ACTS 5:42 - 8:4,5
INTRO: I have always believed that evangelism was the great mission of the Lords church. Taking the word of truth to the far corners of the earth ... and to the homes in the community surrounding the church building has been the desire which has provoked much of my thinking and many of my actions. I still believe that evangelism is what the Lord intended to be one of the great points of emphasis in all ages of the church. I have been thrilled to see the emphasis given to foreign evangelism over the years of my life, and have had great pleasure in participating in that work. But I am concerned that the community surrounding the church building may not have received the emphasis and attention from us it should have.
I. THE OBJECTIVE? TO RESPOND TO THE GREAT COMMISSION
A. The last recorded words of Jesus on this earth - Acts 1:8
1. but He brought you and me into the picture - Mt 28:19,20
2. they were to teach us what He had taught them! Go....
B. I think also of 2 Pet 3:9
1. but how are people to know of this ... how to come to repentance?
2. doubtless, that is where you are I are involved - Phil 2:14-16
II. THE REALITY?
A. This church does have a great love for mission work
1. I know, as you do, the names of men (and their wives) who preach
2. I know, as you do, the names of the cities in Mexico where they labor
B. Your great love for mission work is proven by wonderful generosity
1. I am reminded of Phil 4:16
2. just mention the need, and you respond so graciously
III. BUT WHAT ABOUT OUR PERSON TO PERSON EFFORTS?
A. How many are being taught, personally, by us?
1. the hard, cold fact of the matter is very few
2. at any one time there may be one or two home studies in progress
B. Are we satisfied with what is being done?
1. I have a strong suspicion that we are not
2. I think I know the heart of this church and that there is a loving concern for people who are out of Christ (Rom 10:1) - and that we collectively are not satisfied
C. Are we satisfied with what we (personally) are doing in this regard?
1. when is the last time you really studied with someone out of Christ?
2. Must I Empty Handed Go...? (#657)
IV. HOW CAN WE BECOME MORE EVANGELISTIC?
A. There is no magic formula which can accomplish this
B. We must have a deep concern that our neighbors are lost
1. could it be that we just do not really believe this? surely Gods grace...
2. 2 Thes 1:7-10 - its just a Biblical truth that people who do not obey the gospel will be punished with everlasting destruction
3. what are we going to do, then, about our out of Christ neighbors?
C. We must ask people to study - if we dont ask, they will likely do nothing
1. I suggest that we begin by praying about specific people
2. go to that specific person/people with an invitation to attend, to study
3. propose a topic for study, or propose a study group
D. Be a student of the word yourself
1. 1 Pet 3:15 - if we study, we can give answers
2. I often wonder, though, if our not being students of the word may be the reason for our hesitation to engage others in study
3. your passion for the word may well open doors of study opportunity
E. We must love people and help them avoid a horrible fate
1. and, you know, I think there people whom we love - and deeply care
2. but it seems so hard to get past the discomfort, the fear of suggesting that you study the Bible together
3. interestingly, a great many people really would like to study the Bible in a home setting! Would you like for us to study the Bible together? (once we get those words said, the conversation is much easier)
F. We must live lives of true discipleship
1. very often it is the difference people see in you which inspires an interest
2. listen to this: Titus 2:11-14 or 1 Pet 2:11,12
3. on the other hand, if they do not see this difference in you, they will have little interest in what you say
CLOSE: I wonder if I would be too bold to suggest something I have heard for many years - every one bring one. Could we each be making that kind of commitment to ourselves ... that in this year we will do everything possible to bring one precious soul to Christ!
Cecil A. Hutson
January 23, 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)