Summary of Biblical Principles

Oak Lake Berean Church
(NOTE: Pages 1, 2 are identical to Pages 1, 2 of Notes on Exaltation)

Introduction
The problem most churches face is not that they don’t anything; they do plenty. The problem is that they often don’t do the right things. What ARE the right things? We have focused on Biblical principles related to the nature and purpose of the Church. Rather than pull out a bag of tricks and programs that will get people into our church, we have focused on what the Scriptures teach about church health. When a church is healthy, it will grow. But, what is a healthy church, and what’s “growth” look like? Proper Church health is possible only when we conform to God’s idea of what the Church IS and what the Church Does.

What the Church IS
Ekklesia: “ek” (out from) “kaleo” call : “called out ones” Of the 114 occurrences of ekklesia in the New Testament, it has two major applications to assemblies of Christians....  Invisible : the whole community of redeemed in this present age of which Christ said, A I will build my Church,@ which is His body ( Eph.1:22; 5:23)  Visible: company consisting of professed believers in Christ (Acts 20:20; I Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:13; I Thess. 1:1) Biblical Pictures: The church is likened to salt, light, sheep, a bride, a spiritual temple, a household, members of Christ’s body, branches in the vine, athletes, soldiers, and heavenly lights, children of God, adopted sons, priests, servants, bondslaves, stewards, and partners with Christ, just to name a few. There are over eighty images or figures of the church. All these pictures never suggest that the church is a physical building. The Church is people!
While there is no technical definition in the scriptures, we can come to somewhat of a “definition” based on the Biblical word, and the Biblical pictures.

What the Church is to DO
One Purpose: Glorify God ! The great purpose of the church is to be to the praise of God’s glory and grace (Eph. 1:6, 12). What does it mean for us to glorify God? We cannot add to His glory, for He is already perfectly and infinitely glorious. Rather, for us to glorify God means for us to ascribe to Him the worthiness due His name. When we give God glory we essentially are saying: He gets the credit. He is the only One worthy to receive credit. Everything we do, we do it so He gets the glory.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. Rom. 11:36

Pg.1

How does the Church Glorify God?
God has established certain objectives in order for the church to bring glory to Him. The Church glorifies God by intensely pursuing His objectives for the church. But we must know what they are and be committed to carrying them out. So, what are they? God calls the church to Exalt Him, Edify the Body, and Evangelize the lost.
Which objective (exaltation, edification, evangelism) is most important?

To fulfill these God-given objectives, the church must follow the mandate of our Lord. There is ONE MANDATE: “Make disciples” ! All other commands (go, teach, win the lost, baptize, feed the hungry, etc.) are subordinate to Jesus’ main command: Make Disciples ! What kind? His command is expanded in 2 Tim. 2:2, and Eph. 4: Discipleship is the process in which a believer in Christ is becoming more like Christ increasing in the knowledge of Christ and able to minister to others who will be able to do the same thing. The process of discipleship involves a relationship where a spiritually minded person uses the Word of God to teach reprove, correct and train a learner in Christ in order that he/she becomes increasingly more like Christ.
Our church has developed a Mission Statement based on the 3-fold purpose of the Church, and the mandate of our Lord.

That’s like asking “which leg of the stool is most important? Which one would you rather not have?”

Everything the church does must revolve around these purposes (the “3-E’s”), and our Lord’s command to make disciples!

How do we carry out this mission statement ?
  We must clearly understand what Exaltation, Edification, and Evangelism is! We should then flesh out the Biblical principles in clearly stated objectives and goals. All activities and programs should flow from these objectives / goals.

