A highlight from Biblical Motivation for Evangelism
Well, as Albert already announced, as we give our attention to the study of God's Word this morning, I have been asked to do two special messages on the subject of evangelism this week and next. Today we want to talk about biblical motivations for evangelism, and next week we want to talk about how to pray evangelistically. I know that these are subjects that we have covered many times in the past, but I think it's still very relevant for us to revisit it. If you've been here for very much time at all, you know that we do an evangelism campaign in the fall and in the spring, and we try to shake it up a little bit as far as differences and details specific as to what we encourage you to do and ways we give you to participate in the event, et cetera, but it might interest you to know, am I not able to be heard? No, we're good, okay. So it might interest you to know that we don't really do this just for the sake of the campaign. In fact, our main focus in doing an evangelism campaign every spring and every fall is not because those are the two times a year that we are trying to do evangelism, we do two corporate exercises a year in order to help to both equip all of us and to remind each of us, as Albert pointed out at the beginning, that this is something we should be doing all the time. And that's why sometimes we go knocking on doors, sometimes we go to a park, sometimes we go to the laundromat, sometimes we have you invite friends and neighbors, coworkers, et cetera, and I would just say two things. Number one, with regard to Dan, wherever he went, so just so we're clear, no, Albert did not use my time. He used your time with his long announcement today, but no, I'm just kidding, well, not totally, but anyways. And then secondly, I would just add to what Albert said, which is I'd encourage you to start looking around and the people that maybe not are next door to you, nor down the street from you, but your family, your extended family, your coworkers, your friends, the people you meet at, I don't know, the gym, the bridge club or in your underwater BV stacking hobby group or whatever it is, there's got to be somebody that does not know Christ that you encounter and that you know and that you haven't shared the gospel with or haven't broached the subject of their eternal standing before God in a long time. And that's the person that you just thought of right now that I want you to have in your heart and your mind as we go through a study of a string of texts this morning and talk about reasons why we ought to be motivated to evangelism. You know, we've covered these topics in the past, but the one that we're addressing today is still very, very relevant because the first of all, evangelism is scary and it could cost you something. I mean, it really is. Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ from the time that I first came to saving faith in Jesus Christ did not cost me a promotion at work, but it did change the way that people looked at me and related with me at work. Now I'm paid to be good. In those days, I was good for nothing. And most of you today are in the good for nothing category, right? That makes you number one, a better witness for Christ in many ways, because you're not the people that get discounted by most of the world as being Christians and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ because you're paid to do it. You're doing it because not that I'm not doing it because I really want to. So if you didn't pay me, I'd still be here. But if if you if you want from a world's perspective, OK, at the end of the day, your testimony, you may think that if I could just get them to sit down and talk to Pastor Brian, then then maybe they get saved. You know something? Your testimony to them, to the people that you know, to the people that you interact with and relate to every day, every week, every month, every year, you have a more credible testimony with them than I do. I'm somebody they don't know. You're somebody they do know. However, if you start to share the gospel with somebody at work, somebody that works across the hall from you, somebody that you encounter that in a regular basis that cleans your teeth, that does your eye exams, that comes over and does your lawn or whatever, you start to share the gospel with them. And guess what? Yeah, they're going to look at your life different. And yes, it is scary to be more accountable. It is. In a sense, I could just say welcome to my life. And frankly, whether you realize it or not, as a Christian, that is your life. That absolutely is your life. And and so one of the reasons we need to be motivated for this is because it is scary and it could cost you something to stand and point people to Christ and stand up and be publicly identified with Jesus Christ. Not just on the day of your baptism, not just on Sunday when you're together with a bunch of us that are all in that same boat together. But as you live your life through your daily encounters, living for Christ and being recognized as one of his. OK, yeah, that can be scary, but that's the call of Christ, is it not? Is that not what Jesus called the disciples to from the very beginning? I don't just mean Peter, James, John and rest, I mean everybody. Secondly, it's good to be purposely motivated to evangelism and be reminded of this because it does require some degree of preparation. One of the reasons why I think some people are afraid to start to broach the subject is because they know they don't know their Bible well enough to answer all the questions and objections, can I just share with you a little secret? You know why it seems like I know most of the answers to the questions and even can? I mean, Michael, tell you this in class I