A Whole Church Endeavor (Defining Evangelism)

You can listen to the audio lesson here.

You can also find the “Working Definition of Evangelism” here.

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DEFINING EVANGELISM

PART II – THE MESSENGERS AND THE RECIPIENTS

Lesson Four: A Whole Church Endeavor

“so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,’” (Philippians 2:15; NASB).

 

An endeavor. Making disciples from every nation is not something that happens by osmosis. It takes work on the part of the church. It’s something we pursue as a church, not merely something we hope will happen. It is an endeavor that starts with our view of Christ.

If we do not already have a high view of Christ in our everyday lives, we will not seek to bring His gospel to the world. We must, then, work to sanctify Christ—set Him apart as precious and holy—in every aspect of our lives. Only then will we as a church truly desire to commit ourselves to the work of evangelism in our community.

“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence,” (1 Peter 3:15; NASB).

As the Apostle Peter wrote, one of the effects of sanctifying Christ in our hearts will be that we will be always ready to make a defense to everyone who asks us to give an account for our hope. Another effect will be that our defense will be with gentleness and reverence. We will recognize that it is not our message, but the message of God Himself.

As such, we will not seek our own ends in the methods and message we use, but we will seek His ends. We will be careful with how we handle the gospel of Christ, because it is not our gospel. It is rather like a car we have borrowed or a home we’re watching for a friend. As we handle it in the world, we will handle it with great care and great reverence, because it is not our own.

Another motivating factor that will drive us to our rightful duty of evangelism is the recognition that the world is a dark place. As we look around this world, even in our own nation, we see such deep darkness and misery. We see the depths of depravity, and how man’s heart is only, continually turned against God.

Seeing this great problem in our world should not drive us merely to social justice or political solutions. The problem of pain and of evil should drive us to shine our lights even greater in this dark and fallen world. It should not cause us so much to see solutions in activism or the promotion of this political candidate or another. Rather, it should cause us to recall the pure light of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the fact that we have been called to reflect that light.

14Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain,” (Philippians 2:14-16; NASB).

We have been shown great mercy in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been granted the very word of life! As we hold forth that great word of life in this world, we hold forth a light that pierces the darkness and, where the light shines, no darkness can remain.

We know that “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more,” (Luke 12:48; NASB). We who have been granted much light are expected to shed much light into the darkness of our fallen world. Consider then how dreadful a thing it is that many churches that enjoy a high theology of God and sit under such a wealth of biblical preaching would be called “the frozen chosen.”

Our endeavors to make disciples then are not for the sake of achieving a closer relationship and more accurate view of God. Instead, they should spring from having received such a pure light. The Calvinist rightly decries the non-Calvinist who thinks he is earning anything from God for all the work he does. However, because the Calvinist recognizes Christ has already earned everything he needs from God, it should find all the more joy in his labors for Christ!

A whole-church endeavor. There has long been much debate over who is responsible to accomplish the work of evangelism in the life of the church. The short answer with which most can agree is that it is the endeavor of the whole church. Some might say that every member has a responsibility to do evangelism in much the same way as everyone else. Others might say that, with the support of the whole church, the officers and a few other chosen men are to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility of evangelism.

While both of these views would agree that evangelism is the endeavor of the whole church, I would disagree with both of these extremes. The Bible nowhere offers one cookie-cutter approach to evangelism or, much less, commands that everyone follow such a cookie-cutter approach. Nor does the Bible anywhere restrict the work of evangelism to a select group of ordained or recognized men within the church.

What we see instead is that every member within the church of Christ is called to be about the spread of the kingdom of Christ. For some this will mean a much more overt, visible teaching labor than for others. Some are called to go into the highways and byways and preach the gospel of Christ. These are the men that Paul means when he says that some must be sent.

“And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,

Who bring glad tidings of good things!’” (Romans 10:15; NKJV).

There is great wisdom in churches coming together under the direction of the elders to recognize godly men who are suited for the work of pulpit preaching, street preaching, teaching from house to house, teaching Sunday Schools, etc. As the preaching, teaching, and evangelism ministry of church elders allow, other godly men will arise who demonstrate the willingness, qualification, and ability to join and support them in their efforts. The Baptist Confession makes specific mention of such men.

“Although it be incumbent on the bishops or pastors of the churches, to be instant in preaching the word, by way of office, yet the work of preaching the word is not so peculiarly confined to them but that others also gifted and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved and called by the church, may and ought to perform it,” (The Baptist Confession, 26.11).

Were the work of evangelism to be so narrowly defined as to only include that public teaching and preaching marked by the above definitions, we might be inclined to agree with those who say that all men must be recognized by the church in order to do evangelism. However, the work of evangelism is much more thorough than just the public ministries of teaching and preaching. Under this definition, workplace conversations, family worship, a mother catechizing her children, and discussions in the marketplace would all be considered something other than evangelism.

Used in its most general sense, evangelism is simply gospel preaching. That is what is meant in the biblical use of the term. When Paul told the church in Rome that he wished to “preach the gospel” to them (Romans 1:15), he used one word for “preach the gospel”: εὐαγγελίζω. He did not mean in the sense of making converts, but rather in sense of continuing the work of discipleship among them.

Christian discipleship is rooted in the gospel. In that sense, all who endeavor to aid in the work of discipleship are aiding also in the work of evangelism. For Christians who are hearing the gospel for the thousandth time, the work of the gospel on their hearts is be the power of God unto their sanctification, drawing them afresh to the bosom of Christ. For those who have yet to draw near to Christ in true discipleship, the gospel will hopefully be the power of God unto their regeneration, justification, and adoption into the family of God.

For this reason, sermons, Sunday School lessons, workplace conversations, family worship, daily instruction of children, etc., ought always to be done with a view toward supporting the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will not always overtly hit on the exact same elements of the gospel of Christ, but they must be conducted in such a way that they do no injustice to the true gospel of God. The whole life of the Christian, then, will be seen as a life lived in support of evangelism.

