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Evangelism and the Church – Part 1

by on August 11, 2016

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For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. – 1 Corinthians 1:17

How will the modern church fulfill the command of the Lord Jesus Christ to go into the world and preach the gospel?  That’s almost too obvious of a verse to post initially, and most know this verse from memory, yet I just wonder how churches today do it?  Well, I think I know how they do it, but I wonder what they think about how they are doing it…

Evangelism is possibly one of the most intimidating and overwhelming things to do for any believer, especially if they weren’t saved in a somewhat radical fashion.  I’ve known many that were saved and you couldn’t stop them from talking about Christ to everyone they encountered, but let’s be honest, that’s not most of us.  I want to look at a few things that I hope will be helpful if you have honest intentions and desires to actually evangelize those around you.

What exactly is evangelism?

I think most of us have thoughts when we hear the word evangelism, it might bring up images of some lunatic on a box yelling at people. Perhaps that is a form of evangelism depending on the accuracy of the message .but the simplicity of the word is actually quite interesting.  It simply means “good news”.  εὐαγγέλιον euangélion – a good message, i.e. the gospel.

Matthew 4:23 And He went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 

Here we see a good description of the gospel.  Jesus taught in the synagogues and proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom.  We see this as a normal pattern of the Lord’s ministry.  Going into a town, engaging the Jews in the synagogue, preaching on the streets and then healing the people.

And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. – Luke 9:6 [1]

We see this pattern established again and again throughout the New Testament. We see it from John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Apostles.  This is the primary pattern employed for spreading the gospel.  There is no way around this if you are to read the Biblical accounts with honesty.

“Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”  And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. – Acts 5:20-21

Why the gospel?  What is the significance of the gospel?

Paul tells us something pretty significant about the gospel in his opening remarks in Romans.  He tells us that there really is no other message than the gospel.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” – Romans 1:16-17

One thing we see is that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.  I guess that’s a good enough reason, but yet we also see that it reveals the righteousness of God.  A clear and concise gospel presentation needs to present the righteousness of God.  If that is lacking the message is not complete.  Paul gives us a very long discourse on the sinfulness of man, letting us know that all will give account and all are without excuse.

What are we to conclude about all of this?  God, in His wisdom, has chosen a very “foolish” way to save people.  He counseled within Himself before time began that it was the plan to draw a people to Himself through the preaching of the gospel to save those who believe.  This is what God has ordained and we need to pay attention.  Primarily, we need to be obedient.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  – 1 Corinthians 1:18

Any Christian that is honest about the topic can see the simple way in which the gospel was spread. They may ask if this is the way we should do it today.  Should we seek a different, more pragmatic approach to what God has already ordained?

If this methodology is true and biblical what do we do about it?  If we realize this to be the model that Christ has shown I believe we are only left with one question…  when will you go?

I admit there is fear…

I admit there are questions…

I admit there is much trepidation…

I admit there is the unknown…

But how can it be avoided?  Brothers and sister, we must “Go”…  it is a command.

Next time I’ll outline some biblical methods of evangelism and hope that it helps us overcome our fear and love of self and we can be used by God in the building of His kingdom.

 

Kevin

[1] The gift of healing was to establish the divinity of Christ and to affirm the message of the Apostles to the world.  The narrative is not a prescriptive for us today and if it were we would have people doing as Jesus did and going and healing every disease and affliction among the people as the Matthew 4:23 verse states.

 

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18 Comments
  1. Evangelism is constant. As a Christian the work of the kingdom is constantly telling others the good news about Jesus everywhere we go. It is healing the sick, praying for others, and speaking about the message of Christ.

    • Can you perhaps expand on what you mean by “healing the sick”?

      • Yes sir. I believe what Mark 16:18 says among other verses in my Bible. So I get the honor to pray for people all the time and see them get healed.

      • The gifts of laying hands on people and healing them has ceased after the apostolic era. I’m not saying someone can’t be healed because God can do as he pleases but if so called faith healers can do this than they would go into hospitals and heal everyone as the Lord Jesus Christ did.

        In James 5 we see healing but this is in the context of spiritual healing.

      • As I said in my previous comment, healing has nothing to do with salvation, but one thing i want to ask Kevin, Can you provide scriptural basis for your statement (which i have heard numerous times before), that “The gifts of laying hands on people and healing them has ceased after the apostolic era.”

        I have never found scripture that proves this to me, but have heard preachers (J. MacArthur among them) that have preached on this. Yes, God can and does heal as He pleases, but this has been a question of mine for some time now. Thanks.

      • I would ask if you see any of this happening after the gospels or the first apostolic era? We don’t see this in the Pastoral Epistles or later letters to the churches.

        And why don’t the so called faith healers go in and heal everyone they come in contact with.

        As I mentioned in the blog the Lord used these miracles to validate His Divinity. John 10:25, 10:37.

      • I would also say we should consider Church History. I’ve never read a Puritan that talked about healing. I think that matters.

      • The last time we read any reference to communion is 1 Cor. 11

        The last time we read any reference to footwashing is John 13

        When Christ healed, many times He told the person not to tell anyone, could this be true today?

        We see healing today. I was healed from Leukemia. My mother was healed from cancer. My wife was healed from a very large cyst on her ovaries…perhaps you didn’t hear about it, as we didn’t broadcast it.

        We have no right one way or the other to be dogmatic on this subject. I cannot say that the miracle gifts are still in evidence any more than you can say they’ve ceased. I have read all of the various articles defending this position and every one of them is filled with human conjecture. No scriptural evidence whatsoever.

        I don’t like believing anything that cannot be proved through scripture. It’s dangerous.

