Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Friendship Evangelism

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

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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