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Dr. Barry G. Carpenter barrygcarpenter@gmail.

com Evangelism Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins ; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation !" 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized ; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe ; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common ; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Focus: " And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Context: V. 1-13 : Pentecost & the coming of the Holy Spirit upon every believer to indwell them permanently. v.14-35 After the coming of the Holy Spirit we have the first "Full Gospel" message. Peter preaches Christ & repentance. People are saved and the assembly of believers come together and begin to meet as a church. But that is not the end of it. We see in verse 47 that " the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved." How were they being saved? What was the secret to the growth of the church? People were being saved & the church was growing because of the only method that God has ever ordained: the preaching of His Word to the lost world. What are we talking about? Simply we are talking about evangelism. What is evangelism? Romans 10:14 "14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" v.17 "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." The means of church growth I the same means for Kingdom expansion: the preaching of the Word for the purpose of bringing people to salvation. That is it. There is nothing else. There s no program, there is no membership drives or signing people up to join Sunday School. And I know the arguemnt- "Well, the Bible doesn't say we can't" That is a really dumb & dangerous approach. The Bible does not forbid cannibalism either but that does not make it right. We have spoken so often on the "regulative principle of worship" but I still don't think people believe this. What God has ordained that is what we are to do and nothing else. What God has ordained that is what we are to do and nothing else. Look at the death of Uzzah who died because they moved the Ark of the Covenant on a cart and look at the deaths of Nadab & Abihu who offered a strange fire to God. God don't play when it comes to His commands and His ways. God has ordained the Word of the Gospel to save souls and to grow the church. Nothing else. "Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary."- Those words are often credited to the Roman Catholic monk St, Francis of Assis. But the reality is he never said. It is a misquote of what he actually

said. How many times have you heard this phrase or heard something like it? We have to live out the Gospel. Where in scripture do we find that? You got to live the Gospel. The closest thing we find in scripture to that is Matt. 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." That is talking about being salt and light in the earth - a life that has been changed. By showing your changed life through the works you do, God will receive glory. there is nothing there about the Gospel. What Francis of Assisi was saying that the lives of those who preach should match the message that they speak. In other words, in order t have the integrity to preach the Gospel you have to live a life that is holy. No have no credibility to live like hell and speak of heaven. But a life-style is not the Gospel. Maybe we do not know what the Gospel is. The meaning of the Gospel is found in the definition of the word itself. The word (y-n-ge'-l-on)- it literal means "good tidings"- we would say today "good news." The word is used in connection with the Gospel message. The "good news" - the Gospel is the message that Christ has come & died to pay for sins so that those who will repent and place faith in Him will be saved from the just wrath of God. This message of the gospel is good news but news is something that is told. We tell people news. We do not "live" news. The Gospel is the verbal or written message. This is not something you pantomime or act-out. You cannot live the Gospel message. Your life should be an example of the effects of the Gospel but the Gospel s news to be told. You may recall some time back I preach a sermon on what evangelism is not. One of the things I said at that time is that evangelism is not "inviting people to church." There is not one instance in the NT where Christians are told to invite lost people to church. It just isn't there. So why do we do it and think that we are fulfilling the commands of God? I really think that we do it because we do not want to give people the Gospel but we do not want to directly rebel against God. So maybe we think we can compromise. "I do not want to give them the Gospel message so I will just invite them to church." I got bad news for you. God is the Sovereign King of the universe and He does not compromise. He commands. He is not interested in making deals with you. You bow before Him and you obey or you face the punishment of being a rebel. We may never substitute what is not forbidden for something that is commanded. That is still rebellion. And we may not even substitute things that we deem to be "good" for something that God has commanded us to do. That is still disobedience. We have heard the Great Commission so many times but a really think we do not believe it. Disciples are to be disciple makers. Those who have been saved should be about the process of saving others. Those who have been saved should be growing in Christ and helping others to grow. Churches grow in numbers and churches in depth. How do churches grow in numbers? They grow in numbers by basically two ways. They grow when people move their membership and they grow when people get saved. That is it. Church membership growth that results from people moving their membership can come when people move from a different town. It can come when people want to move to a church that offers them something that their old church did not have. That is usually what happens. I have a very dear friend in TN who is experiencing church growth because people are moving their membership to his church because they want to hear the Word of God preached. Hungry sheep are looking for spiritual food and are tired of trying to choke down the garbage that is served to keep the goats coming back. That is a great form of church growth but that is very rare. Most church growth that results from members movement is not for good reasons. People want to go to a biger church- they want a church that has child care- they want a church that has good programs for young people- they want a choir. And so many other stupid, unimportant things. And do you know why they want those things? Because the reaching of the Word is not enough. Also people get mad and move their membership. And

