Evangelism, Prayer & Scripture

“I find it tremendously valuable to have my prayers guided by Scripture. As I pray about sharing the gospel with others, or as I pray for those who do not yet know the Lord, there are many passages from the Bible that can give focus and direction. Here are just a few of them.

1. There is work to be done

Matthew 9:37-38
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

2. Jesus has commanded you to do it

Matthew 28:18-20
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

3. Success is guaranteed

John 10:16
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

4. Jesus is the only salvation

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

5. You were given the Holy Spirit for this purpose

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses inJerusalem and in all Judea andSamaria, and to the end of the earth.

6. People won’t be saved without hearing

Romans 10:11-15
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

7. Evangelism is necessary for your own growth in Christ

Philemon 6
And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.”

-Tim Challies, 03-19-2012, http://www.challies.com/resources/7-scripture-texts-about-evangelism

The Next Billy Graham Might Be Drunk Right Now

I know this is several weeks old, but it is definitely worth mentioning. I just stumbled across a great post by Russell Moore. He quotes Carl F. H. Henry and gives reasons for encouragement about the future of the kingdom of God on earth, despite the many discouragements in modern evangelicalism.

““Why, you speak as though Christianity were genetic,” he said. “Of course, there is hope for the next generation of evangelicals. But the leaders of the next generation might not be coming from the current evangelical establishment. They are probably still pagans.”

“Who knew that Saul of Tarsus was to be the great apostle to the Gentiles?” he asked us. “Who knew that God would raise up a C.S. Lewis, a Charles Colson? They were unbelievers who, once saved by the grace of God, were mighty warriors for the faith.”

Of course, the same principle applied to Henry himself. Who knew that God would raise up a newspaperman from a nominally Lutheran family to defend the Scriptures for generations of conservative evangelicals?

The next Jonathan Edwards might be the man driving in front of you with the Darwin Fish bumper decal. The next Charles Wesley might be a misogynist, profanity-spewing hip-hop artist right now. The next Billy Graham might be passed out drunk in a fraternity house right now. The next Charles Spurgeon might be making posters for a Gay Pride March right now. The next Mother Teresa might be managing an abortion clinic right now.

But the Spirit of God can turn all that around. And seems to delight to do so. The new birth doesn’t just transform lives, creating repentance and faith; it also provides new leadership to the church, and fulfills Jesus’ promise to gift his church with everything needed for her onward march through space and time (Eph. 4:8-16).

After all, while Phillip was leading the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ, Saul of Tarsus was still a murderer.”

-Dr. Russel D. Moore, 01-02-2012, full article here: http://www.russellmoore.com/2012/01/02/the-next-billy-graham-might-be-drunk-right-now/, italics added

Street Evangelism in Six Steps

“One of the most challenging evangelistic endeavors is what I call street evangelism. This is the approaching of total strangers for the purpose of explaining the gospel to them. When many people think of evangelism, this is often precisely what they have in mind—and they are intimidated by it.

This kind of evangelism may be intimidating, but it also rewarding. There are people who exist outside of the sphere of Christian influence, and unless they hear the gospel from a stranger, they are likely not going to hear it at all. Many encounters are with people completely outside of the faith, unfamiliar with Christianesse, and ignorant of the basics of the gospel (ie., Jesus died in the place of sinners).

But that is exactly why this kind of evangelism is exhilarating. I never know who I am going to talk to. Is this person a Catholic? An agnostic? A self-righteous sinner, living on moralism? This mystery is exactly what makes cold evangelism compelling and intimidating.Here are a few steps to help you get underway:

1. Choose a location. The more people the better, because there are more opportunities, and because it is less weird. My favorite place for this kind of evangelism is on college campuses. Students often have free time, and are often open to talking about the gospel. Grace Church has groups that go out to hospitals, outdoor malls, and subway—all places near our church where lots of people congregate. We stay near our church because we often invite people to our church.

2. Start the conversation. This is the hardest part. I’m not a fan of gimmicks, but I go straight for the chase; I usually begin by introducing myself as a pastor from a church in the area. I’ll ask if they are familiar with the Bible, my church, or what it is that Christians believe. I’ll ask if they have even been to my church, or what they think of the gospel. Essentially I’m looking for some bridge to start the conversation.

3. Ask questions. I ask a lot of questions. One of the most helpful books I’ve read on this kind of evangelism is Randy Newman’s Questioning Evangelism, where he makes the simple point the more questions you ask, the more information you get. The better you get to know the person you are talking to, the more skillfully you can explain the gospel to him. I ask tons of why questions: “Why did you take that job?” “Why did you choose that major?” “Why do you think that way about church?” The more I ask, the more they talk, and the more likely they will be to listen when I explain the gospel.

4. Make the jump to the gospel. Unlike relational evangelism (with friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.) cold evangelism is a one-shot deal. Eventually you have to make the jump to the gospel. I have found that asking if I can explain what the Bible says about an issue helps. “You said you want to help people with your life; can I explain what the Bible says about that?” “You said that church offends you because Christians are hypocrites; can I tell you what the Bible says about that?”

