls together as one

Philippians 1:3-5

  1. A culture in which people teach one another

2 Timothy 1:13

  1. A culture that models evangelism “passed on”[2]

2 Timothy 2:2

  1. A culture in which people who are sharing their faith are celebrated

Philippians 2:19-22

  1. A culture that knows how to affirm and celebrate new life

Colossians 1:3-4, 7

  1. A culture doing ministry that feels risky and is dangerous

Philippians 1:12-13

  1. A culture that understands the church is the chosen and best method of

evangelism

Acts 2:46-47

  1. We want to connect that culture of evangelism to the function of the church

Remember that evangelism is grass-roots. It’s not top – down.

Our love for each other and our unity convey that we are Jesus’ disciples and that Jesus is God.

The life of the church has built-in gospel pointers that when people are engaged with the message of the gospel by all of it’s members and those members bring people to see and hear more they get it in word, deed and experience.

So, what is the most biblical and healthy way to go about doing evangelism today?

Let’s Be Intentional In Our Evangelism

Part of being intentional is evangelism is following the lead of King Jesus. The truth is that Jesus is ruling all things well providentially.

We may never see how the parts are worked together by the providential grace of the Lord, but our personal efforts to tell the good news often is boosted along by an intersecting relationship down the line, sometimes years after the fact and that leads to another opportunity of the gospel through an invitation to attend the church’s gathering that leads to a meal that leads to a bible study that leads to someone coming into the kingdom.

Paul said it like this: some sowed, some watered, some harvested but God gave the growth.

However, it takes intentional obedience to scatter gospel seed for watering by others.

Let me be clear. Our reformed theology never pre-empts our obedience to Jesus’ commands. Anyone who tells you that they are a good Calvinist and then tells you God’s gonna save whoever he wants to without them having to tell people the good news or going to hard places is not a good Calvinist. That person is an ignorant bum.

So, how can we be intentional?

  1. Prepare our hearts, minds, and feet

Are we motivated? Are we equipped? Are we available?

A transformed and motivated heart is the starting point.

Our intention is never to motivate you with guilt. We greatly desire that your labors be from love of the Lord Jesus and love for his people. We greatly desire that your labor be from a desire for that labor not a guilty barb.

We want to move in compassion for those who are not in the kingdom.

2 Corinthians 4:1-6 “…And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Our Minds are Ready With Right Equipping

Pastor Jonathan jokes about when they first came to TRCC that he thought that all we do is talk about the gospel.

It is incumbent on us to make sure that TRCC is equipped to not only know what the gospel is but to be able to apply the metanarrative of the gospel in all domains.

If all things are being brought back under the rule of Jesus Christ, then we need to learn to think “Christianly”[3] about all things.

This also applies to our singing, our preaching, our observance of the Supper each week and our greeting of one another.

 

Our Feet Are Ready and Available

Are we welcoming to those not in the kingdom?

We must be the aroma of Christ among those who are perishing. We are to be winsome and loving and gracious and kind.

Even inside the church we are to be a welcoming people to those who are outside of the kingdom. But our function inside the church is dictated by the worship of Jesus not the assimilation of non-Christians. We want them to smell the glory of Jesus not the allure of good marketing to non-Christians.

We must not make the mistake of removing our focus on Jesus and his glory in the church in an effort to make people feel good.

The church is to be concentrated on making much of Jesus. The individuals who make up the church are to be sensitive to those Jesus is calling to himself.

In other words, all of us are to be sensitive to the person by being available to get into their skin and culture but then bring them into the culture of the kingdom to taste the immeasurably sweet gospel of Jesus Christ that they may be transformed into the culture of God’s kingdom.

We don’t assimilate a lost culture to win people. We make much of Jesus and invite people into that cloud of glory to be transformed.

  1. Understand a gospel-shaped way of life

Mack Stiles highlights, as an example, Galatians 2:1-14. Here, Peter had been hanging out with Gentiles and enjoying some Gentile goodies.

However, when some “false brothers” began to inject the false notion that people need to add circumcision to grace through faith in Jesus alone there began to be a division among the people.

