Archive for the ‘evangelism’ Category

Evangelism in and through hospitality

Posted: December 11, 2010 by Daniel in Hospitality Evangelism
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“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

Isaiah 58: 6,7 ESV

Hospitality builds friendship like nothing else. Friendship is the basis from which all Christians can share the gospel. All this is nothing, of course, without God working in people’s lives. Through Christ there is pardon for sinners and freedom from slavery to sin. From our part then, in and before all this must be fervent prayer.

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Mark Driscoll

Question
What makes the best ‘case for God’ to a skeptic or non-believer,
an open-minded seeker, and to a person of faith and Why?

Answer
Jesus.

Christianity is not first and foremost about a sacred place to pilgrimage to, a philosophical system to ponder, a moral code to live, a religious tradition to honor, or an impersonal god to experience. Rather, Christianity is about a person who claimed to be the only God and said he would prove his unprecedented claim by living without sin, dying for sinners, and conquering death through resurrection.

So, as Christians, our aim is not to convince people of some god in general, but to introduce them to Jesus in particular. And since he created us with the ability to communicate, think, love, and experience, Christians have always valued using every means by which the truth and love of Jesus can be revealed.

Helpful to this end is using the evidence for a personal Creator who handcrafted our world for human life by explaining the principles of intelligent design and such things as the fine-tuning argument and the argument for irreducible complexity. These show that our world is a gift to be enjoyed worshipfully and stewarded wisely.

It is also important that people learn to understand how God speaks uniquely and authoritatively through the Bible. Acts that can aid in this include giving away Bibles (along with helpful Christian books) as gifts for people to simply read, bringing people to church to listen to the Bible preached, inviting people to small groups and classes to ask their questions about the Bible, and recommending good podcasts that would bring the Bible into the daily rhythm of their commutes, exercise workouts, and the like.

On a more practical level, acts of truly selfless compassion–done not for fame, notoriety, or to merit God’s approval, but done out of love for someone–help to reveal a small measure of God’s loving, merciful, compassionate nature. In a world where people use one another far more frequently than they love one another, these kinds of acts can be signs pointing to the God who is altogether good. As one example, in our church filled mainly with young people, we have put much effort into weeping with and serving the hundreds and hundreds of victims of molestation and rape.

Thus, informing the mind about Scripture, explaining the world and our place in it under God, and extending a hand of loving compassion all help to give people a framework by which to interpret their life experiences. They can begin to see that God has made them, wants to speak with them, and desires restored relationship with them, relationship that otherwise remains broken through sin.

While each of these ways of informing someone’s understanding is important, none is alone sufficient. That is because what they leave us with is knowledge about God by revealing what he has done (creation), how he communicates (the Bible), and what he seeks (relationship). But we still do not enjoy that relationship.

This leads us to Jesus.

Christianity has always held, based upon the teachings of Jesus and the prophets of the Old Testament and apostles of the New Testament, that in Jesus, the Creator has entered into creation on a rescue mission for the restoring of relationship, in fulfillment of Scripture. For making the three most unprecedented claims in the history of the world–that he was without sin as the only God and the only path to salvation–Jesus was treated without compassion. He was lied about, arrested, falsely tried, beaten, whipped beyond recognition, nailed to a cross, and lifted up for a crowd to mock, jeer, and spit upon. Jesus our Creator then, with bloodied lips, spoke the word “forgive” for his murderers. Jesus died to pay the penalty for sin as the greatest act of compassion the world has or will ever witness; the Creator died for his creation, to make enemies friends.

Three days later, Jesus rose, conquering sin and death and vindicating his claims. Subsequently, if Jesus is dead, so is Christianity. If Jesus is alive, so is Christianity. And so while there is no “best case” for presenting God, there are false ways of presenting God: as anyone in addition to or other than Jesus Christ. As Christians, our goal is never to lie to people by only telling them what they want to hear, or manipulating them to feel what they want to feel. Instead, we want to respect them enough to tell them the truth, and love them enough to do so in a way that is compassionate. We care more about the truth and the love than having the “best case.” We believe that there is power in the truth about Jesus that can unleash new life in people as they agree with the truth about him.

