Summary: The Church must be personally and individually involved in soul winning and not leave evangelism to a professional "clergy"
II. SO SEND I YOU
Dr. Russell Tardo
Scripture Reference: Luke 14:15-24.
In this passage of scripture, Jesus is speaking of the Great Supper. Jesus had given the invitation. All the people had to do was to obey and they would be permitted to dine, however, with countless excuses, they refused the invitation. Consequently, Jesus said to take the invitation to the outcasts, the derelicts, the impoverished, the despised, the forsaken. Because the Jews refused, the invitation was given to the Gentiles, those who were considered to be beggars, despised, and unworthy. They are the ones who will gratefully accept the invitation that is offered and will sit at the Lord’s table with Him.
The Eastern custom was to have a full table. It was considered an honor to be asked to dine and by the same token, it was considered a grave insult to the host if one refused his invitation.
1Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. [Lk. 15:1-2]
Here one sees that the publicans and sinners wanted to hear what the pious Jews did not want to hear. These verses and those following show the importance of every individual. The joy over the recovery of one lost sheep has a spiritual message. For the Lord says that there is more joy in heaven over the repentance of one sinner then over 99 just persons who need no repentance. There is joy in the Good Shepherd Himself and it is this joy in Christ which makes the angels in heaven joyful also. All heaven rejoices when someone is saved.
Numerous times God’s Word reveals that evangelism is high on God’s priority list and this is something every believer knows. However, it has not been high on the list of many believers. The Great Commission has been neglected by many today. We might say we believe the Great Commission, but our actions speak louder than words and unfortunately, speak quite the contrary. If we truly believed the Great Commission, then we’d be more evangelistic.
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. [Lk. 19:10]
Christ came actively pursuing and saving those with whom He came in contact, i.e., publicans and sinners.
As my Father has sent me, so send I you. [Jo. 20:21]
Thus the responsibility for soul winning was passed along to believers where it now rests. Believers are to go out and compel them to come in. The same Great Commission is found in Matthew 28, Luke 24 and Mark 16 and all those passages state that the responsibility to preach the gospel to every creature is the believers. Believers are commissioned to testify of Him.
Witnessing is not something we have to pray about regarding God’s will in the matter. His will on the subject is clear as it has been set forth in the Great Commission. Witnessing should be automatic. What we has to pray for is an "open door" and the only time a believer should not witness is when he is given a direct word not to.
And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also. [Acts 17:6]
In this account the Jews had gotten into quite an uproar because of the preaching of the apostles. The Lord’s apostles had taken the Great Commission so seriously that they had turned the world upside down. Now 20 centuries later, with all our modern technology, i.e., television, satellites, the printed page, the inter-net, etc., believers have not come close to doing what the 120 did with the Great Commission. In this city (New Orleans) alone, there are over 800 Protestant churches and this does not include the many Catholic churches and cults, and they have not made even a small dent in this great city. It pales in comparison to what was done with only 120 faithful witnesses.
III. A Soulwinner’s Checklist
A. Contrasting the Church of the First Century and the Church Today.
Two significant things contributed to the success of the church of Acts and are the reason for the failure of the church today:
1. The Acts church had a sense of urgency, a tremendous sense of urgency.
2. The Acts church had a sense of personal responsibility. They practiced "every believer" evangelism. They didn’t leave the job to the clergy.
The population of the world today is in excess of five billion and although new churches are opening their doors every day, others are falling away. The rate of population increases at a faster rate than the population of new churches. In the meantime, the religion of Islam is growing by leaps and bounds.