This evangelistic life should impact every aspect of how we view church. When pastors come to the pulpit, they should be mindful that the people need to be hearing the preached gospel and learning how to convey that same gospel. The people also, as active listeners, should come ready to learn how to take they gospel they are receiving and convey it to the lost and dying world in which they sojourn. For this reason, Christ gave pastors and teachers to the church: “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:12; NASB).

Teaching Obedience to Christ’s Commands (Defining Evangelism)

You can listen to the audio lesson here.

You can also find the “Working Definition of Evangelism” here.

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DEFINING EVANGELISM

PART I – THE GREAT COMMISSION

Lesson Three: Teaching Obedience to Christ’s Commands

 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [a]always, even to the end of the age,’” (Matthew 28:20; NASB).

 

Defining a disciple. What is it to be a disciple. Discipleship means learning. That’s what the term in the Greek means: “to learn.” Christian disciples are first and foremost disciples of Christ. They will have to answer directly to Him on the day of judgment. However, they will not be the only ones answering for their souls. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews was very clear that teachers, too, will have to give an account for every soul they have been commissioned to teach.

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you,” (Hebrews 13:17; NASB).

This was the practice of the early church. They gave themselves regularly to the teaching of the apostles (Acts 2:42). Teaching was so paramount in the early church that the apostles even requested that men be set aside from the church to aid in the administrative matters of the church so that they could more fervently devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:1-5). This is a vital role within the church. Deacons are necessary for the freeing up of elders for prayer and the ministry of the word, and as the word is preached, new disciples find their place in the economy of Christ as true, teachable disciples.

When Christ makes disciples, He does not leave them as orphans. Rather, He gives them the Holy Spirit as a Helper, a Comforter, and an Advocate. When Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father, He sent the Spirit to us to guide us into all truth (John 14:16-26; 16:5-15). This same Spirit gives gifts to the church that are necessary for her unity in the faith (Romans 12:3-8).

Christ told His disciples on the night in which He was betrayed that it was for their benefit that He go. Why? In the giving of His Spirit, He was also giving godly men to the church for their preservation in the unity of the faith. He was giving them, and all subsequent teachers, to the church for her edification, refreshment, admonition, exhortation, and sanctification. The Spirit of God does His work primarily through the teaching ministry of the church.

7But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8Therefore it says,

‘When He ascended on high,

He led captive a host of captives,

And He gave gifts to men.’

9(Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) 11And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:7-13; NASB).

If a disciple is one who learns, then what is a disciple of Christ? What kind of disciples are we to be seeking to “make”? A disciple of Christ is one who submits to the teachings of Christ in His present teaching ministry, and Christ presently teaches through the teachers He has given the church through the Spirit.

What are disciples to be taught? Disciples are those who are to be taught to obey all that Christ commanded. They are not mere converts left to their own devices with no expectation of growth in holiness. They are meant to be brought into the church and taught the statutes of Christ. It is through the preaching and teaching ministry of the church, then, that we come under subjection to Christ. Outside the auspices of the local church, then, growth in godliness is not to be expected.

 “The bottom line is that God has designed the church to be the context in which we move from sinfulness to holiness. Attempting to grow in Christ outside of the church is like trying to learn to swim without ever getting into the pool!” (Mack and Swavely, Life in the Father’s House, pg. 29).

Consider then what a horrible thing it is to assure someone of his or her salvation outside of regular attendance to the preaching and teaching of the church. To offer a person such assurance is like assuring a blind man that he is in no danger as he walks toward a 500-foot cliff. Such assurance would be terribly unloving. Yet, this type of assurance is offered regularly by well-meaning Christians in the name of evangelism.

Disciples, then, are to be taught two main things:

“what man ought to believe concerning God, and what duty God requireth of man,” (The Baptist Catechism of 1693, Q.6).

This means that the disciple is to be trained thoroughly both in right doctrine and in right practice, orthodoxy and orthopraxy. We are to believe what God has said about Himself and, at the same time, walk in accordance with that belief. The word of God has given us sufficient testimony to both. As such, the role of the church in the life of the new disciple is to be one of pointing him or her to the word of God.

This is not just the job of the pastor in the pulpit. Other Christians are to be committed to the task of training up the new disciple in what we ought to believe concerning God and what He requires of us. The pastor cannot be everywhere at once. The whole church is required for the teaching of new disciples.

A further requirement for disciples is that they be teachable. After all, that is what a disciple is: a learner. The moment a disciples ceases to learn in accordance with Christ’s ordained means, he ceases to be a disciple of Christ. We must labor, then, to remain teachable at every turn of our Christian lives.

Baptizing in the Triune Name (Defining Evangelism)

You can listen to the audio lesson here.

You can also find the “Working Definition of Evangelism” here.

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DEFINING EVANGELISM

PART I – THE GREAT COMMISSION

Lesson Two: Baptizing in the Triune Name

 

“baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,’” (Matthew 28:18-19b; NASB).

Why baptism? For many Christians today, baptism has no place in any discussion of evangelism. That is because many Christians do not believe evangelism and discipleship to be intrinsically linked. In fact, to consider their practice, many Christians today do not even consider discipleship and baptism to be intrinsically linked. Yet, when Christ commissioned His church to make disciples, baptism was the first step He listed in which these new disciples were to take part.

The whole of the Great Commission is a corporate effort. The church goes, the church baptizes, and the church teaches. It also has an individual aspect, though. After the church goes and makes a new disciple, that disciple submits to baptism and submits to the teaching of the church.

