Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Confrontational Evangelism

In All Thy Doing, Give Them the Gospel

Handing out water bottles.  Painting an older woman’s house for her.  Cleaning the side of the roads.  Giving food and provisions to the poor. Helping the sick.  Taking care of poor people’s children so they can have a date night.  Washing cars for free.  Changing the oil of single woman’s cars (and not to meet them).  Buying groceries for a neighborhood and leaving them on their door steps with nothing asked in return.  Giving the guy at the corner of the intersection some money (he is holding a sign for it anyway).

All these are good works that people often do.  I could write more.  I even give out of my weekly pay to a charity (yes I am good).  Churches have long been the place for good works.  Most of the hospitals were started by Christians.  I was born in Baptist Hospital (Columbia, SC).  Many of the homeless shelters are run by Christians.  Many soup kitchens are maintained by Christians.  Many outreaches to run aways, to prostitutes, to homosexuals are run by Christians.  Clinics for drug addicts (such as Teen Challenge) are run by Christians.  Clinics for people with sexual addictions are run by Christians.

The fact is that the Spirit of God leads us to do good works (Ephesians 2:10).  None would deny that good works flow from our salvation (James 2:14-26).  Good works do not save us (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5) but they show our love for God.  Good works flow from a heart that has been washed by the precious blood of Jesus.  Even Paul the Apostle was clear that he cared for the poor (Galatians 2:10).

My fear in all this is that in all our doing, we miss the one thing that is vastly important above all others and that is the gospel.  Good works should never replace the gospel.  In fact, the gospel should be our first work.  The sinner must hear the gospel (Romans 10:14-17).  The sinner doesn’t first need our testimony or our good works.  They first need the gospel.  While we should help people (Galatians 6:10), we should never replace that with the gospel or for the gospel.

I know of some who claim to be sharing the gospel with the lost but they are only doing good works.  They are not preaching Christ to the lost.  They are not pointing sinners to the Savior.  They would say they are by their light (Matthew 5:13-16) but they are not verbally preaching the gospel to the lost.  This is where they fail.

Still others say that the we must “earn” the right to share the gospel with the lost.  The old quote is, “They don’t know how much you love till you show them how much you care.”  We are told that we must first do good works for people to earn their trust and respect.  Without this, the gospel comes across as meaningless (or so we are told).

Yet we don’t get angry with doctors who are forthright.  We don’t question doctors who appear as unfriendly or unkind.  We don’t question doctors who warn us of our lifestyles without first giving us a meal or building us a house.  We just listen to them and doctors leave it to us to follow their advice.

The Bible is clear that we must preach the gospel to the lost.  We must not hold back.  Isaiah 58:1 reads, “Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet, and declare to My people their transgression and to the house of Jacob their sins” (NASB).  Jesus said that He had come to bring good news (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18) and we are to be His witnesses in this world (John 20:21).  The Spirit of God empowers us to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8).  We witness by declaring His gospel to the lost.  Good works help us but they are not the gospel in of themselves.

When we read the book of Acts we find the disciples preaching the gospel.  The Lord sent them to preach the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). The gospel is a verbal message of redemption (1 Corinthians 15:1-3).  The gospel focuses entirely on the Lord Jesus and His work in saving us (Romans 4:6).  Our gospel must be the verbal truth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So here is my point.  Good works are good.  Good works flow from a truly redeemed life (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14-26).  Good works do not save us (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).  Good works can never earn God’s perfect righteousness (Isaiah 64:6) and even if we did good works all our lives and never sinned again, we have sinned enough to receive His wrath upon us (James 2:10).  This is not a case of our good works out doing our bad works.  Our sinfulness is not just in our works but in us (Romans 3:10-18, 23).  WE are sinful at heart and not merely in our actions (Genesis 6:5; Ephesians 2:1-3).  No good works can ever atone for our sins.  We have simply sinned too much and are sinful at heart.  This is why we look to Christ alone to save us.  Jesus was perfect and He never sinned (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22).  Jesus bore our sins on the cross (Galatians 1:4) and His blood alone cleanses us from all sin (Ephesians 1:7).  The blood of Jesus alone is able to wash us from dead works (Hebrews 9:14) that we might serve the living God.  We must be born again (John 3:5; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3).  This happens by the grace of God alone.  We cannot earn salvation.  We cannot add to the work of Christ for saving us.  We must look by faith to Him alone to save us (John 6:29).

