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Evangelism & Mission

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Evangelism and Mission
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” ()
Over the past ten weeks, we have considered several important topics pertaining to our relationship with God and with other believers in the local church. Today we conclude the course by turning our attention to the privileged calling we have to reach others with the gospel through evangelism.
Our relationship with God includes a public calling, outside the confines of the local church. We were reconciled to God through the work of Christ so that we are now “ambassadors for Christ” in sharing the gospel with other people (). Christ’s death ransomed a people for God “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelations 5:9).
Today we will consider our part in reaching those people and nations. As members in the local church, we have the honor of living outside the church in ways that demonstrate and declare the good news of the gospel to unbelievers.
Our mission is to carry the gospel into our neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and communities, bearing a “witness” of Jesus Christ that commends others to place saving faith in him.
All of us share in the great privilege and responsibility of “reaching others” with the gospel. We accomplish this as evangelists in our community, as well as through our support for church planting in other communities around the world.
People With a Mission
From the very beginning, mission and expansion lay at the heart of God’s calling for His people.
The Plan Commenced: God’s Covenant with Abraham
When God revealed Himself to Abraham, He promised not only to bless Abraham, but to in turn make him and his descendants a blessing to all the nations of the
earth.
blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”” ()
The Plan Continued: The Great Commission
After Jesus accomplished His atoning work on the cross, He gave His followers a mandate to proclaim the gospel to all the nations. By their proclamation, God will
gather His people to Himself, and thus fulfill His original promise to Abraham to bless “all the nations.”
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” ()
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” ()
The Plan Completed: The Heavenly Throng
The ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan can be seen in the book of Revelation, where at the end of the age, people from all over the earth will give glory to God and to the Lamb of God who died for them. The Bible is clear that God’s intention to bring glory to His name by gathering a people to Himself will be fulfilled.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”” ()
People with a Message: Evangelism
Since every Christian has personally experienced the grace of God through the gospel, each of us has a part to play in this glorious commission as we testify to the salvation God offers through the gospel. Evangelism is a verbal proclamation of the gospel (“good news”) of Jesus Christ to unbelievers in such a way that commends saving faith in Him.
The Subjects of Evangelism: Every Christian!
The work of evangelism is essentially that of bearing witness — each of us is called to testify to what God has done for us through the gospel. Each of us has been
empowered by God, and each of us has our own story to tell of God’s amazing grace to us through the cross.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” ()
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” ()
The Substance of Evangelism: The Gospel
We do not merely call others to live a moral life, ask them simply to “believe in God,” or try to convince them that Christians are “nice people.” Salvation comes only through faith in the finished work of Christ on our behalf.
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”” ()
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” ()
As we saw in Lesson One, the gospel is the “good news” of God’s saving work on our behalf through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Communicating the gospel faithfully preserves its power and protects us from distorting its truth in some significant ways.
Focusing on the gospel keeps our evangelism God-centered, not man-centered.
While we want to be sensitive to people’s needs, the gospel reminds us that a person’s greatest need is forgiveness of their sins and deliverance from God’s just
wrath. The gospel offers the only solution to man’s greatest need.
“Man’s responsibility to his maker is, indeed, the fundamental fact of his life, and it can never be taken too seriously. God made us responsible moral agents, and He will not treat us as anything less. His Word addresses each of us individually, and each of us is responsible for the way in which he responds.” — J.I. Packer, Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God
Focusing on the gospel keeps our evangelism humble, not self-righteous.
The gospel is explicitly designed “so that no one may boast before [God]” (). Our relationship with God has nothing to do with our own wisdom or merit, but is solely due to God’s grace and mercy toward us. As His witnesses, we are merely testifying to what He has freely given to us.
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” ()
Focusing on the gospel keeps our evangelism faith-filled, not self-sufficient.
We can do nothing in our own strength to convince anyone of the gospel’s truth or to save anyone; God is the one who saves, and only His power can regenerate a heart. We can, therefore, freely share the gospel and trust God to bring the results.
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” ()
The Method of Our Evangelism: Declaration and Demonstration
Declaration: Telling the good news.
Evangelism always involves speaking (sharing the good news). Every Christian is called to be an ambassador of the gospel, and we seek to equip every member of
FBCR to share the gospel accurately, joyfully, and faithfully.
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”” ()
Demonstration: Living the good news.
In addition to proclaiming the gospel, Christians are to testify to the reality of the gospel by the way they live. The Bible describes believers as “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (). These good works include deeds of kindness and love that express God’s love to people and give credibility to the message we proclaim.
Demonstrating the gospel takes place in countless, daily ways through the witness of our godly lives on display in the community. We help facilitate this demonstration through various organized ministries in FBCR through which you can use your gifts to care for others and testify to the gospel.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” ()
The Context of our Evangelism
Personal
We encourage everyone at FBCR to bear witness to Jesus Christ and share the gospel in the network of relationships He provides to each of us. These “fields of harvest” (see ) include our family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and classmates—anyone whom God has sovereignly placed in your life.
Church-wide
We believe that God has a plentiful harvest for us to reap. We, therefore, seek to reach those in the area where God has placed us and to provide contexts our members can utilize to reach out to those in their relational network.
Our Broader Mission: Church Planting
While we have a specific mission as a church, we are also part of a family of churches under the name of the Southern Baptist Convention. The S.B.C. is a network of 1000’s of churches joined together by relationship and common doctrine all over the world. Our broader mission includes participation with other churches in the planting of new churches through the S.B.C..
Purpose
The primary purpose of the Southern Baptist Convention is to establish and nurture local churches to God’s glory.
A Final Word to the Membership Class
We are so grateful that you have joined us for the past few weeks of examining the doctrine and practices of FBCR. We hope this course has served the purpose of informing you about the doctrinal emphases of the church and has laid the groundwork for your decision about membership.
The next step in the process of becoming a member includes completing a membership questionnaire and scheduling an appointment with our pastor for a new member interview. In addition to the questionnaire, you can best prepare for your pastoral interview by considering any questions you might have, whether they are points of clarification on items already presented in the course or other questions on material not presented.
Please provide us with your questions and/ or comments in advance, if possible, so we can come better prepared for our time together.
Finally, we would like to thank you for your participation in this course. Please do not hesitate to make recommendations about the course that you feel might better serve others who participate in the future. Whatever decision you make regarding membership, it has been our joy to be with you and serve you in this course.
Key Concepts and Terms from this Session:
Mission
The Great Commission
Evangelism
The Gospel
Declaration
Demonstration
Church Planting
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