For the new disciple, then, there are two aspects to discipleship: the one-time submission to baptism and the ongoing submission to teaching. Both of these two aspects of discipleship require a common denominator: the local church. The local church is essential for the carrying out of the Great Commission. There is no sense in which baptism and teaching in the New Testament was expected to occur outside of the authority of local congregations.

The very nature and structure of the New Testament testifies to this fact. All but three of the epistles and Revelation (itself an epistle to the seven churches) were written either to local churches or to be circulated among local churches. The other three epistles were written to church leaders for the benefit of local churches. The other five books of the New Testament are the Gospels and Acts, in which must instruction is given for a godly ordering of local churches.

“The New Testament is a church book, a book for Christians in the context of a local church. The New Testament knows nothing of a churchless Christianity. There can be no ‘teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you’ or no continuing ‘in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, and breaking of bread and prayers’ unless a Christian is a member of a visible body of Jesus Christ (see Matthew 28:20 & Acts 2:41,42 & 47),” (Earl Blackburn, Denominations or Associations? pg. 28).

Our subjects this week (baptism) and next week (teaching) only make sense within the context of the local church. The commands will necessarily be fulfilled by a Christian if he or she is truly disciple of Christ, and these commands are only fulfilled within the auspices of the local church. This fact makes membership within the local church absolutely necessary for the Christian. “Far from being only one of many options for the Christian, the church is the primary means through which God accomplishes His plan in the world,” (Mack and Swavely, Life in the Father’s House, pg. 21).

Baptism is an absolutely necessary part of Christian discipleship, because church membership is an absolutely necessary part of Christian discipleship. If we are to be discipled by Christ, it will occur within the body of Christ. The first step in Christian discipleship, and the first step in church membership are the same: baptism.

“[Baptism] is what the Bible presents as the first step for the Christian, and the assumption in the New Testament is that all Christians have been baptized,” (Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, pg. 160).

Baptism, as a public admission of a person into the church, accomplishes two things. The first thing it accomplishes is to recognize the disciple’s willing submission to the authority of the church in his or her life. This is a countercultural concept, especially in America. We don’t like to think of any human being as having authority over us. However, the Bible is very clear that we are to subject ourselves to one another in Christ (Eph. 5:21). When I submit myself to a local church through baptism, I am declaring my desire to be submitted to that local congregation for admonition, teaching, exhortation, rebuke, edification, and training in righteousness.

This willing submission assumes a second desired end. It assumes that a church desires to corporately come alongside the new disciple and provide him or her with godly admonition, teaching, exhortation, rebuke, edification, and training in righteousness. For those who have left everything to follow Christ, it means even more. It means that the church will provide him or her with “a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms,” (Mark 10:30; NASB). This submission, then, is necessarily reciprocal, and baptism is the rite through which we enter this relationship of mutual submission.

“[Baptism] ratifies our union with those who are saved by Christ (1 Cor. 12:13-26). It is therefore often called the rite of initiation into the Christian Church,” (J. Aspinwall Hodge, The System of Theology Contained in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, pg. 138).

Christian disciples today are rightly skeptical of joining themselves to churches, because many if not most churches are either ill-equipped or unwilling to join themselves to new disciples. This is one of the great tragedies of our day. Churches have forgotten, if they ever knew, how to be churches to those who come through their doors.

“Biblical membership means taking responsibility. It comes from our mutual obligations as spelled out in all of Scripture’s one another passages—love one another, serve one another, encourage one another. All of these commands should be encapsulated in the covenant of a healthy church,” (Mark Dever, What Is a Healthy Church? pp. 95-96).

One reason we don’t often think about what we owe to one another and, specifically, what we owe to new disciples among us, is because we have forgotten the solemnity of baptism. We have forgotten the fact, or perhaps were never taught the fact, that baptism is the sealing of a covenant bond between Christ’s disciples. Baptism is a solemn vow between new members and churches, a commitment to mutual submission and a reciprocal consideration of one another’s welfare.

Baptism is not merely an individual decision. It is not merely the decision of a believer to join himself or herself to a church. Rather, it is the mutual decision of the church and the believer to enter into vital union with one another. The church is not the church without her members, and Christians are not living as true Christians apart from the church. As such, baptism is just as much a submission of the church to the member as it is a submission of the member to the church (Mack and Swavely, Life in the Father’s House, 48).

The mode and formula of baptism. In Baptist churches, we teach that new members who enter into the covenant community through faith are the only rightful recipients of the sacrament of baptism. According to An Orthodox Catechism, “Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, and faith in and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ” are the “proper subjects of this ordinance,” (Hercules Collins, An Orthodox Catechism, Q.69). This is well known among Baptist churches. What though, are the proper mode and formula for baptism?

Before discussing mode we must note that the mode, though important, is of far less importance than the order and formula of baptism. Many of the first generation Particular Baptists, though baptized as believers, were nonetheless baptized by pouring or sprinkling, not immersion. When considering the authenticity of a baptism, I am far less concerned about the mode than I am about the order and formula. Nonetheless, Baptists have historically recognized immersion as the true mode of baptism.

This was the preferred mode of the early church. Pouring or sprinkling were only used in instances were immersion was not an option. The early church clearly understood, as we see in the Didache, that immersion was the proper mode employed by Christ and the apostles.

“The procedure for baptizing is as follows. After rehearsing all the preliminaries, immerse in running water ‘In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’. If no running water is available, immerse in ordinary water. This should be cold if possible; otherwise warm. If neither is practicable, then sprinkle water three times on the head ‘In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,’” (The Didache, 7).

Finally, as new disciples are added to our number through baptism, they are to be baptized in a Trinitarian formula. This practice, as we see in the above quote, was clearly the practice of the church from the earliest times. It is also a practice that the church has continued to this day.

