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Archive for the ‘Evangelism’ Category

ladies

Each year, the Shawnee Lodge hosts a retreat for Joni and Friends. This is a time for special needs families to come together and be ministered to through interaction with families in similar situations while provided lodging, meals and activities for all participants. The women of Grace Community Church at Bigelow have been blessed enough to be able to participate in serving dinner to the mothers that attend, in hopes of providing them a time of prayer, relaxing discussion with friends and a delicious meal prepared by the GCC@B women.

We were blessed to serve roughly 20 mothers who say that they look forward to this meal every year. So much so, that they request the same menu of chicken salad with fruit each year. Dinner was served and the GCC@B women were able to connect with some of the mothers as we joined them for dinner. Many of the mothers are local Ohio residents, but others come from as far away as Illinois and New York.

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After dinner and dessert, April Chaffins began our focus on worship by leading us in songs, followed by a brief message from Ginny Cook on prayer and trusting God. As a fitting close, we opened up a time of prayer requests from the mothers and were overjoyed to listen to many of them also had praises for what God had done or was doing in their lives.

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We closed with a circle of prayer, but as is common when women and mothers gather, the evening discussions went on for a while after. Many of these mothers only see each other when they attend Joni and Friends, and as many only see the GCC@B women at this time as well, much catching up was to be done. It was a wonderful opportunity to serve those who give so much of their time to their special needs families. As is often the case, both those serving and those being served were ministered to through our time together.

Update provided by  Sarah Johnson

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evangelism

Every Bible-believing church should be interested in evangelism, and every individual believer should be able to clearly and concisely present the Gospel to an unbeliever. We have been commanded to go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to everyone (Matt. 28:19, Mark 16:15). Evangelism simply stated is the proclamation of the Gospel, the telling of the good news! It is a sharing of the very faith that we have come to embrace. However, for many of us, obedience to this command does not come so easy.

I am often reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul who, during his imprisonment for preaching the Gospel, asked other believers to pray that he might proclaim the Gospel with clarity and boldness (Eph. 6:19-20). At the heart of this request we are reminded that it is never easy to present the Gospel. Although the message that we proclaim is exactly what it claims to be, it is “good news,”  any believer who has ever attempted to share their faith with others would agree that doing so is no easy task. Maybe that’s why Paul, who suffered greatly for the sake of the Gospel proclamation, asked for boldness and greater ability to preach the Gospel with clarity.

When discussing evangelism, much of our time is spent thinking through programs, strategies, and methodologies. While I most certainly agree that our approach is a key component to our evangelistic efforts and that there are many good programs available to help equip us in our commission, I am afraid that too much emphasis on this side may cause us to lose sight of the goal of evangelism, or even worse, cause us to lose the heart of our message altogether.

Our evangelistic goal should always carry the same platform as Paul’s request: to proclaim the truth of the Gospel with clarity and boldness.

The need for clarity:

 Paul systematically lays out the Gospel for us in Romans and then provides us with a summary in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5. According to the Scriptures, the facts are:

  • Man has sinned against a holy God and is deserving of His eternal wrath.
  • That God’s own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, became a man, died on a cross for our sins and rose again to defeat death once and for all.
  • This work of God’s grace can be received by anyone who repents and believes this good news (Acts 17:31, John 3:36).

The need for boldness:

I believe that Paul desired boldness because he also understood the bad news of the Christian message. He understood that God is holy and perfect and that He requires perfection from us. He understood that apart from Christ, all of mankind stands condemned under the righteous wrath of God, because we have sinned against Him and His holy law. Simply stated, Paul knew that his message came packaged with a natural offense because men are deceived into thinking that they are good. But Paul knew the reality. He knew that there are none that are good but God, and that the message he proclaimed served to reveal that fact.