God saves us by His grace.  We the Lord saves us from sin, He transforms us completely (2 Corinthians 5:17).  This is why Jesus described this as the new birth.  We are born from above.  The Spirit of God comes into us and He makes us alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5).  The Lord washes away our sins and forgives us completely (Hebrews 8:12).  The Holy Spirit now empowers toward holiness.  We are holy in Christ but are also being made holy by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-17; Hebrews 10:10, 14).  We are complete in Christ (Colossians 3:1-4).  But this doesn’t mean that we are not being sanctified.  We are.  The Holy Spirit is helping us to be more like Christ.  He is taking us from being sinful enemies of God to being children of the King.  Good works flow from this relationship with Christ.  In Colossians, for example, Paul the Apostle lays our how Christ transform us.  He shows how we flee from sinning and toward godliness and holiness in all that we do (Colossians 3:5-17).  Paul shows us that our relationships are transformed because of the gospel (Colossians 3:18-4:1).  The gospel makes me new in Christ and I am able to obey the Lord because of the gospel.  The gospel is my motivation for good works.

This should flow forth in my evangelism as well.  The gospel is my foundation and authority.  I preach the gospel because of the Word of God and its truth.  I can proclaim that Jesus will save sinners because His Word clearly says that He will (Romans 10:13).  I can proclaim repentance because the Bible calls people to repentance (Acts 17:30-31; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10).  I can proclaim the wrath of God against sin because the Bible clearly teaches His wrath against sin (Romans 1:18-32).  I can preach against lawlessness because the Bible calls sin lawlessness (1 John 3:4).  I can call sinners to repent of their sins because they have sinned against the law of God (Romans 3:19-20; 1 Timothy 1:8-11).

Now good works toward sinners flows from the gospel.  The gospel is the first good work they need to hear and see.  I come to the lost sinner with love for them and compassion on them because the Bible calls me to do this (Titus 3:1-7).  Sinners are bound in their sins because they are blinded by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).  Sinners must hear the gospel and the Spirit of God must open their hearts to the gospel (Acts 16:14-15).  I can build them a house.  I can buy them groceries.  I can give them a book full of testimonies from other disciples.  But ultimately, I have failed that sinner if I don’t preach the gospel to them.  How can I say I love God yet ignore my fellow human being created in God’s image and deny them the gospel (1 John 3:16-18)? The gospel saves and I must preach to the lost the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:16).

The bottom line is this: good works flow from salvation.  Good works cannot earn salvation nor secure our salvation.  Jesus died to save us from our sins which brings on us God’s just wrath but the Son of God bore our sins on the cross and we are saved from the wrath of God in Him (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  Good works then flow from our salvation (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14-26).  Part of good works is the preaching of the gospel and this is the greatest way we can love sinners and that is to preach to them.  Sinners are going to hell without Christ and we must preach the gospel to warn them of the wrath to come.  We must preach the truth that Christ came to save sinners (Luke 19:10) and He will save sinners by His grace (John 6:37).  The Holy Spirit will empower us to preach the gospel (Acts 1:8) and He will help us to reach the lost.  The Holy Spirit opens sinners hearts for the gospel (John 6:44: 16:8-11).  I pray that I would be found faithful in preaching the gospel to sinners of whom I am chief (1 Timothy 1:15).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/26/2015 at 1:26 PM

When We Think About Open Air Preaching

There are many thoughts that may run through a person’s mind when I say, “open air preaching.”  Some contend that this is not for today, that our society is beyond wanting to hear preaching (which means “raised voice”).  Others feel that we should keep religion a private matter, that the church should be the place someone should go to hear preaching and the church should not go out to preach in the streets.  Some contend that open air preaching pushes people away from Christ instead of toward Him (a point I have blogged on before).  Others feel that we should do more “helps” instead of preaching in order to show people the love of God.