5. Explain the gospel. I take any question they ask—from why do Christians not believe in evolution, to what about the crusades—and answer with the gospel. A short gospel presentation includes who God is (creator and holy), who people are (sinful and in need of a savior), who Jesus is (God in flesh, sinless, substitute for sinners, who rose from the grave), and what we must do in response (turn from sin and believe the gospel in faith).

I look for any opportunity in the conversation to get to the gospel, and when I am there, I move quickly. I can explain those points briefly in one minute, and then circle back to explain each one more if the opportunity is there.

6. End the conversation. After explaining the gospel, I ask if the person has any questions. I ask if I can pray for them, if I can give them a tract that explains more, and if they want to talk more sometime in the future. I invite the person to church, and give him my contact info. Occasionally I have had people contact me months later, wanting to learn more about Jesus.

I don’t think all Christians are called to this kind of evangelism, but I think all Christians should at least try it and see if they are gifted at it. It is amazing to see how the Lord uses these encounters to open doors for the gospel, and to strengthen our own understanding of the basic tenets of what we believe.

How about you? Share a tip or two that you would add, or a question about this kind of evangelism.”

-Jesse Johnson, Complements of: http://thecripplegate.com/street-evangelism-in-five-steps/

The Goal of Preaching

“In the midst of debates over the Great Awakening, Edwards, made a revealing comment about the effects of preaching. During intense periods of awakenings, evangelists often preached to the same audience daily, or even more frequently. Opponents of the awakening argued that people could not possibly remember what they heard in all these sermons. [Jonathan] Edwards, responded that

‘The main benefit that is obtained by preaching is by impression made upon the mind in the time of it, and not by the effect that arises afterwards by a remembrance of what was delivered.’  Preaching, in other words, should be designed primarily to awaken, to shake people out of their blind slumbers in the addictive comforts of their sins. Though only God can give them new eyes to see, preaching should be designed to jolt the unconverted or the converted who doze back into their sins (as all do) into recognizing their true estate.'”

-George M. Marsden, The Salvation of Souls (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2002), 11-12.
Complements of: http://approachingdamascus.com/2011/11/02/the-preaching-moment/

A Bold Letter

Dear unsaved friend,
Could you please read the following carefully, and then sign it–if you agree to it.

  

I am resolved to persevere in sin, and follow the maxims and customs of those around me–though it costs me the loss of my soul, and exposes me to everlasting damnation.

I am resolved to reject the Son of God–I will not embrace Him as my Savior, or have Him reign over me. I am resolved that I will not accept the pardon which God presents to me in the gospel, though it cost Jesus His life to procure it–and I know I must eternally perish without it. I am determined not to submit to God’s way of salvation, and I consent to be lost forever! I have made up my mind, that I will never consent to receive a free salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ–I will not have it!

I am resolved . . .
to reject God’s message,
to dare His justice,
to defy His power,
to refuse His mercy,
to brave His threatened wrath, and
to harden myself against all His invitations, expostulations, exhortations, and promises!

I am resolved that I will not . . .
bow to His authority,
yield to His entreaties,
believe on His Son,
repent of my sins,
love His name,
or obey His precepts!

I am determined that there shall never be joy in Heaven among the angels of God–on account of my conversion.

I will never . . .
desert the ranks of Satan,
give up my sinful practices,
ask for mercy at God’s hands,
or take up my cross and follow Christ!

I am resolved . . .
to keep on in my old wicked course,
to persevere in my present sinful path,
to associate with my carnal companions–
and if it secures my eternal damnation–then let it do so!

I will not receive salvation on God’s terms,
I will not stoop to be saved by grace alone,
I will not take the yoke of Christ upon me, and engage to be His subject and servant–even though Heaven and all the glories of eternity would be secured by it.

If I cannot escape the wrath of God–but by faith, repentance, and holiness–why, I am determined go to Hell, for I am resolved not to yield to any such terms!

It is of no use for the preacher to spend His breath upon me! My mind is made up, I will be my own master, I will take my own course! No one has any right to interfere with me–for I shall injure no one but myself!

I have no objection to going to church, or to attending to some religious forms–but to give my heart to God, to be crucified to the present world, and to make God’s glory the end of life–will never do for me; therefore I gladly take the consequences.

If this is required of those who would be true Christians–then you must stop urging me–for I will not yield! You must stop all attempts to convert me, for my mind is made up! I have heard hundreds of sermons, I have read the Bible myself–but I have hardened myself against the whole, and I am not going to yield now!

Tell me no more of the Savior’s love,
tell me no more of the pleasures of holiness,
tell me no more of the terrors of death,
tell me no more of the dreadful judgment,
tell me no more of the joys of Heaven,
tell me no more of the agonies of Hell–
for you will never induce me to yield myself unto God, and seek the salvation of my soul. For my mind is made up, and my daily conduct is enough to convince you of it, if anything would. I am resolved not to yield–let the consequences be what they may!

I will go on just as I have done!

I will not be Christ’s servant!

I will not be God’s child!

I will obey only Satan!

I will follow the course of this evil world!

I will serve my lusts and pleasures!

In proof thereof, witness my signature, ____________.

-James Smith (1802-1862), Letter to an Unsaved Friend

Complements of Geoff Kirkland: http://vassaloftheking.blogspot.com/2011/10/letter-to-unsaved-friend.html