We will look 2nd at EVANGELISM
Pg.2

Exaltation Edification

Evangelism
When it comes to God’s 3-fold Purpose for the Church, it’s not a question of which one is most important. God hasn’t given us a choice. We must exalt Him, edify the Body, and evangelize the lost. When it comes to the reason for the Church’s existence, it’s to Exalt Him. When it comes to the reason the church exists as a gathered community, it’s to edify, build one another up to Christ-like maturity. But, when it comes to why the Church exists in the world—it’s to evangelize. The first actions of the first disciples were evangelistic. Andrew found Simon and brought him to Jesus. Philip found Nathaniel and led him to the Lord. Jesus told his disciples that He would make them “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). The first commandment of the risen Lord was evangelistic. “As by the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). The first directive of the Great Commission is evangelistic. “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all people” (Mark 16:15). At the birth of the church, the writer (Luke) emphasized that after Peter proclaimed the Truth, “there were added about three thousand souls...” (Acts 2:14-41). Unfortunately, many local churches have lost perspective. They measure success in terms of how many people attend the church, how financially stable they are, or what kind of building they have. They measure in terms of activities, and busy agendas, or even in the presence of sound beliefs and teaching.
Year ago a man by the name of Wahlstrom purchased an old bombsight and took it apart to see what made it work. As he began to put it back together, he decided to add to it some spare parts he had from other projects. Over time, friends and neighbors took an interest in the matter and started bringing him parts and pieces, which he incorporated into his contraption. Over a period of about ten years, he added to his machine hundreds of wheels and cogs, belts and whistles and gears and who knows what all until the thing “a marvel to behold.” became He would throw the switch, and the machine’s thousand parts would begin to move. Wheels turned, lights flashed, bells rang, and belts whirred. The device came to be known as "Wahlstrom’s Wonder." It was incredible. Once a spectator asked, “what’s it DO?” The answer: “It doesn’t do anything!” While there was a lot of activity, what was all the activity for?

Similarly, local churches must continue to keep God’s purposes in focus. Our agenda (priorities, allotment of time, and activities) are to be ordered by the Word of God, not by the agendas of people following their cultural expectations set by the traditions of men. To help us stay clearly focused, we need to be clear about what the Bible teaches about evangelism….

Pg.3

What Evangelism IS
1. Why is defining evangelism important?
Most Christians know the importance of evangelism. But, there is a great deal of difference between knowing that evangelism is important and knowing what evangelism is. .  Knowing the character and purpose of evangelism helps determine how it is to be done and whether or not one has been successful in it.
 Evangelistic effectiveness hinges on knowing exactly what it is and what it is not.

First,

we need to consider some wrong ideas about evangelism

2. What Evangelism is NOT
 Evangelism is NOT “ trying to make unsaved people live by the Bible” This puts the emphasis on us transforming the culture rather than God transforming sinners. It removes the need for responding in faith to the message of the gospel and replaces it with moralism. Lastly, this is the social gospel that leads to apostasy, rather than the Savior’s gospel that leads to eternal life.  Evangelism is NOT “helping people conquer their habits” This puts the emphasis entirely on my lifestyle rather than telling others the gospel. The problem is: NOT our bad habits that keep us from a relationship with God. The problem (as we’ll see below under “What is the “gospel”?) is the cause of those bad habits! It includes sharing the good word and doing the good deeds – but it is more than that!  Evangelism is NOT “getting someone saved.” This puts the emphasis on conversions rather than content (2 Cor 2:17; 1 Thess 2:3-4). It puts the focus on results instead of our responsibilities (Acts 18:5-6; 20:26-27). It puts our confidence in our persuasiveness instead of God’s power (1 Cor 2:1-5; 2 Cor 4:1-7).  Evangelism is NOT “Being a good example” Often “evangelism” and “witnessing” are confused. They aren’t the same. I am a witness for Jesus by living in a way that is pleasing to Him and Glorifies Him. I am witnessing when I give testimony of how God saved me and changed me. Evangelism is not the mere testimony of a good, consistent life. Being friendly, helpful, and neighborly may be a necessary preparation for evangelism, but it is no substitute for evangelism.

Evangelism is more than being a good example, trying to get people saved, etc.

Pg.4

3. What evangelism IS
The word used
The Bible does not give a quick answer when we search for a definition of evangelism. The word evangelism in fact is not in the Bible — but the words evangelist and evangelize are there, and from these we can learn something about what evangelism is. The Greek word euanggelizo gives some idea as to what evangelism is. From the word euanglizzo… it means to tell, announce, or communicate something.   

The angels evangelized. They brought “good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10). Jesus evangelized. He preached the “glad tidings of the kingdom of God” (Luke 8:1). Paul evangelized. He said, “I have preached to you the gospel” (2 Cor. 11:7). Paul also said, “We preach Christ….” Philip evangelized. He “preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35).