However, I think a simple way to look at open air preaching is not to imagine the crazy man screaming at folks who happen to walk by nor should we envision a man fighting the crowds as he screams about the sins of the society but we should view evangelism as the biblical mandate to simply preach Christ as Lord (2 Corinthians 4:5).  The Bible is clear that we are to be witnesses for Christ (Matthew 28:19) and contrary to some views, we are to actually open our mouths and share the gospel with the lost (Romans 10:14-17).  The gospel is communicated (Acts 1:8; 5:20; 8:4; etc.).  Paul is clear in 1 Corinthians 1:21 that God is faithful to save people though the foolishness of preaching.  This doesn’t mean that we must be foolish in our preaching but rather the gospel itself will seem foolish to our hearers apart from the work of the Spirit to open their ears to the truth (1 Corinthians 2:14)

So when we consider open air preaching let us consider two things.  First, the gospel must be communicated.  So is the gospel being communicated?  In some cases, open air preaching is not preaching the gospel but merely agitating the crowds.  The gospel is not “God hates ______” but rather the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  Secondly, the gospel calls people to repentance.  This is clear in the words of Jesus in Mark 1:15; Luke 13:5; 24:47.  The Apostles preached repentance in Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 17:30; 20:21.  Repentance is not merely saying “I’m sorry” for my sins but a complete change of mind and heart toward God.  True repentance requires the work of the Spirit (2 Timothy 2:25).

I have heard both the crazy open air preachers who seem to just want to make the crowds mad and then proclaim they are being persecuted when the crowds reject them.  Yet I have seen true open air preaching where the gospel is preached and yes people get angry because the gospel is offensive (1 Corinthians 1:18).  Our jobs must be to proclaim Christ.  I don’t mind if a person is not an open air preacher so long as they preach Christ.  Do you preach Christ when you feed the poor?  Do you preach Christ when you give money to someone?  Do you preach Christ when you build a person a shelter?  The gospel must be heard to be believed.  I don’t doubt good works open the door for this but preach Christ and allow the gospel to save sinners.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/28/2014 at 11:40 AM

Testimonies Change, The Gospel Remains the Same

When teaching people how to share the gospel with the lost, I have noticed that there is often an emphasis placed on personal testimonies for sharing Christ with the lost (or unchurched seems to be the preferred term despite it not being in the Bible at all).  Testimonies are often seen as less offensive, full of hope, often come down on a practical level, and leave the “unchurched” wondering about this Man called Jesus.  While I am not 100% opposed to testimonies when witnessing with the lost (Paul used his testimony after all in Acts 26:12-18), we must be clear in our gospel presentation and must remember that God saves sinners (sorry, I mean the unchurched) by His own power and every person comes to Christ by His grace and His grace alone (John 6:44). Every person then will have a different testimony of God’s saving grace.  My testimony is not like yours but the gospel I was saved by remains forever the same (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

My advice then is to share your testimony but don’t neglect the gospel.  I fear that people won’t to share their testimony because they don’t really know the gospel.  In fact, I have encountered “former” Christians who could share with you both their testimony of how they came to Christ and now their testimony of why they don’t believe in Christ.  Testimonies come and go.  Testimonies often change.  People will add to their testimony or take away from it depending on the situation.  The gospel does not change.  The gospel must be our focus.