Ray Comfort said:

 “They [mankind], like Paul, have no idea what sin is until the Law gives them that knowledge. When the Bible speaks of “good,” it means moral perfection in thought, word, and deed. Only God is good (Mark 10:18), and His Law is perfect (Psalm 19:7), holy, just and good (Rom. 7:12). Sinners don’t know that. There is none that understands (Rom. 3:11). I can’t overstate this fact – the world has no idea of the nature of sin, that it is a potent and irresistible magnet for the justice of Almighty God – that they live under the avalanche of wrath. That’s why so many will perish. They lack knowledge of God’s Law and therefore don’t see their need to repent and trust the Savior – no Law, no sin, no wrath, no repentance, no salvation. Sinners will be destroyed through a lack of knowledge of God’s law.”

The need for the law:

I am convinced that the clarity of the gospel proclamation requires boldness, because it is necessary to present both law and grace. The Bible tells us that the Law of Moses is good if it is used lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8). For what purpose, then, was God’s Law designed? The following verses tell us: “The Law is not made for a righteous person, but . . . for sinners” (1 Timothy 1:9,10). It even defines the sinners for us: the disobedient, the ungodly, murderers, fornicators, homosexuals, liars, etc. The Law was designed primarily as an evangelistic tool.

It is God’s Law (as summed up in the 10 commandments) that reveals to men their desperate need for Christ. It serves as a mirror to give us a flawless picture of God’s perfections and of our imperfections. This mirror (the Law) gives us knowledge of our sin (Rom. 3:20) and provides us with a true picture of our spiritual state.

In Romans 7, Paul shares with us his own experience to demonstrate the usefulness of the law to sinners. “Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet‘” (vs. 7). The law exposes sin and demonstrates it to be sinful. Thus, those who think they are alive discover that they are dead, and through this they are motivated to turn to God for salvation.

 

(This blog was originally written for the Southern Ohio Pastors Coalition)

Gary Chaffins, is co-pastor at The Grace Community Church at Bigelow in Portsmouth, Ohio. He has 1 beautiful wife, 2 rotten kids, a big-white dog, and carries a large NASB.

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evangelism

 

Christian Loveless: “Hi, Mrs. Smith. How are you doing? Is Erik in yet?”

Mrs. Smith: “Lunch again, huh? I haven’t seen him come through the lobby today. He came into work last week with a bad hangover. Prob­ably the same thing has happened today. How was church?”

Christian Loveless: “It was really good. We had Brother Don Water­downs come in and do a series of healing meetings. Hundreds gave their hearts to the Lord. I’m in charge of the follow-up program. Man, I didn’t realize how easy it is to get people saved. Lots were getting healed and people were coming to the altar without even being preached to.”

Mrs. Smith: “What a blessing. We had him at our church too. He advocates ‘friendship evangelism,’ doesn’t he?”

Christian Loveless: “Yes. I like that. It’s what I’ve been using on Erik. We’ve become good buddies over the years.”

Mrs. Smith: “I like that approach. It’s so much better than shoving the gospel down people’s throats.”

Christian Loveless: “True. That can alienate them. I’m waiting for the right time to mention the things of God to Erik; I don’t want to make him feel uncomfortable. Erik came to one of the meetings, and he really seemed to enjoy it. That’s the good thing about non-confrontational evangelism. He didn’t give his heart to the Lord, though. Maybe today he will bring up the subject. I never do, because I don’t want to offend him. I’m just a good friend, and I think that’s the right approach.”

Mrs. Smith: “I agree. I’ll call the Third Floor and speak to his secretary. Perhaps she will know why he’s late.”

Christian Loveless: “Okay.”

Mrs. Smith: “Jeannie, Rose Smith. Is Erik Tuday in yet? Christian Loveless is here to see…”

Christian Loveless: “What’s wrong? Your face has gone pale!”

Mrs. Smith: “I’m afraid Erik died during the night. He had an aneurysm in his sleep and was pronounced dead at 8:17 this morning…”

(From, “The School of Biblical Evangelism” text book, 101 lessons, 768-pages, $25: www.livingwaters.com)

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ray comfort

Don’t let the negative stereotypes of evangelism prevent you from this vital work.

I read an article recently which asked the question “Does witnessing really work?”

The author’s conclusion was that it didn’t, and he came to that conclusion after he watched a Christian in a wrinkled suit sharing his faith, in a way the author believed lacked grace. He said, “This used-car salesman technique of spiritual solicitation rarely works.”

