Friday, October 03, 2008

10 Reminders for Faithful Evangelism

As glorious as the message of the gospel is many of us still have trouble with faithful and fervent proclamation of it. There are many explanations as to why each of us may struggle with being as faithful as we ought in this discipline; however, the scope of these posts is simply to offer ways in which to encourage more faithfulness in the area of personal evangelism.

What follows are biblical helps that aim to stimulate further evangelistic faithfulness in your life. I will cover a total of 10 over the next several days. There are a total of ten here but honestly we could look at fifty or sixty. Some are longer than others so we'll break them up as needed.

So, here we go, 10 Reminders to help you become more faithful in personal evangelism…

1. Don't forget the mandate

matt 28.18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

We sometimes forget the context of this revolutionary decree. Jesus is not in the stocks or awaiting trial, instead he is the risen King of everything. His signet ring is glaring, almost blinding, as he gives this royal decree. He is alive from the dead, the victor over death, sin and Satan. When he says he has "all authority" he means it.

But notice what his authoritative command is to do. It is a call to invade the planet with the message of his accomplishments while declaring his own sovereign rule over everything and everyone. Notice what Jesus says, "make disciples of all nations". The word translated nations is ethnos where we get our English word 'ethnic'. This mandate, quite frankly, is a call to ignore apparent social, ethnic, cultural, or demographic barriers and proclaim that this risen Jesus is in fact the only sovereign King and that he must be worshipped exclusively. Jesus' command for the reach of his gospel extends to every soul whom he has the right to declare obedience and worship from. Therefore we go.

And Jesus is not just pro-birth here but he is pro-life. He wants disciples; this is the main verb in the passage (the going is assumed…so, as you go…make disciples). That is followers, mature, growing Christians. The Great Commission is not all about the box score after folks go out and evangelize, but rather it is about bringing about the obedience of faith through the heralded word of truth. This posture of obedience starts by submitting to Christ as Lord at conversion and then proceeds to characterize the believer's life. The evangelist must not only proclaim the message of the King but also work to teach these disciples "all that I have commanded you…"

This is a high calling that we cannot overemphasize. Jesus is the sovereign ruler, he commands obedient proclamation of his supremacy to all nations and peoples, and through this heralding of his greatness we are to be teaching his followers the statutes of the King.

As an added bit of encouragement or intimidation (take it however you need it), Jesus drops the omnipresence card on his followers: "and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." This could either be indicting or encouraging.

If you are a mute Christian it stings your heart for you know that you have been silent while the King is even right there.

If you have been shaving off the pointy edges of the gospel this will also be a tough theological pill to swallow, for the King is there, even when you appear to be ashamed of those distasteful divine perfections (like holiness or judgment) and they are ignored.

If you have been faithful and you have encountered persecution, then this is truly comforting and further incentive to dig in and be faithful.

The King is in fact with us, even to the end of the age.

we'll keep this going in the days ahead. Tomorrow's key is Don't forget the Message.

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