Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Becoming Like God...In His Mission (2 of 2)

In the previous post, it was noted that evangelism is expected and empowered. But four common reasons were given for why we do not do it. This is why evangelism must be considered a Discipline as well. It is a Discipline because it takes discipline. But as a Spiritual Discipline, we are reminded again that this discipline is enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus says that we should be light wherever we go (Matthew 5.16). But beyond being light, we are to speak about the light. But this takes time. In reality, a lack of time could be our fifth reason – we don't take the time. We do live in a society that is busy. But I wonder if that will be a good excuse before Jesus. Furthermore, if we don't have time, it is not God's fault. His command to witness long preceded whatever plans you and I have made/are making.

This is a big reason we don't evangelize – we don't take the time...we don't make the time. Ephesians 5.16 says to “Redeem the time.” Why? Because the days are evil. The days don't care what you do with your time, but the evil in the world doesn't want you to make the most of your time. (I am convinced this is why we have junk mail in our mailboxes and spam in our in boxes!) The command to redeem the time is only 15 verses removed from Paul's statement that we are dearly beloved children of God, and THAT is why we should seek to imitate Him. God doesn't waste time, and he doesn't want us to either.

But most any attempt at evangelism takes discipline – we usually don't have a lot of opportunities for spontaneous evangelism. Yet, we proclaim our hope and thoughts about a lot of things whenever we can. I am a KC Royals fan and wear a certain jacket all the time. People stop me often to talk about the Royals. It was crazy last Fall, as the Royals made their great post-season run. I have worn the jacket for years, but now everyone wants to talk about the upcoming season – and the hope that they have for the season.

But I am here to say that while I hope (wish) the Royals do well, my real HOPE (assurance) comes from God. 1 Peter 3.15 says that we should always be prepared to give the reason for the hope that we have. The reality is that whatever we pursue – worship – that is what we will want to proclaim.  I watch the Royals with passionate interest, but I worship God. “The more we pursue Christ, the more we want to proclaim Christ.”

But we must know Christ to properly proclaim Him. We do not need to know every detail, but we must know the gospel to share it. The simplest expression of the gospel that the Bible offers is found in 1 Corinthians 15.3-4. Paul's statement is full, yet concise. And verse 3 begins with Paul reminding his readers – that this was the most important message he could give – the very message he had received.

Take a moment to read and reflect on these two verses. The essence is Jesus died for our sins (as was foretold in Scripture), He was buried, and He was raised (as foretold in Scripture). That's it. The rest of the Bible is as important, but these two verses give us the necessary facts to embrace by faith. And once we have embraced them, we must share them – just as Paul did.

Our letter for JOURNEY for this week is E – Evoke. Peoples hearts need to be stirred by the gospel. Again, God is the one who supplies the final ingredients, but we get to help in the preparation. And one of best ways is to ask how you can pray for them – most people won't turn down prayer! Prayer often opens a window for them to know that God is there, and until they know He is there, they have no reason to respond.


So what is our next step? For someone reading this, your next step could be your first step in faith. Perhaps you feel Jesus drawing you right now. You may not know what that really means, or what to do, but if that is the case, just give in. I assure you He will direct you. This moment could be THE defining moment of your eternal destiny.

For the rest of us, let me tweak our question for this series to make it about evangelism:

If your growth in godliness were measured by whether or not you tell others about Jesus, what would be the result?

So what's the next step in Becoming Like God related to evangelism? SPEAK.

The previous post contained this definition of evangelism. Evangelism is “presenting Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit to sinful people in order that they may come to put their trust in God through Him, to receive Him as their Savior, and to serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His church.” – JI Packer

Again, this series is entitled Becoming Like God. The reality is that we are all sinful people. Some sinners need to put their trust in Him receiving Jesus as Savior. Some need to re-new their trust in Him. And others need to serve Him as King. Thus, evangelism – the proclaiming of the gospel, can stir us to Him (for the first time or again) or cause a stir in us to serve.  So, specifically, what can you do as it relates to evangelism? Well, we return to our 4L's – Learn, Live, Love, and Lead – to provide potential next steps for each of us. Again, consider where you are in your worship RIGHT NOW. And let the Spirit lead you to what you might next do.

Research some of the various models of evangelism. GOSPEL, Share Jesus W/o Fear, Romans Road, FAITH, etc.

Have a conversation each week about what Jesus has done in your life.

Have a conversation with someone new each week about what Jesus has done in your life.

Help someone else learn to share their faith by modeling various ways you share yours.

*This series is adapted from Donald Whitney's book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.

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