The fact remains that every person we share Christ with is lost.  They are not unchurched.  In fact, they hate God (Romans 1:18-19).  People are not seeking after truth.  They hate the truth (Romans 1:25).  People love their sins and they especially love themselves (Romans 1:21-23).  They don’t want the God of the Bible.  They want their own gods.  They want a moral therapeutic God who will solve their problems, heal all their diseases, meet all their needs, and bless their socks off.  They don’t want a holy God who is wrathful against sin (Psalm 7:11 NKJV).  They don’t want a holy God who judges sinners (Romans 2:7-10; Revelation 20:11-15).  They don’t want a holy God who calls out to us to repent and turn from our wicked ways (Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9).  They want a loving God, a soft God, a God who will not judge them.  They want to live in their sins while claiming heaven (Matthew 1:21) but they are in error about God’s holy character (Romans 6:23) and His call to perfection (Matthew 5:48).

We must preach the holy wrath of God against sin.  We must open our Bibles and preach the law of God on sin (Romans 7:7).  We must warn sinners that those who break God’s law will be judged by that very law (James 2:10-13).  We must show sinners that the moral law exposes their guilt before God (Galatians 3:23-24).  The law shows us our guilt and the gospel shows us the mercy of God in the giving of His Son for our sins.  Without the preaching of the law, the sinner does not see their desperate need for salvation.  The law prepares the heart of the sinner to see the grace of God.  When the sinner sees their sinfulness before a holy God (1 John 3:4), the beauty of the cross shines forth and the gospel becomes precious to the sinner.

Testimonies don’t always do all that.  Again, I don’t have an issue with sharing with a sinner how I came to Christ.  In reality, He found me (2 Timothy 1:9).  The Bible says that the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  The great Shepherd goes after His sheep (Luke 15:1-7).  The Holy Spirit opens the sinner’s eyes to the gospel and reveals our need for salvation (John 16:8-11).  The Spirit does this through the preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:14-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).  While testimonies can be good to show the goodness of the Lord in saving us, the gospel is what saves (Romans 1:16-17).

One final note.  In Revelation 12:11 we read that the saints overcome the enemy by the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb.  Both go hand in hand.  To merely share your testimony is not enough.  We must preach the blood of the Lamb!  Without the blood of Jesus, none can be saved (Acts 4:12; Hebrews 9:22, 27-28).  The blood of Jesus alone cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).  The blood of Jesus alone is what enables us to stand before a holy God (Romans 5:8-9).  We must preach the shed blood of Jesus to the lost sinner.  It is by the blood of Jesus that I am holy before God (Hebrews 10:10).

May we preach both our testimony and the truth of the gospel to the lost (that would be unchurched for some of you).

Disarming Arguments Against Evangelism (Part 2)

This is part of a series of posts on this subject.  You can find the first post here.

Does it work?  This is the question that I often hear from pragmatic leaders in churches.  They want to know if the evangelism method I aspire works.  In other words, does it produce numbers?  Does it get people coming to my church?  Will my money increase?  Well they don’t ask this but this is the underlining motive I fear.  Numbers, sadly, are equated with success.  If your church draws large crowds, you must be doing something right.  In our day, churches do not revolve around doctrine but around methodology.  I know of Pentecostal churches that were planted and based off Reformed Calvinistic models and yet because the Reformed church has had success, doctrine is not an issue.  I know of other church leaders willing to travel to listen to T.D. Jakes or Creflo Dollar since they have large success and no one questions their faulty theology simply because of numbers.

Sadly, I also have had people bash certain forms of evangelism because, to them, “it doesn’t work.”  Take open air preaching.  I enjoy open air preaching.  I am nervous when I do it.  I fear more than anything that my words may not glorify God.  I want to honor Christ when I preach to the masses.  One brother was asked how many people had he led to Christ preaching in the open air and his response was great, “All of them.  I always lead people to Christ by exalting Him as Lord and Savior.”  Great answer.  True open air preaching should be focused on exalting Christ and lifting up the wonderful salvation that God has given to us in His Son.  In Acts 5, the angel gave instructions to the Apostles what to preach in verse 20.  This led to gospel conversations in verse 25.  Open air preaching should point people to Christ and hopefully produce one-on-one gospel conversations that could lead to someone repenting of their sins.