Granted, there are many who certainly lack grace—sign-carriers, hate groups, etc.—who give Christianity a bad name. But to abandon the cause of biblical evangelism because of a few bad witnesses is like firefighters giving up the fight and letting people burn in a building because a few bad firefighters aren’t doing their job.

The Apostle Paul rejoiced even when evil men preached the gospel—when they did so “insincerely, hoping to add affliction to my bonds” (see 1 Philippians 1:15-18). This is because the quality is in the seed, and not in the seed’s sower.

However, I don’t rejoice when I see much of modern evangelism.

This is because those who tell people to just ask Jesus into their heart because He will make things better are not preaching the gospel. The “gospel” is the good news that Jesus suffered and died on the cross and rose again on the third day. He did this to save us from the wrath of God’s Law and from a very real Hell.

But such hard biblical truths don’t go down too well in a blasphemous and sin-loving world. So they leave out the essentials of sin, righteousness and judgment. They water down the medicine to make it palatable, but in doing so they remove its curative properties. The modern message has no biblical basis, produces false converts, and defuses evangelism of any real urgency.

There are no words to describe the tragedy of the modern gospel. Not only has such misguided evangelism filled America with bitter “backsliders,” but it has also packed the Church (in pew and in pulpit) with false converts. Many of our pulpiteers have become nothing more than motivational speakers, rather than Sons of Thunder who boldly preach the righteousness of God. Feeble preachers have reproduced after their own kind, created a feeble Church, and this has destroyed our ability to be salt and light.

Instead of being a moral lighthouse for the nation, we have become irrelevant in the eyes of the world. Our nation is rotten to the core with sin, and it has found itself in gross darkness with no light, and I believe it all traces itself back to the unbiblical and insipid “give your heart to Jesus” message (I have expounded this with statistical evidence in a book entitled, God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life, which can be freely read and downloaded on freeWonderfulBook.com). Author/evangelist Bill Fay (Share Jesus Without Fear) said, “While reading this book my heart went into atrial fibrillation; it’s that good! After I finished it, I couldn’t sleep. There’s nothing like it. It is truly from God.”

When I became a Christian more than 40 years ago, I was horrified that any human being could end up in Hell.

So I grabbed a soapbox, put it in the heart of our city of 350,000 people and preached the gospel. I did that almost every day for 12 years. If anyone could have been considered a “fanatic” in those days it was me.

Today, I’m much worse.

I still regularly open-air preach, and I still share my faith one-to-one with whoever will listen. I do it because I’m still horrified that anyone could go to Hell.

How could I not be? If I didn’t, I would be like a firefighter who let people burn. Our evangelistic zeal will be in direct proportion to the depth of our love. Charles Spurgeon called those who fail to verbally warn of the reality of Hell “murderers.” He said, “Have you no wish for others to be saved, then you are not saved yourself, be sure of that.”

In the article, the author who watched the man in the wrinkled suit said, “Evangelism takes time. It has to be lived, demonstrated, proven.” I respectfully disagree. “Evangelism” isn’t getting a decision for Jesus after living out some wonderful plan. It’s simply planting the seed of the gospel. We plant, others water, and some reap.

Jesus spoke to the woman at the well about her adultery. What He said only took a few minutes. It didn’t have to be lived in front of her. It didn’t have to be demonstrated or proven.

He also spoke to the woman caught in adultery, the rich young ruler, and many others. Paul spoke using words to the Athens. He used words because it was necessary.

Scripture asks, “How will they hear without a preacher?” The answer is that they won’t hear if we don’t use words.

My heart breaks when I hear professing Christians demeaning evangelism.

Emergency vehicles demand access because human lives are at stake. Evangelism demands the same priority, for the same reason. Reaching out to the lost isn’t given the priority it should have, because the reality of Hell has been forgotten by many, and preachers who talk about everything but the reality of Hell, are likeable betrayers of the gospel.

May God help us to bring the Church back to biblical evangelism and raise up a generation of faithful men and women who will fear God enough to say with the Apostle Paul, “Wherefore knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”

Source: http://www.churchleaders.com

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evangelism

I was recently asked, by the “Southern Ohio Pastors Coalition”, to write a blog on the use of the law in evangelism. I wanted to share my thoughts with you as well. Click here to read.

