Prepared by Jock Lenzi for Sunday morning message at First Assembly of God Church, Indiana, PA
William Carey, the famous missionary and evangelist, said this, “My job is to win souls for Christ. I make shoes just to make money to do that.”
II Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
“Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe . . . . Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”
*** John 4:34-36 “‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘’‘Four months more and then the harvest’‘’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.’”
*** Proverbs 10:4-5
“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.”
*** Philemon, verse 6
The Apostle Paul wrote, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”
I Timothy 4:13-16
Paul wrote to Timothy, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching, and to teaching . . . Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
II Timothy 3:15-17
“. . . the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
DEFINITIONS FROM WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY
Evangel – “the Gospel”
*** Evangelism – preaching of the gospel, or a zealous effort to spread it
*** Evangelize – to preach the gospel to; to convert someone to Christianity
Witness – an attesting of a fact; a person who testifies to what he or she has firsthand knowledge of
*** Testify – to make a serious declaration to substantiate a fact; bear witness or give evidence; to affirm; to declare
*** Preach – to give earnest advice; to proclaim; to announce; to tell; to publish
*** II Timothy 4:1, 2, 5
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction . . . . But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (Preaching is simply telling others, sharing with others about Jesus.)
*** Romans 1:16
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:”
“. . . faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, . . . .”
Luke 7:48, 50
“Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” and “. . . ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’”
“It was he (Jesus) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up . . . and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
*** John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
Five key parts:
1.) God the Father
2.) sinful man (the world / all people everywhere)
3.) Jesus Christ, God’s Son Savior
5.) heaven or hell . . . . the consequence of one’s choice to believe and repent or not to believe and repent
First of all: –God is love. (I John 4:8)
Man is a sinner (all have sinned and come short of the glory of God– Romans 3:23) and he cannot save himself. Man is in need of forgiveness and cleansing of sin (i.e. a Savior).
Jesus lived a sinless life, shed His blood on a cruel cross, and experienced the rejection of and separation from God for us. (He became sin for us; without the shedding of His blood there is no remission of sins–II Corinthians 5:21 and Hebrews 9:22.)
People receive God’s salvation by putting their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His shed blood. And this faith and trust are proven genuine by a life of repentance, obedience and holiness. The fruit of salvation is a daily personal relationship with God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. It’s a God-consciousness and a strong desire to serve Him; to do His will; to please Him; and to bring Him glory, honor, and praise. (If you’re interested, you may pick up a copy of my paper, which is full of Scriptures on “What Is True and Saving Faith?”) We do not want to offer to a lost sinner a false gospel or what Deitrich Bonhoeffer and A.W. Tozer called “cheap grace.”
Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’”
I Corinthians 6:9-10 “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Galatians 5:19-21 “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Ephesians 5:5-6 “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.”
Revelation 21:7-8 ‘“He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.’”
Revelation 22:14-15 “‘Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.’”
*** James 2:24 “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.”
*** Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
DOING THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST
How many of you have unsaved family members, friends, acquaintances, or even enemies that you’d like to see become Christians?
Have you consistently prayed for them?
Have you witnessed to them?
Do you hope that these unsaved family members, friends, etc. will have other people sharing the Gospel with them? Wouldn’t you like it if other Christians were faithful and obedient to witness to your unsaved father, mother, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, or whomever? Well, you can and should be the person who witnesses to someone else’s relative or friend, right? Think about it. If these unsaved people were having someone share the Gospel with them often, let’s say 5 or 10 times every year, these lost sinners would probably seriously consider Christianity and the claims of Jesus Christ. Bill Bright, the founder and president of Campus Crusade for Christ, strongly encourages this type of evangelism. He calls it “saturation evangelism.” Let’s be a part of it!
HOW TO BE PREPARED AND BETTER EQUIPPED
Pray for God’s heart for the lost. Ask Him to fill you with His love, compassion, and burden for those who are not yet Christians and who face a Christless eternity.
Read God’s Word regularly in order to know what the Bible says and where it can be found regarding the key elements in sharing the Gospel and answering questions or objections.
Be equipped with “tools” to share the Gospel . . . . i.e. tracts, booklets, books, cassette tapes, video tapes, etc.
Pray that God would draw to Himself those you’re witnessing to and convict them of their sin and their need of salvation. And pray that they respond by calling on the Name of the Lord.
Pray for God’s wisdom, direction and anointing in sharing the Gospel.
Pray for boldness and that God will deliver you from the fear of man and the fear of rejection. (These are snares and traps that can keep us from doing God’s will.)
*** Ephesians 6:19-20 “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly as I should.”
Colossians 4:3-4 “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”
*** Romans 10:13-15
“. . . ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”
Ephesians 6:15 “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
*** Luke 10:2-3
“He (Jesus) told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.’”
*** Also John 20:21 “Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’”
*** Matthew 28:19-20
The Great Commission (not the Great Suggestion) that Jesus gave to His people: “‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
*** Mark 16:15-16
“He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news (i.e. the gospel) to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”
*** Mark 16:19-20
“After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
*** John 14:21
(Jesus said) “‘Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.’”