Yet how often do people criticize open air preaching!  Sure I have seen the “anger preachers” preaching in the open air.  They attack sinners by name and often will point out things from afar.  I know of one brother in the Lord who had longer hair.  He truly loved the Lord Jesus and was seeking Him.  While walking across a university campus he heard someone yelling, “Hey hippie, cut your hair you sinner.”  He turned to see an angry open air preacher pointing at him.  When he responded, “I love the Lord Jesus brother.”  The man replied that no true Christian man would have hair like a woman and proceeded on with his “sermon.”  This bothered my friend much that this man had judged him merely by what he saw and not by his heart.

The faithful open air preacher should preach both law and grace.  Ray Comfort teaches that we should preach “law to the proud, grace to the humble.”  The law of the Lord brings conviction of sin (Romans 7:7) and the law also humbles the proud and self-righteous (Romans 3:19-20).  Jesus used the law to humble the rich man in Luke 18:18-24.  Jesus used the law on the woman at the well in John 4:16-18.  Yet Paul used grace in Acts 16:30-34 with the Philippian jailer.  We should allow the Spirit of God to help us discern where people are when witnessing to them.  It is actually easy to see who is proud and who is humble when you begin witnessing to someone.

My point in all this is not to simply lift up open air preaching.  It is just one method.  The disciple of Christ can have various methods in evangelism but don’t make excuses for not sharing your faith.  Don’t say in your heart, “Well, I don’t like that so I won’t do that.”  Your pride may keep you from sharing your faith at all.  Certainly, there are methods I don’t like.  That doesn’t keep me from sharing my faith.  I want to obey Christ as Lord (John 14:15) and He said to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19).  The heart of God is for the lost (John 3:16).  That should be our hearts as well (Romans 10:1).  We are called to imitate Christ (1 John 2:6) who said He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  That should be our heart as well.  Whether you pass out tracts, hold up a cross at a busy intersection, preach in the open air, one-on-one witnessing, doing good works for people to preach the gospel to them, etc. we all should be preaching the gospel to the lost.  Any form of evangelism that doesn’t preach the gospel is not evangelism!  The copout for the American church seems to be either friendship evangelism (in which people never share the gospel) or the social gospel where they feed the poor, clothe people, build houses, etc. but never share the truth of the cross.  How tragic that people will die and go to hell while Christians never bothered to share the truth of the gospel with them!  How tragic that people will go to hell who we helped but didn’t really help!

My earnest prayer to God is that the Church would exalt the Lord Jesus in our evangelism.  The focus should not be numbers.  The focus should be on discipleship (Matthew 28:20; Acts 2:41-42).  Don’t make excuses for not sharing your faith.  Don’t be lazy.  Don’t be full of self-righteousness and pride.  Go out and share the gospel with a lost sinner.  Remember the words of Paul the Apostle in Romans 10:14-17.  How can your lost sinful neighbors, co-workers, family members, etc. ever know the gospel if they don’t hear the gospel?  Don’t be lazy thinking that they will hear from TV or from the radio.  Be bold and share your faith.

May the kingdom of God come (Matthew 6:10) and may we all be fishers of men (Matthew 4:19)!

Let the Gospel Upset People, Not Us

There is no denying that the gospel makes people upset.  I have watched it with my own eyes as I explained the gospel to a lost person and then they turn into this ugly, ranting, mean-spirited person who hates God and hates the gospel.  Up until I explained the law of God, they were pretty nice to me and were cordial but when I begin to explain the justice of God Almighty in pouring out His wrath on humans who violate His just laws, it was here they turned on me.  People hate the gospel and more than that, they hate the God of the Bible (Romans 1:18-19).