In addition to my post I would like to add a few other thoughts from others for your consideration:

“The law of the Ten Commandments …….This law God had given to man before (it was written on his heart by nature); but sin had so defaced that writing that it was necessary, in this manner, to revive the knowledge of it.”

-Matthew Henry (commentary on Exodus 20)

The following is an excerpt from Martin Luther’s “Smaller Catechism”:

(Section 4 – Christian Questions with Their Answers)

 

 “1. Do you believe that you are a sinner?

 Yes, I believe it. I am a sinner

 2. How do you know this?

  From the Ten Commandments, which I have not kept.”

 

Walter Chantry, in his book, “Today’s Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic”, wrote the following:

 “If sinners are unaware of the Decalogue’s requirements for themselves, they will see no personal significance in Christ’s broken body and shed blood. Without knowledge of the condemnation of God’s holy law, the cross will draw sympathy but not saving faith from sinners….Hosts of Christians have a dreadful fear of God’s law, as if it were the useless relic of a past age, the use of which in our day would keep sinners from the grace of God. Our Saviour used the law as a primary tool in evangelism. He knew that preaching the Ten Commandments was the only way to teach a sinner his guilt and thereby stir within him a desire for God’s grace…The present moment of history finds more ignorance of God’s law than in many previous generations. The pulpit ignores Exodus 20…To the natural man, God’s laws are as chains, the harsh imposition of a ruler’s will. Thus the law reveals in him an absence of love for God and men…It is essential to declare the commandments in order to show the sinner his heart of hatred toward God and enmity toward men. Only then will he flee to the grace of God in Jesus Christ to provide him with righteousness and love. Men are not turning to Christ because they have no sense of sinning against the Lord. They are not convicted of sin because they don’t know what sin is. They have no concept of sin because the law of God is not being preached. You cannot improvise a hasty sop, “All men have sinned.” You must dwell on the subject at length. Exposit the Ten Commandments until men are slain thereby (Romans 7:11). When you see that men have been wounded by the law, then it is time to pour in the balm of Gospel oil. It is the sharp needle of the law that makes way for the scarlet thread of the Gospel…Do you see that Jesus was not looking for intellectual assent to the fact that the young man (Rich Young Ruler) was less holy than God? Christ wielded the sword of God’s law until it made deep and painful gashes on the ruler’s conscience…”

And last but certainly not least, Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers” had this to say:

“…there is war between you and God’s Law. The Ten Commandments are against you…The First one comes forward and says, “Let him be cursed, for he denies me. He has another god besides me; his god is his belly, he yields homage to his lust.” All the Ten Commandments, like ten great pieces of cannon, are pointed at you today, for you have broken all God’s statutes, and lived in the daily neglect of all His commands. Soul! You will find it a hard thing to go to war with the Law. When the Law came in peace, Sinai was altogether on a smoke, and even Moses said, “I do exceedingly fear and quake.” What will you do when the Law comes in terror, when the trumpet of the archangel shall tear you from your grave, when the eyes of God shall burn their way into your guilty soul, when the great books shall be opened, and all your sin and shame shall be published? Can you stand against an angry Law in that day?”

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We believe that much that is called evangelism today is little more than psychology and salesmanship; we are appalled by the superficial work which goes on under the name of evangelism; we are appalled by the pressures, gimmicks, and schemes all calculated to produce “decisions” and impressive statistics but which work havoc in the souls of men. No! Because we believe in evangelism does not mean that we are going to cooperate with every scheme which bears that name. We believe that in evangelism as in everything else . . . we must be governed by the Word of God. The message of evangelism must be according to the Scriptures, and the method of evangelism must be governed by the Word of God!

– William Payne

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One of the church’s greatest privileges and responsibilities is ministering to children. Whether the context is children’s church, Sunday school, AWANA, VBS, or something else-and whether it’s evangelism or discipleship-our greatest priority is teaching the gospel. Responding to Christ’s work in repentance and faith is how children begin and mature in the Christian life.