But…. The question is: “WHAT good news ?” (But to understand what evangelism is, we must go beyond the word itself……)

Evangelism is an integral part of a larger picture (3 E’s)

As we’ve seen, in scripture we find 3 God- given objectives for the local church..... Exaltation - the reason the church exists: to Glorify God --------upward focus Edification - the reason the Church exists as a gathered community--inward focus Evangelism -the reason the Church exists in the world --------------- outward focus As we seek to exalt God/ bring Him glory, we are called to edify the body (build one another up to Christ-like maturity), so that we can effectively evangelize the lost. Unfortunately, many Christians focus on one objective at the exclusion of another. They think, “As long as you win souls, you are doing the most important thing… some are called to evangelism, and some are called to discipleship” But Jesus didn’t teach that, early church didn’t believe that, and NT doesn’t teach that! We cannot be content simply to “win converts”… our Lord’s command is to “make disciples”. While the focus of evangelism is helping people become disciples, we must never stop short of the goal: to make re-producing disciples who are becoming more like Christ. Evangelism focuses on how one becomes a disciple and “discipleship” focuses on being a disciple. What, then, is “evangelism” ?

Pg.5

The Definition of Evangelism
To clarify the kind of evangelism that best fits the Great commission of our Lord, It is helpful to see 3 types of evangelism:

1. Presence evangelism Our primary relationship to those outside the faith should be to do good works and help them with needs they might have.
(But, as we’ve seen, evangelism is not simply “living a Christian life before others”)

2. Proclamation evangelism Proclamation goes beyond presence. In order to evangelize effectively, a Christian presence must be established. Once unbelievers have heard and understood the gospel, they are considered evangelized. Jesus’ command to make disciples involves more than “preaching the gospel” But, the question is: “what message do we proclaim”? What is the clear message people must hear and believe?”
Which type of evangelism is consistent with the Great Commission (Mt 28:19, 20)?

3. Persuasion evangelism
Persuasion evangelism says that a person is not regarded as evangelized until he or she becomes a disciple of Christ and a responsible, reproducing disciple in a local church.

The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, being a part of a local church, and becoming a responsible, reproducing Christian.

What IS the Gospel message?

Pg.6

What IS the “Gospel” ?
What is the message we must communicate to lost people ? Key texts: 1 Cor. 15:1-4 Book of Romans

1 Cor. 15:1-4

Christ death, burial and resurrection for our sins  For our sins
“Christ” (Christos= “anointed one”) He is the appointed one by God who died for our sins implies that we are sinners in need of forgiveness. The word “for” (hyper) conveys the idea of “on account of,” “instead of”

And was buried
Only dead men are buried. Christ’s death was witnessed by multitudes. He HAD to die; otherwise the penalty for our sins could not have been really paid.

He arose
The second proposition attests to Christ’s resurrection from the dead, which implies that God accepted the sacrifice. A dead man cannot save anyone. A Savior has to be alive. Only then can He offer and effect salvation.

According to the Scriptures
The OT Scriptures pictured or predicted the suffering of God’s Messiah (e.g., Ex 12; Lev 16; Ps 22, 110; Isa 52-55, especially 53:4-6). The resurrection of Christ is in the OT not only explicitly (E.g., Ps 16:8-11; 110:1), but also implicitly. When the suffering and death of the Messiah is discussed, this is often followed by a declaration of His reign (cf. Isa 53). The implication is clearly that He rose from the dead.

The message of the book of Romans:

Paul’s purpose in writing the epistle to the Romans was to explain the gospel from beginning to end. He first explains the bad news and then the good news.

The Bad News:
Francis Schaeffer in his book, Death in the City, discusses the question, “What would you do if you met a really modem man on a train/plane and you had just an hour to talk with him about the Gospel?” Schaeffer says, “I would spend forty-five or fifty minutes to really show him his dilemma; to show him that he is even more dead than he thinks he is; that he is morally dead because he is separated from the God who exists. Often it takes a long time to bring a person to the place where he understands the negative. And unless he understands what’s wrong, he will not be ready to listen to and understand the positive.” That’s exactly what the Apostle Paul does when writing to the Romans about salvation. Notice the sequence of each section beginning with the need in 1:18-3:20….. Pg.7

The first step in the revelation of the righteousness that God provides for people by faith is to set forth their need for it because they are under God’s judgment. In 1:18-32, Paul shows that the human race stands condemned before God and is helpless and hopeless apart from God’s grace.