With this in mind, I pray that we who preach the gospel to the lost would remember that people can get upset with the gospel or with God but let it be because of the truth of the gospel and not us that make them mad.  In other words, yelling a person or simply calling them names is not befitting for the disciple.  I seek to be a 2 Timothy 2:24-26 model when it comes to evangelism.  2 Timothy 2:24-26 reads (NIV):

24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Notice verse 25.  Opponents are to be gently instructed.  This is not yelling at them.  Pointing a finger at them.  Accusing them.  This is preaching the gospel to the them in grace and love.  1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV) expounds:

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 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, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Notice that Peter the Apostle says that we are to give our answer for the gospel with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.  And he adds that people are to see our good behavior in Christ.  I pray that the crowds who hear us preach in the open air would see our good behavior in Christ as we deal with mockers.  I pray that those whom we give out tracts to would see our gentleness and respect.  I pray that those who are offended would be offended at the gospel and not at us.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:21 that God saves people through the folly of what we preach.  Let that be true.  May it not that people see us as the folly by our actions.  They may think the gospel foolish and they may think we are foolish for preaching, handing out tracts, standing with a cross, etc. but let it be the gospel that they find foolish and perhaps our actions for the gospel but not our own foolishness in our yelling, hurling insults, etc.

I write this because I rejoice that so many people are now rising up to preach the gospel in the open air.  There are more street preachers today than ever.  More people are going out to hand out tracts.  I rejoice that there are many people who are becoming passionate to share the gospel with the lost.  But let it be that our hearts are broken for the lost (Romans 10:1) and that our burden comes from the Lord (Matthew 9:37-38).  Let it not be our pride that drives us out to preach.  Let it not be our own self-righteousness that drives us out to preach.  Let us plead with the lost through tears.  Let us preach the gospel and leave the results to the Lord.  Let us exalt Christ and not ourselves in our preaching and pleading (2 Corinthians 4:5).  Oh may people leave our preaching angry at God or angry at the gospel but let them not take offense because of our actions toward them!  Let us preach the gospel remembering that we too once were just as lost, just as dead in our sins, just as blinded as they are now (2 Corinthians 4:4; Titus 3:1-3).  It was the mercy of God that saved us (Ephesians 2:4).  Take no pride in your salvation but humble yourself before the Lord (Romans 11:20-22).  Remember your chains that He broke off.  Don’t allow pride to rob you of exalting Christ even in the midst of harsh opposition to the gospel (1 Peter 4:12-19).

Common Sense Evangelism Tips

Here are a few common sense evangelism tips I have gleamed over the years.  I’m sure that we all who love Jesus and preach Him to the lost could add many more to this short list.

  1. Preach Christ above all other things. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
  2. Don’t get into vein arguments over points that do not matter (Bible translations, baptism issues, theological points not necessary for salvation).  2 Timothy 2:24-25.
  3. Use the Law to reveal the sinner’s sin (Romans 7:7) but don’t spend all your time on the Law without pointing sinners to the truth of justification by faith (Galatians 3:24).
  4. Keep breath mints nearby.  No one likes smelly breath especially when you are giving someone the eternal truth of God.
  5. Don’t focus on things that don’t matter in this life such as sports teams, politics, social ills.  Make the gospel the focus.  Let the gospel deal with the sinner’s sin.  That is what matters.
  6. Depend on the Holy Spirit and not your own wisdom (John 16:8-11).  The Bible promises us that the Spirit will empower us (Acts 1:8) to be effective witnesses for Christ.
  7. Trust God to bring forth the fruit of our evangelism (1 Corinthians 3:6-9).
  8. Pray!  1 Timothy 2:1-6.
  9. Fill your witnessing with Scripture.  Scripture brings conversion (Psalm 19:7 NKJV).  Scripture is the supernatural revelation of God that He uses to reveal His Son to the lost (John 20:31) and Isaiah 55:11 promises that God’s Word will bring forth the results He desires.  Furthermore, Scripture brings forth faith (Romans 10:17).  Scripture is the disciple’s only weapon (Ephesians 6:17).
  10. Don’t answer fools with their own foolishness (Proverbs 26:4).
  11. Recognize that people, by nature, do not want God (Romans 3:10-18).  People will naturally reject God and His reign over us.  We must preach the gospel to them despite their rebellion (Romans 1:16-17).
  12. When I take people through the Ten Commandments, I admit that I too have violated these laws.  Admit our sins.  Admit that we too need Christ both before our salvation and even now (John 15:1-11).  I have no trouble admitting to sinners that I still need Christ but I am walking in repentance (1 John 2:1-2).
  13. People often will try to change the subject when they either don’t have an answer for us or they are under conviction.  Don’t give in to this tactic.  Keep the focus on the gospel and on the sinner’s guilt before God.  Don’t let the person try to get you to explain the Trinity or why God didn’t heal their grandmother.  Focus on Christ and His glory.
  14. When dealing with the self-righteous, use the Law.  Ray Comfort calls this “grace to the humble, law to the proud.”  The law shuts people’s self-righteous mouths (Romans 3:19-20).
  15.  Lastly, no two people are the same.  We must depend on the Spirit to guide us when witnessing just as He did the disciples in the book of Acts (Acts 8:29).  I have had witnessing encounters with people that went great while others did not go great.  We must simply let God lead us and guide us.  He is faithful to do this for His passion is for souls (Matthew 28:19).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/15/2014 at 10:57 AM