go, that's a good question. You know what a better question would be and the question you ought to be asking is you want to know why I know that because for the last 30 plus years, that's what I've been doing. That's what I've been doing, and it didn't start when I went to seminary and it didn't start when I became a pastor. It didn't start when I started as a professor. It didn't start in the last week, last month, last year. It started when I first came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. I just started reading my Bible. I started purposely trying to learn my Bible and trying to obey it principle by principle, precept upon precept, book by book, chapter by chapter. And you know something? I mean, you start sharing the gospel with somebody if you can just be a humble servant of Christ and I sit down. Maybe I choose Dave. I sit down and I share the gospel with Dave and Dave goes, what about this? Instead of going, Oh no, Oh no, I don't know Dave's answer to Dave's question. I just go, Dave, that's a really good question. I know the Bible has an answer to it. I'm going to find that answer out and how about I get back to you? Or Ruben asks another question and it seems like a silly question, but all of a sudden I start thinking about it. Go, Oh, I don't know about that and it starts to shake my faith. Ever felt uncomfortable when an unbeliever asks a question that seems to undermine a fundamental faith and you're like, why did I even get into this conversation? I'm no good at this evangelism thing. I'm not going to do it. Can I make you? I'll make you a promise. When your faith gets shaken like that, when you actually study the scripture, you know you'll find. You'll find that God does have an answer. There is an answer. It's right there in the scriptures. You can work through it and find it and all of a sudden, after you had your faith challenged in a way, your faith will be stronger as a result of having been challenged there and found the answer. I know I've done it many, many, many, many, many times. Now, at this point, when you ask me something out in left field and I go, I had a student ask me this week. He's also pastoring. He says, hey, Dr Murphy, can I have a minute? Sure, and so we sit down. He says, this is what this is. Somebody in the church. They're asking about this, and it's some really far off thing in eschatology. He says, how would you answer that? I said, well, first of all, how? How are you going to answer it? He says, well, this is what I'm thinking so far, but I said, well, that's pretty good. I'll tell you this. No, I've never heard that question before, but I do know fundamentally the answer is always going to be going through this way, and this is what the scripture does say. And then as far as yours goes, go do your homework and come back and tell me what you learned and I'll. And I'll go chase it afterwards. You know something? You can't be shaken. Does the do you believe the Bible is true? Do you believe that it has everything pertaining to life and godliness in it like it claims? OK, then then they live and act like it. And don't be afraid to share the gospel with people who might ask questions that you don't know the answer to and don't use your your unfaithfulness to really spend time in scripture and pursue understanding of scripture. You want to know one of the things that have been a free motivation for me for years and years and years to keep studying the scripture is the fact that I committed myself to show up every Sunday and preach and teach to you. That's a free motivation. I mean, it is Sunday comes about the same time every week. Have you noticed now I get a break in the fall of an hour once. OK, and then I lose that hour I gained in the spring. OK, other than that, Sunday comes about the same. You want to know what my Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are full of? The sense of the impending coming of Sunday. So I just work to be ready for it. And when I study the scripture, I know there's an answer. I know there's a point. I believe it's true, and I have never found God lacking answers to any question or objection anybody has ever raised. Never. And if you have trouble finding an answer because you've sat down with somebody and tried to share the gospel with them, well, listen, that's what the elders are for. That's what we're here for. Now I can promise you, Chuck's going to be snarky with you. Dan will probably graciously give you the answer. OK, I'll give you homework and then I'll grade it after you bring it back in and say you got it right or wrong. And Albert is probably a coin toss, but you just ask and we'll help you and then you go back to your friend and you share the gospel. You go back and give the answer. OK, that's that's that's what we're that's what we're talking about. You don't have to have the gift of evangelism. You're not in the 1st century. OK, there is no functional gift of evangelism after the 1st century that was unique to the time frame of the apostles. You want to know why there were miraculous gifts given like and prophecy languages or speaking in tongues and even the sign gifts like healing and administration and teaching. You want to know why those were miraculously bestowed in the 1st century? Because they started a church from nothing. And in order to have elders in the first month of a church's existence, God had to dispense some spiritual gifts that wisdom included and insight and direct revelation from God, etc. Plus, you didn't have the New Testament written yet. So that's unique to that occasion. And you had some people were gifted with the gift of evangelism. But you know what Paul says to Timothy? He doesn't tell him to exercise the gift. He says, do the work of an evangelist. And that's what we're all called to do.