First and foremost, Christianity is a work of God to set man right with God. Christianity addresses the fundamental problem in the universe first and foremost. And that problem is not that human beings are mean to each other but that we are alienated from God and under his wrath. (Rom. 1:18, Eph. 2:1-3) The first issue for every human being is, "How can I be right with God?" Not, "How can I become a nice person?"… “How can I be happy?”… “How can I be fulfilled ?”
The gospel is not good advice for what I can do to become a better person. It is good news of what God has done to remove his wrath and to lift the curse and to forgive our sin and take away our guilt and to set us in a right relationship with Him. – (John Piper)

Rom. 3:21-31
21

The good news
(God has provided a way for sinners to be declared righteous)
(Vs. 21) God has provided the only way for sinners to be declared righteous!  Not through the Law  The Old Testament points to it (Vs.22-24) How Righteousness has been provided     Through faith in Christ Available to all who believe All are guilty....but all have the same provision: Christ’s work on the cross “Justification” comes through faith in Christ’s blood

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood…. 26 He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

What is the “decision” people must make?
The gospel message is profound, yet simple (the Bad News/ Good News)… But Christians often fog up the message when it comes to the decision people make in light of the bad news and good news….. must
Pg.8

Some language commonly used to explain the decision we must make to be saved
Ask Jesus into your heart. Not that the heart is not universally understood as the very essence of our being and person. But, people are not called to “ask Jesus to do something”, but TRUST completely in Jesus as the One who died in our place. While Jesus lives in the heart of the believer, the New Testament makes no such request to unbelievers in order to be saved. Give your heart (or life) to God. The issue in salvation is not what we give to Him anyway, but what He gives to us. Eternal life is Christ’s life in us (1 John 5:11). Unbelievers have NOTHING to give to God. Salvation is what we receive, not what we give to God! (Rom. 12 is for believers!) Invite Christ into your life. This is certainly a courteous approach, but we must remember that it is the Lord who does the inviting. We don’t invite Christ… He invites us! Another form of this is the admonition to “open the door of your heart,” based on Rev 3:20. But, this was written to the Laodicean church as a whole and was more of an invitation for fellowship than salvation. Accept Christ as your Savior. There is some biblical support for the idea of receiving Christ--John 1:11-12 and Col 2:6. Both uses are in the past tense, pointing to the result of faith, however. Receiving Christ is what happens when we believe and He comes to live in us. Note how the immediate context of each passage refers to faith/trust as the condition of salvation. “Accept Christ” is similar, but it is not used for faith in Christ in the NT. Make Christ Lord and Savior. Spare the effort. No person can do this. The Bible says God the Father “has made this Jesus . . . both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Of course Jesus is Lord! But He is Lord whether we accept Him as such or not. Make Christ Lord of your life. Making Christ Lord is not a condition for salvation (read Romans!). Lordship decisions are decisions for Christian obedience made by believers in the light of transforming grace (Titus 2:11-12; Rom. 12:1-3), not something done to merit that grace (Titus 3:4-7). Put Jesus on the throne of your life. In other words, give Him control of all areas of your life. Has anyone accomplished this? How many areas of an unbeliever’s life must he/she give Jesus control of in order to be saved? Yielding to Christ’s Lordship is what Christians must do on a continual basis. But again, yielding all areas of one’s life is not a condition for salvation. It is better to deal with this issue after a person understands the issue of faith in Christ for salvation. Confess your sins. Rom. 10:9, 10 is often used to teach that we must believe AND confess. But, how many sins? To whom? What happens when a Christian discovers sin in his life following conversion? Must he again believe and confess and be saved again (and again, and again)? We are saved from something, and that is our sin. But “confessing” implies our problem is specific individual acts rather than our sinful position or nature. God wants to cure the cause, not the symptoms. Our sins are the symptoms, not the cause (being under God’s wrath because we’re sinners by nature). Repent of your sins. (“turn or burn”! ) If by this it is meant that we must turn from every individual sin in our lives, then salvation and assurance would be impossible. In the OT the word for repent meant (for Israel, God’s people) a change of ways. But, repentance (meta-change / noia-mind) in the NT speaks of an inner change of attitude and heart, not an outer change in conduct. Changed conduct is the result of true repentance, but we should not confuse the root with the fruit. Some well intentioned Christians suggest that we must believe AND repent (change our ways, turn from our sin). If that is so, then, salvation is based upon faith PLUS our works (turning from our sins, changing our ways, etc.)(cf. Eph. 2:8-10). Pray a prayer. WHAT prayer ? The Gospel teller must be careful to make the issue faith/trust. Faith in whom and for what? Not all of the above conditions are totally void of all truth. The point is that they are often misleading or confusing. Some give a wrong message, others an unclear one... But we must strive to use the words that give a clear message as to what the gospel is... presenting it as clearly as possible using the right words. Why not be as biblical as possible in our communication of the condition for salvation? In the Gospel of John the verb believe is used ninety-eight times as the condition for salvation. We should take the hint, especially when the Holy Spirit had John tip us off that he wrote his book in order to bring people to faith in Christ (John 20:31)