Why do we baptize in the Triune name, though? We baptize in the name of our Triune God to signify baptism in His authority. Remember that we go forth in Christ’s authority to make disciples. Christ further commands that we baptize in the authority of the Triune God any who enter into discipleship with Him. Baptism being the entrance point into the church, and baptism being divinely commanded of all who enter into the discipleship of Christ in the authority of the Triune name, all who would come to Christ as Lord must also submit themselves to the local church through baptism.

As such, it is proper to follow in the apostles’ footsteps in our discussion of baptism. Just as they preached baptism as a part of their evangelistic message (Acts 2:38; 10:48; 22:16), so ought the church today. If we are not baptizing we are not making disciples, and if we are not making disciples we are not being faithful to our King. Let us, then, reconsider the importance of baptism for the work of evangelism.

Going in Christ’s Authority (Defining Evangelism)

You can listen to the audio lesson here.

You can also find the “Working Definition of Evangelism” here.

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DEFINING EVANGELISM

PART I – THE GREAT COMMISSION

Lesson One: Going in Christ’s Authority

 

18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,’” (Matthew 28:18-19a; NASB).

All authority. It is essential on the outset that Christians, with the task of evangelism set before them, recognize that it is a task that must be done in boldness. It must be done in boldness, because it is a task that has behind it all of the authority of heaven and earth. It has divine authority. The task of evangelism is a task that has been demanded of us by divine authority, and its message bears the divine seal.

As we are going weekly into our contexts—our homes, our workplaces, the marketplace, and our neighborhoods—we are carrying with us the King’s message. When a mother instructs her children, she must recall with great urgency the divine message she has been given to imprint on those young hearts. As we take a smoke break or a coffee break at work, we must remember that Christ’s authority is over the whole earth, even our workplace. Our coworkers sorely need to be compelled by His gospel to submit to His rightful authority. . . in this life! Our neighbors both in the marketplace and on our block should readily see the gospel of Jesus Christ adorned by our character, our actions, and certainly our conversation. After all, this gospel is not our message. It is the King’s message, and we are His ambassadors as we sojourn in this world today.

How is it that the early church was taught to adorn the gospel of Christ and the doctrine of the apostles? They were called to have Christian character. Slaves were encouraged to have a strong, Christian work ethic, so that their character would support the Great Commission in the workplace and not detract from it.

9Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect,” (Titus 2:9-10; NASB).

We who work for others ought to regularly consider what our work ethic conveys to those with whom and for whom we work about what we truly believe. If we claim to be Christians, we must live, work, rest, and play in such a way as to adorn His and His apostles’ teachings. If we claim the name of the King, and we bear the message of the King, we must adorn His name with such virtues as integrity, loyalty, equity, and efficiency.

Sadly, I’ve spoken with some Christian business owners who have lamented to me the fact that they have hired a great many Christians who do not adorn the name of Christ. Christians can be known for shoddy work, for talking on the clock, and for laziness. What we should be known for is an above-standard work ethic that raises all our peers to the next level. As we show all good faith in our work, we will truly adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. Wives, likewise, were encouraged to adorn themselves with godly character:

3Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,” (1 Peter 3:3-5; NASB).

Rather than seeking to win their unbelieving husbands with the latest fashions and jewelry, they were to let the hidden person of their heart be exposed, but with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit. Peter, in essence, wants women to understand that men are not won by their wives’ external beauty. Ungodly husbands are won to Christ by the adorning of godly character in support of the gospel that has been preached. Peter conveys as much in the preceding two verses.

1In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior,” (1 Peter 3:1-2; NASB).

Everything the Christian does either supports or detracts from the Great Commission. Do we love our co-workers as we have been called to love all men? Do we hope to see them saved? We must adorn the doctrine of God our Savior then through a godly work ethic. Do we love our unbelieving family members? Do we hope to see them saved? Then we must adorn the gospel of Christ in our love and respect for them in all of our conversations.

We must adorn the gospel of Jesus Christ for their sake, but also out a sense of its authority. Again, this gospel we have been given is the very message of the King. It comes with His authority upon the hearts of the hearers, but it should also fall with His authority upon our hearts. If it bears no authority upon the church, how will they ever hear? We can wish all day long that they would just happen to the pew by the sheer will of God, but we know that is not at all how God accomplishes His will.

The gospel is God’s power unto salvation (Romans 1:16). They must be compelled to submit to godly discipleship by its power, or we should expect that they will never have the slightest desire of discipleship. The lost must see their great need of Christ and of His church if they are to be brought into the church and taught to observe all that Christ commanded. That is one of the goals of preaching the word: to help regular church members be so immersed in the word that we can all explain, bare minimum, a person’s need for discipleship in Christ. If the average church member can’t explain that, then the local church has failed him.

Going, therefore. This great authority having been given to Christ, the church is now commissioned. We are commissioned to make disciples of all nations. In the Matthew 28 account of the Great Commission, there are several participles providing subpoints to this main point. The main verb is to make disciples. The participles are ‘going,’ ‘baptizing,’ and ‘teaching.’ Each of these participles is given in support of the main verb, so it could be said—and has been said—that the main verb gives us the objective, and the participles give us the plan of attack.

Christ, in His incarnation, accomplished several pivotal goals in the church. One of the great feats He accomplished was to mobilize the church. The assembly, before Christ’s incarnation, had been bound up within one single ethnicity: the Israelites. The worship of God’s congregation was to occur according to a strictly regulated ceremonial law code in which four festivals were to be observed on Mount Zion a year. The covenant community of God was shored up within a very neatly defined set of geographical boarders.

When Christ came to this world and took on human flesh, He removed the enmity that existed between circumcised believers and their Gentile counterparts:

14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity,” (Ephesians 2:14-16; NASB).

Now, the assembly includes all ethnicities from which any have bowed the knee to Christ. In His incarnation, He also removed the sense of geographical, earthly worship and declared that we who worship Him must worship Him instead in spirit and in truth.

21Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth,’” (John 4:21-24; NASB).

