Four Factors in Evangelism (Part 1)

Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples after His resurrection, before returning to His Father in heaven, was to go and make more disciples, “teaching them to obey everything I [Jesus] have commanded,” (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18).

With this same authority, Jesus still commands us to tell others the Good News and make disciples for His kingdom. This is His Great Commission.

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."      Luke 19:10

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”                     Luke 19:10

Leslie Flynn, author of 19 Gifts of the Spirit, defines evangelism as the following:

The gift of proclaiming the Good News of salvation effectively so that people respond to the claims of Christ in conversion and in discipleship.”

Four Factors in Evangelism
  1. Proclamation . . . . In addition to Christian witness through works, evangelism requires words: explanation of how a sinner becomes right with God; Christ’s historical, redemptive death and resurrection. The gift communicates the gospel with power so people are brought into the experience of salvation with knowledge of spiritual life and death. Hearers may or may not be emotionally moved, but the intellect must not be bypassed. How we proclaim is extremely important. 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
  2. Good News . . . . The word gospel comes from the Greek words, well and announcement, which means “good announcement” or “Good News”.
  3. Effectively Resulting in Conversion . . . . Campus Crusade for Christ defines witnessing success as: “sharing Christ in the power of the Spirit and leaving the results to Him.” Only God can bring spiritual understanding and conversion. There will not be a response every time we witness, but the hearer should understand that a decision must be made: Accept or reject Christ.
  4. Discipleship . . . . Dedicated evangelists and organizations have systematic follow-up plans to help new converts grow in their faith and connect with the local church.

Evangelism is not reserved just for the pastor or professional. Campus Crusade estimates it takes 1,000 laymen and six pastors one year to win one convert to Christ. Philip, the only person called an evangelist in the Bible, was a deacon. And interestingly, the early church grew in numbers by a lay movement (Acts 8).

Teaching and Evangelism are Closely Related

Evangelism is referred to teaching several places in Acts. Hearers wanted to know much about Jesus before putting their faith in Him, (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Mich.). Church historians observe that evangelistic surges throughout the centuries result from sound theological advances.

Even if we do not possess the gift of evangelism, we are told to do the work of an evangelist (Mark 1:17). Some people are more effective in personal evangelism. Others may be most effective in group evangelism—such as Billy Graham—or cross cultural evangelism.

What is your experience with evangelism? Have you shared the Good News with anyone lately? Who shared the Good News with you? How has that impacted you?

*Next few posts: The message and methods in evangelism . . . . Have a great week!

 

Evangelism (part 2)—The Message

Hi friends! I hope this Friday finds you well. The following is a recap from last week’s post:

  • Evangelism is not reserved just for the pastor or professional.
  • The gifts of teaching and evangelism are closely related.
  • Only God can save and transform souls.
  • Although living a quiet, godly life honors God, evangelism requires words—with respect and gentleness—in addition to service.
  • Leslie Flynn, 19 Gifts of the Spirit, defines evangelism:

The gift of proclaiming the Good News of salvation effectively so that people respond to the claims of Christ in conversion and in discipleship.”

What is this Good News Message?

The short, but sweet truth: Jesus came to save us!

This message should appeal to both the emotions and intellect. A longer version, such as below, tells of the historic event that can bring incomparable riches both today and in the future:

Jesus Christ—God and man—died on the cross for my sins over nineteen centuries ago. He was buried and rose the third day. If through faith, I receive Christ as my Savior, God will declare me righteous through Jesus’ shedding of His blood. God the Father will accept His Son’s sacrifice as full satisfaction for the guilt and penalty of my sin. This is a free gift, which can’t be earned or deserved. Because I am no longer under the penalty of the Old Covenant’s broken law, I am pardoned once and for all. God also adopts me as His child. He strengthens me through the ministry of His Holy Spirit, which indwells and regenerates my inner being.

What are some Bible verses that speak about our fallen, sinful nature and God’s plan to save/redeem us?

Salvation Verses

The following verses speak about our sin and the wages of sin, God’s grace and justification, provision and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ:

  • Wages of sin: Romans 5:12; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23a
  • God’s wrath & spiritual death toward the disbelieving: John 3:36; 1 John 5:12-13
  • Grace and justification: Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:24; Romans 6:23b
  • Jesus’ provision for our sin: Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 3:17
  • Eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ: John 3:36a; John 3:16; John 1:12; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:8-10; 1 John 5:11
  • Confession of belief in Christ: Romans 10:10; Matthew 10:32

Next week I’ll explore more on this topic. Have a wonderful week!

Philip the Evangelist (Part 3)

I’ve always wondered what went through Philip the Evangelist’s mind when WHOOSH, he found himself transported to Azotus via the Holy Spirit. After sharing the Good News and baptizing an Ethiopian treasurer, POOF, “the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away” (Acts 8:39). He learned first-hand that God isn’t limited in the ways He uses His children. (The entire story is recorded in Acts 8:26-40.)