A suggested prayer
Pg.9

Summary: True evangelism cannot occur unless we share the Bad News / Good News (in that order!) The gospel is the message of the good news of salvation by God’s grace, through faith alone in Christ alone. The basis for salvation is Christ’s finished work on our behalf. The condition is our belief/trust in Christ and His work on our behalf. The results of our trust in Him, God declares believing sinners “righteous”! The world is blinded to the gospel by Satan who wants to keep people from seeing the glorious nature of the gospel of Christ (2 Cor. 4:3-4), but the Christian should never be ashamed of the gospel nor reticent to share it because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes for the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17).

Evangelism: Whose Responsibility?
Those specially gifted: Evangelists
The “apostles” are those personally commissioned by Jesus. (John 16:5-16). The “prophets” are the early church leaders who had the gift of prophecy (not the Old Testament prophets. The apostles and prophets Paul is referring to here are those in early church who had the gift of prophecy (Eph 3:4-5). The early church devoted themselves to the “Apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42) Thus, the gifts of Apostle and Prophet are foundational, having already been laid... we don’t have the continued need for apostles and prophets! But, we do for evangelists and pastor-teachers. The point: Apostles/prophets (foundational), evangelists and pastor-teachers ongoing). So where does that leave the rest…the ungifted, ordinary Christians? Pretty much on the sidelines watching and cheering the gifted few. But… scripture also tells us that the task of evangelism is for…….

Those not specially gifted : every Christian
Too many people think that the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19–20) is just for evangelists, elders or missionaries. In Colossians 4:2–6 the great Apostle clearly demonstrates that everyone is to be proactive in evangelism. In Acts 1:8 Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would enable them to be witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and the furthest part of the earth. Did the early church understand this to mean that the command to be witnesses was to the 12 apostles? From Acts 8:1, ff, we know that all believers (i.e., everyone EXCEPT the Apostles) who were scattered from Jerusalem went everywhere preaching the Word. They understood that the responsibility for evangelism was not only for those specially gifted, but for every believer. The book of Acts demonstrates that God used believers, not just the apostles, to evangelize the lost!
Pg.10

HOW do we evangelize ?
The early church evangelized corporately and individually.

Two methods clearly seen in Scripture.......
Our Walk—Modeling the Word (Titus 3:1, 8, 14) Making Friends (Matt. 22:39; Luke 10:33; John 4:4f; Gal. 6:10a; Tit. 3:14). Believers must be taught and encouraged to build bridges and develop relationships with the lost. Penetrating society for contact is vital to evangelism. People must learn to help their neighbors, show mercy, and, according to their ability, give to those in need to demonstrate the love of Christ and build bridges for the gospel. Preserving (Matt. 5:13-16; 2 Thess. 2:6-7). The calling of the church is not to control the political process at local, state, or national levels, but to seek genuine political and moral reform by spiritual renewal through prayer and reaching our society for Christ because it is impossible to effect genuine political reform through legislation without spiritual reformation. While our walk will help build bridges to the lost, it is only our talk that will effectively communicate the gospel.