BY MARK DRISCOLL  |  OCTOBER 14, 2009

Mark Driscoll
FOUNDING PASTOR, MARS HILL CHURCH

Among America’s most prominent young Christian voices, Driscoll describes himself as “a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody.”

“Be ready for responsive evangelism.”

Phillip Jensen (St Andrews Cathedral in Sydney) gives some great advice for all Christians on doing evangelism. This one of the best talks about this topic that I have ever heard. Vimeo lets you download this video if you follow through to the videos original page. The download link is on the bottom right of the page (you will need quick time player.)

As well as being extremely helpful, this could be a great resource to take to your bible study group and discuss how you might take on evangelism as a group. Its a long video (27min) but is real gold. I recommend that you watch it full screen (click the X-arrows next to the time line.) OK, start buffering, grab a coffee and enjoy.

“Make people hungry to know more.”

“Bring God language into everyday conversation.”

“Break out of the construction, that we should not talk about God.”

“We have found that people that go out on the streets and share the gospel are the ones that see their friends converted.”

Extra! Extra! Read all about it, Christ has lived, died and been resurrected! Read the news about what God has done! Listen to this foolishness (to those who are perishing) now.

Nothing that happens inside of you is good news, because the good news is about something that happened outside of you 2000 years ago. …The good news itself is strictly about Jesus of Nazareth; what God did in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.
Michael Horton, from The Front Page God (mp3.) Windows users, right-click ‘save as.’

This one is on my buying list for when I finish my study from Moore Theological. For all 4 audio sermons visit the Gospel-Driven page at Monergism. To order your copy of the new book visit the Gospel Driven Life book page at Monergism

God who rescues us

Posted: July 24, 2009 by Daniel in evangelism

from Monergism

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive [quickened us] with Christeven when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:4-5

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me [i.e. believe in me] unless it is granted him by the Father.”
John 6:63-65

You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God…”
1 Peter 1:23-25

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.
1 John 5:1

Faith in the living God and his Son Jesus Christ is always the result of the new birth, and can never exist except in the regenerate. Whoever has faith is a saved man.
Charles Spurgeon from the sermon “Faith and Regeneration”

If salvation is the implantation of a new, infinite life in the soul, it must be a work of God. Self-caused effects can never rise above the character or qualities of their cause. “Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit,” Jesus told Nicodemus. This saving grace cannot be caused by the creature, it can only come from God.
John Hannah from To God be the Glory (pg. 34-5)

The inward offer is a kind of spiritual enlightenment, whereby the promises are presented to the hearts of men, as it were, by an inward word.
William Ames

Promoting the gospel (repost from Nathan Hill)

Posted: July 19, 2009 by Daniel in evangelism

By Nathan a while ago:

I have recently finished reading a book by John Dickson called Promoting the Gospel: The whole of life for the cause of Christ (2005, Aquila Press, Sydney).  It is a fresh look at evangelism in the modern Australian context.  It is also a challenge to make the entire life of the Christian one of commitment to Christ’s mission to save the lost.  Included are some of the following chapter headings:

Following the friend of sinners: The missionary mind of the ordinary Christian

The hidden mission: Promoting the gospel with our prayers

Partners for life: Promoting the gospel with our money

Being the light of the world: Promoting the gospel through works of the church

Being beautiful: Promoting the gospel through Christian behaviour

Heralds together: Promoting the gospel through our public praise

… and so on

Dickson does not back away from the importance of proclaiming the gospel.  However, he does have an interesting chapter on evangelists as mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 4:11.  Briefly speaking, he argues that some people have the job of specifically doing evangelism, that is, declaring the gospel to people who have not heard it.

1Co 7:10-16
To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.

For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.

For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Paul gives direct and practical instruction about marriage, especially where there may be grounds for divorce for ‘spiritual reasons.’ If an unbeliver wants to stay with a believer, the believer should stay and live a holy life before the Lord with that unbeliever: their life and sharing of the gospel may be a part of God’s plan to bring their spiritually dead spouse to the Lord. What an amazingly formidable, but (potentially) spectacularly rewarding form of evangelsim. I can think of no more difficult form of evangelism in the western world.

If you are in such a position, this passage must be of tremendous cheer and guidance to you.

May God richly bless you as you delight him with a clear conscience.