Archive for the ‘Way of the Master’ Category

There is much to be said for going out doing street evangelism with a friend. I do a lot of street evangelism by myself: it’s just so much more easier than organising a group to meet at a certain time and place. On Tuesday I tried my first serious walk-up evangelism with a friend who was interested in seeing how I share the gospel. It was really good. He had a lot of strengths that came out in answers to certain questions. Sometimes we took turns as we went through each explanation and other times we “double teamed” and talked to different people in the group at the same time.

Another benefit to evangelising with others is that you can actually learn things from your friends as you see them in action. My friend came out with some gems that I will remember and use next time I get those questions.

We only had a limited time (about 1 hour) and we witnessed to a large group of students (4-6), a Couple visiting from St. Helens and an elderly man from King Island. We also had two refusals to talk to us. One was from a pair of elderly ladies who sternly refused to talk about God and another was from a Couple who refused and said they were Aboriginal. I tried to open up in natural conversation with them but they seemed to feel that Christianity was anti-Aboriginal

We were really encouraged by going out witnessing together we are planning to get a few more people together and go out Sunday afternoon. Perhaps in a place where there are a lot of people with time on their hands to talk.

I now want to share just a part of an email that my friend sent to me reflecting on his experiences evangelising with me. I had previously shared with him that I felt nervous witnessing to our last guy – Barry.

Hi Daniel,

Today was very good. It felt very unusual to go into the mall and actually and actively care about the souls of people there… I am impressed with your directness with total strangers and I think it is quite disarming (in a good way) for many people.

I didn’t notice any nervousness on your part when we talked with Barry – I was too interested in his very bright and sparky character and lively eyes – seemed liked quite a nice bloke with a lot of history. I was surprised that I felt no nervousness with any of the people we spoke to. I liked the way that you didn’t just abandon conversation with those who were disinterested in talking to us. The Aboriginals were an interesting pair, I think maybe conversation with them might be better started about social justice, meaning of life, social ills of abuse, alcoholism, racism etc. and then turned to God and His standard and what that means for them as rational moral humans who are just as bad(in God’s sight) as the white Europeans who mistreated them and made them want to distrust and reject anything they have to offer including Christianity.

I think some (many) people really need a relationship of trust and respect to be able to hear the truth. That said, I think there is a big need for us to spread the gospel whenever and where ever and to who ever we meet. Our time or their time could come at any moment and what a great opportunity to miss not telling a hell bound sinner about where we are going and how to get there. I love how you just choose anyone to speak to, No respect of persons. I analyse my prospective converts too much. It is better just to dive in with everyone. I need to learn that.

I had a sense of the awesomeness and solemnity of bringing the gospel to people on the way into town. If we do it faithfully then the Spirit will use it to awaken souls now or later or ultimately harden them. The Word never returns void. It does what it was sent to do. God’s Word finds and convert sinners and leaves the hard of heart without any excuse. Obviously God is in charge of how many opportunities any person gets to hear the gospel but still it is a big thing to bring it and be a part of that process…

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After writing my previous post I did two “phrase limited” Google searches and this is what I found:
“Christ died for you” 31,100 results
“Christ died for sinners” 802 results

Obviously the message that “Christ died for you” is more emotional, personal, popular and appealing but its not biblically faithful. I just want to share what I found in the first Google results for “Christ died for sinners”:

CRTA

Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption)

Limited Atonement is a doctrine offered in answer to the question, “for whose sins did Christ atone?” The Bible teaches that Christ died for those whom God gave him to save (John 17:9). Christ died, indeed, for many people, but not all (Matthew 26:28). Specifically, Christ died for the invisible Church — the sum total of all those who would ever rightly bear the name “Christian” (Ephesians 5:25).

This doctrine often finds many objections, mostly from those who think that Limited Atonement does damage to evangelism. We have already seen that Christ will not lose any that the father has given to him (John 6:37). Christ’s death was not a death of potential atonement for all people. Believing that Jesus’ death was a potential, symbolic atonement for anyone who might possibly, in the future, accept him trivializes Christ’s act of atonement. Christ died to atone for specific sins of specific sinners. Christ died to make holy the church. He did not atone for all men, because obviously all men are not saved. Evangelism is actually lifted up in this doctrine, for the evangelist may tell his congregation that Christ died for sinners, and that he will not lose any of those for whom he died!

Extract from, CRTA

A more detailed article can also be found on this subject at Monergism.org

I have heard so many evangelists say the following statements in their evangelism.
Please choose which is biblically faithful:

A: ‘God sent his Son to suffer and die on the cross for you.’
B: ‘God loves you so much that he sent his Son to die for you.’
C: ‘Jesus died on the Cross to pay for your sins.’
D: ‘If you die in your sin’s you will go to Hell, that is not God’s will.’
E: ‘Christ died on the cross for sinners.’
F: All of the above.
G: None of the above.

