Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Boldness in Evangelism

Evangelism & Personal Testimonies

There is no denying that a personal testimony of salvation in Christ Jesus is powerful.  Three times in the book of Acts we read of the powerful conversion of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-22; 22:1-21; 26:1-23).  Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) reads: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

So a testimony can be powerful.  I have listened to many people share how they came to faith in Christ.  It always blesses me to see the hand of God leading these sinners to faith in Christ.  It amazes me that people come to faith in Christ in so many different ways (by that I don’t mean different in the sense of the gospel but from many sins and many different places in life).  The Lord continues to save lost sinners from rich people to poor people from people here in the United States to people in China, the gospel is moving!  I rejoice in sinners being saved!

However, I do want to warn us that we must guard against the temptation to make evangelism all about our testimony.  Evangelism must include the gospel and the gospel is found in the Word of God.  The Word of God is the supernatural means by which God converts sinners.  The Word of God cuts sinners (Hebrews 4:12-13) and the Word of God brings about faith (Romans 10:17).  The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and He opens the sinners heart to the gospel (Acts 16:14-15).  As the gospel is preached from the Word of God, the Lord, by His grace, opens sinners hearts and frees the bound will of the sinner so that the sinner can either repent or reject the gospel (John 1:12-13).  The sinner who repents is saved by grace through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God (1 Peter 1:20-25).  The Lord calls sinners to Himself through the preaching of the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).  The gospel found in the Word of God is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and God saves those who believe the gospel that is preached (1 Corinthians 1:21).  This salvation is His work (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) that God may be glorified!

We must then preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2).  A testimony should never replace the Word of God.  The reason why is simple.  A sinner can hear a testimony from a Christian, a Buddhist, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Catholic, a Muslim, etc. and each of them can describe how they were “saved.”  They will each talk of the virtue of their religion and how faith in their religion will bring peace, forgiveness, wholeness, healing, peace, etc.  And the sinner is wondering, “They all have powerful testimonies of their religion but who is right and yet who is to say that the others are wrong?”  The Christian, without the Word of God, has nothing to stand on but their subjective experience and each of us has a different experience with life.

The foundation then for the disciple preaching the gospel must not be our testimony.  It must the truthfulness of God’s Word.  The Bible alone is the truth of God (John 17:17).  The problem with the testimony of the above religions (or even atheists for that matter) is that they must borrow from the Bible to make sense of their own experiences.  The foundation for the disciple is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  It is not our testimony.  Apart from the Bible, the disciple is nothing but a subjective story among others.  With the Bible, the disciple is full of the truth of God and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).  We must be faithful to quote and preach the Word of God to sinners.  When sharing the gospel with a sinner, don’t just share your personal testimony (that is okay by the way) but make sure you quote the Word of God over and over again to show that your testimony is based not on your subjective view of reality but upon the Word of God.  I even encourage you to begin witnessing to sinners with the Word of God before sharing your testimony.  Forgiveness of sins, peace with God, repentance, justification, sanctification, etc. are all based not on our testimonies but upon the Word of God.

Again, I rejoice that people are being saved by grace.  I rejoice that sinners are turning from sin to the Lord Jesus and finding that He is indeed a wonderful Savior but I warn us all to preach the Word of God.  Sinners must hear the gospel to be saved (Romans 10:14-17) and we must preach the Word of God faithfully as God has called us to (Matthew 28:19-20).  The Word of God is the seed to salvation (Matthew 13:18-23).  I pray that our gospel would be full of the Word of God.

Disarming Arguments Against Evangelism (Part 1)

This is part of a short series on arguments I often hear from people who are not sharing their faith in Christ and are not seeking to make disciples according to Matthew 28:19-20.  The posts are not in any given order.

One of the most familiar arguments I have heard from people who are not sharing their faith is fear.  Fear of man has stopped many from sharing the gospel with the lost.  Yet I once heard Ray Comfort say that he too was fearful each time he stepped out and begin to talk about Christ.  I believe the flesh naturally doesn’t want to discuss the things of God.  Our flesh (along with Satan) wants us to remain silent and it’s okay to live our faith so long as we are not trying to win others to Christ.  The moment that we step out and begin to overcome our fear and talk to someone about Christ, we will be faced with fear.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of mockery.  Fear of persecution.  Fear of saying the wrong thing.  Just fear in general often halts our evangelism.

I have no doubt that the disciples faced fear like we do.  Yes they were confident in the Lord but their heart beats much have raced as they too stepped out and begin to preach Christ.  In Acts 4 we read the account of the Apostles praying for boldness.  The disciples had been warned in Acts 4:17 not to speak anymore of this name: the name of Jesus (v. 18).  The disciples stood firm in their faith in Christ (Acts 4:19-20) and so the Jews threatened them again (Acts 4:21).  The disciples went to prayer and they prayed for God to grant them boldness in the face of persecution from the Jews (Acts 4:23-24).  They praised God that He was sovereignly in control and not the people (Acts 4:25-26) and that His sovereign will would be accomplished just as it had been done through Jesus (Acts 4:27-28).  They then prayed a marvelous prayer: a prayer for boldness to preach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:29) and to glorify the name of Jesus (Acts 4:30).  Acts 4:31 says they were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.  God heard their cries and He answered their prayers.

How often have I had to pray Acts 4:29!  I am fearful as anyone else is of speaking to others about the Lord Jesus.  I find it amazing that I can talk to strangers about sports, about politics, about the weather but not about the eternal things that really matter (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).  Each and every person will die and stand before the judgment throne of God (Hebrews 9:27).  They must hear about Jesus (Romans 10:14-17).  The gospel saves but it is not a silent gospel.  It is a preached gospel that saves sinners (1 Corinthian 1:21).

The lies against preaching the gospel because of fear are many.  Friendship evangelism is one of the biggest lies in the Western Church.  Friendship evangelism is the cop-out of many evangelicals to never sharing their faith verbally.  They claim that they are building friendships to lead to Christ yet never utter the name of Jesus, never speak of His grace and His mercy, never talk about sin, never speak of God’s demand for repentance and holiness.  Friendship evangelism claims to be preparing people for the gospel but never shares the gospel because the gospel is not preached.  The law of God (that shows sinners their sin and their need for a Savior) is never used.  Friendship evangelism is nothing more than something the devil has given people to try to soothe their guilty conscience.  They know the command of God (Acts 1:8) yet they consistently ignore His command to preach the gospel to the lost.  So instead of repenting, they turn to friendship evangelism to justify themselves and never open their mouths to the gospel that saves.  There is not one example of friendship evangelism in the entire Bible.  None.

Friend, my advice about fear is this.  First, repent of not sharing the gospel with the lost.  I too have had to repent of not sharing the gospel with the lost.  We are all guilty at times.  Secondly, pray Acts 4:29.  Pray Proverbs 28:1.  Pray Acts 1:8.  Third, go out and open up your mouth and share the gospel with the lost.  God is not going to just buzz you with power.  We must be willing to step out in faith and trust Him that He will give us boldness as we preach.  Over and over again I have seen Him show Himself faithful in this regard. I can pray for boldness (and do much) and when I step out and begin to share the gospel with a co-worker or the lady at the restaurant or the perfect stranger on the street, I have seen the Lord give me boldness time and time again.  Sadly, we often pray for boldness but then sit back and just wait for God to zap us before we go.  Notice in Acts 4:31 that it says that the disciples “continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”  They stepped out and God stepped in.  That is how He works (Hebrews 11:30).  God works through our obedient faith (Colossians 2:12).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/05/2014 at 10:06 PM

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