Sharing the gospel with children, however, is not simply presenting a flannel graph lesson and asking for a show of hands. In fact, statistics indicate that most children raised in the church abandon the faith after high school. This raises a question: Did these kids really understand and respond to the gospel, or were they merely inoculated against genuine Christianity?

Three Concerns

I have three concerns about how we share the gospel with children:

1) That we not replace the true gospel with false or distorted versions

2) That we not confuse the gospel with a child’s response

3) That we not equate a true, inward, spiritual response with an outward physical or emotional response

True or False?

In Galatians 1, Paul sternly warned of those who distorted Christ’s gospel, saying: “If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you
received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9). We cannot and must not modify, amend, or distort the saving message of the cross. But there are many false or distorted versions that masquerade as the truth.

We also must not confuse the gospel with a call to moral obedience. This means that it is insufficient to teach children to live by the Sermon on the Mount, practice the Golden Rule, obey the Ten Commandments, or simply love God and others.

Of course, we want children to obey Scripture, but if this is all we say, we are giving the law, not the gospel. As Tim Keller has pointed out, “The
gospel is good news, not good advice.”

Even worse is a message that focuses on self-esteem, self-help, or health, wealth, and prosperity. You don’t have to be a TV evangelist with big hair and a luxuriant set to fall into this. If we just present Jesus as affirming our selves or solving our difficulties, without talking of sin, judgment, and the cross, then we’re portraying Jesus as a spiritual genie, not a saving Lord.

Neither should we think we’ve shared the gospel when we have said, “If you ask Jesus into your heart [accept or receive Jesus], you will go to heaven when you die.” While it’s true that those who receive and believe are God’s children (John 1:12), it is false that “asking Jesus into your heart” brings salvation. For one thing, that statement includes nothing about:

*Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection

*Jesus’ identity as Messiah, Lord, and God manifested in the flesh

*Sin, the nature of salvation, and the need for repentance

Sothe problem with equating “asking Jesus into your heart” with the gospel is that it shifts the focus away from Jesus Christ’s atoning work
onto the child’s subjective work or experience.

What is the gospel, then? Paul defines it in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4:
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”

Very simply, the gospel is that Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15) through His death, burial, and resurrection.

Responding to the Gospel

My other two concerns are that we not confuse the gospel with a response and that we not equate a true, inward, spiritual response with an outward physical or emotional response.

A true response involves both repentance and faith (Acts 20:21). Repentance is turning from sin, self-righteousness (Phil. 3:1-10), and idolatry (1 Thess. 1:10) to serve the true and living God. Faith is trusting in the crucified and risen Christ to save us.

When sharing the gospel with children, we need to emphasize faith and repentance. But we must always remember that these are responses to the gospel; they are not the gospel itself. Ask for a response, but only after making the message clear.

But don’t confuse repentance and faith with a response to an invitation, such as:

*Raise your hand if you want to go to heaven.

*Pray the sinner’s prayer.

*You need to be baptized.

*Make a decision about Jesus today!

These methods have, no doubt, resulted in genuine conversions, but there are dangers. It’s easy to raise your hand or say a prayer without truly turning from sin and trusting in Jesus as Savior and Lord. On the other hand, it is possible to have repentance and faith without any physical or noticeable demonstration at that time.

Making It Practical

We all share a passion to make sure our children understand the gospel and turn to Christ in genuine salvation. Following are some points of emphasis to keep in mind as you guide young people to understand spiritual truth:

*Talk a lot about who Jesus is (God-Man, Savior, Lord, King) and what He has done (died for our sins on the cross, rose from the dead).

*Make it clear that all people need their sins forgiven and will be judged for their sins if they are not saved.

*Urge children to turn from their sins and trust in what Jesus has done.

*Invite children to talk to you further about their relationship with God.

*Motivate parents to pursue further discussions with their children.

*Think  long-term about how you can continually disciple children, vs. how many  “decisions” you can record.

*Pray for the children, and expect God in His grace to use the gospel to bring them to true, saving faith in Christ.

Source: www.brianghedges.com/2009/02/how-to-share-gospel-with-children.html

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