Evangelism: How We Give Witness to the Work of God

First Baptist Church http://fbcbartow.org

“Evangelism: How We Give Witness to the Work of God”

(Selected Passages)

Series: The Spiritual Disciplines [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

July 1, 2018

Introductory Comments:

I’ve never heard of anyone saying that they regretted sharing the gospel with someone else. Yet, so many of us are so reluctant to share the gospel. We so seldom evangelize. Why is that?

This morning, as we conclude our series in the spiritual disciplines we will look at the discipline of evangelism. 

Donald Whitney, in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, says, “I’m convinced that the main reason many of us don’t witness for Christ in ways that would be effective and relatively fear-free is simply because we don’t discipline ourselves to do it.”

(pause)

Evangelism is simply communicating the gospel to someone so that they might know Jesus. 

(repeat)

Getting back to the root meaning of the Greek word, evangelism means to proclaim the good news. The good news that Jesus saves!

So, let us explore this discipline and be open to what God might be saying. 

Let’s go to Him now in prayer.

(Prayer)

Illustration: I have a favorite pair of socks (grab the socks). These are called Darn Tough socks. These socks are super comfortable, and super tough. They are not cheap, but they’re made in America and they come with a lifetime warranty. I love these socks and I’m always ready to tell someone about them. For a while, I told everyone about them. Why? Because these socks are amazing and my sock-wearing experience was changed by these socks. 

In evangelism, we are telling of the experience that we have had with Jesus. We’ve been changed so we are telling others. We are giving witness to the work of God! 

Let’s look at three steps we must take to be disciplined in evangelism. 

First, . . .

I. We must realize the command to evangelize.   [on screen]

I’ve not met many people that dispute the fact that the Word of God commands us to share the gospel with others.

However, we are people of the book, so let’s look at it ourselves. 

We read in Luke 24:46-47,

46 He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, 47 and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [on screen]

We are to proclaim forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus. It started in Jerusalem and it is still going on today. 

John 20:21 says,

21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” [on screen]

As Jesus was sent out by God, so we are sent out by Jesus. That’s a weighty comparison. Think about that. 

In Mark 16:15 we hear from Jesus, 

15 Then he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. [on screen]

We are to preach the gospel in all the world. We are to evangelize everywhere!

Matthew 28:19-20 says,

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [on screen]

We are to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them everything Jesus taught us. This starts with sharing the love of Jesus with them. This starts with evangelism. 

We must realize the biblical command, example, and precedent to share the gospel. 

Second, as we share the gospel . . .

II. We must rely on the Holy Spirit for evangelism.   [on screen]

We see very clearly in Acts 1:8,

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” [on screen]

There is a supernatural power that comes from being led by the Holy Spirit of God. We are to be witnesses for Jesus, led under the power of God’s Spirit. That’s pretty powerful stuff!

You see, it is God’s job to save, not our own. 

Paul says in Romans 1:16

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. [on screen]

It is the power of God unto salvation. Not the power of Paul, not the power of Matt, not the power of Billy Graham. The power of God!

God is the one working, we are to simply be obedient because God works through our sharing of the message. That’s His mode of operation. 

We can share without fear because we know that God is with us and it is Him who works, not us. We can be courageous when we evangelize. 

(pause)

Notice the courage of the early evangelists, Peter and John. 

Look at Acts 4, verses 13-21

13 When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 And since they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15 After they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What should we do with these men? For an obvious sign has been done through them, clear to everyone living in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But so that this does not spread any further among the people, let’s threaten them against speaking to anyone in this name again.” 18 So they called for them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

19 Peter and John answered them, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; 20 for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

21 After threatening them further, they released them. They found no way to punish them because the people were all giving glory to God over what had been done. [on screen]

These men were led by the Holy Spirit of God. They were courageous, they were full of love, and they were faithful. They were changed by the power of Jesus and led by the Spirit of God. We must do so also. We must rely on the Holy Spirit!

We must discipline ourselves to turn to the Holy Spirit for power, encouragement, conviction, and guidance.

Also, the act of evangelism is not a one-time act. It is imperative that we know that . . .  

III. We must repeat the act of evangelism.  [on screen]

Jesus said in Matthew 5:16,

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. [on screen]

This doesn’t seem to be a one-time thing.  “Well, I shined my light one time so now I am good.”  No! We are constantly to be living for God, repeatedly!

