Sunday, September 16, 2012

Going out to Evangelize? Wait a Moment!

By MrRes90 (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Romans 9:1-5; 10:1-4

I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

In the Scripture we have three outstanding cases of burden for souls or what we call in modern terms evangelism

Ø Naaman’s house-maid in Second Kings 5:3
Ø The four lepers in Samaria in Second Kings 7: 3-11
Ø Paul’s burden for his brethren in the flesh, his kinsmen in Romans 9:1-5; 10:1-3

We shall very briefly consider, in the time available to us, only the case of Paul – using a few points raised.

C. H. Spurgeon described the priority of evangelism in these words: “If God called you to be a preacher, don’t stop to be a king”. Evangelism is the most glorious and privileged of all professions. But this great ministry entails a correspondingly great costs for, in the words of King David “...Neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which costs me nothing” (Second Samuel 24:24) Preaching is a costly ministry – costly in terms of sacrifice, self denial and discipline. No man of God can embark on a preaching ministry – evangelism, without first being prepared for the task by the Almighty God Himself. God demands certain pre-requisites from the person who wants to serve Him as a preacher or evangelist. We shall now consider the Four-C’s of evangelism.

1. Conversion:

conversion update

Christianity is not a list of do’s and don’ts; it is not a series of religious disciplines through which a man is required to go before he can think of reaching God; it is not a conglomeration of unintelligible doctrines and dogmas. Christianity revolves around one person – the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only when a man recognizes the fact that he is hopelessly lost, that he can do nothing to save himself, that his only hope is Jesus, that he is ready to become a Christian. And it is only when he repents of his past and present sins, turns to Christ and trusts Him for salvation that he has the right to call himself a Christian. This personal, intimate relationship with Jesus is what constitutes conversion. Without it, a preacher cannot honestly proclaim Christ as the world’s only Saviour.

An unconverted preacher is like a blind man trying to explain the beauty of colours. How can you explain or describe something you have never seen? And how can you proclaim a Saviour whom you have never met? You cannot possibly tell others about something you yourself know nothing about.

2. Conviction: 


A communist has his convictions based not on a person but on an ideology, to which he devotes all his time, talents, strength and substance and which he will defend at the risk of imprisonment and death. Even his children belong to the State. Conviction plays an important role in the life of the preacher as well.

Every practicing and aspiring evangelist must ask himself: “What are my convictions about God and the Bible? What are my convictions about salvation; about the afterlife; about Christ; His death; His resurrection and His Second Coming?”

An evangelist’s task is nothing less and nothing more than proclaiming Christ; his message should be nothing more or less than Jesus. Everything else – politics, public religious debates, etc which has nothing to do with Christ and His redemption must find no place in His message or his life. And this is impossible if he has no strong, unshakable convictions about who Christ is and what He can do.

3. Commission: 


Preaching is not an occupation; it is a vocation. You cannot be a preacher or evangelist unless you have had a direct call from God to do so. You do not decide to serve God as a preacher; He decides that. You do not become an evangelist or preacher because you happened to fail in your examination and because the Public Service Commission cannot find you another job. A preacher is an evangelist, and an evangelist is a man sent by God.

If God provided a righteousness which is intended for all, if we know anything about it, then the obligation and responsibility for taking it to all lies upon us. In other words, world reconciliation demands world evangelisation.

Our commissioning has nothing to do with Church Boards. It is God who sends. If we are not sent of God, we ought not to go. Jesus Christ insisted: “As My Father has sent Me, so send I you” (John 20:21). Let us recall how Isaiah put it. There were two questions: “Who will go for us?” and “Who shall I send?” Isaiah could answer either one but did he answer, “Here am I, I will go?” No! He answered, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8) This is the Spiritual pattern that the 20th Century Church must follow if it is to fulfil the Great Commission before Christ comes.

I believe God equips the man He calls. He may train you first and call you later or call you first and train you afterwards. Peter, James, John and all the other disciples first responded to Christ’s call and then were trained by Him to preach His Gospel to the world. Moses and Paul were, unknown to them, being trained to serve God even before they heard their call.

Training can take many forms. It could involve completing a theological and academic course in a Bible College or university or it may be acquired in “Saint Mary’s University” i.e. at the feet of the Lord Himself, like Mary, the sister of Martha did. The point I am making is this: paper qualifications are important but not nearly as important as being equipped by the Almighty God Himself.

Ill equipped preachers have done more harm than good. Those who have been really used by God have been men and women who have had both education and dedication; one without the other is useless.

Read More: Are You Going Out to Witness? Then...

4. Compassion: 


Jesus Christ – the world’s greatest Preacher and Evangelist had one outstanding characteristic that set Him apart from other men. It was compassion. A deep, burning compassion that compelled Him to feed the hungry, heal the sick, mix with the social lepers, and save the lost. “When He saw the multitude, He was moved with compassion” was the hallmark of His short life (Matthew 9:36; 14:14). He wept over the city of Jerusalem. It was His compelling compassion that made Him take the way of the Cross. You may have all the obvious qualifications of a preacher or Evangelist, but if you have no compassion for the millions who are dying without hope, you will never be used of God to bring them into the fold.

The measure of your compassion will be the sacrifices you make, the tears you shed, the sweat and blood you pour out for the souls of men. Is this too high a price? Is this too lofty a standard?

Take heart. Many thousands who have gone before you have proved it can be done, and that the rewards in terms of eternity are greater than the costs. Best of all, “survey the wondrous Cross on which the Prince of Glory died”, and no price will seem too high, no sacrifice too great, no problem too big, for the battle is the Lord’s. And the victory, through you, will be His too.

“Give me, oh Lord the heart of Paul that weeps for the souls of his brethren in flesh! The heart that wishes he were accursed that others be saved! The heart that cries; "Woe is me, if I preach not the Gospel!" Is that your wish? 

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