Multiple Choice
How did you go?

Recently I showed one of my million dollar tracts to a Christian friend and he pointed out an error in the gospel presentation. When I though about it, I realised how often this error is perpetuated in evangelism.

It is unbiblical to say ‘Christ died for your sins’ in our evangelism. Instead we should say, as the scriptures say, “Christ died for sinners’. This might seem like a pedantic point but it is the actual language of the bible. Saying ‘Christ died for your sins’ supports a completely Arminian view of salvation. It is possible that we are not telling the person the truth – Christ might not have died for their sins. The bible says that Christ’s death was an actual sacrifice for actual sin, not a potential sacrifice for sins if we would believe in it. 

The only correct statement is E:’Christ died on the cross for sinners.’

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Hebrews 10:12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,

1Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

Hebrews 10:12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,

1Titus 1:15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Romans 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

So from these verses we can find biblically faithful ways of explaining the work of Christ to people we are witnessing to:

‘Christ died to bear the sins of many’
‘Christ offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins’
‘Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring people to God’
‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’
‘Christ died for sinners’
‘Christ died for the ungodly’

The difference is we are not personalising the work of Christ to that person – as it may be the case that Christ will never work in that person’s life.

Today I went out with a friend to hand out some invitations for tomorrow’s Easter service at the Branch Christian Church. I had an opportunity to talk about Christianity for over an hour to the second person I met. I have met the guy before a couple of times and listend to his point of view, but I have never had a chance to spend time sharing the gospel with him. Praise God – The Holy Spirit has really been working on this guy and I was able to contribute and be a part of His good work. His name if Brian: please pray for him. He has a strong ‘spiritual’ background with strange tattoos of Jesus with naked female angels on his right arm. He also showed me his left palm where he had gouged the roman numerals xi with a hot wire and his army knife. Amazingly he is not far from the Kingdom but just needs to come to putting his full trust in Jesus as Lord and saviour. CHRISTIAN – PRAY FOR HIM NOW!

I later handed out more invitations – people did accept them which was great. I gave one invitation to a man in a shop and he said “I still have the optical illusion tract that you gave me”
I was blown away – I did not remember him but he said that I gave it to him one night at McDonald’s. I reminded him of the message on the tract and that it was really important the he understands it.

When I had run out of invitations I approached a senior man sitting on a bench. He instantly rejected my Million Dollar tract but I was able to continue a natural conversation. He mentioned that he was now retired. I picked up on this point and asked him about his previous occupation and he had been a Postman in the United Kingdom all his life. I have a friend who is a postman and I remember what he said about the need for Postman confidentiality – you get to know what bills people have and where they get letters from. We talked about what sort of a memory you need to have and your need for strong knowledge of where people live – sometimes people send letters with just the persons name. After this long natural conversation I was able to enquire again about his Christian background – he said he was an atheist. I then listened to his explanation for how everything began – he talked about gasses coming together and forming a black dwarf or something like that – then exploding. I asked him where the gasses came from – his reply was “I don’t really go into it that far”. I explained the evidence for an intelligent creator, but unfortunately my friend finished his shopping and we had to go for family reasons. I didn’t get a chance to share the gospel.

Using the law in evangelism is pure Calvinism.

A healthy article by Bethlehem Baptist Church Staff on the ‘5 points of Calvinism’ examines the points in the following order as they pertain to salvation: 

  1. We experience first our depravity and need of salvation.
  2. Then we experience the irresistible grace of God leading us toward faith.
  3. Then we trust the sufficiency of the atoning death of Christ for our sins.
  4. Then we discover that behind the work of God to atone for our sins and bring us to faith was the unconditional election of God.
  5. And finally we rest in his electing grace to give us the strength and will to persevere to the end in faith.

Although these points do not entirely translate to tasks for the evangelist, I think there is value in understanding how God works and in doing so we might learn something for our evangelism efforts.

In evangelism, we need to first start with the Law of God to show sinners their current condition before God and their need of God. Before we can get to this first point, however, there should be some time spent clarifying just who is this God who has given the law. The people we are talking to might not even think there is any evidence that He exists. In sharing the Law we are attempting to show the sinner how he is already condemned by doesn’t know it yet. We are trying to show them the judgement and eternal damnation that awaits them in their current state.

