Articles

Evangelism Isn’t Popular

*In this article, Pastor Greg Laurie talks about how evangelism isn’t popular today.

A popular trend in the Church today is to not share your faith.

USA Today had an article about a man who described himself as a “recovering evangelist.” He said that he used to engage in what he called “bait-and-switch” methods. In other words, he would engage a person with the purpose of bringing the gospel to them, but now he has changed his approach.
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Instead, he advocates “All bait, no switch, and he thinks others should, as well.” He advocates promotion by non-promotion, evangelism by attraction, goodwill mongering, or simply letting one’s life speak for itself.”

He suggests that we just “live the life,” and let the “spiritual chips fall where they will.”

The Cure for Cancer?

OK, let’s use an analogy to play out that scenario.

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The Cure for Condemnation

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We’ve all been there. We get amped up and excited about our faith. We want to rise up and make an impact for Christ and His kingdom. But as we rise up, we often get knocked down. We fall and face plant in our sin. We recognize the sin, and we repent and realize that Jesus died for it, but what should we do about all of the guilt, regret, and shame that comes with it?

Because of sin, many Christians feel condemned. They think they’re no longer worthy to pray, read the Bible, or go to church. They think their sin is too bad for God to forgive. They think that God doesn’t love them anymore and that they’re going to hell. But, although that might describe the way we feel, it doesn’t describe what’s true. Here’s the fact:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

The Cross is the Cure

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross we are no longer condemned for our sin. Why? Because Jesus was condemned for our sin. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus lived the life that we could not live and died the death that we deserved—and triumphantly rose again, defeating sin and death. He took the punishment for our sin; because of His perfect life, He makes us righteous because we are “in Christ Jesus.” He removed our guilt and sin and replaced it with grace and salvation. Paul says it this way, “By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). There’s no condemnation because there’s justification—we are set free from the eternal penalty of sin and the enslaving power of sin.

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What Would Jesus Say?

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Evangelism can be complicated. What do you say? How do you say it? Although answers vary for each situation and conversation, there is a simple principle we can keep in mind when sharing our faith: speak about Jesus, and speak like Jesus.

Jesus should be the subject of our speech and His mission should be our message.

Speak About Jesus

We need to keep the main thing, the main thing. We can engage in small talk, answer objections, build bridges, and even joke around, but if we don’t get around to talking about Jesus, then we aren’t going anywhere in our evangelism. The gospel message is communicated through our words, so we need to speak about Jesus.

“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).

In Acts 3-4, Peter and John healed a lame man and it caused problems with the religious leaders, but it also gave Peter an opportunity to speak publicly. The people wondered how the man was healed and Peter got right to the point—he spoke about Jesus. The religious leaders arrested him and had him appear before a council where he did the exact same thing—He shared how Jesus is the only source for salvation.
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Evangelism is about sharing a message, but the message is about a person. The aim of evangelism is to speak about Jesus, which is why repentance is turning from sin and turning to Jesus and trusting in the “gospel of Christ” (2 Cor. 2:12). Don’t get distracted. Keep the main thing the main thing—speak about Jesussumo suits for sale!

When God presents you with an opportunity to speak about God or Christianity, what will you do? Will you avoid it and not speak at all? Will you change the subject? Or, like Peter, will you talk about how Jesus is the Savior?

Speak Like Jesus

Not only do we need to speak about Jesus, we also need to speak like Jesus. Imagine if Jesus was evangelizing. What would He say? Thankfully, we don’t need a WWJS bracelet because the Gospels tell us what He said. So, in regards to evangelism, what would Jesus say?

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Overcomplicating Evangelism

*In this article, Pastor Greg Laurie answers the who, where, why, and when of evangelism.

We overcomplicate this thing called evangelism.

I’ve read that 95% of Christians have never led another person to Christ. Let’s look at the basics: The Who, Where, Why, and When of Evangelism.

Who is called to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel”?

Answer: We are!
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Matthew 28:19–20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” These words are addressed to everyone (not just pastors, evangelists, and missionaries, but everyone). In the original language, they are a command. You are commanded by the Lord Himself to do this. No exceptions.

Where are we to preach the gospel?

Answer: Everywhere!

Mark’s Gospel has a variation on this Great Commission: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). To personalize it, “Go into all of your world and preach the gospel.” Go into your family, your workplace, your campus, your sphere of influence.

Jesus did not say, “Go and be a good example” but “Go and preach the gospel.” Some say, “I don’t want to push anything on people!” Would it be “pushing” something if you had a cure for cancer?

Why are we to preach the gospel?

Answer: Because God’s primary way of reaching people is through people!

