Evangelism In The Church

And how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:20,21)

The subject before us today is of primary importance. Telling the Good News of salvation should have priority in the life of every believer. Yet, as we know, this is not always true. There is no that hunger, that yearning, that love that should be in the heart of every believer.

I’m sure many of us could prayer this prayer: (How to Win Souls, Eugene M. Harrison)

Lord, give to me Thy love for souls.
For lost and wand’ring sheep.
That I may see the multitudes
And weep as thou didst weep.

Help me to see the tragic plight
Of souls far off in sin;
Help me to love, to pray, and go
To bring the wand’ring in.

From off the alter of Thy heart
Take thou some flaming coals,
Then touch my life and give me,
Lord, A heart that’s hot for souls.

O Fire of Love, O Flame Divine,
Make Thy abode in me;
Burn in my heart, burn evermore,
Till I burn out for Thee

God, Who has assured us that He will hear and answer prayer, and will supply all our needs, will hear these petitions when they come from a heart of love.

3 Key Evangelism Issues

  1. Motives for Evangelism.
  2. Message of Evangelism.
  3. Methods of Evangelism.

I. Motives for Evangelism

A. Command of the Lord

We are to go into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature – Mar 16:15 Christ said we would be His witnesses – Acts 1:8. Jude, v 23, tells us to save some with fear, snatching them out of the fire. It is God’s plan and purpose that all of His children be engaged in this ministry. It is not an option, but it is God’s will for every one of these who know Him.

B. Imitate the Savior

Luke 19:10 - Here Jesus states His divine purpose. He came to reach out and to save sinners. Jesus gave these wonderful words in John 3:16 to just one man. He made a point to go through Samaria to preach to a fallen woman at Jacob’s well – John 4.

Jesus called people to repentance; He made a new creature out of a demon-possessed man in Gadara. He forgave the sins of a man sick with palsy. He warned people of the awfulness of hell, and told them of the joy in heaven when one sinner repented. Even on cross the He forgave the sins of a repentant sinner. Evangelism was his very life. He was dedicated to this.

C. Sense of Compassion

Remember the Good Samaritan. Moved with pity he was unable to pass the wounded man as the priest and Levite did. And this man was wounded physically. How about those around us who are spiritually wounded. Facing Eternal Hell. Forever lost if they do not come to the Saviour.

The Apostle Paul was deeply moved.  Rom 9:1-3 - “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh." This is indeed an incredible statement. Dr. Hill, writes: “Someone may say, ‘That is an empty offer because he knew he could not be lost.’ But this is not the language of theological deliberaton. It is the language of heartbroken compassion. He was willing to do it whether it was possible or whether it wasn’t."

Dr. James Stiflter writes: “This language is startling and has troubled many; but it is in the very spirit of Israel’s great leader, Moses (Ex 32:32), and may we not say, though the word is different, in the language of Christ? (Gal 3:13) Besides, this is not the language of deliberation, but of heart-breaking passion, in which hs says, ‘I could (were it permitted or were it possible) wish myself accursed (away) from (not by) Christ. It is this grief at the loss of men, this intense yearning for their salvation, that made Paul the preacher he was.” (Romans, pp 157-158)

God can and will give us a greater compassion for souls that will move us to witness for Him.

D. The Reward

For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?” (I Thess 2:19) This is not wrong. God encourages this. What a blessing it will be to see redeemed sinners in heaven, there because we witnessed to them. Concerning soul winning, one writer has put it this way: “If the Lord is to ‘see of the travail of is soul’ in the wise and winsome presentation of the gospel ‘to every creature’, our lives must be impelled by the mighty dynamic of The Four Evangelistic Imperatives.

  1. The command from above. God has given that command. We are to obey.
  2. The cry from beneath. He refers to the righ man in hell who pleaded that someone might go warn his five brothers. He probes us with his question: “Does the cry from beneath, the cry of the lost in hell, cause your heart to burn, you feet to move and your lips to vibrate with the precious story of redemption for sin’s sad captives?”
  3. The plead from outside. He refers to Paul’s vision when the man from Macedonia uttered the plea, “Come over… and help us.” (Acts 16:9) Millions today are in that same situation. They need help. They need Christ.
  4. The urge from within. Our Saviour was moved with compassion as he saw the needs of the multitudes. II Cor 5:14 - “For the love of Christ constraineth us .. The need in many of our hearts is more of God’s love.” (How to win souls, E.M. Meyers) Now, in this area of our life, God has promised to meet our need, and if we will go to Him sincerely, He will give us that love, that compassion, that desire.

II. Message of Evangelism

When the University Christian Movement in New York disbanded, they put this sign on the door of what had been their office: “Gone out of business. Didn’t know what our business was.

We who believe the Bible to be the work of God, know what our business is, We are to carry the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to all people. This means that we are to tell them something. The tragedy is that many churches, many who should be proclaiming the gospel, have nothing real to say because they do not preach the Word of God.

