The Baptist Beacon
Doing the Work of Evangelism
By Rick Oliver
Quite often the world presumes an evangelist to be a traveling minister, or as Webster defines; "a revivalist or preacher who holds large public services in various cities, now often televised." However, true evangelism consists of many different aspects. Primarily, the word means "good news" or messenger of good news. Scripturally a definition could be presented as follows: Presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a manner that will convict the heart of man by the Holy Spirit.
There are three forms of evangelism. Presence Evangelism: Setting an example, your lifestyle demonstrating that there is truly a difference. Proclamation Evangelism: Proclaiming the Gospel wherever the opportunity may present itself. Persuasion Evangelism: Persuading people to turn to Christ by the truth of the Gospel. Evangelism may be presented by any born again believer as a faithful witness of Jesus Christ through the aid of the Holy Spirit. It is important to take note that any form of evangelism must be accompanied by the presence of the Holy Spirit to be effective. One thing that must be made perfectly clear is that no man was ever sent forth to preach the Gospel without the authority, first and foremost of the Holy Spirit and also the authority of the Church. I Cor. 1:21 "For after that the wisdom of God with world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." God chose preaching as a primary means of spreading the Gospel, however the preacher cannot bear this burden alone. God saves individuals so that He will receive all honor and glory. Christians are to let their lights shine before the world. Eph 2:10: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." We must have boldness in Christ and be ready to give an account of that wonderful love that dwells within us. God will use you if you're willing to be used. Jesus commissioned His church to go and spread the Gospel. Luke 24:24 "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem."
God can use His people in many different ways. Every opportunity we fail to mention Jesus to someone could be a soul that spends eternity in hell. It is believed that within a thirty year period that the early church had spread the Gospel to the entire known world. That is true evangelism. We have a responsibility and that is to Christ. What a charge, "go ye into all the world." Who is responsible for the Gospel? If the light of the glorious Gospel is shining in your heart, how many missed opportunities will we be guilty of? Jesus truly works through His servants by the Holy Spirit. Let us observe some aspects of evangelism, the ministry, and the preaching of God's Word.
The Nature of the Call: One does not choose the ministry! He is chosen by God for God's purposes in God's time and place and serves Him in God's ways. God does not call those whom He does not know. Jesus said in John 3:7: Ye must be born again." You must have a testimony of salvation. There must also be a calling that comes from God to preach His word.2 Tim. 1:9 "Who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given in Christ Jesus before the world began." This call is not by the will of man (Eph 1:1, 2Tim 1:1). This is an incredible call, unequaled by any other vocation in the world. God himself, the creator of the universe, the sovereign God throughout eternity is the one whom initiates and implements this call. Throughout the scriptures God has always personally called His servants. This is a special, spiritual relationship with God through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Col 2:9 "For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." Jesus Christ must be the center of our worship, praise and preaching.
No man could ever be worthy of such a calling. We do not deserve it nor are we able to handle it within ourselves. However, God enables us by the presence of the Holy Spirit to fulfill completely His call. The call and enabling are special. Do not let anyone explain away your high calling or make it common to all. It is not common! It is Holy. Preaching is spiritual and scriptural.Rom 10:14-15 "How shall they call in Him of 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? And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things."
The Purpose of the Call: As Jesus commissioned the church, ministers have been called to preach repentance and teach the people of God to observe all things as He has commanded. Teaching the people to live a spirit filled life is critical. If the preaching is not accompanied the presence of the Holy Spirit it will be of no effect.2 Cor. 2;4 "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of mans wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power." Ultimately our goal is to, through God, to bring people to repentance. Rather to see lost people saved. 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward not willing that any should perish, but that all should come unto repentance." God has a message He wants conveyed, according to His purpose. If the messenger will yield himself to the Holy Spirit he can be used as a mouthpiece for God. Personal influence and self must be set aside. God must be allowed to do His work without the aid of man.
Too many groups today think that God needs their assistance to accomplish His will. As servants of God we should do our utmost to persuade and preach, but it must be the Holy Spirit that convicts, draws and saves an individual.John 6:44 "No man can come unto me except the father which has sent me draw him."
The Holy Spirit is not an emotion, however when His presence is felt it involves our emotions Gal 3:22,23 "but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy peace longsuffering gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness temperance: against such there is no law." It is an indescribable peace that every child of God can bare witness to. If God doesn't tell an individual they're saved, how can a mortal man look into someone's heart and tell them where they stand with God. Man must be careful that he does not try to influence God's work. Lest one would be guilty of crossing that fine line of deceit. It is by the presence of His spirit in our hearts that we know we are his children. 1 John 3:24 "Hereby we know He abideth in us by the spirit he hath given us." We must let God do the saving.
The Role of the Pastor: The pastor's role is that of a steward. Pastors are not owners of the flock. The flock is God's. God is the owner, pastors are the undershepherds.Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with his own blood." The pastor works under the great shepherd, our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Jesus is the pastor's model also to whom the pastor is accountable. Being entrusted with what belongs to God, purchased with His own blood, requires careful and studied stewardship. He must set the pace and be the example. He must be transparent before the people of God. Most importantly he must be placed where he's at by God. Matt 9:36-27 "But when he saw the multitudes he was moved with compassion on them because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then He saith to his disciples the harvest is truly plenteous; but the laborours are few: pray ye therefore the Lord will send forth labourers into His harvest."
The pastor should, as a spiritual leader, consider the following as part of his commitment to what God has called him to do:
* Preach faithfully the word of God. Everything he says or does for God should be scripturally based. The Bible is God's Holy Word. He should preach the whole counsel of God. You must be a spiritual leader.
* Pray earnestly for each of the members, and especially to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. A leader has an absolute sense of urgency. He recognizes the condition of God's people and that the lost are perishing without God. The pastor has a responsibility to the people in prayer.
* Love the people as deeply as the Lord loves His church. A leader is unconditionally centered on Jesus Christ as Lord. Jesus must be the center or worship, prayer and preaching. Jesus must be lifted up in all things.
* Seek earnestly the "fruit of the spirit." desiring to see the people of God spiritually elevated that they may do the work of the father. God must be in control.
* A leader must be a person of absolute faith and trust. His life must be above reproach. One you can trust for spiritual wisdom and guidance. He should be one you can truly confide in.
* A leader must be committed to God. He is not afraid of confrontation on God's behalf but confident that God will vindicate him.