Thursday, August 24, 2006

Evangelism Commanded

A common misunderstanding by some people is that individuals who hold to the Doctrines of Grace do not evangelize. They do not reach out to the lost for Christ. That is not so! Scripture clearly commands evangelism. (Just look at the Great Commission.) God expects it from his children; if soul winning is not done by the Christian on a regular basis he or she must repent before a holy God. It doesn't matter if a person holds to the Doctrines of Grace or not, evangelism must be an active part of their life.

Recently I reflected on the importance of evangelism and I want to share with you some of my findings.

Dr. Wade Armstrong was a visiting evangelism instructor that I had in seminary. He wrote a book on evangelistic growth in Acts 1 and 2. I like the book because he deals with the importance of church growth from the Scriptures. Read Acts 1 and 2 and note how God grew His church. God can very much grow His church today.

He says in the book:

-Evangelistic Growth comes from the Scriptures.
-The study in Acts 1 and 2 reveals through Dr. Armstrong that almost every principle of evangelistic growth can be modeled in the early church.
-He says that there are two types of churches today “Maintenance churches and churches on Mission.”
-Evangelistic growth comes from prayer in the church.

I also ran across a poem and letter that I want to share with you about evangelism. Remember it does NOT matter the current state of your theology God expects you to evangelize the lost.

You Forgot My Soul

You lived next door to me for yearsWe shared our dreams, our joys, and tears.A friend to me you were indeed...A friend who helped me when in need.
My faith in you was strong and sureWe had such trust as should endure.No spats between us ever rose;Our friends were like...and so our foes.
What sadness then, my friend, to findThat after all you weren’t so kind.The day my life on earth did endI found you weren’t a faithful friend.
For all those years we spent on earthYou never talked of second birth.You never spoke of my lost soulAnd of the Messiah Who’d make me whole.
I plead today from Hell’s cruel fireAnd tell you now my last desire.You cannot do a thing for me...No words today my bonds will free.
But do not err, my friend, again;Do all you can for souls of men.Plead with them now quite earnestly,Lest they be cast in Hell with me.
Author Unknown

If you are having trouble being evangelistic let me offer you a solution. Remember what you were before you were Christian. A dead person! A person who had no hope of heaven, headed for hell. That is the state of the unconverted soul. If a person has never embraced Jesus by faith and said yes I believe in you (Jesus) and repent from my sins; he or she is headed on a one-way track for hell.

The Letter

Some time ago an 18-year-old girl from Washington state attended a worship service. For the first time in her life she heard a gospel sermon. The following Tuesday the pastor of the church received a letter from her. It read:
Dear Pastor:
Last Sunday I attended your church, and I heard you preach. In your sermon you said that all men have sinned and rebelled against God. Because of their rebellion and disobedience they all face eternal damnation and separation from God.
But then you also said God loved men and sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to redeem men from their sins and that all those who believe in him would go to heaven and live with God eternally.
My parents recently died in rapid succession. I know they did not believe in Jesus Christ, whom you call the Savior of the world. If what you preach is true, they are damned.
You compel me to believe that either the message is true, or that you yourself don’t believe this message, or that you don’t care. We live only three blocks from your church, and no one ever told us. You hypocrites!

Could your pastor or your church ever receive such a letter from a neighbor who lives nearby? It’s not likely if you’re seriously praying for them. Churches that pray earnestly and specifically for neighbors always seem to find a way to touch their lives.

Live to the glory and honor of Jesus Christ and look for opportunities to witness to another. Remember God wants to use you to save people. He saves people we do not, but we are commanded to go and proclaim to others His great salvation.

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