finally, we have the church "daters." They just date the church. They float from church to church & never really commit to membership and they certainly do not get involved in any form of service. They just want to listen to preaching and go home so they can say they "go to church." They will not commit to the church because they do not want to commit to Christ. We have had them here. We have had people who visit for years but never commit to membership. They drifted in hereshowed up for preaching for years and then they drifted awayAnd I imagine that where ever they are attending now it is the same. They show up for preaching- have no commitment to membership or service and in time they will drift someplace else. Visitors are welcome but they are not growth. Notice what happens when the unconverted visit. They come for a while but the reality is that there is nothing here for them. They don't love God. They don't love His Word. So in time they get bored or they actually hear the truth of the Word and they get offended and they will stop coming. Of course if you ask them why they stopped coming they are not going to tell the truth. They will have some excuse- the preacher did this or the preacher did not do that. So-n-so or such-n-such hurt my little sensitive feelings. That is just a bunch of baloney. I can say that because a Christian has a heart that forgives. A Christian hat is growing and maturing in the Lord does not go around gossiping about the preacher and running down other Christians or the Church. So they get mad & quit coming to church or they go someplace else until they get mad there. Biblical church growth is Kingdom growth. What do I mean by that? When a person is converted the Kingdom of God grows on the earth. The Holy Spirit dwells in one more person and God has full, present reign and submission in a place that He previously did not. This does not mean that He had no control nor that He was not Sovereign but what I am referring specifically is the reign of the Holy Spirit directly controlling the life of one more person. The Kingdom of God is expanded as another person will be in heaven but also the Kingdom of God is expanded on the earth. With conversion comes church membership. Those who are born again will- WILL- come into the assembly of the church and they will become involved. They will be obedient to Christ. That obedience includes the Gospel. This is not an option. This is not voluntary. Those who have been converted should be about converting others. What so many people do so that they advocate their responsibility to someone else. I am shocked when I hear people say "Well that's what we pay the preacher for. We don't have to visit the sick. We don't have to care for the poor. We don't have to share the Gospel with lost people. That's what we pay the preacher to do." HOw wicked- how lazy- and how absolutely wrong. Is that the excuse you are going to give Christ on the day that you stand before him in judgment? Well Jesus you see I wasn't obedient because I paid someone else to follow your commands for me. I do not think that is going to cut it. How many times in the last week have you shared the Gospel message of faith, repentance and salvation with someone? How many times in the past year? Let's get real. Have you ever shared the Gospel message of repentance and faith in Christ for salvation with anyone? What will you say when you stand before Christ What excuse will you give Him? The salvation He gave you was of so little value that it was not worth sharing with anyone else? Ok let's change gears. How many hours have you spent the past week praying for the salvation of others? How many tears have you wept in thanksgiving for your own salvation. For the salvation of your children & family? For the salvation of complete strangers? I know what some of you are going to say (esp. some of the men). Well, I am just not an emotional person. Oh really? Those very same people who say that they are not emotional are the very same ones you will see hooting & hollering at the ball game. Or grumbling and fussing if the referee makes a bad call. Those very same people who "just aren't very emotional" are the same ones you hear telling stories with great passion about the fish they caught or the deer they shot. They are the same ones you hear throwing a fit about their job or how someone did them wrong. Your emotional- your just not emotional about the things of God.

"Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that."-Charles Spurgeon When we are converted we have a new heart- new desires- new goals- and a new love for Christ. That love for Christ brought by the Holy Spirit compels us to be obedient to His commands. His commands include the sharing of the Gospel where ever we are. We do this out of loving obedience and thanksgiving for what Christ has done for us. Let me say hear that evangelism is not going to just accidently happen. You are not going o slip & fall and accidently share the Gospel. Evangelism must be intentional or it will not happen. In our individual lives we must make time for the things of God. This means time for prayer, time for worship time and time for the Word. There must be times for prayer & times for service. And for obedience there should be times of evangelism. And remember we are speaking in the context of why are we here? Why do we attend the church assembly with other believers. So how does this fit into the theme we have been talking on? AS a church we should be actively engaged in evangelism. This is not an option. If you will notice there is a pattern. What is obedience for the individual Christian is also obedience for the assembly of believers. So when the individual Christians come together they are to operate as one body with a single purpose. This means the church must be intentional in our evangelism. As a church we are to be getting the message out to the community that we live in. That is one of the reasons we exist. We are responsible to getting the Gospel to those around us but that is not all. We are also responsible t get the message of the Gospel to the nations. This is why we exist. We exist for the expansion of the Kingdom of God on the earth through the preaching of the Gospel. Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" This is our responsibility. And I know you are going to say that you are not able to travel to get the Gospel around the world. You have a job- family- responsibilities- maybe age is a problem. But I tell you that there are no excuses. Everyone can contribute something to missions. We all can pray. Most Americans have enough junk in storage or in their homes to fund a missionary for a year- our collections & hobbies are just wasted money. The money we spend on eating out & upon entertainment every year would send a mission to a foreign country. And the reason we don't do it is because we do not care. We do not care that others are going to hell. We do not care that God is not being glorified. We are too concerned with our on self's and making sure that we are comfortable and having fun. We will spend so much money on junk we do not need. We will collect things. We have hobbies. Cable television- sportsbuying junk to keep our kids amused-We could do without all these non-essentials so that the Gospel message could go forward. Individual Christians are to be laboring in their lives to share the Gospel with their friends, family and neighbors. And we all are to be participating in some level to get the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the world. If you are not actively sharing the Gospel message the you are in rebelling and very likely are not saved yourself. When believers come together in the church they are to partner with each other to fulfill the commands of God. Each & every church is to be actively engaging their community in sharing the Gospel. This is not an option. This is one of the primary reasons why the church exists. Failure here and one would have to question if such an assembly that is not actively, consistently engaged in sharing the Gospel can rightly even be called a church. And each & every church is to be actively, consistently support missions work around the world. Every church - every church can do something to support missions. There is no excuse.

Every church should have a budget- with open financial information to every individual. And that budget should include funds to support local evangelism and foreign missions. If you are not willing to share the gospel yourself the very least you can do is send someone in your place. " And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."- Why isn't the Lord adding to your church? I do not have enough faith to believe He would add daily but surely He would add yearly. I do not doubt that God could send a great sweeping revival and savethe entire county if He wanted to. But that is not normal. But surely it would not be too much to ask tat God save 1 or 2 a year would it? I do not think so. There are 3 major things that will kill a church 1) Heresy 2) Disobedience 3)Failure to reproduce- results from refusal to share the Gospel (which is disobedience) Did you have a zeal & excitement when you were 1st save- a desire to tell everyone? Then what happened to it? Where did it go? Has the value of your salvation become less to? Do you care about the souls of others less?