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). But there is another reason as well: because we care. We don’t want to see people go to hell!

When are we do to it?

Answer: All the time!
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We must always be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. You never know when the door of opportunity will open. “Preach the word of God. Be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not” (2 Timothy 4:2). Another translations says, “Be on duty at all times.” And 1 Peter 3:15 tells us, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

What is your biggest hurdle to sharing the gospel?

Missional & Relational

We should be “on mission” to love God and to love others, and we primarily do this through preaching the gospel. But in addition to sharing the gospel with our words, we can show the gospel with our works. Through our day-to-day interaction with people at school, work, or in our neighborhoods, we can be missional by being relational; we can build relationships that give us the credibility and opportunity to share the gospel, invite friends to church, and to engage in conversations about Christianity.
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The Bible tells us how we should act with other believers in the church, but it also instructs us on how we are to interact in society with unbelievers. And we see this in Paul’s letter to Titus. By way of reminder, Paul urges Titus to remind his congregation of their duty to have Christ-like conduct in a Christ-less culture. Check out these reminders for all of your relationships:

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2).

Submit to Rulers and Authorities

The first duty Paul refers to is your actions and attitude about secular government. This means that you’re to submit to the laws of your land. The early church was instructed to submit to the Roman government, which was pagan, immoral, and unjust. Nevertheless, they were to submit as unto the Lord in every aspect that did not contradict godly living and instruction. When you are “subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,” you will “put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” and you will glorify God as you are in His will (1 Peter 2:13-15).

Be Obedient

Obedience is submission on display. Out of obedience to God and His commands, you are to obey those who exercise authority of you, whether it’s your parent, teacher, or employer. And when you do this, you are actually being obedient to God. Because many young people are known for their disobedience, and it’s even become “cool” in some ways, others will be able to see that you’re different through your obedience to others—and ultimately, to God.

As you submit to the rulers and authorities in your life and in your land, it shows that you submit to the ultimate ruler and authority—the Lord.

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Analyze & Anticipate

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The New Year provides us with a great time to reflect on the past events of 2013 and to look forward to all of the gospel opportunities of 2014. One thing we can do to analyze the past and anticipate the future is to ask ourselves some questions. This will help us learn from our past actions and motivate us for future change.  Asking thought-provoking, reflective questions is not intended to produce guilt or shame, but to help us see how we have grown spiritually, and to see how we can practically improve in the New Year.
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Consider the following questions regarding your evangelism in 2013, and how you can grow in 2014:

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Mary, Did You Know?

Christmas songs are notorious for getting stuck in your head. It’s as if the eleven pipers keep piping and the twelve drummers keep drumming in your mind. The one song that always does the trick for me also asks the rhetorical question, “Mary, did you know…?” And to prevent the chorus from being on repeat in my head, I decided to think about it and actually answer the question. The answer is both no and yes.

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What Mary Didn’t Know

Mary didn’t know that she would ever serve God in this way. She didn’t know that she’d be the means by which the long-awaited Messiah would come into the world. At such a young age, Mary had no idea what God was about to do.

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Sent to Send

Sent to Send

Christmas should remind us of the mission of God. Beyond the awesome break from school and the long-awaited Christmas presents, we are reminded of Jesus’ presence on earth—how He came from Heaven in the form of a man to save mankind. It’s what we call the incarnation.

Every Christmas we celebrate Christ’s coming, and we know that He came for one ultimate purpose: to die on the cross for sin and to conquer death by rising three days later. But spread throughout the gospels, Jesus also mentions several additional reasons why He came. And one of them is that Jesus was sent so He could send us. Continue reading

What Are You Known For?

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Too often Christians are known more for what they’re against than what they’re for.

To your friends, you’re probably the boring, goody-goody who doesn’t party and drink or have sex outside of marriage. But is that all it means to be a Christian? That you’re against a lot of the things other people do?

Of course, as a Christian you’re against certain things. Things like sin, worldliness and evil works. But that’s only half of the equation. As Christians, we should be for certain things too. Things like righteousness, godliness and good works.

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More Than Turkey

Thanksgiving is about more than turkey. Though none of our lives are perfect, we have so many things to be thankful for. We all have life and breath and the possibility of so much joy because of it. We have people who care for us and people we care about. We have somewhere to live, a computer or phone to read this on, food water, electricity and so many other things that we hardly ever think about. Our standard of living is higher than 99% of those who have lived on the earth. And most of all, we can be thankful for Jesus, who came and showed us God’s love by dying and rising again from the dead to save us. Thanksgiving gives us a time to reflect on all of these things and to demonstrate our thankfulness to the people around us.

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