Confrontational Evangelism Doesn’t Work

The title of this post is by far the most complaints I have heard regarding confrontational evangelism.  Those who believe that we must “earn” the right to be heard by giving someone a cup of water, offering aid, food, etc. before we can communicate the gospel believe that confrontational evangelism turns people away from Christ rather than to Him.  While many would acknowledge that open air preaching, gospel tracts, and one-on-one evangelism have been used by God in the past, we now live in a new era where people must know how much you love before they will listen to you.  Therefore, entire ministries are dedicated to helping people first before ever telling them the gospel.  Entire churches are designed with the “seeker” in mind so that the “seeker” feels comfortable, they know that you care about them, and they are not scared out of their minds by your language or your gospel.

The reality is that sinners need the gospel.  I believe we can agree on this.  Other than the hyper-Calvinist who holds that “duty-faith” is not biblical, most disciples of Jesus do believe that sinners need the gospel.  My concern is not about whether you reject confrontational evangelism but my concern is the content of the gospel.  Are sinners hearing the gospel from you?  Are you showing them biblically the true God who is holy?  Are you exalting Christ and focusing upon Him or is the “seeker” your focus?  The gospel is first and foremost about God.  It is not about us.  Humans bring one thing to the gospel message: our sin.  The gospel is focused on Christ and how He turns away the just wrath of an offended God.  If your gospel does not deal with the sins that have caused this enmity between God and mankind, your gospel is not a saving gospel.

Now I am all for helping people.  Scripture says that we should do good to all (Galatians 6:10).  Scripture is clear in Romans 12:19-21 that we are to do good even to our enemies and allow God to judge them in His time.  Galatians 2:10 says that we are to help the poor as did the Lord Jesus in Matthew 6:2-4.  I am for helping others.  My concern is that we draw the line there and don’t bother dealing with what eternally matters and that is the condition of people’s souls before God.  Each person we meet today will face Almighty God.  Each person we see driving in their cars, working their jobs, running in the park, watching a ball game, etc. will die and face eternity (Hebrews 9:27).  My concern is that they hear the gospel.  Do they know the truth?  Have they heard of God’s wrath against their sins and that their only hope is the cross?  Have the people I met today heard the truth of Jesus Christ and His saving work?

This is the heart of my post.  I want sinners to hear the gospel and be saved.  Do good to them and for them but speak the truth to them (Romans 10:14-17).  Tell them of the judgment to come (John 16:8-11).  Warn them of hell (Matthew 25:46). Speak to them of God’s grace given to us in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:8-9).  Use the Law of God to show them their sins before God (1 Timothy 1:8-11).  But by all means, speak to the sinners about the Lord Jesus who had mercy upon us and saved us (Titus 3:1-7).

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