Jesus’ congregation then gathers not on Mount Zion to observe a regular church calendar of feast days, new moons, and sabbaths. Rather, we gather together wherever we can with a true, local body of believers to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Not only Has God expanded His assembly to include all ethnicities and abolished the requirement for the congregation to gather on Mount Zion, teaching them instead to worship in spirit and truth. Christ also broke apart the geographical boundaries of the kingdom of God, mobilizing the church to go forth into all nations. However, He did so through interesting means.

In Acts 7, we read of the stoning of Stephen, the deacon, at the hands of the Jews in Jerusalem. Up until this time, the church of Christ had met locally in one single location in Jerusalem. It was by all accounts an obscure, insignificant, geographically challenged church, though their numbers had grown quite large in a short amount of time. God used the murder of Stephen, though, as an occasion to mobilize the church and to move them out into all the known world.

“Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles,” (Acts 8:1; NASB).

Our God has a knack for taking the things that men mean for evil and using them for good. He did so in the life of Joseph. He did so in the death of Christ. Here, we see that He even did so in the stoning of Stephen. After the stoning of Stephen, a great persecution broke out in the church, and the saints were scattered.

On the day of Pentecost, we’re told that many Jewish men from all over the Roman empire had made their way to Jerusalem for the festival. Many of them repented of their sins as a result of God’s sovereign work on their hearts through Peter’s preaching. However, rather than going back home and making disciples, they remained in Jerusalem. We read in Acts 2 that this was a sweet time of fellowship, self-sacrifice, and learning at the feet of the apostles.

This time of growth in the faith would be needful in the days ahead. By Acts 7, the religious leaders in Jerusalem had reached a boiling point in their disdain for the Way. Many had been pierced to the core by Peter’s public preaching. Those who remained hardened were only growing in their animosity toward the church. When Stephen stood and boldly accounted to them the chronic unfaithfulness of Israel and their murder of the Messiah, it was more that they were willing to stand, so they stoned him. At this, a great persecution broke out, and the church was scattered. The church was scattered such that, by the time that Paul wrote to Colossae from prison, he declared that the gospel had already gone out to all the known world.

5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth,” (Colossians 1:5-6; NASB).

Of course, as the gospel went out, support was soon needed. As people were brought into the church, fulfilling the gospel on a micro level, finances were needed for the sending of missionaries and the support of struggling churches. In First Corinthians, Paul writes of one such need:

1Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. 3And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. 4But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me,” (1 Corinthians 16:1-4; NASB).

Most commentators are in agreement that a collection was needful because of a local famine that was affecting the saints in Jerusalem. In the ancient church it was understood that, when one local church was in pain, the entire church experienced the same pain. This famine in Jerusalem was no different.

Support was not only required for established churches, though. Missionaries like Paul, Barnabas, John Mark, Titus, and Timothy needed to be supported as they took the gospel to the ends of the known world. In another prison letter, Paul commends the church at Philippi for their financial support of him.

15Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account,” (Philippians 4:15-17; NKJV).

Though Paul was a self-sufficient tradesman and had time to apply his trade as well as preach the gospel—having no wife or family for which to provide—he still required financial support, especially while in prison. This is a privilege for local churches. Local churches who have the ability to support missions should count it all joy to do so. It should not be seen as having been done so for the sake of the gift given to the missionary himself, but as fruit that abounds to the account of the giving church!

This blessing, however, should not be seen as something that can be bought. We do not earn the favor or the blessing of God through unwise stewardship. There were times in the lives of local churches in which they were unable to provide financial support for missions. Not only is it okay to go through seasons in which we are unable to give. It is biblical. Even the church at Philippi, who Paul is praising for their generosity in this text, went through a season in which they were unable to meet his need.

“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity,” (Philippians 4:10; NASB).

A natural outworking, then, of fulfilling the Great Commission in the immediate context of the local church is the increase of opportunity to support the fulfilling of the Great Commission in greater contexts. As the Lord gives ability through the increase of a local church, the local church is to be increasingly focused on the work of the universal church. As we focus on the spread of the kingdom abroad, we will then be encouraged to take part in the spread the kingdom in our contexts.

Introduction to Defining Evangelism

You can listen to the audio lesson here.

You can also find the “Working Definition of Evangelism” here.

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This course is not designed to be a practical treatment on the subject of evangelism so much as—as the title suggests—an attempt to define a doctrine of evangelism by examining key texts. There will be times when we consult church history to see how godly men of earlier ages understood these topics, but these lessons are designed primarily for the purpose of getting us into the word. As such, we hope to deeply consider several major biblical themes touching evangelism and the Great Commission, and to make practical application to our own lives.

Since this is not primarily a “how-to” on evangelism, there are some practical matters we want to consider first. Of paramount consideration is our own relationships with God and with our neighbors. We read in Matthew’s gospel:

“And He said to him, ‘‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets,’’” (Matthew 22:37-40; NASB).

Love for God. We must consider how much time we spend in the word and on our knees in communion with the God with whom we claim to have been reconciled. If I do not spend adequate time with my wife and with my kids, it will show in the way that I talk about them and converse with them in public. As I seek to give marital or parenting advice to others, they will know by their observance of my own relationships that I am disqualified to offer such counsel. The same is true for evangelism. If we are to be qualified to bring people to Christ, both in the eyes of our hearers and in reality, we must regularly strive to bring ourselves to Christ in His word and in prayer.

If we hope that others are to know Christ, we must know Him as well. We’re not called to know Him on a merely academic level. We can have a great abundance of knowledge about people. Just talk to any avid baseball fan, and they will soon be rattling off to you player stats for their favorite players. If the player has been in the game for a while and has written an autobiography, they may have even read it. However, how foolish would it seem if, by virtue of this public knowledge of a public individual alone, they were to invite you over to his house for a cookout that is not open to the public.