        The world is a whole lot bigger now than it was back then. We read about perhaps 15 or so people in the New testament who God used to heal people, etc., and a very small area surrounding Jerusalem. Today we have over 6 billion people and in many places in the world, they don’t have access to the internet or social media. Can you say that God isn’t moving in some way? We really don’t hear about mass revival anymore, but individual revivals. Does this mean God will never have another mass revival such as the one in Lewis?

        I have much respect for the Puritans. but they also have much error in their teachings. From their observance of the Sabbath to not allowing any sort of pictures or statues in their possession, there is a side to the Puritans that stinks of legalism and bondage. To say that because the Puritans didn’t write anything about healings or what have you, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Perhaps they were afraid of being labeled a sensationalist?

        “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16.18

        Have you ever met someone who was on death’s door and through prayer and submission to the will of God, recovered from his/her injuries? This is still healing, just not instantaneous. Whether a person recovers or dies from a disease, accident or whatever, he is still healed by God. God had compassion on that person and allowed him to live. When a person goes to the doctor, takes herbs, adjusts his diet or changes his lifestyle and recovers from a disease, it’s still God healing the person. We equate healing with spontaneous recovery, but healing can also be a process. Remember Naman? He was told to go take a bath. The ten lepers were told to present themselves to the priests. One returned and was healed.

        God’s miracles are still being seen today, but because of faith preachers have abused this power and twisted it for their own gain, Christians like you and I are afraid to be associated with these miracles just in case we are labeled as well. God will heal and show His power through whoever He wants, and none of us can say with any confidence that God has stopped His moving in this way. I have seen it, experienced it and been touched by His grace in my body. I am told to be a witness as to how good God has been to me. To remain silent when He moves and decides to heal, would be to deny Him the glory He so richly deserves.

        I truly believe that the devil has made great progress in this area, making the Todd Bentleys of the world give healing and miracles a bad name to the point where any sensible Christian will run the other way and refuse to even talk about miracles just in case he is thrown in as “one of those”.

      • Thanks for the idea. I’ve got to do that. I would say that it is uncommon faith to believe in healing. Btw, sir, I very much like your writing. Thank you for spiritual food on my journey.

      • I’m glad I can minister in any small way.

      • Gentlemen, if I may speak a little further on the matter. I travel the world on faith, I go making disciples and baptize them, I sold all my possessions, I quit my job and I’ve been traveling the world from country to country with no direct support from any organization.

        So I appeal to both of you, I pray for people all the time and they get healed. Besides that I see it everyday and I’ll tell you something is that it’s really beautiful to see someone that’s hurting get healed because Jesus loves them. It shows His authority over sickness which is a tool to share the gospel. It’s hard to deny God when you’re leg is made whole. Most the time I just ask people if I can pray for them and I am able to talk about where they’re at with the Lord. Prayer open the door.

        It’s the kindness of God that
        leads men to repentance.

        I’ll tell you a quick story. Just the other week, I found myself surrounded by 20 Muslims from Afghanistan. I was preaching the gospel. The leader of the group started to get belligerent and that was a tricky situation. He started yelling at me about Mohammed, which is typical. I could have started preaching about the wrath of God, but that’s all they’re used to seeing is anger. The Lord told me to just start praying for them. So I asked them if any of them had pain and that Jesus would heal them because He loves them. So I prayed for two guys and then two more guys came up to receive prayer. Two got healed immediately. The leader of the Muslim group then accepted Christ and was born-again. Here we can clearly see God healing for His glory. Evangelism and healing go hand-in-hand. I would kindly say to you this is something that must be lived out not talked about. I’ll tell you if you’re not praying for people they’re not getting healed. This report comes directly from the field.

  2. Evangelism is something that occurs on a constant basis we are called to live our lives free of the world ministering the gospel everywhere we go. The work of the Kingdom is difficult, takes effort, and it takes being put in uncomfortable situations.

  3. Healing the sick has nothing to do with evangelism. Preaching the Gospel is only about telling a damned world the bad news and then the good news. The bad news is the world is in trouble and the wrath of God continually abides on them. The Good News is Jesus Christ died for those elected to be saved. We don’t know who God has created to be saved (Rom. 9), so we preach to the world.

    Healing the sick, making people wealthy and happy and the rest of the Prosperity message does nothing to bring God glory. It’s a worship of self and takes the focus off of Christ Jesus receiving the reward He so richly deserves.

  4. Gladly. We can lay hands and pray for the sick and they get better.

  5. For your interest. Hope this helps to see my point of view.

  6. Brother, I appreciate your thoughts and your experiences. I’m a cessastionist and I believe miraculous healings were done by Jesus to prove His divinity. Miraculous healings were done by the Apostles to prove they were who they said they were and to validate the message. I won’t try and counter all your points, I don’t think there is any profit in that in this venue.

    I would have you consider a couple things. Do we see precept upon precept? Do we see precept and then examples lived out? One of the most important rules of biblical interpretation is “narrative is not normative”… We can’t take everything written in Scripture and say that is a normative practice for me today.

    In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul asks to be relieved of his affliction but the Lord said no.

    1 Timothy 5:23 Paul tells Timothy to take a little wine for his infirmity, why didn’t Paul just lay hands on him and heal him?

    New Testament references to physical healing are almost non-existent, in fact the only place I know of it is 3 John 2.

    When Jesus fed the multitudes and they came back for more did Jesus continue to feed them? No, He preached a hard message that challenged them and they all went away. John 6:66.

    Secondly, I want to say that I admire what you’ve done to sell all and proclaim the gospel. However, I would ask you if you are under the authority of a local church and submitted to the Elders? Hebrews 13:17.

    Have you been sent by them? Romans 10:15 Have you been approved by them and had an external calling on your ministry? Titus 1:5

    These are important brother and I hope you’ll consider them.

    God bless.

    Kevin

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