But, let us be sure that we are preaching the Gospel. "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

Our lesson presents three truths under the Message of Evangelism

  1. Repentance
  2. Faith
  3. Instruction

A. Repentance

How would you define repentance? Sometimes, believers feel that teaching concerning repentance needs to be emphasized. What would you way to a sinner who asked: “What must I do to be saved!” What did Paul tell the jailer at Philippi? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved.” See some scriptures that speak of repentance.

  • Luke 13:3
  • Acts 17:30
  • Acts 20:21
  • Matt 21:28-30 - “And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went.” Here is a definition of repentance.

Repentance for a sinner means a change of mind about God, about sin, about Himself; and a change of direction because of that change of mind. We are born with our backs toward God; in repentance we turn toward Him. True faith – saving faith – include repentance. The two are like opposite sides of a coin. This is well illustrated in the case of the Thessalonians. They turned to God (that is faith) from idols (that is repentance), as related in 1 Thess 1:9. These believers turned away from sin. They were still not perfect in their behavior (I Thess 3:10), but they were headed in the right direction. It is important to remember this in our evangelism. No one should complicate the simplicity of the gospel (II Cor. 11:3). On he other hand, we must be careful we are not presenting just a superficial, easy-agreement, formula that does not produce a genuine new birth.

B. Faith

So, we see that the first and second truths, Repentance and Faith, are inseparable. When a sinner comes to the Saviour in an act of Saving Faith, Repentance is involved. We must remember that repentance does not mean sorrow for sin. The sinner need not manifest deep sorrow, such as tears, or some other physical manifestation. Some may manifest this, and others may not.

Here are some notable conversions in the Bible:

  • Acts 8:35-39 – Ethiopian Eunuch
  • Acts 9 – The Apostle Paul Bright light, The voice of God, prostrate on the ground; blind three days, blindness healed.
  • Acts 16 – Phillipian jailer Filled with feat, fell trembling before Paul and Silas.
  • Acts 16:13-17 – Lydia A seller of purple; a very quiet conversion.

We must be sure to tell a sinner that if his faith is genuine, he will turn to God from his idols (sin). But, we are not to aid anything to the one biblical requisite of faith. Dr. Augustus Hopkins Strong in Systematic Theology says: “Since repentance and faith are but different sides or aspects of the same act of turning. Faith is as inseparable from repentance as repentance is from faith. That must be an unreal faith where there is no repentance, just as that must be an unreal repentance where there is no faith. Yet because the one aspect of his change is more prominent in the mind of the convert than the other, we are not hastily to conclude that the other is absent. Only that degree of conviction of sin is essential to salvation, which carries with it a forsaking of sin and a trustful surrender to Christ."  (Systematic Theology, p 836)

C. Instruction

New converts must be grounded in the Word. They need to get into a Bible preaching church, they must read and study the Word.

III. Methods of Evangelism

1. Personal Evangelism – One on one. It seems that some have a God-given ability to be more successful in this than others. But, all can and should seek to reach others. Yet, we fail in this. We can invite people into our homes, for dinner, for a cup of coffee, or piece of cake, etc. Don’t shove a tract in their hand the minute they walk in the door. Earn their friendship and confidence.

2. Invite people to church. And, by our conduct in every part of the service, let us seek to impress upon them the seriousness of the occasion. When the invitation is given, do not be reaching for coat, gloves, etc. Be in prayer.

3. Churches can have visitation programs. Some churches visit those who sign guest book.

4. Evangelistic Campaigns. Churches do not have these as they did in the past. This does not mean we should forget them, but as quarterly suggests, meetings of shorter length as in the past are not passé.

5. Give gospel tracts to unsaved. Many have been reached by this method. Some leave a tract when they dine out. We can give them personally with a pleasant word.

6. Prayer. The importance of this Christian ministry cannot be over emphasized. Believing, fervent, persistent prayer is an indispensable ingredient in the soul-winning effort of a local church.

Study Questions

1. Should we tell sinners they should quit certain or all sins?

We should seek to lead them to Christ, and then take up the questions of what is right and wrong for a believer.

2. For what reason did Jesus come into the world?

Luke 19:10

3. What was the first thing Andrew did when he began to follow Jesus?

John 1:41, Tell his brother.

4. Who directed Philip to witness to the Ethiopian government official?

Acts 8:29, Holy Spirit

5. What twofold message did Paul seek to give to every person?

Col 1:18, Warning and Teaching

6. How frequent was the witness of the early believers?

Acts 5:41, Daily.

7. Where did they carry on this witness?

Acts 5:41, In the Temple and in every house.

8. What is the consequence to us for not warning the unsaved?

Ex 3:18

The fate of the unsaved is the lake of fire. Jude describes the work of evangelism as pulling sinners out of the fire.

“… and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov. 11:30b)

Local Church
Archie Rines