Again, in Matthew 28:18-20 we hear,

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [on screen]

Folks, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We must make disciples of all nations. That doesn’t take place with a one-time event. 

The research I did revealed that our city has a population of 19,499 in 2016 and we are growing. There are a lot of churches in our area, but I dare say that we don’t even have ten percent of the population of Bartow in all the churches on any given weekend. 

We must repeat the act of evangelism because the need is so great. 

Peter writes to the early Christians in 1 Peter 3:15-16,

15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 16 Yet do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that when you are accused, those who disparage your good conduct in Christ will be put to shame. [on screen]

We should be ready to share the gospel at any time and any place. We must be ready to repeatedly evangelize. 

We must discipline ourselves to repeat this act of love again and again and again. 

That’s the only way it will happen, if we discipline ourselves to do so. 

We must realize the command, we must rely on the Holy Spirit, and we must repeat the act of evangelism. 

Concluding Thoughts:

Evangelism is giving witness to the work of God. 

It is communicating the gospel so that someone might know Jesus.

When is the last time that you did that?

If it’s been quite some time, why is that?

(pause)

Perhaps you and I need to discipline ourselves to do so. 

Has God done a great work in your life? Tell others about it!

Because . . . 

Bottom Line: Evangelism is the telling of God’s great work.   [on screen]

That’s our bottom line. 

(repeat bottom line)

Here’s our weekly challenge for this week. 

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

  1. Come up with an evangelistic plan.  [on screen]

Make time to do this. Surely we don’t want to say that we don’t have time to evangelize do we?

Who are the people that you may have opportunity to share with? When is the best time to share the gospel? Are you ready in terms of knowing what to say? Think through these things. 

We’ll have a more thorough training on how to evangelize in the days to come. I hope you’ll be a part of that when the time comes.

  1. Practice sharing the gospel this week.  [on screen]

Dr. Whitney provides a very impactful statement in his book. He says, “Surely if we have understood the gospel well enough ourselves to be converted, we should know it well enough to tell someone else how to be converted.” That’s such a profound yet simple statement, and I agree wholeheartedly. 

Here are three basic elements to the gospel message: 1). God loves you and created you. 2). Sin separated you from God. 3). God loves you and wants to redeem you through Jesus. 

Practice sharing and start with the basic elements that I gave you if you don’t know what to say. 

  1. Make a commitment to not fear sharing the message of Jesus.  [on screen]

Rely on the Holy Spirit, not on yourself. 

Think about it: why are you scared?

Illustration: I just saw the new Jurassic Park movie with my wife. We really enjoyed it and we’ve been telling folks about it. You know, I wasn’t scared one time to tell someone else about my experience with the movie. Why are we scared about telling about what God has done through Jesus? It doesn’t make any sense. 

We must rely on God’s Spirit and tell others about the work of God, through Jesus. 

(pause)

Now, some people think if we just live godly lives, that’s enough. 

Let me be clear, we must live godly lives and that is integral to being an influence in our society.

However, you cannot live good enough to earn your salvation AND you cannot live good enough to earn someone else’s salvation! You must actually share the gospel at some point, so be prepared to do so and trust the Holy Spirit. 

Closing:

If we don’t discipline ourselves to share the gospel, we will probably not do it. It’s that simple. 

If you tell yourself that you just can’t do it, or you just won’t do it, you’ve already conceded victory to the devil. Don’t do that! Make a commitment. Be disciplined!

Some of you have never been changed by the gospel message, so you’re not ready to share it!

Let’s fix that! Be changed today!

(Gospel Presentation)

(Closing Prayer)

Invitation Song – Pass Me Not

Benediction:

Tonight we will gather at 5:30 PM for our series “On Mission Every Day.” Tonight’s topic is, “The Practices of the Mission: The Invite.” I want to invite you to be here tonight.

Let’s dismiss by singing the Doxology. 

(Sing Doxology)

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: The text contained in this sermon is solely owned by its author. The reproduction, or distribution of this message, or any portion of it, should include the author’s name. The author intends to provide free resources in order to inspire believers and to assist preachers and teachers in Kingdom work.