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Summary: The Who, Why, What, When, Where, and How of Evangelism.

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---ILL>On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a little life-saving station. The building was primitive, and there was just one boat, but the members of the life-saving station were committed and kept a constant watch over the sea. When a ship went down, they unselfishly went out day or night to save the lost. Because so many lives were saved by that station, it became famous. Consequently, many people wanted to be associated with the station to give their time, talent, and money to support its important work. New boats were bought, new crews were recruited, a formal training session was offered. As the membership in the life-giving station grew, some of the members became unhappy that the building was so primitive and the equipment was so outdated. They wanted a better place to welcome the survivors pulled from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged and newly-decorated building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members. They met regularly, and when they did, it was apparent how they loved one another. They greeted one another, hugged each other, and shared with one another the events that had been going on in their lives. But fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions; so they hired lifeboat crews to do this for them. About this time, a large ship wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought into the life-giving station boatloads of cold, wet, dirty, sick, and half-drowned people. Some of them had black skin, and some had yellow skin. Some could speak English well, and some could hardly speak it at all. Some were first-class passengers from the ship, and some were the deck hands or servants aboard. The beautiful meeting place became a place of chaos. The plush carpets got dirty. Some of the exquisite furniture got scratched. So the property committee immediately had a shower built outside the house where the victims of shipwrecks could clean up before coming inside their beautiful new building. At the next meeting there was a rift in the membership. Most of the members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all those various kinds of people who would be shipwrecked, they could begin their own life-saving down the coast. And you know what? That’s what they did. As the years passed, however, the new station experienced the same troubled that had occurred with the old. It evolved into a place to meet regularly for fellowship, for committee meetings, and for special training sessions about their mission, but few went out to the drowning people. The drowning people were no longer put into that life-saving station. So another life-saving was founded further down the coast. History continued to repeat itself. And if you visit that seacoast today, you’ll find a number of adequate meeting places with ample parking and plush carpeting. But shipwrecks are still as frequent as ever in those waters. Now, however, most of the people drown.

It’s easy to get distracted from our purpose, and get comfortable with great fellowship, but people still need to be saved, and God has given us, as His church, the purpose of saving lives.

I invite you to open a Bible and turn to Romans 10:13-15.

Last week we launched a new series and a new focus: "Pursuing Purpose," focusing our attention on the 5 Purposes of the Church.

--We started with the purpose of Reaching Up and Connecting with God.

--In the weeks to come, we’ll look at Growing Up, Maturing in Faith; Reaching Across and Helping People; and Lifting Up and Supporting One Another.

--But today we’re looking at "Going Out, and Touching the World."

--The Purpose of Evangelism.

--Quote: Someone anonymously has said, "Any fire that does not ignite other materials will eventually go out. A church without evangelism is a contradiction of terms, just as a fire that doesn’t burn is a contradiction of terms."

<>There are numerous misunderstandings about what evangelism is, who is to be involved, and how it should be and can be done.

--It is perhaps the biggest fear of many Christians...to talk to someone one on one...because we have a wrong idea of what it’s about.

<>Today, let’s look at the Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How of Evangelism...

1) Who? -- The Who of Evangelism.

<>By whom?

--Acts 1:8 -- "but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses..."

-->Every believer! -- Every believer is to be involved.

--This was not a command to “professional clergy.”

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