So, when some Jewish Christians come to the churches of Galatia from James, Peter withdraws from the Gentiles and the enjoyment of some Gentile goodies and the Gentiles are confused over why Peter will no longer hang out with them.

There was a false notion of moral behavior that Peter had to put on in order to impress James’ boys.

Barnabas was led astray. Gentiles started thinking they needed to be like Jews in order to be ok. Chaos.

Paul rebukes Peter to his face and tells him that his behavior is not in line with the gospel.

Peter had bought a false notion of morality that we not gospel.

We must be careful to live in the gospel’s truth and in the values of the kingdom not a false morality created by a post-Christian church’s own making and not the truth of Scripture.

By the way, this is incredibly winsome to those outside the kingdom. It’s the aroma of Christ. Jesus lived in the kingdom, by it’s truths among those sick with the world system and they loved him. We can and must be like that.

Examples:

Colossians 3:13 “…forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you.”

Philippians 1:27 “…let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel…”

Matthew 20:25-28 “…But whoever would be great among you must be your servant…”

  1. Get rid of our assumptions

We must never assume the gospel. If we assume the good news we may be tempted to think that everyone who shows up with a bible and a “church” background is a Christian.

People come to us who have left chaos in their wake at other places because they confuse their opinions with orthodoxy and hurt others and unity. That won’t happen here.

We have actually discovered in our membership class that there were people of reputable churches who did not believe Jesus was God. They denied Trinitarian theology.

“That bad assumption leads to the next; there is no need to share, teach, or preach the gospel (If Jesus’ isn’t God, then why major on his message of who he is and why he came?). Over time, confusion about the gospel grows: external actions are confused with genuine Christian faith. Morality becomes an expectation and not a response of love. The cross is treated merely as an example, not the place where God’s wrath and love uniquely meet. Eventually, the gospel is lost altogether.”[4]

I have a colleague currently fighting this fight in a local church over the authority, infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture.

We assume nothing and teach everything.

We are careful with our children’s belief in the gospel. We keep the gospel message and our biblical response in front of them.

We preach the gospel.

We sing the gospel.

We pray the gospel.

When we do this we learn that the metanarrative of the gospel becomes our entire framework of decision-making.

  1. Practice evangelism as a discipline

The phrase “means of grace” is a vital phrase for the Christian. The Lord uses “means” to convey his grace, his loving kindness of him being a good Father and us being loved children, by means. Example: through Scripture, the internal witness of the Holy Spirit, a timely word spoken by a brother or sister in the fellowship.

But the disciplines of the faith are gospel pointing lightning rods of grace: prayer, bible study, gathering as a fellowship, fasting, silence and solitude and yes, even evangelism.

In prayer we see the power of God applied to kingdom advances and our faith is increased.

In bible study our minds are renewed by the work of the Spirit and we learn to see Father’s work in history and the woven together nature of God’s work recorded in Scripture and preserved in history and the providences of the Lord become precious. We learn to think like God and share his feelings on matters. We become like who we study about and linger over.

In gathering we taste the power of the gathered community and the encouragement of life together.

In fasting we see the supernatural sustaining of Father, and the humbling power of knowing we are weak and Father is strong. We taste the victory of defeating sin and healing relationships.

I silence and solitude we experience the clear voice of the Lord and the fellowship of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus in and with us.

In evangelism we see the power of the gospel to transform and we are emboldened to preach more often and we learn the ways of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, and our faith is strengthened.

Evangelism is a discipline to be practiced as often as the others.

As a discipline, we learn to just do it. We learn to refine our efforts. We learn to enjoy it. We become automatic at it. We get better at it. We get efficient with it. And we’ll become well-known to the demonic hoards from it.

  1. Pray

The marvelous assumption behind prayer is that we are depending on the sovereign and powerful Father to do what we can’t, so we ask him.

We ask Father for the salvation of people because only the Spirit can regenerate and cause people to be born again.

Prayer for the lost can’t be done unless you are depending on the Lord to do for man what man can’t do for himself. And that is exactly what we are looking for. When we pray for those we are preaching the gospel to we are asking Father to overcome their unbelief, cause them to come alive, and give them faith that they may believe.

