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Evangelism

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:48
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Open to 1 Peter chapter 2
As we continue the series on Spiritual Disciplines, I remind us that to follow Jesus Christ is a journey, not an event. It begins when we respond to God's invitation of repentance and salvation and ends when we depart this world and enter His presence forever - which begins another journey.
The Christian journey is progressive.
1 Peter 2:2 ESV

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—

2 Peter 1:5–9 ESV

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

Let this be a gentle but firm reminder that each one of us is accountable to God. We will give an account to Him for all we have done. The spiritual disciplines are not to be ignored. These are not only for the "super spiritual" people. The disciplines of the Christian life are Biblical, many of them commanded - not suggested. We will be held accountable one day for our diligence or lack thereof. So let us be faithful to pursue Christ.
This morning we turn our attention to the discipline of evangelism. Discipline? I thought evangelism was a gift that only certain people had. Well, that's partly correct.
There is indeed a spiritual gift of evangelism in which the Spirit of God empowers people to boldly and powerfully articulate the gospel. But the gift should never be confused with the responsibility of every believer to evangelize. The fact is, every believer in Jesus Christ is called to be an evangelist.
Many of us have our own ideas of what evangelism is (some of them are crazy), so let me define this frightening and misunderstood word. An evangelist is simply a person who brings good news .
Therefore, to evangelize is simply sharing the good news about a good God.
How simple is that? How hard is it to say, Jesus did this or God did that in my life? Etc.?
How many of us think that to evangelize means convincing an atheist they're going to Hell so they need to get saved and then praying with said atheist to receive Jesus as Savior. That can be a part of it, for certain, but the focus is where? On the end result and not the process.
Look, evangelism is more about conversation than about the end result.
BLANK SLIDE
Here's an example. I mentioned last week that I had an interview with a DHS caseworker. During the interview I was able to share how Jesus changed me and saved my marriage. All she did was take notes and ask more questions. I didn't lead her in the "sinners prayer" - but did I evangelize? Absolutely! Pretty simple. Look - take the fear out of evangelism and keep it simple - simply tell something good about a good God.
Let's look at 1 Peter and Evangelism.
The intent of Peter's letter is one of encouragement and a call to remain a faithful witness to Christ. Christians were beginning to feel the pressures of persecution and suffering - very much like our own world.
So how does one evangelize in an anti-Christian culture?
I believe Evangelism begins with remembering

WHO WE ARE

Look at 1 Peter 2:9
1 Peter 2:9 ESV

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

In Exodus 19, after leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea, God called Israel to be nation of priests. The call was for Israel to be God's representatives - a holy nation to reveal God to the nations.
Here in the NT, we see that God's chosen people now extends to those who are in Christ - both Jew and Gentile. Christians are now a ...
Chosen race - a fancy way of saying you're in the family
Royal priesthood - royal meaning of the King - we are to be Priests of Jehovah, of the King. I'll explain that in a minute. We are also a ...
Holy nation - Holy meaning devoted and Nation is ethnos - meaning we're in this together.
Put all that together and it means this - Evangelism is an us thing - it's a community affair. If people are not being saved, whose problem is it? It's our problem! Not the pastor's problem or Sunday school teachers or any one person! The responsibility of priesthood (evangelism) belongs to all of us.
The priests had several functions, two of which were to ...
Publicly Represent God
Intercede to God on Behalf of the People
Let me ask, how you doing in these two areas?
BLANK SLIDE
When I was in the Army, before dismissing us for a weekend the Commander would always remind us of who we were - "You are soldiers 24/7 - act like it! Do not disgrace the uniform, the Army or your country." In other words, do not give anyone any reason to think poorly or to criticize the military or U.S.
My I encourage you - do not forget who you are when you walk out these doors! Do not disgrace the Holy name of the Lord our God! We represent the Lord Christ Jesus every day, every moment - in private and in public. Do not live as if our Holy Savior condones the sin for which He hung on a cross and died.
We are to represent God to the public. We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation - why? Look at verse 9 again.
1 Peter 2:9 ESV

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

To proclaim - to declare, tell, make known - that's our job and our's alone. No one else will do it and no one else is commissioned to do it. But what do we proclaim? Well, that's the other part of evangelism - we must know ...

WHAT WE PROCLAIM

1 Peter 2:9 ESV

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

We proclaim God's character - We proclaim His excellencies, His goodness, His love, His salvation, His mercy, His grace. When we share God - that's evangelism. Evangelism is not the reaction of people - Evangelism is the natural outflow of salvation. We proclaim who God is and what God has done.
Here's a question - What has Jesus done for you that's worth telling?
Think upon that for a moment. That is what you tell.
I think one of the problems is that we like to gripe too much. We humans are a bunch of complainers. And the more we complain, the less we proclaim.
When we complain about this and that - do you know what we're communicating? We don't trust God. We don't like how He's running the universe. Complaining creates a negative atmosphere. If you're a complainer, people don't like to be around you.
I learned a lesson a long time ago - don't complain publicly about your spouse. I used to do that. Susan's not this, she's not that. The problem is, the more I complained the more I believed it and it never fixed anything!
Over time, the Lord and a few good men convicted me that that is not godly. It's wrong. So I started to make public compliments and brag on her - the more I bragged about her, and complimented ... the better she became. Now, I love to tell people about my wife!
It's hard to brag on God if you complain a lot. It's difficult to tell others how good He is when you do little but gripe and complain. When you're in public - complain less and praise more.
To evangelize, we must remember who we are, what we proclaim and lastly ...

WHY WE PROCLAIM

Let's look at verse
1 Peter 2:10–12 ESV

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

We proclaim Christ because He purchased us with His own body and blood. He gave His life for ours.
1 Peter 3:18 ESV

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

Jesus died to bring you and me, unworthy sinners to salvation and He did the same for everyone around us. They deserve to know. And one of the best ways to proclaim Christ is to live honorably before all people so that the unsaved may be saved. You know what this means? Character matter! Integrity matters! How you and I choose to live matters - not just to God, but to the unsaved. If we're going to witness to people, we must live honest lives, moral, ethical, righteous and holy.
Christians are the priests to the neighborhoods, the communities - to the nations. Christians are to be seen. Let them see our good works. Let them hear how good God is. Let us not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Turn to Col. 4 for a moment.
Colossians 4:2–6 ESV

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Pray for opportunities for you to proclaim Christ, ask God for doors to open, be diligent in how you live
Remember who we are, what we proclaim and why. Remember, evangalism is not the end result, but the process, the conversation.
Charles Spurgeon said, “If I never won souls, I would sigh till I did. I would break my heart over them if I could not break their hearts. Though I can understand the possibility of an earnest sower never reaping, I cannot understand the possibility of an earnest sower being content not to reap. I cannot comprehend any one of you Christian people trying to win souls and not having results, and being satisfied without results.” C.H. Spurgeon
PRAYER "Come to Me ..."
Let us pray
Perhaps some of you have never made a true confession of Christ ...
Perhaps some of us need to intercede for the lost, or repent for being idle about proclaim Christ ...
Father, as we close this service this morning,
Have mercy upon us ...
Empower us to proclaim you, to never be ashamed ...
A charge to keep I have, a God to glorify, a never-dying soul to save, and fit it for the sky.
To serve the present age, my calling to fulfill; O may it all my powers engage to do my Master's will! - (Charles Wesley)
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