In the same way, we are not to so belittle a relationship with our Redeemer as to invite people into such a relationship without first being in relationship with Him ourselves. Before we explain to men and women their dreadful state before God apart from Christ, we must have first taken stock of what it means for us. If we are then to educate them on the merits of Christ through which He accomplished our redemption, we must examine ourselves to see if we are truly living according to the grace that has been given us. If we are to call them to repentance and faith, we must first examine ourselves to see if we have truly repented and believed.

Love for neighbor. Love for God is the first Great Commandment. We must labor long and labor consistently at cultivating a love for our God. As we do, we will increase in yet another love: love for neighbor. This call to love our neighbor is the second great commandment. As we come daily to the word and to our knees in prayer seeking to grow in love for Christ, we should seek also to have our hearts inclined toward our neighbors.

Have you ever been excited at the prospect of meeting with a couple for dinner for the first time only to find that they had invited the whole neighborhood to their house for dinner and a sales pitch? They recognized that hospitality can be a great way to get people through your doors and gain a listening audience, but they did not care to use their home for the purpose it was originally intended. You came in the hope of a potential new friendship and instead were treated like a potential customer. What was lacking? Love.

Dynamics change drastically when love is at the core of the relationship dynamic. Jennifer and I had some friends at our last church who had us over to their house on a couple of occasions a year. They sold products through their home for one of these companies, but by the time they actually spoke with us about the products they had, it did not come off as a sales pitch. We were friends, brothers and sisters in the Lord. There was no suspicion there. We either bought their products or we didn’t but, either way, they still loved us and we loved them.

We must cultivate the same love for our neighbors to whom we hope to bring the gospel. It does no good to tell people your message is one of love if they perceive that there is no love for them in your heart. This isn’t an evangelism method I’m proposing to you. It doesn’t matter to me if churches knock on doors, host neighborhood cookouts, organize evangelistic conferences, rent booths at local festivals, hand out gospel tracts, or preach the gospel in the open air from on top of egg crates. Each of these methods will rub wrong people of different personality types.

Each of these methods will also be met with some measure of success. The difference is not necessarily in the method. The difference is in the love that we have for our neighbors. If we do not love them, they will know. In our skeptical world, it is much easier to spot someone who is lacking in love than to discern the authenticity of actual love. Nevertheless, let us pray for our neighbors, let us ask God to grant us a heart for our neighbors, and let us regularly seek His power and wisdom in conveying that love to our neighbors.

Structure. Our approach to defining evangelism will follow the structure of the “Working Definition” above. The first two parts of our study will be preparatory, while the last three parts will be definitive, explaining what evangelism is. In the first part, we will examine the foundation for evangelism: The Great Commission. The main verb in the Great Commission is the verb make disciples. This verb is modified by three participles: going, baptizing, and teaching, so our first three lessons will center on these three modifiers.

In the second part, we will consider the messengers and the hearers of the gospel in the act of evangelism. Is every Christian meant to be engaged in evangelism in exactly the same way as all others? Is evangelism solely the work of ordained, or recognized, leaders within the church, or is it the responsibility of every member? Who are the proper recipients of the evangelism? Is it only for those outside the church, or should it be a major emphasis of the preaching and teaching within the church? Part Two will be covered in lessons four and five.

It has been well noted that the good news of Christ does not make sense apart from the bad news. The cure for a terminal disease does not become precious to the patient until the doctor issues the dismal diagnosis. In the same way, the unregenerate must understand the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man before the good news of Christ’s work of atonement makes any sense. Part Three, comprised of a lesson on God’s holiness and a lesson on the sinfulness of man, will help us to understand the importance of these truths for evangelism.

In Part Four, we will finally come to an observance of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. In lessons eight through ten, we will note three acts of Christ essential to the gospel message: His obedience in life, His obedience in death, and His resurrection. As we observe each of these doctrines, we will see how Christ accomplished for us our full and final atonement and, through union with Him, come to have reconciliation with God in heaven.

Lessons eleven and twelve will comprise the fifth and final part of our study. In them, we will observe the gospel commands that come as a result of having heard the gospel of Jesus Christ: repentance unto life and saving faith. Having explained the joyous news of our accomplished atonement in Christ Jesus, the church has one final declaration to our hearers in our work evangelism:

30Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead,” (Acts 17:30-31; NASB).

A Working Definition of Evangelism (Third Revision)

You can see the original Definition here, the first revision here, and the second revision here.

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“With a view toward making disciples of all nations1 and entering them into covenant membership with a local church, through baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 2 in order that they may be taught to observe all that Christ commanded,3 evangelism is the endeavor of the entire church4 to explain to the unregenerate—both in their midst and in the world5—God’s holiness,6 man’s sin and its wages,7 Christ’s accomplishment of redemption through His obedience in life,8 death,9 and resurrection,10 and the proper response of sinners: repentance from sin toward God11 and faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.”12

1 Mt. 28:19a; Acts 8:1; Col. 1:5-6

2 Mt. 28:19b; 1Cor. 10:1-2, 11; Acts 2:37-39; 8:12-13; 18:8; Eph. 4:1-6; Rom. 12:5; 1Cor. 12:25; Eph. 4:25

3 Mt. 28:20; Acts 2:42; 20:20; Eph. 2:20

4 1Pt. 3:15; Phil. 2:14-16; Lk. 12:48; Eph. 4:12

5 1Cor. 9:18; Gal. 1:8-9; Mt. 24:14; Mk. 13:10

6 Exod. 24:17; Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29; Isa. 6:3-5; 1Tim. 6:16

7 Rom. 3:23; 5:12; Tit. 1:15; Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:10-19

8 Rom. 5:19; Heb. 5:8

9 Phil. 2:8

10 1Cor. 15; 2Cor. 5:15; 1Thess. 4:14

11 Mt. 3:2; 4:17; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:20-21; 26:20; Rom. 2:4; 2Cor. 7:10; 2Pt. 3:9;

      Rev. 3:19

12 Rom. 1:16; 4:5; 9:33; 10:4, 9-11; Gal. 3:6, 9, 22; Eph. 2:8; Heb. 11:6

A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part IX – 1 Corinthians 15-16

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

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Every year around April, an onslaught of news stories are published claiming to have discovered Jesus’ pinky toe, and the like. Where these “scientists” got the original, authoritative labs to determine a DNA match is never disclosed. Rather, we are expected to grant more credence to these “scientists” than to 500 eyewitness contemporaries of the resurrection itself, because we have become an elitist culture: a culture that lives in the shallow end of the intellectual pool and defers whenever possible to the “elites” among us.

The Centrality of the Resurrection

Paul doesn’t leave the matter of Christ’s resurrection up to the religious and political elites of his day. Rather, he points to those who knew Christ best. He challenges his contemporaries to do the intellectual leg-work (like Luke; cf. Lk. 1:3) and thoroughly search out the matter of the resurrection. He not only submits the resurrection to the hard scrutiny of his first century contemporaries, but he also declares the resurrection to be of first importance.

Why is the world so determined to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ? As Paul states, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is of first importance. Apart from the resurrection of Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied. Hence, when we come to 1 Corinthians 15, we come to the centerpoint of the intersection between Christ and culture.

Charles Darwin, in his autobiography, declared the resurrection to be a “damnable doctrine.” Richard Dawkins is also quoted as having said, “Don’t kid yourself that you’re going to live again after you’re dead; you’re not. Make the most of the one life you’ve got. Live it to the full.” Let us consider that denial of the resurrection and the judgment to follow is precisely what enabled men like Stalin and Mao to “Make the most of the one life you’ve got. Live it to the full.” It led Nietzsche into insanity and William James to commit suicide. “If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,” (1Cor. 15:32b; NASB). If the dead are not raised, there is no morality, no teleology, no purpose, no governorthere is only Nihilism, purposelessness, licentiousness, futility, and despair.

Supporting the Kingdom of God among the Kingdom of Man

Since the dead are raised, we have faith in Christ, hope in our great inheritance to come, and love for all the saints. It is because of this love for the saints that Paul presupposes the Corinthian church’s love for the Jerusalem church. Presupposing their love for all the saints, he requests that they set aside in their collection a donation to aid Jerusalem during their time of famine. From within the kingdoms of man, Christ is building His kingdom. This kingdom demands from Christians a greater sense of patriotism than any earthly kingdom may demand. For all of the financial support we may offer to the coffers of earthly magistrates out of a sense of national pride, our duty to the kingdom of heaven takes precedence.

This general point also applies to how local churches ought to use their budgets. Although there are many praiseworthy projects that individual Christians should support, we must remember that the Church (as an institution) has been primarily charged with the task of making and maturing disciples.. Because local churches have limited resources at their disposal, churches should allocate their resources to activities that are of the utmost importance. This approach to the allocation of local church resources would naturally exclude many of the so-called “social justice” projects and all other matters that might otherwise fall under the purview of the kingdom of man (Rom. 13). In other words, local churches should practice the concept of moral proximity and ensure that the kingdom of God is well supplied.

Most Christians rightly denounce hyper-Calvinism in regard to the work of the individual pastor, evangelist, or missionary. Sadly, many of these same Christians become functional hyper-Calvinists when it comes to their own role of supporting the work of the local church, church associations, and missionary societies. Paul did not divorce the importance of financial support for the ministries of the church from the ministries themselves.

Some might have said, “The Jerusalem church is already established. If they cannot support themselves, let them die. We should be supporting new church plants.” I have heard a similar sentiment from some in the church, today. Paul took the contrary position: “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem,” (1Cor. 16:2-3; NASB). Jerusalem’s inability to support their own ministry during this season of their church life was not a blight on them as a church. Paul did not instruct the churches in Corinth and Galatia to just let this church die. Rather, regardless of where the kingdom of God is present and in need within the kingdom of man, it is to receive the support of the churches of God.

Conclusion

As you may have noticed, we have come full circle back to the theme of love. Paul expects that the local church would have love for the church in Jerusalem and for those who are being sent from Paul. In the same way, he encourages them toward others-centered living within their own body. As local churches practice the second Great Commandment of loving others as themselves within the kingdom of God, the natural trajectory is such that our love should naturally spill over into the kingdom of man.

A Working Definition of Evangelism (Second Revision)

You can see the original Definition here, and the first revision here.

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With a view toward making disciples of all nations and entering them into covenant membership with a local church, through baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in order that they may be taught all that Christ commanded, evangelism is the endeavor of the church to explain to the unregenerate—both in their midst and in the world—God’s holiness, man’s sin and its wages, Christ’s accomplishment of redemption through His obedience in life, death, and resurrection, and the proper response of sinners: repentance from sin toward God and faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

How Jehovah’s Witnesses Increased My Love For Christ

God has revealed Himself in the new covenant, through the person and work of Christ, with a clarity, glory, and beauty not seen before. He has shown not just the loveliness of His power and justice but has also thrown into yet brighter relief His goodness, mercy, and truth. These glories bind us even more to make known to those dead in trespasses and sins God’s ways of goodness, mercy, justice, punishment, forgiveness, righteousness, holiness, and peace. -Jeremy Walker, The Brokenhearted Evangelist

Convicted after reading Jeremy Walker’s highly recommended The Brokenhearted Evangelist, I prayed that I would be bolder in sharing the Gospel with those whom I came into contact. During a chaotic homeschooling session four days later, my children announced the arrival of a car in the driveway. An elderly man and young woman, both neatly dressed, walked up to the door. Jehovah’s Witnesses! Quickly praying for guidance, I opened the door.

“Hello, ma’am. Do you think people will see their loved ones when we die?” the young woman asked.

“Well, it depends.” I answered.

“That’s right,” she responded. “Let me share with you a passage from the Bible.” She then proceeded to share a verse from Ecclesiastes. “Here is a magazine for you. Would it be okay if I came again?”

Do I continue this? I wondered. Or do I say no and not have to be bothered again for a while?

“That would be fine.” I responded.

Thus began a process of evangelism that has of right now gone on for the past three months. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way:

  • Know Your Enemy…

“Can’t we all just get along?” is the cry of my weak self. Confrontation and I are not best buddies, so when some really nice-seeming people come to the door wanting to talk about the Bible, one of the last things I want to do is cause conflict. Yet these are people who are lost. They are under the dominion of Satan in a cult that has warped the Scriptures and instilled fear in its members. They are enemies of the Christian who desperately need Christ.

After my first encounter, I realized I needed to brush up on my knowledge of what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe. I watched this video by James White, listened to these talks by Credocovenant’s own William Leonhart, and read non-Reformed books and websites such as 4jehovah.org . This way I was able to get a good understanding of the heretical doctrine to which this group adheres as well as how this high-control group works.

  • …But Know Your Bible Better.

The doctrines that Jehovah’s Witnesses promote, and how they attempt to derive support for these doctrines from Scripture are fascinatingly odd. While it was important to know about the major heretical issues, I had to be careful not to spend too much time digging into other issues that were not essential. My time was best spent in the Word, reviewing what Scripture actually says and major points of Gospel truth. Since I’m a Reformed Baptist, using the 1689 Confession of Faith was extremely helpful in my studies.

If pressed, could you prove the Trinity from the Scriptures? What about the deity of Christ? What about the Gospel? Here is where the Confession with its Scripture references comes in handy. Learning where key Scriptures are located, and knowing the context of such passages, enabled me to interact with the topics that have come up during my meetings with the JWs. You do not need to fear if you don’t have all the answers; yet you should be acquainted with God’s word to an extent that you are able to recall passages that will aid in sharing the Gospel.

  • Don’t Go It Alone.

I have been nervous before every meeting with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, I have prayed before they come, remembering that I have Christ. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37, NASB)  Not only that, the Spirit intercedes for me (Romans 8:26), not as some impersonal force, but as a member of the triune Godhead. It is not up to me to change anyone’s mind. My duty is to present the Gospel and trust that the Lord will use it to glorify Himself.

Human company is also beneficial when the JW’s come to call, although it is not always an option. My husband was able to be there for one discussion, but for the rest I have been unable to have anyone accompany me. My church knows about what I’m doing, though, and they pray for me and ask for updates. My husband always sends me an e-mail asking for an update on the days I have an appointment. Having this connection is extremely valuable, especially when dealing with such a high-control group.  I have accountability and know that I am supported.

  • It Gets Personal.

The same young woman, “Misty” (name changed for privacy), has come every time we have met. Through our chatting I have learned a bit about her. Her mother became a Jehovah’s Witness, so Misty grew up as one. Several health issues have ailed her since childhood. She is 27 years old, lives at home with her mother, and works only a couple days a week so that the rest of her time can be spent going door-to-door.

Sometimes it seems that some Christians learn Scripture proofs and apologetics only to show their intellectual prowess or demonstrate their superiority in a theological match. Yet if I can defeat my opponent in a Scripture smack-down, yet have not love, what have I truly accomplished?  Realizing that I am interacting with a person with thoughts and feelings deepens my sorrow and concern for them, and stresses the importance of their need for the gospel.

  • It Gets Difficult.

The extent of interaction that I have had with Misty and other Jehovah Witnesses is not necessary for everyone to do in order to evangelize. Yet if you do spend more time discussing Scripture with them, realize that requires more preparation, patience and endurance. Carving out time to study up on the next topic for discussion is a must. Attempting to ask questions to make a JW think about what they believe and why they believe it, only to have them use circular reasoning or seemingly not understand the question, can be more trying than teaching a stubborn child to read. And the amount of concentration needed to listen to what they are saying while formulating a response leaves me drained after each meeting.

This should be a reminder to pray for those who are involved full-time in evangelistic and missionary work. For if I get tired just meeting a couple times a month, how much more must those who work at this every day? Apologists, pastors, missionaries all have a wearying task, and need to be sustained through the intercession of our prayers.

  • The Blessings Outweigh The Work.

“You seem to be enjoying yourself.” – a Jehovah’s Witness to me during one meeting.

An unexpected result has occurred through this witnessing effort. The studies in the deity of Christ, the importance of His work in salvation, the deity of the Holy Spirit, the assurance of salvation, and the perseverance of the saints were (and are!) exciting and awe-inspiring. My love of Christ and His Spirit has deepened. My time witnessing to the Jehovah’s Witnesses will end soon, and I can honestly say that I will miss sharing with them the glorious Gospel of salvation.

So may this be an encouragement to those who are hesitant to evangelize. Do not fear!

The brokenhearted evangelist reminds himself of the blessings of salvation and keeps them precious in his conscience as he speaks to others who need them. His heart is blessed in the demonstration of his blessings to others. -Jeremy Walker, The Brokenhearted Evangelist

A Working Definition of Evangelism (Revised)

You can see the original Definition here.

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With a view toward making disciples of all peoples and bringing them into covenant with a local church, in which they shall be baptized in the name of the Triune God and taught to obey all Christ commanded, evangelism is the act of worship whereby Spirit-led believers articulate for unbelievers God’s holiness, man’s sin and its wages, Christ’s accomplishment of redemption through His obedience in life, death, and resurrection, and the proper response of sinners: repentance from sin toward God and faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.