TNMBC Evangelism Blog

In November 2015, the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, Thom Rainer posted a blog by Chuck Lawless. In the piece, Lawless, a twenty-year professor of evangelism, shared the nine reasons he’s discovered for why Christians do not evangelize. Below is the first of the nine:

 

Many don’t know what “evangelism” is. When doing church consulting, I ask believers to rate the evangelism in their church. It’s not uncommon for me to hear answers like, “We send a lot of people on mission trips” or “we minister to the homeless downtown.” Both of these ministries are significant (and would likely contribute to evangelism), but they’re not evangelism unless the gospel message is proclaimed.

To evangelize is to share the message of the gospel. Our acts of service and mercy glorify God and are encouraged by Scripture (see James 1:27). Yet simply serving another is not evangelism. Evangelism requires words. It necessitates a message. And in truth, many of us do not always know what to say. What is the gospel? How does the Bible define it? Let’s look now at the below four-point-summary; I hope the following proves helpful as we seek to faithfully share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others![1]

God. The gospel message begins with God. In the beginning, He made the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). The first sentence of Scripture is essential to the gospel story because it tells us that the world is not the result of chance but the direct and creative work of God. God is the maker of all things. He is holy and in control. He is worthy of our full obedience and worship. He is the Judge of all the Earth who punishes sin (1 John 1:5, Revelation 4:11, Genesis 18:25, Romans 2:5-8).

Man. The crown of God’s creation was Adam and Eve. He fashioned the man and woman and placed His own image on them. They were to represent God to all of creation, reflecting His holiness and righteousness. But Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3:6). They ate the forbidden fruit and rebelled against God in disobedience. The result of their sin was the fall of humankind (Romans 5:12; Romans 8:20-21). Though created good, all people have become sinful by nature (Genesis 1:26-28, Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:23). From birth, we are alienated from God, hostile enemies who are subject to the wrath of God (Colossians 1:21, Ephesians 2:1-3).

Christ. Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, is the substitute in judgement and in righteousness for those who believe. He lived a sinless life, died on the cross to bear God’s wrath in the place of the repentant, and rose from the grave in order to give his people eternal life (John 1:1, 1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews. 7:26, Romans 3:21-26, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Corinthians 15:20-22). “He died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, was buried, and was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). He has ascended to the right hand of the Father and will return again to judge the earth and make all things new, dwelling forever with His redeemed (Mark 16:19; Revelation 21:1-4). This is Good News!

Response. Those who believe this good news and repent (turning away from sin and clinging in faith to Christ) go from enemies of God to His adopted sons and daughters (Galatians 3:26). They are given a new nature that enables them to submit to God in obedience (Romans 8:1-17). God calls everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and trust in Christ in order to be saved (Mark 1:15, Acts 20:21, Rom. 10:9-10).

This is the gospel of Jesus Christ--the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16)! And you and I are called to share it courageously...yet respectfully. 1 Peter 3:15 states: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Christians are to be sincere and loving in their proclamation of the gospel. If the message offends, may it be the stunning truth itself that irks and not our delivery of it. It is written of George Whitefield, the 18th century “princes of preachers,” that “he cried for men’s souls because he truly loved them.”[2] Let this be said of us too!

 



[1] See 9marks.org for a skeleton of this summary

[2] Moore, Doreen, Good Christians, Good Husbands? Leaving a Legacy in Marriage and Ministry (Ross-shire, Scotland, Christian Focus Publications, 2004) 64.


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