INTRO: One of the great joys of my life has been the privilege of teaching others about the wonderful love of God and sharing with them how they can be the recipients of the bounty of His love. There are few things more exciting than to take someone I have been teaching to the baptistry in the church building and to baptize them into Christ. Not all of those people have remained faithful to their calling, but I think that most have. Evangelism, telling the good news, is most assuredly as aspect of the Christian life needing emphasis. I have remembered for many years the words of a hymn which asks the question, "Must I go, and empty handed? Must I meet my Savior so? Not one soul with which to greet Him; must I empty handed go?" Sweet friends, it really does matter what you believe about evangelism!
I. IT MATTERS BECAUSE...
A. Lost souls are truly "lost"
1. I'm not convinced we understand how "lost" people out of Christ are
2. Eph 1:3 - there are no spiritual blessings out of Christ
3. Eph 2:1-3 - out of Christ one is a child of wrath ... dead to God
4. Rev 20:15 - out of Christ one is destined for "the lake of fire"
5. an eternity (which I understand is hard to conceive) in hell should be reason enough for us to want to win souls to the Lord
B. Jesus died to redeem the lost
1. should this be a secret we keep from others?
2. Titus 2:14 - "redeem" is one of the wonderful words of the N.T.
3. Eph 1:7 - and "redeemed" is only through His blood (shed, not spilled)
4. 1 Pet 1:18,19 - you and I have experienced and enjoy this redemption
5. would we want His death to be in vain?
C. Without your telling others, they may never know "what might have been"
1. at least, they will not know until it is too late
2. the "good news" has always been dependent on human messengers
3. 2 Cor 4:6,7 - could God have done this another way? perhaps
4. but He chose to place the message in human hands - my hands & yours
5. are we really willing to keep this message to ourselves at the expense of the souls of others? have we put a "stopper" in the top of the vessel?
II. I KNOW...
A. That many of us have a "natural" hesitation
1. "religion" is not a "safe subject" - we have heard that for many years
2. we may have some fear of unpleasantness or rejection ... a relationship which could be injured by our being openly concerned
3. we may also be concerned about our inadequacy with the word
4. we may have mentally "delegated" this to someone more qualified
5. I am reminded, though, of 2 Cor 4:13 - believing, should we not speak?
B. That most of us are very busy with the affairs of our lives
1. so, we may prefer to think in terms of "hiring it done"
2. and, yes, we do have responsibilities to our families to provide, etc.
3. but do we not find the time to do a host of other things?
4. are we simply using our "business" as our rational "excuse"?
5. Mt 6:33 - are we having a problem with this basic discipleship issue?
III. O.K., BUT HOW DOES ONE GO ABOUT THIS?
A. I suggest that we preface our initiative with prayer
1. pray for wisdom; that the person's heart will be open
2. I remember how often in the apostle Paul's letters he mentions that he is praying for the recipients - I take a "page" from his book in this respect
B. I suggest that you think about the person you would like to approach
1. until we begin to be specific about this we will not get beyond the general feeling that we ought to be doing something
2. Jno 1:41-45 - Andrew and Philip give us a good example here
C.I suggest that you be watching for opportunities
1. part of our need is to have a mind set for evangelism
2. such a mind set, then, makes us aware that an opportunity has arisen, and we are quick to turn it to the spiritual need - Jno 4:7-10
D. I suggest there is no substitute for simply asking another to study with you
1. I have always been amazed at how willing most people are ... if asked
2. be prepared to set a specific time for your study - do not be vague about some time in the future
CLOSE:Rom 10:13,14 - The questions in the passage are so important. But think about the second question and put yourself into the answer: "how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" You are the answer for someone! It matters to that "someone" what you believe about evangelism!
Cecil A. Hutson
22 October 2006
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)