Evangelism



Campaign evangelism
Evangelism today tends to be equated with great campaigns, but this type is not to be found in the Bible. People support it because it produces thousands of decisions. However, many of these are superficial and do not last. The invitation system encourages people to come forward to make an immediate public profession and to believe that they are now Christians. They are told that it is sinful to doubt. Yet our faith must be in Christ not in our decision. Evangelists attempt to do the Holy Spirit’s work for Him. But superficial decisions harden people’s hearts against the gospel leaving them thinking that they are Christians when they have never been born again. Many others turn away from Christianity thinking that they have tried it and found it false.

The base for evangelism
New Testament evangelism is based in the local church and is an ongoing activity. In Acts 2 we find 120 Spirit-filled believers speaking the gospel to all. At first, the church was confined to Jerusalem. God then allowed persecution with the effect that the Christians were scattered abroad “preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). The word used for “preaching” here is the one from which we get the term evangelise. It means “gossiping” the gospel. In the following verse we are told that “Philip went down to Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Acts 8:5). This word for “preached” means to herald or proclaim.
Paul began his evangelism in the synagogue where he had a ready-made congregation of people who had a background knowledge to which he could appeal. For example in Ephesus three months were spent reasoning in the synagogue and then, with the opposition increasing, he moved to the hall of Tyrannus where he continued for two years (Acts 19:9-10). As well as the public preaching he went from house to house (Acts 20:20-21). In Athens the Apostle spoke daily in the market to those who would listen and even preached to the Areopagus (the council for judging in matters of religion) when the opportunity arose. As a base for our evangelism we need a sound church where the great themes of the gospel are preached.

All must evangelise
There is a tendency in our day to leave everything to the experts but in a healthy church every Christian is an evangelist. To leave evangelism to the minister would be a disaster. The woman of Samaria, without any training, was a most effective missionary: “Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (Jn.4:29). “Many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman” (4:39).

The requirements for an evangelist
  1. You must experience salvation first yourself before you can effectively communicate the gospel to others. Every true Christian has a wonderful personal testimony.
  2. It is essential for you to know the Bible. Learn key verses off by heart. You must understand the gospel so as to make it plain to others. “Faith cometh by hearing” (Rom.10:17) and the Spirit accompanies the Word.
  3. Meditate on the glory of God’s grace and Christ’s love. Consider the awful state of the wicked in hell so that you will plead with them to escape. Think of the blessedness of heaven.
  4. Take courage from the sovereignty of God. Even hardened sinners can be converted. Followers of false religions can be transformed by God’s irresistible grace.
  5. Pray for friends and neighbours who are without Christ.


The method
  1. The witness of your life is vital. Many like to dismiss Christians as hypocrites. Yet deeds speak louder than words. A happy, kind and holy person attracts to Christ.
  2. Some think the witness of the life is enough but God has particularly promised to bless His own Word. The disciples “gossiped the gospel” and the church grew.
  3. A word of testimony can be very effective. A Jehovah’s Witness who became a Christian admitted that what unsettled him was a simple old lady who told him of how her sins had been forgiven. She had peace.
  4. Befriend people and let them know from the very beginning where you stand and what means most to you.
  5. Invite people to church. “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1Cor.1:21).
  6. Try to drop in a word for the Lord. Two men were digging a drain. One said he was off to the pub for a pint. “Enjoy it”, said the other, “It might be your last”. These words unsettled him as he entered first one pub and then another. Eventually he found his way that Friday night to a church where he was converted.
  7. Pray for opportunities to witness and do not be afraid to grasp them when they come.
  8. Trust in God remembering that without His help we fail (Jn.15:5). Man-made conversions are useless.
  9. Remember that salvation often comes at the end of a long chain of events. People looking back in their lives can see many things that contributed to their eventual conversion.
  10. Give God all the glory. One main reason why we are so ineffective in evangelism is our proud tendency to boast.


    Any comments or questions please E-Mail me or Rev William Macleod the editor.

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