Summary: Jesus said Go, we have a Presence, a Proclamation and his Power in evangelsim. you can also listen at www.preaching.co.nr
“JESUS SAID” we know, what follows this grammatical necessity are the most powerful life changing words ever spoken in the history of mankind.
If you remember, I pointed out last time that Jesus said, he sends the Holy Spirit to us to help us and then Jesus sends us out.
Sometimes we don’t like what Jesus has said, particularly when it comes to evangelism, reaching out, preaching the gospel, witnessing whatever we call it most Christians find it hard to do. (John 6:66)
Jesus’ approach to evangelism is very simple Jesus said, “Go” That’s it, simple, Just Go. (Mark 16:15)
If Jesus had not said “Go” we would not be here today, the willingness of the early Christians to tell other people the Gospel has resulted in a third of today’s world population of 6 billion people professing to be Christian.
It a simple equation, ‘we go we grow, we don’t go we don’t grow.’
Why is the church not growing as fast as Islam who has today1.9 billion people professing to be Muslim?
Is the church’s growth stunted because of a lack of love, a lack of unity, a lack of truth, or maybe a lack of prayer? These are all problems the early church had while they were rapidly growing! (Rom 16:17, 1Cor 1:10, 3:1, 2Cor 12:10, 1Tim 5:13, 3John 1:10)
Maybe the church is not growing because we need to give more; we need to get an Evangelist to come, or may be we need to do an Evangelism training course!
I think I have discovered the answer to why the church is not growing. “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. " Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." Matthew 9:36-38
The Church and the Holy Spirit, who has already been sent to us are the answer to Church growth. (Act 1:8) The reality is many Christians want the Holy Spirit to do Evangelism without their personal involvement. The problem with leaving it all up to the Holy Spirit is it is unbiblical, as we have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2Cor 5:18-19).
Unfortunately I feel for too long the motivation to do evangelism has been condemnation or manipulation by a Pastor who wants his church to grow and I perhaps have been guilty of that at times.
The motive for church growth should simply be LOVE. Jesus motive for wanting a harvest of souls can be seen in the following statement; “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matt 9:36) Jesus’ motive was not to sell a book or have a bigger church it was the distressed and dispirited people around him whom he longed to shepherd.
I want to talk about three aspects of evangelism today; Our Presence, Our Proclamation and His Power.
1. Our presence; a statement that floated around the church for a while and we sometimes still hear, “Would the community/town miss the church if it was gone tomorrow?” Often the answer has been “Not Much” maybe those who come to the children’s and youth activities or parents and toddlers, so maybe 250 people would miss our community action projects.
When that question is asked we immediately think of our physical activities and forget about the importance of our spiritual presence in this town.
Jesus said “You are the light of the world and the salt of the earth” Jesus is talking about you and I, the Church (Matt 5:3, 14)
While the church is present the gates of Hades cannot prevail (Matt 16:18)
While the church and the Holy Spirit are present the evil lawless one, the anti-christ is held back from doing his worst in the world. “And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8)
If the church were not present who would pray for the lost, who would tell people about Jesus?
We must be careful not to be trapped by the lies of Satan, that devalue or undermine the importance of the church’s spiritual presence in this town.
2. Our proclamation; we have been entrusted with a message of hope, of healing, and help from God for a spiritually distressed world.