Our Talk—Giving Out the Word (Col. 4:5-6; 1 Thess. 1:7-8) Personal Witnessing (Rom. 10:17; Luke 10:2). The church must be involved in an active ministry of sharing the gospel to the lost. This should involve an outreach that involves: Refuting, Reasoning, Persuading, Demonstrating, Proving (Acts 9:22; 17:17; 18:4, 28; 19:8-9; 1 Pet. 3:15). While only the Spirit of God can illuminate a person’s heart to the truth of the gospel, God still uses the witness of the believer.

So…
Clear communication is an art. When it comes to telling the Gospel it is an art worth refining. We must work to tell the Gospel as clearly as possible. Not always will we succeed. But isn’t it a wonderful fact of life that God can still use us in spite of the misplaced approaches and methods that we use? We know, however, that He can accomplish more through us according to how clear and biblical our message and our methods are. And that means that we are clear in our motives, in our Gospel content, in our statement of the condition for salvation, and in our invitation to believe. Given all that is at stake, we want to share the Good News as clearly as possible in a way that is pleasing to God, not just convenient to men.

Paul asked the Colossian believers to pray for him that “God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (Col. 4:3,4)

Pg.11

WHY do we evangelize ?
“I want my husband to come to Christ so we will stop abusing me, cheating on me, etc.” “I want my wife to come to Christ so she will stop nagging me.” “I want my child to come to Christ so he or she will stop misbehaving.” “I want my neighbors to come to Christ so they will stop throwing all-night parties” “We want people in this community to come to Christ so that our church will grow.” “I want our society to come to Christ so it will be a better and safer place to live.” While all of these sound good, they fall short of the reasons why we should evangelize. Why should we evangelize? We need a biblical mindset and a biblical motive.

A Biblical Mindset:
 Humanity’s condition: All are lost and need to be saved
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 5:32 “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners….” We are motivated to evangelize because men are lost (Luke 19:10), without hope (Ephesians 2:12), under condemnation (John 3:36 Romans 3:19-21), and destined for destruction (Mark 16:16)

Christ is the Only Way for Salvation
John 14:6- “I am the way, truth and life, no one comes to the Father except through Me. Acts 4: 12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Since God is love, won’t He provide a way of escape for the heathen other than Christ? Answer: John 3:16 shows that God HAS provided a way of escape for the heathen, and that way is His only begotten Son. If there is another way, God never would have sent His only Son. (Cf. John 14:6. Christ’s words and His death was absolutely useless if there is another way. People in Christian lands are lost because they have heard the gospel and rejected Christ. The heathen haven’t heard the gospel, thus, haven’t rejected it, therefore aren’t lost ? Answer: People in Christian lands are not lost because they have rejected Christ alone. They are lost because they are sinners (Rom. 3:23, 6:23) Thus, the heathen are lost NOT because they have rejected Christ, they are lost because they are sinners, without excuse, because they have rejected the light which they have been given. (Rom. 1:18-32)

 People must hear through a human instrument
We shouldn’t be troubled about people who have not heard about salvation through Christ. Why can’t we leave them into the hands of God? Answer: In God’s Word, there are 5 forms of the Great commission. Christ Himself and His disciples were concerned about proclaiming this message of salvation to the world. (Luke 24:46, 47, Acts 1:8). Whatever is of utmost concern to God should be our concern too. Furthermore, although we can depend upon God to do justly, God has included the proclamation of the gospel by the believer in His sovereign plan (2 Cor. 5:18, ff) Can’t God make Christ known by a dream, vision, rather than through a human instrumentality? Answer: Yes, but He has not chosen to do it that way. If God allowed one person to hear by a dream, He would be unfair to others who don’t hear by dreams or visions. Ultimately, the Bible says, that God has chosen to use people to communicate the glorious message of reconciliation to the world. (Rom. 10:13, ff)