When the Law has been used by God to humble the sinner, the grace of God can be presented. This is when the evangelist shares about the cross and how Christ died for sinners. This will extend on the explanation on how a price must be paid for sin – Christ has come to be our ransom. He has died that we might share in his righteousness.  How joyful to know that the grace that we are sharing is irresistible to those who are being saved.

The Holy Spirit can then use the words of the evangelist to cause the gift of faith in our wonderful Saviour to spring to life in the heart of the sinner. This might not happen on the spot, but God is faithful in acting in those he chooses for his glory.

It’s important that the sinner in moved to a faith that trusts in the atoning work of Christ alone. This is only possible again through he gift of God, but the sinner needs to hear what they are required to do: repent and trust in Christ alone.

 Points 4 and 5 are useful for people to know after conversion. It is often beside the point when witnessing to someone – the most important thing is that we tell them to repent and put their full trust in Jesus. Going into the election of Christians and the perseverance of Christians are wonderful truths to learn when the journey with God has begun.

Airplane wingDaniel and I had a lovely weekend trip to Melbourne last weekend. The flight to Melbourne takes about an hour, so it’s a great opportunity to witness to a neighbour on the flight. It’s always a bit scary isn’t it? If you start out with the witnessing straight away and you get a bad reaction, you’re in for a very tense flight if it’s much longer than an hour. However, it’s not too bad if it’s just an hour right? And you can be pretty sure they haven’t got sharp objects they could hurt you with anywhere on their person! So we struck up a perfectly delightful conversation with a young surgeon we were sitting with. We got through the law and the gospel, and learned a bit along the way:

1. Medical training involves being taught that evolution is true (!!!!!). Not sure how the complexity of the human body can be explained other than by intelligent design, it seems nonsensical to me, but there you go…

2. There is no guarantee that a child attending a christian primary school will ever hear the gospel. This guy had a baptist primary school experience but had no idea what the gospel was about whatsoever.

3. Don’t be afraid to press the point. Several times during the conversation I had to press various points, like sin, judgement and hell. Amazingly to me, it didn’t worry him to be dragged back to these topics at all. I’ve never been quite that dogged in a witness encounter before, so it was a real leap of faith for me, but God was glorified, and what a great result.

No idea whether he has repented, but he thanked us for talking to him about it all, and was going to think about it all, read the bible and try to find what is true. I don’t think we could have asked for better than that.

So don’t be scared, and take every opportunity that comes your way. Particularly when someone is stuck with you for an hour or so! What’s the worst thing that could happen, they think you’re a nut? Their worst case scenario is eternity in hell, I think it’s a chance worth taking.

My wife had a guy come and measure up some curtains this morning and I was outside repairing some pot plants. I caught the guy as he was leaving. He looked busy so I just quickly gave him a ‘Smart Card’ tract. He stopped and seemed interested and we got started on a 15min talk. I was trying to be as interested and compassionate in my tone and he responded well. Unfortunately he had been inoculated from the biblical Gospel and he had a whole gambit of strange ideas that he had just made up because they seemed OK to him. I worked hard to show him that we are storing up wrath for a day of judgment when we die, but he thought that God was already at work in our lives judging us and that as we improved (became a better person) as we lived our lives we would be purified. I showed him that this is not the biblical gospel – that we will be judged for our law breaking; that God would not be good and just if he did not punish us: I told him to try his idea in a natural court! NO the judge must punish us for our lawbreaking.

I asked him “Why did Jesus come to Earth?
“To be an example for us” he replied.
I nodded and gestured him to continue.
“…To live a good life and die for our sins” he added.
“Right” I said, “Jesus came to offer his righteousness to all who will believe and repent of their rebellion.”

Our conversation continued and he continued to reveal more and more unbiblical ideas such as; God is in everything and in everyone; God is going to bring everyone to himself; etc. I countered most of these with scriptures that came to mind, but I just tried to keep on the basics of the gospel and trying to show him that all our righteousness efforts to be pleasing to God is like filthy rags.If you are a Christian, please pray for the curtain man. His name is Steve.-

— Later this morning, my family and I went into town to do a few jobs and go to a few shops. I am continuing to be more confident in handing out tracts. I gave one to a lady who was waiting in a car, another lady who was waiting on a car and to a lady in a department store. My wife also gave out a few to the people she had business with (I didn’t even know till she told me). This is really good for her as she is not normally as forward as I am. We prayed for all the people who got tracts and for Steve. 

I want to encourage you to get some tracts that you like and get in the habit of giving them out. I am still growing in this area. I used to think that I should only give them to people that I have time to talk to and explain what is on it, but I am more and more convinced that they can be skilfully used by the Lord for his purposes in Salvation.