Posts belonging to Category Evangelism



7 Prayer Requests for Unsaved Loved Ones

Sunday we held a prayer service at church for unsaved loved ones. At the beginning of the service I shared the following seven requests we can pray for our friends and loved ones who do not yet know Christ. Each request has an accompanying Scripture to read along as you pray. You will notice that most of the prayer requests revolve around the gospel, because it is only through the hearing and believing of the gospel that anyone can be saved. I hope you will find these requests and Scriptures helpful as you pray for your unsaved loved ones. (Note: Click here for a print-ready PDF handout.)

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Praying for Unsaved Loved Ones

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)

1. Pray that God will draw them to himself.
“No one can come to me unless the Father … draws him.” (John 6:44)

2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin.
“The Holy Spirit … will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8)

3. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel.
“Pray for us that God may open a door for our message … Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” (Colossians 4:3-4)

4. Pray that others will share the gospel with them as well.
“Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

5. Pray that God will open their eyes to the truth of the gospel.
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

6. Pray that God will open their hearts to respond to the gospel.
“The Lord opened her heart to respond to the message.” (Acts 16:14)

7. Pray that they will believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)
 

Spurgeon: “If sinners will be damned …”

Here is a striking quote from Charles Spurgeon that conveys both his strong burden for evangelism and his great heart for the lost. May God give us grace to grow in these areas.

Oh, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay, and not madly to destroy themselves. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.

– C. H. Spurgeon: “The Wailing of Risca” (Sermon No. 349; Delivered on Sabbath Morning, December 9th, 1860, at Exeter Hall, Strand)

Fowler Digital Books | Election: A Sermon (No. 0041), by Charles H. Spurgeon


Check out Charles Spurgeon’s Election for the Kindle/iPad/Nook here.

 
 

Missions and Evangelism (PTOM 4)

(This week and next I am sharing my Personal Theology of Ministry. Click here for more posts from the Personal Theology of Ministry series.)

The church is called to serve the world in love:

Therefore the church must be active in missions and evangelism. Our lives must be characterized by both the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). As a pastor I will actively share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others, and I will encourage and equip other believers to do the same. I will encourage our church to be salt and light in the community in which we live so that others will be drawn to Christ by our message and example. I will also encourage the church to support missions around the world through prayer, financial support and personal involvement whenever possible.

Back to Table of Contents | Next section: The Holy Spirit and Prayer (PTOM 5)

Related post: Church Search

Culture, Conversion, and Post-Christian America

Jonathan Dodson explains how various cultures experience conversion differently and what that means for evangelism in the United States today.

Gospel change in some cultures is more gradual than instantaneous. The American Evangelical tradition of “deep consciousness of personal sin followed by a sense of joyous liberation” is not common to all cultures. Missionaries labored for years before they saw a single conversion, and even then, the conversions were sometimes very different than what they expected. Cultures that are more communal experience conversion differently that cultures that are highly individualistic. In many African and Asian cultures, conversions come in pairs or families instead of by single individuals. Not all gospel change happens identically, especially across cultures.

What these missionaries encountered “on the field” is beginning to occur in the U.S. Many church planters have a pre-Christian past that is very “Christian.” We inherited the evangelical, pietistic conversion experience of our forefathers. Like the conversions of our missionary forefathers, our personal conversion relied heavily upon a prevailing Christianized culture, common basic knowledge of God, sin, faith and Christ. But America has changed. We cannot assume our listeners possess the same knowledge and experience that we did, which is precisely why it is so crucial that we exercise pastoral wisdom through contextualization.

What do you think? Although the gospel never changes, must we change our methods of evangelism in order to share Christ with those in a post-Christian culture?

Most Americans Open to Church Invitations

Most Americans say they would visit a church if invited by a family member, neighbor or a friend.

A recent study by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and LifeWay Research found that 67 percent of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be effective in getting them to visit a church. A personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would effectively reach 63 percent.

Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) are willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a family member, and 56 percent are willing to receive such information from a friend or neighbor.

“The primary lesson North American believers should learn from this research is that many of your unchurched friends are ready for an invitation to conversation,” said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research. “Unbelievers next door still need a simple, personal invitation to talk, to be in community and to church.”

So, what are you waiting for? Who will you invite to church this week?

Don Carson’s Overview of the Bible

Don Carson is conducting a two-weekend seminar aimed at providing an overview of the Bible and the gospel message, especially for those not familiar with the Bible.

Learning to evangelize men and women who know nothing about the Bible and who are bringing their own “baggage” or “context” with them does not require a super intellect or a Ph.D. in biblical theology. What it requires is learning to get across a lot of things that we Christians simply presuppose.

There are quite a lot of ways of doing this. One of them is to focus on a variety of biblical texts drawn from across the entire Bible and work through them with people. One might begin with Genesis 1-2: “The God who makes everything.” Genesis 3 becomes “The God who does not wipe out rebels.” We keep working through the Old Testament and eventually arrive at the New, coming to topics like “The God who becomes a human being” (John 1:1-18). The wonderful atonement passage in Romans 3 covers “The God who declares the guilty just.” Gradually the Bible becomes a coherent book. It establishes its own framework; it is the context in which alone Jesus, the real Jesus, makes sense.

This is similar to the method that New Tribes Mission uses with unreached tribes that have no Biblical framework to understand Christ, sort of a Biblical-theological approach to missions. (See post here on The Taliabo Story.) Here is Carson’s complete 16-point overview tracing the storyline of Scripture:

      1. The God who made everything
      2. The God who does not wipe out rebels
      3. The God who writes his own agreements
      4. The God who legislates
      5. The God who reigns
      6. The God who makes his people sing
      7. The God who is unfathomably wise
      8. The God who is coming
      9. The God who becomes a human being
    10. The God who grants new birth
    11. The God who loves
    12. The God who dies–and lives
    13. The God who declares the guilty just
    14. The God who gathers and transforms his people
    15. The God who is very angry
    16. The God who triumphs

Update: The lectures from the seminar have now been released in book form: The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story

Berlin Declaration: The Uniqueness of Christ and Jewish Evangelism

Andreas Köstenberger reports on the Berlin Declaration, which addresses the issue of the uniqueness of Christ and Jewish evangelism.

An international task force of the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) met on the issue of the uniqueness of Christ and Jewish evangelism in Berlin, Germany, from August 18-22, 2008 to consider how the Christian community might express genuine love for the Jewish people, especially in Europe. Participants included Christians from Germany and Messianic Jews.

You can read the full document at the World Evangelical Alliance site. The document ends with the following call for action:

Therefore, as Christians concerned for the well being and salvation of the Jewish people, we call for:

  • Respect for religious conviction and liberty that allows frank discussion of religious claims
  • Repentance from all expressions of anti-Semitism and all other forms of genocide, prejudice and discrimination
  • Recognition of the uniqueness of Christ as the crucified, resurrected and divine Messiah who alone can save from death and bring eternal life
  • Reconciliation and unity amongst believers in Jesus
  • Renewed commitment to the task of Jewish evangelism

Related post: The Gospel and the Jewish People

C. S. Lewis’ Evangelistic Style

Earl Palmer shares about the following exchange by letter between C. S. Lewis and a non-believer in his article, Evangelism Takes Time.
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A man who liked C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters went on to read Mere Christianity and was infuriated. He wrote the author a scathing letter. Lewis’s response, in longhand, shows a master evangelist at work:

Yes, I’m not surprised that a man who agreed with me in Screwtape … might disagree with me when I wrote about religion. We can hardly discuss the whole matter by post, can we? I’ll only make one shot. When people object, as you do, that if Jesus was God as well as man, then he had an unfair advantage which deprives him for them of all value, it seems to me as if a man struggling in the water should refuse a rope thrown to him by another who had one foot on the bank, saying, “Oh, but you have an unfair advantage.” It is because of that advantage that he can help. But all good wishes. We must just differ; in charity I hope. You must not be angry with me for believing, you know; I’m not angry with you.

What impresses me about that exchange is the light touch. Lewis acknowledges the man’s complaint; he gives him one thing to think about—and he stops. He steps back as if to say, “Your move,” which opens the way for the man to write again. Evangelism, like sanctification, takes time. Therefore, we must take the time it takes.
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What do you think? Do we sometimes rush evangelism? Should we take a more patient approach?

The Gospel and the Jewish People

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) released the following statement on The Gospel and the Jewish People on March 28, 2008 (see below). The statement is being distributed in a variety of Christian and secular publications, including Christianity Today and the New York Times. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, the CEO & International Director of WEA, comments,

Increasingly, Jewish Evangelism is being marginalized and even dismissed as irrelevant, inappropriate, unethical or deceptive by some segments of the church. This statement is an attempt to speak to the evangelical community about the biblical basis for sharing their faith with all people, including Jews. It is our hope that it will be received in the spirit it is intended by the non-evangelicals who see it. Namely, that it is a statement of friendship and profound respect for the Jewish people, a commitment to stand with the Jewish people who have suffered mistreatment simply for being Jewish. And that part of our friendship and care and respect is shown is our commitment to share the love of God in Christ whom we believe is their Savior as well as ours.

Here is the wording of the actual statement:
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The Gospel and the Jewish People – An Evangelical Statement
March 28, 2008

As evangelical Christians, we want to express our genuine friendship and love for the Jewish people. We sadly acknowledge that church history has been marred with anti-Semitic words and deeds; and that at times when the Jewish people were in great peril, the church did far less than it should have.

  • We pledge our commitment to be loving friends and to stand against such injustice in our generation. At the same time, we want to be transparent in affirming that we believe the most loving and Scriptural expression of our friendship toward Jewish people, and to anyone we call friend, is to forthrightly share the love of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
  • We believe that it is only through Jesus that all people can receive eternal life. If Jesus is not the Messiah of the Jewish people, He cannot be the Savior of the World (Acts 4:12).
  • We recognize that it is good and right for those with specialized knowledge, history and skills to use these gifts to introduce individuals to the Messiah, and that includes those ministries specifically directed to the Jewish people (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).
  • We deplore the use of deception or coercion in evangelism; however, we reject the notion that it is deceptive for followers of Jesus Christ who were born Jewish to continue to identify as Jews (Romans 11:1).

We want to make it clear that, as evangelical Christians, we do not wish to offend our Jewish friends by the above statements; but we are compelled by our faith and commitment to the Scriptures to stand by these principles. It is out of our profound respect for Jewish people that we seek to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them, and encourage others to do the same, for we believe that salvation is only found in Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the World.
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The statement has been affirmed by a wide variety of Christian leaders including the following:

  • Rev. Dr. Lon Allison—Director, Billy Graham Center
  • Dr. Mark Bailey—President, Dallas Theological Seminary
  • Joel Belz—Founder, World Magazine
  • Doug Birdsall—Executive Chair, Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
  • Dr. D. A. Carson—Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
  • Chuck Colson—Founder, Prison Fellowship
  • Mark Greene—Executive Director, London Institute of Contemporary Christianity
  • Stan Guthrie—Managing Editor, Special Projects, Christianity Today
  • Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.—President Emeritus, Professor of Old Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Haddon Robinson—President, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Geoff Tunnecliffe—International Director, World Evangelical Alliance

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has condemned the statement as “offensive and insulting to the Jewish people,” while the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) maintains that it is “a statement of friendship and profound respect for the Jewish people.” I agree with the WEA. What do you think?

Gospel Presentations in 25 Different Languages

Grace Community Church recently put free Gospel presentations in 25 different languages on their website.

Grace Community Church has several different approaches for the kind of cross-language evangelism that Los Angeles requires. We have evangelistic Bible studies taught in nine different languages. We have teach ESL (English as a second language) classes that serve as a connection for people in our community. The idea is that they join our ESL class, and then get connected to the appropriate Bible study.

We also offer Gospel presentations on CD in the 40 most common languages in our area. We give these away Sunday mornings from a table at our church. We have found they are popular and helpful, as people take them to give to neighbors and co-workers that don’t speak the same language.

We have recently put those gospel presentations on-line, for free. So, if you know someone who is more comfortable in another language, and you are looking for a way to present them the Gospel, see if their language is on our site. You can make your own CD for them, or you can email them the link. (Source: Pulpit Magazine)

This sounds like a great resource. A big thanks to the good people at Grace Church for making these available online.

Doing Things in Public Together as a Church

I have been thinking recently about how we can do a better job of reaching out to the community. So I found the following post by Brian Thornton on doing things in public together as a church interesting. Here are some excerpts:

I have heard it said that we (as believers) gather together on Sundays to get equipped/energized so that we can then go out into the world to be a witness for Christ. And I agree with that. But, so often, once we depart from being together with our brothers and sisters within the confines of the four walls of the church building, we become soloists … In other words, the world doesn’t really see the church together, in public, interacting with one another …

The Lord Jesus Christ said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”, but how will all people know this if the only place you express love for your brothers and sisters is inside the walls of your church?

I fear that the visible church is only visible on Sundays and Wednesdays, and even then it is not the church which is visible, but rather just the gathering of cars in a parking lot!

Brian goes on to suggest that the church do more things in public together as a church body.

I am not saying every single thing we do should be done within the view of the world, but perhaps we could give the world a taste of our love for one another if we conduct at least some of our activities out in a public setting.

If your Sunday School class has regular get-togethers, schedule some of them at the local Chili’s or Golden Coral. Let the world see you having fun together and enjoying each others’ company.

If you have small Bible study groups which meet during the week at church or in homes, plan to have one or two of them a month at the local Starbuck’s or Atlanta Bread Company. Let the world see you opening the Word of God together and praying for one another.

If you have annual church-wide gatherings, schedule at least one of them a year in public. Have a church picnic at a public park or facility that can hold a larger group of people. Let the world see that your church loves being together.

They will know we are Christians by our love, but only if they actually see us together, loving one another in the world. They will not know anything about that love if we continue to stay holed up in the comfort of our buildings and homes.

What do you think? Are there things your church has done to be more visible as the church in the community?

HT: ekklesia

The Power of a Question: “If you died today . . .”

Having been trained in Evangelism Explosion and as a frequent listener to WAFG radio when I lived in South Florida, I found the following paragraphs from the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church press release on Dr. D. James Kennedy’s death very interesting:

Dr. Kennedy was born Nov. 3, 1930, but his Christian life did not begin until 1953. Sleeping late on a Sunday morning, his radio alarm went off and a preacher’s booming voice invaded his slumber. “Suppose you were to die today and stand before God and He were to ask you, ‘What right do you have to enter into My heaven?’—what would you say?”

Dr. Kennedy soon discovered that answer was to trust in Christ alone for eternal life, and shortly after he made that commitment was called into the Gospel ministry. Crediting this radio program for hearing the call to Christianity, he founded WAFG (90.3 FM) in 1974 as an outreach for Christ to the South Florida community.

Anyone who has taken E.E. (Evangelism Explosion) knows the two diagnostic questions that help you transition a conversation into sharing the gospel:

  1. “Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven, or is that something you would say you’re still working on?”
  2. “Suppose you were to die today and stand before God and He were to say to you, ‘Why should I let you into My heaven?’ what would you say?”

I have personally seen the power of asking these questions to many people over the years. What I didn’t know is that God used a variation of these questions to bring Dr. Kennedy to faith! I also did not know that God used the medium of radio to bring this question to bear on Dr. Kennedy’s life, and that this was part of what inspired him to launch WAFG so many years later. What a wonderful testimony to God’s grace and how he works in our lives to advance his kingdom!

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