Pg.12

 World Evangelization is Christ’s command Christians are motivated to share the Good News primarily because our Lord commands us to evangelize. The heart of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 is “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” The command in Acts 1:8 is “Ye shall be witnesses unto me.” At the Berlin Congress on Evangelism John R. W. Stott said: “We engage in evangelism, not necessarily because we want to, or because we choose to, or because we like to; but because we have been told to. The church is under orders. The risen Lord has commanded us to go and to make disciples, and that should be enough for us.”
God is passionately committed to His fame. God's ultimate goal is that His name be known and praised by all the peoples of the earth. John Piper

The Glory of God
God is calling us above all else to be the kind of people whose theme and passion is the supremacy of God in all of life. No one will be able evangelize effectively who does not feel the magnificence of Christ. There will be no big world vision without a big God. God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the supremacy of his name among the nations. Therefore let us bring our affections into line with is, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts, and join His global purpose. If we do this, God's omnipotent commitment to His name will be over us like a banner, and we will not lose, in spite of many tribulations (Acts 9:16; Rom 8:35-39). Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't. The goal of world evangelization is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God. “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” (Ps 97:1). “Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!” (Ps 67:3-4). The Great Commission is first to delight yourself in the Lord (Ps 37:4). And then to declare, "Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!" (Ps 67:4). In this way God will be glorified from beginning to end and worship will empower the missionary enterprise till the coming of the Lord.

(What should motivate us to do it?)
A Biblical Motivation The Source: Christ will make us “Fishers of men”
Rather than telling his disciples to get with the program, Jesus reminds His disciples that HE will make them fishers of men. Our responsibility is to follow Him. (Luke 5: l-11, Matt. 4:19, Mark 1:17). It is only as the Holy Spirit enables believers that His task of world evangelism can be accomplished (Acts 1:8). We follow, He enables.

The Basis: As we walk in fellowship with the Lord
Ps. 51:12 Restore me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. May we be so captivated by Him, and in love with Him that we can do nothing but live for Him and be committed to what His heart longs for— that the lost be found, that the nations praise Him. You can’t commend what you don’t cherish.
Pg.13

Conclusion:
The gospel is a message of words since words are basic to the intelligent communication of God’s truth. As a message, the gospel is a witness to the historical work of God in the person and work of Christ for which the right words are crucial. However, this message is not merely a message of words. Words can be very eloquent, persuasive, and entertaining and they may move people emotionally and intellectually, but such cannot save them and bring them into the family of God (see 1 Cor. 2:1ff). It is clear that when people come to trust Christ, it isn’t because we’ve said the right words alone. Paul emphatically said, “For our gospel did not come to you merely in words, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction (in much assurance) (1 Thess. 1:5). Paul and his associates knew they were indwelt by the Spirit as their helper or enabler for ministry (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7f; Acts 1:8). The Spirit of God, as the third person of the Trinity, is called “the Spirit of Truth” because of His role in taking the truth of the Word and revealing it to men (see John 14:17; 15;26; 16:8-13; 1 John 4:6; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 2:6-16). Because of the blindness and hardness of men’s heart, they are powerless to even desire, much less grasp the life-giving truth of the gospel (cf. Rom. 3:11), but by the powerful pre-salvation ministry of the Spirit who led the missionaries (see Acts 16:6-10), who prepares hearts (Acts 16:14), and who convicts and draws men to God (Rom. 2:4; John 12:32; 16:8f), some will listen, grasp, and believe the gospel and experience its saving power (see also 2 Thess. 2:13). It was not in their looks, in their beaming personalities, in their eloquence or oratorical skill, nor in their methodology that they trusted. They preached the gospel with conviction resting in the fact they were preaching the powerful, life-giving truth of God fortified by the powerful ministry of the Spirit of God who worked both in the missionaries and in their hearers. May we realize with Paul that the gospel is a sacred trust (1 Tim. 1:11). Thus, may we with the apostle be under divine compulsion to proclaim it (1 Cor. 9:16), and seek the prayer of others that we may carry out the task of sharing the gospel with boldness (Eph. 6:19). This will often involve us in opposition (1 Thess. 2:2) and affliction (2 Tim. 1:8), but the gospel of salvation is “the word of truth” (Eph. 1:13).

© Copyright 2012, G. Simms

Pg.14

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful