Wednesday, February 16, 2005time to get to work on one...
I became a street preacher out of a sense of duty, that's the plain truth. I didn't care about the people I preached to, I just cared about supporting my pastor in a difficult ministry. It took two years for me to learn a series of biblical doctrines/concepts that cause me to not only realize the importance of mass evangelism in all people who call themselves Christians, but to do it with compassion and zeal.
Here are some of the Bible doctrines/concepts in question:
1- God COMMANDS us to evangelize:
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:18-20)
Preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to family and friends only? Uh...no. We are to preach to "every creature"!
With this point alone, Christians who don't evangelize are without excuse. God could not have put it any clearer. If you are born-again, you should be bringing the Gospel to the lost; it's called obedience to the Word of God my friends.
2- Obedience to the Great Commission is an act of love/affection to Christ.
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
The Great Commission is a commandment. Do you love God enough to present the Gospel to "all creatures"?
3- For the most part, the Gospel of Christ is NOT popular (get used to it!):
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to DESTRUCTION, and MANY there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto LIFE, and FEW there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
If you, through evangelism, expect to save the world, YOU ARE HEADED FOR ONE HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT. The Lord hasn't willed to save "the world", He has made clear that "few" will have eternal life. The Lord could bless you by bringing a revival in your part of the world, and you may indeed bring many to a saving knowledge of Christ, but even in the greatest revivals of the past, the number of unbelievers usually remained higher than the number of saints.
4- Preaching the Gospel brings persecution (I can personally guarantee this one):
I often have believers, who know I'm a street evangelist, relay to me stories of how they brought the "gospel" to their community and how wonderfully it was received. Following such a testimony, the question I immediately ask is: "so, the people repented?" If the answer is "yes", then praise God! If the answer is "no", then they weren't bringing the Gospel.
There are all sorts of gimmicks out there used by "Christians" that attempt to make the Gospel of Christ more palatable to the ungodly. You know what I mean: gimmicks like giving gifts/services to unbelievers as an "in" to bring the Gospel (isn't that deception? And yes, I was guilty of this with my "coffee ministry"); gimmicks like only using "sweetheart" bible verses when preaching to the lost; gimmicks like using wordliness to make the Gospel cool. These gimmicks are heresies, and these "Christians" are fools. The Bible says:
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. " (John 15:18-21)
"For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?" (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)
The Bible makes it clear, if they persecuted the Lord Jesus because of His preaching, persecution will come to us who follow and preach His teachings. If the world approves your preaching, then you are not preaching the Truth.
5- God will save:
"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1 Corinthians 1:21)
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 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? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:13-15)
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
What a blessing! You see it doesn't matter if you devote your whole life to evangelism without seeing one soul repent. Why? Because it is God who saves. How does He save? Through the preaching of His Word. Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9b), not of you, and not of "you + the Lord". Let me be clear here: If you preached the Gospel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you wouldn't win over the soul of one single sinner that the Lord had not predestined to salvation.
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he SHALL save HIS PEOPLE from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37)
So if the amount of evangelism, or devotion to evangelism, doesn't influence who goes to Heaven or not, why do it? Go back to point (1) and (2). Do you love God? Well, if you love Him, you'll obey Him; and through obedience to evangelism, the Lord may bless you in using you to bring other souls into the kingdom.
6- Remember how you came to know Christ:
If you are still wondering how to have a "heart for the lost", consider these verses:
"And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" (Zechariah 3:1-2)
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1)
You see, you were lost once too. And the Lord surely used someone, or a group of people, to bring you the Truth of the Gospel. I'm sure you are thankful to these souls, and thankful that the Lord used this person (or group) to bring you into the Kingdom of His Dear Son.
Don't you think it would be good for you, now saved, to be a blessing to someone who doesn't know Christ?
(to be continued...)