Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spiritual Discipline: Evangelism

With our goal to grow deeper in our faith with God, our dgroup (Discipleship Group) decided to study Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney.

Below are some of my favorite excerpts from the book which expounds the discipline behind evangelism for the purpose of Godliness.

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If we want to define it simply, we could say that New Testament evangelism is communicating the gospel. Anyone who faithfully relates the essential elements of God's salvation through Jesus Christ is evangelizing.

While Christians are not expected to use the same methods of evangelism, but Christians are expected to evangelize.
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.." --Mark 16:15(NIV)
Some Christians believe that evangelism is a gift and a responsibility of only those with that gift, appealing to Ephesians 4:11. While it is true that God gifts some for ministry as evangelists, He calls all believers to be His witnesses and provides them with both the power to witness and a powerful message. Just as each Christian, regardless of spiritual gift or ministry is to love others, so each believer is to evangelize whether or not his gift is that of evangelist.

Understanding this, why is it most Christians neglect to share the gospel. 

One researcher give an explanation for Christian's fear of evangelism -- The reality of human behavior is that most people avoid those activities in which they perceive themselves to be failures. Thus despite the divine command to spread the Word, many Christians redirect their energies into the areas of spiritual activity that are more satisfying and in which they are more likely to achieve success.

How do we define a successful evangelism? We need to learn that sharing the gospel is successful evangelism. We ought to have an obsession for souls, but conversions are fruit that God alone can give.

We are like postal service. Success is measured by the careful and accurate delivery of the message, not by the response of the recipient. Whenever we share the gospel(which includes the summons to repent and believe), we have succeeded. In the truest sense, all biblical evangelism is successful evangelism, regardless of the results.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” -- Acts 1:8(NIV)
All believers have been given power to be witness of Jesus Christ. It is the gospel that is the power of God for salvation and not our own eloquent power or persuasiveness,

There is also power for evangelism in the one living a sincere Christian life. 
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. --Mathew 5:16 
Evangelism is a discipline, in that we must discipline ourselves to get into the context of evangelism, that is, we must not just wait for witnessing opportunities to happen. 
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. --Colossians 4:5-6
After knowing all these the author leave us with questions to challenge us:

Since evangelism is expected, will you obey the Lord and witness?
Since evangelism is empowered, will you believe God can use your words in the salvation of others?
Since evangelism is a discipline, will you plan for it?

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