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The motive for Evangelism

posted 8 Oct 2014, 07:14 by Bert Weenink
Sorry- but we haven't managed to record for a few weeks. Here are Bert's sermon notes for 28/9/14.


INTRO: I wonder what your emotional response is when you hear the word evangelism? Is it excitement? Guilt? Apathy? I must admit that the main words for me are frustration, guilt and confusion. Frustration, because not many people seem to want to hear about Jesus; guilt, because I fear I am not trying hard enough; confusion, because it is not supposed to feel like this.

Theme verse: 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

 

For three weeks we will be looking at evangelism:

28 Sep: Why should we do it?

5 Oct: What should we tell them?

12 Oct: How should we do it?

First we need to briefly look at the question what is evangelism?

Definition: The spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness.

Acts 8:4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.

The translation preach, is not helpful here as the word doesn’t just mean the formal proclamation of the gospel. The Greek word is the word where our word evangelize comes from, meaning to announce good news, bringing a good message, especially the gospel. It is something that the angel did when he appeared to the shepherds just after Jesus was born: the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news (lit. I evangelise you), I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

 

Well, it is ok for an angel to do that, it is ok for apostles to do that, but is this something for us today? After all, times have changed. Door to door work is more difficult as people are more suspicious, political correctness means that we may need to be more careful, the development of science means that people are less convinced of the existence of God, affluence means that people feel less of a need to turn to God and ever increasing apathy makes it difficult to even start a conversation.

 

Yet, our challenge for today is to consider: Evangelism, why we should do it?

 

1. We should evangelise, because it is a commandment

This should be enough, we don’t really need other reasons, God has spoken, we should follow and obey.

Whatever you and I may think, believers must always go back to what God wants, what His Word says, what our Lord commands. Matthew 28:16-20 “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

This was not a proposal, a suggestion, an idea, no, this was a commandment:  go – make disciples – baptize – teach.

God has always been missionary in His outlook, even in Old Testament times: Isaiah 49:6 "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

God wants sinners to be saved, he wants people to come to Him and worship Him and get to know Him and He wants to use those who belong to Him already, to tell others who don’t know Him yet. That is his amazing plan. To use saved sinners in reaching other sinners to be saved too.

 

2. We should evangelise, because it is a debt we owe

We have a debt to pay to all those who do not know Jesus as their Saviour.

Romans 1:14-15 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.

Emergency appeals… the British are very generous….

It is good to be generous with our finances, it is good to be generous with our other resources, but it is also important to be generous with the gospel. This is the greatest debt of all because it is the greatest need of all.

Bill Shankley, Liverpool manager of many years ago:  'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.'

How much more is that true of the gospel. The gospel is not just a matter of life and death, it is a matter of eternity. Those who trust in Christ will spend eternity in heaven and those who don’t know Him will spend eternity in hell!

Sharing the gospel is something we must do, we owe it to those who don’t know him. Listen to what the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:16 Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! ( Lit. if I do not evangelise).

If we would find a cure for cancer we would be expected to tell those who suffer. We would owe that to them. If a neighbour is struggling with something and we would know how to help, we should do all we can to help.

We know how to be right with God. We know how to have your sins forgiven. We know the way to heaven. We know where to find abundant life and joy and peace. We know about grace. Should we not stand up, go out, speak up and tell the good news of the gospel?

 

3. We should evangelise, because of compassion

Psalm 145:8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

Matthew 9:36-38 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

COMPASSION is what caused Jesus to say this! He cared about people, He cared about sinners, He cared so much that He laid down His life for them!

For Paul the knowledge that his own people, the Jews rejected Jesus, broke his heart. Read through the last verses of Romans 8 where Paul dwells on the fact that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Then trun to the opening verses in chapter 9 where Paul dwells on the state of the unbelieving Jews and you see a man full of compassion who was willing to be cursed instead of them, if it were only possible.

Do we know such compassion? Do we truly care? Or are we just rejoicing in our own salvation while we ignore the lostness of the people around us?

 

4. We should evangelise, because of the blessing

Believers who evangelise often grow in conviction and appreciation of the gospel message.

Believers who evangelise are often more convinced of the need to pray.

Believers who evangelise see a greater need to be in the Scriptures so they understand more of the plan of God.

Believers who evangelise will often know more of the presence and the power of Jesus.

In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus speaks about His authority and His presence in the context of making disciples. Believers who obey and go with a desire to make a difference will undoubtedly know that power and that presence.

May that be true of us. Amen.

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