We’ll probably never share Philip’s means of express transportation; yes, there’s the rapture, but that’s a different subject! However, we can learn from Philip’s obedience to God.

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  - John 15:4-5

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:4-5

Acts 8:40 records Philip preaching the gospel in all the towns near Azotus, where God whirled him away. Perhaps God knew He could count on Philip’s obedience to proclaim the Good News.

Philip not only obeyed Jesus’ command to spread the Gospel, but also heeded Jesus’ example of only acting and saying what the Father directs:

For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”   -John 12:49-50

Philip’s example offers us several lessons:
  • We have the same Holy Spirit to teach and empower us to be an effective witness for Christ.
  • Upon persecution, Philip went directly to Samaria—a forbidden place to most Jews due to prejudice—and spread the gospel. The gospel is for everyone, not for a select few.
  • In the middle of his successful evangelism efforts, God’s directive for him to go south on the desert road must have first seemed like a demotion. But because of Philip’s willingness to hear God’s voice and obey—going near the Ethiopian treasurer’s chariot and engaging him in discussion—God placed a Christian (the treasurer) in a significant position in a distant country. Perhaps the entire nation was then influenced by the Good News.
  • Interestingly, Philip only used the Old Testament in leading this man to faith in Christ even though Jesus is found in both the Old and New Testaments.
  • Philip met this man where he was—immersed in the prophecies of Isaiah—and then helped clarify the passage as he shared how Jesus fulfilled that prophecy.
  • When sharing the Gospel, a great place to start is where the other person’s concerns and/or questions lie.
  • God finds great and various uses for those who obey Him wholeheartedly.
  • Like Philip, we can take advantage of the opportunities God gives us through active listening and obedience.

Following God may be risky and difficult at times, but I’m sure Philip would testify: It’s worth the ride!

Next week I’ll explore some simple evangelism plans that have helped many Christians share their faith.

Evangelism Plans (Part 4)

Although evangelism plans vary, the truth of the message must not. While false teachers flourish, it’s important to know and guard the main doctrinal points of the Bible (1 Tim. 4:1-3, 16). Any tampering with the Bible’s message will be under God’s scrutiny and judgment (Dt. 4:2; Rev. 22:18-19).

How Many Roads to Salvation?
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."  - Proverbs 14:12

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” – Proverbs 14:12

One hiccup that many people have with Christianity is the “narrow viewpoint” that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Matthew 7:13-14 not only agrees with this narrow viewpoint, but admonishes us to go there: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.”

Many believe that a loving God won’t turn anyone away who has done his/her lion share of good deeds and/or has achieved much in life. This is a dangerous assumption. A great resource that addresses what’s wrong with this popular theory is Andy Stanley’s book, How Good is Good Enough?

Jesus, the Only Way

Gregory Koukle addresses critics who embrace religious pluralism in his booklet, Jesus the Only Way: “. . . . When a hundred [Bible] passages argue the same point [Jesus the only way] from a variety of angles it cannot be mistaken, only ignored.”

Everyone follows something or someone. When one receives eternal life through Christ, it’s important that he/she realizes that he/she isn’t just saved unto salvation, but also is receiving a new leader—Jesus Christ— to follow.

Billy Graham Crusades Evangelism plan

Billy Graham Crusades “Steps to Peace with God” emphasizes four simple steps:

  1. God’s Plan–> Peace and Life (Rom. 5:1; John 3:16; 10:10)
  2. Humanity’s Problem–> Separation (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Isa. 59:2)
  3. God’s Remedy–> The Cross (1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Peter 3:18; Rom. 5:8)
  4. Human Response–> Receive Christ (John 1:12; 5:24; Rom. 10:9)

Billy Graham Crusades also offers free tracts and hosts online evangelistic resources:

  • A downloadable worksheet to help share “Your Faith Story”
  • A customizable downloadable tract
  • Examples of how the Grahams have shared their faith story
  • How God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways
  • Short videos with different styles that share the Good News

You can check out their resources here:

https://secure.billygraham.org/testimony-tract/testimony-tract.aspx?SOURCE=BY120TTCG&gclid=CI-h4s-jlb4CFcuVfgod6D8ANA

Next week, I’ll wrap this series up with some other evangelism plans to check out.

Any thoughts, questions, comments?

My week has flown by with my boys’ baseball games and daughter’s play. It’s been a crazy-busy, but fun week. While driving my kids around, the thought occurred: I’m grateful that most drivers heed the law to drive on the right side of the road, the correct/one way to drive on a U.S. highway. Similarly, I’m grateful God made a way—even though it’s the only way—to receive forgiveness and eternal life through His son, Jesus.

May your week be fun, full and sane!