Summary: There are more people alive today on earth, than have ever died in the history of the world. Yet, there are five undisputable truths for effective evangelism. Will you “arise and go?”
James O. Davis is the founder and president of Second Billion (TM). You are invited to learn more about Second Billion by visiting www.billion.tv.
GRACE FOR EVERY RACE
If you are not a lover of winning the lost, then you probably have not been won by the Lord. God had only one Son and He was a foreign missionary. Jesus left a holy place to come to a hellish place; He left a blessed place to come to a broken place; He left a sanctified place to come to a sinful place; He left his crown in heaven to be lifted up on a cross on a Calvary’s hill.
Jesus died the way He lived. In the Gospel narratives, Jesus lived with sinners and saints. On Calvary, He hung between two thieves. The one on the right received Him and the one on the left rejected Him. Jesus became the “link” between those who choose righteousness and those who choose unrighteousness. The cross became the greatest moral intersection of all time. It is at the cross where people turn right to heaven or left to hell. The light turned green at the cross for everyone to have the opportunity to go to heaven and to live forever.
As Jesus Christ was about to ascend to heaven, He pronounced the Great Commission
(Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16: 15-18). He commissioned His disciples to evangelize the whole world. They were not called upon to make decisions, but disciples. Their accomplishments were not to be measured by “counting,” but by “conversions.” In the first century, the New Testament Church evangelized their world for Christ.
In chapters eight through ten of the Book of Acts, the Great Commission is completed by the early Church. These three chapters form a unit on evangelism. They are a trilogy in missiology. In these chapters, the theme is grace for every race. If the contemporary Church is to evangelize the world today, then there are five undisputable truths that must be acknowledged and applied in our evangelism efforts.
First, we must acknowledge there is a universal sinner. In chapters eight through ten of the Book of Acts, there were three men who had the same core problem in their lives. They were from different places and distinct races. The Ethiopian eunuch was from Africa. Saul was from Tarsus in Palestine. Cornelius was an Italian from Caesarea. Their common problem was their human depravity or sinful nature.
Every person is born in sin and is therefore a sinner. For example, people are not thieves because they steal. They steal because they are thieves. A corrupted character is the core of the problem in a person’s life. The root of the problem is not a racist society, lack of education, financial insecurity, glandular dysfunction, psychic disorder, but the sinful nature of people. This is basic to effective evangelism. Our foundation must precede our function in evangelism. It is grace for every race.
Second, we must realize that there is an universal seeker. In these chapters, the Ethiopian, Saul, and Cornelius wanted to know the “truth.” They were looking for truth in three different ways. The Ethiopian read the Scriptures (Acts 8: 28-31). Saul resisted the Savior (Acts 9:4-5). Cornelius reached out in supplication (Acts 10:2).
People are looking for truth and meaning to life in different ways today. Many are turning to vices instead of virtues and to cults instead of Christ. The Gospel must be communicated in such a manner so they can comprehend the elements of salvation and enter into eternal life. Even though there is anger, resentment, and hostility toward the gospel like Saul of Tarsus on the surface of people’s lives; we must remember that if God can save us, then He can save anybody. God can take the world’s worst sinner like Saul and turn him into the world’s greatest Christian. It is grace for every race.
Third, we must be convinced that there is a universal Savior. In chapters eight through ten of the Book of Acts, Phillip, Ananias, and Peter preached Jesus Christ to the Ethiopian, Saul, and Cornelius, respectively (8:35; 9:5; 10:36). Jesus is the central theme of evangelism. Methods of presentation may need to change, but the message stays the same forever. There are many ways to happiness, but only one way to holiness. Holiness is not the way to Christ, but Christ is the way to holiness. Christ changes one’s character. People need to understand that they are not saved through “works” through “faith” in Christ, but by faith in Christ that works! It is grace for every race.
Fourth, we must believe in a universal salvation. When we share Christ through personal soul winning, or in local church crusades, people are going to experience salvation. In the Book of Acts, the Ethiopian, Saul, and Cornelius experienced salvation through Jesus Christ (8: 37; 9:6; 10:44). Even though they were in different places and from distinct races, God’s grace changed their lives forever.