Don’t forget to pray.

Also, pray daily for opportunity. That’s a prayer the Father will answer.

  1. Lead in doing evangelism

Some Nuts and Bolts of Sharing the Faith

  1. Know the gospel message

Creation:

There is one God who is the creator of all things, including man created in God’s image. This Triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is holy, just and the definition of love.

Fall:

Though we were once in fellowship with God, we are now cut off from him because of the rebellion started by our parents in the garden. The root of that rebellion was their choice not to believe God and to try to make themselves God instead. This treasonous act failed and the judgment was eternal death.

Terribly and tragically, this rebellion is passed on from generation to generation as a curse, the curse of sin and brokenness and death and all things wrong in created order. Even the dirt is now cursed.

All people inherit both the sin and the judgment. Our sin makes it impossible for us to earn our way back to Father.

Redemption:

Since we can’t earn our way back to Father and out of the curse, God the Father, being rich in mercy and eternal purpose began the work of redeeming us from the curse through revealing himself to man who once knew him face to face. The entire bible records and explains the culmination of that work of redemption in the coming of the ultimate missionary, Jesus, to break the curse and redeem us back to Father and establish his kingdom rule.

Jesus, fully God and fully man, lived perfectly and revealed Father clearly.

In the fullness of time he went to his appointed death on Roman cross as the perfect sacrifice to ransom us from the curse of the fall. Jesus paid the penalty of our sin and rose from the grave conquering death and proving that all he said and did was true. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection all those who will repent of our sin, believe this good news and follow Jesus have their sin debt cancelled and the very perfection of Jesus accounted to them so that they are adopted as Father’s children.

Restoration:

But that is not the end of the story. All those who repent and believe are given a mission to engage in taking this good news of Jesus’ rule to all nations and telling the good news that Jesus kingdom is being spread over all things and that Jesus is taking back all things from the curse of the fall, including people who will repent and believe, and he is going to return and complete the establishment of his rule in a redone and sin free created order where his people will have Eden regained and face to face fellowship fully restored forever.

  1. Remember, you are an ambassador

2 Corinthians 5:20-21

  1. Think through answering hard questions
  1. Be bold and be clear
  1. Deliver the message and trust Jesus for the response

Remember, some of us get to scatter the message. Some get to water that gospel seed planted. Some get to pick the fruit. But Father causes the increase.

How do you know if you are scattering, watering or picking fruit?

Jesus parable of the sower is helpful to me.

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 tells of a path, rocky ground, thorny ground and good soil. A sower was sowing seed and the seed hit all kinds of ground. The rocky ground never even received the seed. It was eaten by birds. The rocky ground produced an early plant, but the lack of depth caused the plant to wither when it got tough. The thorny ground received the seed and produced a plant, but the seed was choked out and no fruit was made. The good soil grew a plant and that plant began to produce fruit.

Jesus tells us that when the soil is hard and never get’s into the dirt, it’s Satan that steals the word of the gospel.

When rocky ground produces a plant and the sun scorches it away we learn that hardship causes them to walk away and never grow toward maturity.

When the thorny ground produces a plant cares and others things crowd out the gospel and there is no fruit.

But good soil, that tilled up by the regenerating work of the Spirit produces not only the plant but the fruit that the plant is intended to produce.

Here is how this helps: keep a watch out for rejection and keep a watch out for reception and then take note of the fruit of repentance and a gospel conscience and a witness of the Spirit in them with the Holy Spirit in you.

Scatter the gospel liberally and watch for the work of the Lord or the sad results of the fall, but watch what Jesus said come about. He’s in charge of the growth.

Be confident to simply do your part.

  1. Don’t lose heart

2 Corinthians 4:1

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.”

We don’t lose heart because the Lord is doing the transforming from one degree of glory to another. He is the one who is advancing the work and “Generaling” the mission. We have nothing to lose heart over.

Therefore…

  1. We worship

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

[1] We are taking all 11 points here from Mack Stiles.

[2] Quotes mine

[3] Brad Poston has coined this term in his worldview lectures.

[4] Ibid. p. 91.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s