Summary: A healthy church is one that evangelizes. What is evangelism? Evangelism simply is the sharing of one’s faith and a communication of the message about Jesus. A healthy church is one that communicates the Gospel well.
A Healthy Church: One that Evangelizes
We have been looking at a series of messages that deal with a healthy church. This is the fifth and final message in this series. There are of course other marks of a healthy church, but I believe we have covered the essentials of what makes a healthy church.
We have seen that a healthy church is one that prays.
We have seen that a healthy church is one that worships.
We have seen that a healthy church is one that gives of itself in service and love.
We have seen that a healthy church is one that studies.
Today we will look at the last mark of a healthy church. A healthy church is one that evangelizes. What is evangelism? Evangelism simply is the sharing of one’s faith and a communication of the message about Jesus. A healthy church is one that communicates the Gospel well. Let’s look at a passage in the book of Romans that tells us this.
READ ROMANS 10:14-15
These few verses tell us volumes about sharing our faith and does it with a series of thought provoking questions and then an exclamation at the end. These four questions are what I would like to investigate today.
I. THE FIRST AND SECOND OF FOUR QUESTIONS REVEAL THE IMPORTANCE OF THE GOSPEL
These four questions in the heart of Romans 10 are a progression of thought that show us just how important the Gospel message is. The Apostle Paul has just finished telling the Roman Christians that Jesus and all that was promised through Him is available to all people. Anyone can trust in God (verse 11). Anyone can call on the name of the Lord and be saved (verse 13). This leads Paul to his first in the series of questions.
In his first question, Paul asks, “How then, can they call on the one that have not believed in?” The Gospel message that we read about in the Bible is not something made up by man. When I look at this question, I see Paul asking the Roman Christians about the source of the message. Is the message of Jesus something that is worthy to be believed or not? What is the source? If the Gospel message was cooked up by some Galilean fishermen, we would know it and it would not be worth believing. If the Gospel message was thought up by some philosopher somewhere we would know it and it would not be worth believing. If the Gospel message had not been proven true in countless lives through the millennia, we would know and it would not be worth believing. I want you to know that the Gospel message comes from God Himself. The originator of the Gospel message is the Almighty, the Creator God, and the Alpha and the Omega. It was God who sent His Son to die for us so that our sins might be paid for. The sacrifice of Jesus was God’s idea. The sacrifice of Jesus was a promise and it was fulfilled. It is from the God of the Universe that this message of Jesus comes to us. And so when we call of Him, we can believe.
In his second question, Paul asks, “And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard.” Paul is now telling us that the message of Jesus is communicated in one way. What is that way? The way that the message about Jesus has spread since the beginning is person to person.
Matthew 28:19 says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations...”.
Mark 16:15 says, “Jesus said to them, ’Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation’.”
Acts 1:8 says, “...you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 8:5 tells us that, “Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.”
Each of us as Christians is given the charge to share our faith. That is what evangelism is. Evangelism is the personal communication of the message of Jesus. People come to faith in Christ because someone shared the Gospel with them. People come to church because someone invited them. Our first two questions tell us that the message of the Gospel is a supremely important one and it is communicated person to person.
SEGMENTED ILLUSTRATION part 1... Max Anders, Jesus, Knowing Our Savior, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publ., 1995), pp. 98-100.
If you were born after 1950, you might not know the story of Ben Hur. This classic book written by a Civil War general, Lew Wallace, in 1899, was turned into a movie starring Charleton Heston, which won the Academy Award for best movie in 1959. It is a towering story of love, of suffering, of the struggle of good against evil, and finally of triumph. Judah Ben Hur, the story’s hero, grows up with his boyhood friend, Marsalla. They are ancient, Mideastern Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Judah is, of course, a Jew, and Marsalla, a Gentile. Judah is the heir of a very great and wealthy house in Jerusalem. Marsalla is a promising military man who trained in Rome as a soldier, then returned to Jerusalem as the leader of the Roman occupation forces.