(Jesus said) “‘If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. . . .’”
“He (Jesus) told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’”
(Jesus said) “‘. . . Repent and believe the good news!’”
“He (Jesus) said to them:’ . . . 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.’”
(Jesus said) ‘’‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.’”
*** Acts 20:24
(The Apostle Paul said) “. . . I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.’”
(Run, finish, and win “The Race.”)
I Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
II Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
“God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers . . .”
*** Luke 15:7
(Jesus said) “‘I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.’”
*** Luke 19:10
(Jesus said) “‘. . . the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.’”
*** Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
*** I Corinthians 10:33b and 11:1 “For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
*** Mark 1:17
“‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’”
*** II Corinthians 5:11, 14, 18-21
“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you (We beg you earnestly) on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us. . . .”
We are to passionately share, even beg others to get right with God. We are His representatives. We are Christ’s Body here on earth. Jesus is speaking through us. We hold the keys to the kingdom. We have what is needed to set the captives free! We have the Gospel and should be sharing it regularly and earnestly with the lost who so desperately need it. We have God’s Word, His Spirit and His sure promises. Let’s use them!
*** II Peter 3:9
“. . . He (God) is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
*** I Timothy 2:3-4
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (This is clearly God’s will and desire!)
I John 5:14-15
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.” (This should build our faith.)
SOWING AND REAPING
*** Psalm 126:5-6
“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seeds to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” (In order to reap, we must sow. If we do not sow, we will not reap.)
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Isaiah 55:10, 11 “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I send it...” (This should build our faith.)
*** Daniel 12:3
“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”
*** Proverbs 11:30
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”
Ecclesiastes 11:4, 6
“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” (Do not wait for perfect conditions. Sow the Gospel regularly and often.)
I Corinthians 3:7-9
“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; . . . .”
I Corinthians 4:1-2
“So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
*** Ezekiel 33:1-11
“The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: “When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.’ Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself. Son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”’ Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather than they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’” (Hear the heart-cry of God!)
*** In Luke 19:41, Jesus wept over the people in the city of Jerusalem who had not accepted Him.
*** Matthew 23:37 “‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.’”
“If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, he will die for it. And if a wicked man turns away from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he will live by doing so. Yet, O house of Israel, you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to his own ways.”
*** Acts 18:5-6
“. . . Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. . . .’”
*** Acts 20:26-27
“Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.’”
HINDRANCES TO WITNESSING, BIBLE READING AND PRAYER
1.) The world (i.e. worldliness)
2.) The flesh (i.e. selfishness)
3.) The devil and demonic opposition
The first two are sin, of which we need to repent. The third is spiritual attack, which requires spiritual warfare, prayer and obedience. (James 4:7 “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”) Most times all three problems and the solutions are very much inter-related.
SUB-CATEGORIES OF HINDRANCES
a.) Worldliness and materialism
b.) Selfishness, self-centeredness, being self-serving
c.) Bad priorities (not putting God and His kingdom first)
d.) Over-desire to be entertained (i.e. movies, sports, etc.)
e.) Distractions, busyness and societal pressures
f.) Laziness and lack of self-discipline
g.) Sickness, depression, oppression, discouragement
h.) Deception and false doctrine; unbiblical teachings
I.) Bondages and strongholds
j.) Unconcern, hard-heartedness, lack of compassion
k.) Disobedience and compromise
l.) Lack of vision, complacency, indifference
m.) Fear of man and fear of rejection; peer pressure
n.) Lame excuses (i.e. I’m too young, too old, too busy, someone else will do it, and on and on)
o.) Being more concerned about temporal things than about eternal things
WAYS TO SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH OTHERS
Giving out tracts and/or leaving them in strategic places; also giving people booklets, books, cassette tapes, video tapes, etc.
Talking to and sharing with others face to face
Letter writing and/or telephone calls, e-mail, the Internet, etc.
Printing up your personal testimony on a tract and/or recording it on a cassette tape
Mailing out tracts, booklets, cassette tapes, etc. (personally or anonymously)
Open-air preaching anywhere people are gathered (i.e. Oak Grove at IUP, at a park, wherever)
Inviting the lost to church services, evangelistic crusades, etc.
COMMUNICATING TO THE LOST HOW TO BE SAVED
Stop trusting in your own efforts to please God and begin to trust in what Jesus Christ has already done. (This is faith.)
Ask God to forgive you for your sins. (Before all this we need to help them see that they are sinners. This is where the Ten Commandments come in.)
Invite Him to come and live inside you.
Ask Him to be the Lord and Master of every area of your life.
Turn away from whatever the Bible says is sin. (This is repentance.)
ADVICE FOR NEW-BORN CHRISTIANS
Spend some time each day praying and worshiping God.
Daily read the Bible, especially the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.
Find a church that teaches the Bible as 100 percent God’s Word and that encourages a personal relationship with Jesus.
Begin to develop friendships with sincere Christians.
Tell other people about your new relationship with God.