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1 Corinthians 9:11
"If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?"

 

 

 

 

 

Evangelism:
The Time Is Now!

Section 1, Chapter 1

Evangelism Is Not a Spiritual Gift

Chapter Illustration

Study Questions

When talking with Christians about the importance of Evangelism, one of the most frequent arguments against it I hear is "Evangelism is not my gift." It is true that Evangelism is a spiritual gift that not all Christians have, but the gift of Evangelism is not preaching the Gospel. What is it then? The Apostle Paul explains what the purpose of the gift of Evangelism is in Ephesians 4:11-12,

"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as Pastors and Teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ."

A person who has the gift of Evangelism is a person like myself who is called to motivate and train Christian Laymen to preach the Gospel. But wait a minute, is this not also the calling and the responsibilities of Apostles, Prophets, Pastors and Teachers according to this passage of Scripture? You see preaching the Gospel is not a gift, but the responsibility of all born again Christians. In fact all ministerial gifts are primarily for the purpose of equipping Christian Layman to preach the Gospel and for training to minister to one another. I received Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord in December of 1969. Soon afterwards the Lord dealt with me as a believer about my responsibility to share the Gospel with men. The end result was I went through a Training Program in Evangelism taught by Campus Crusade for Christ, which specializes in training Christian Layman in how to share their faith with others. After eight years of faithfully weekly going out and sharing my faith with others, the Lord came to me in my spirit and said to me in Matthew 25:14-30 "Well done good and faithful servant. Because you have been faithful in little I am going to put you in charge of much: You are an Evangelist, Overseer Teacher." After preaching the Gospel faithfully for eight years, Jesus then gave me the gift of Evangelism. Why? So I could motivate and train Christian Layman in how to share the Gospel with others. This Textbook, along with all the other books on motivating and training in Evangelism I have written, is a demonstration of the gift of Evangelism, but the responsibility of Evangelizing is the responsibility of all Christians.

If you are a Minister and if you are carrying the burden of preaching the Gospel alone, you are fulfilling your responsibility as a Christian to preach the Gospel, but you are not fulfilling your calling as a Minister which is to train and motivate Christian Laymen to preach the Gospel. Doing the work of Evangelism is the responsibility of every born again Christian, but ministerial gifts are not given by God for the preaching of the Gospel, but for equipping Godís people to do the work of Evangelism. How do I know? Because I am an Evangelist and I have the gift of Evangelism and this book is an exercise of that gift which is to motivate and equip you a Christian to get involved in preaching the Gospel to men.

Since the day I learned how to effectively share my Christian faith with others, forty-three years ago, which was about eight months after I came to know Jesus, I have regularly aggressively shared my faith with others. However, when talking to Christians about the importance of going through a training program in Evangelism so that they can get actively involved in aggressive planned Evangelism, I will receive one of several arguments: One of these is the following: "I believe in friendship Evangelism." Concerning this argument, I agree that when in a job situation or in school or the home, as the Lord gives us opportunity, we should share Jesus Christ with men. Dr. Bill Bright in his book, How You Can Be a Fruitful Witness, stated, "Whenever I am alone with a person for a few minutes, I assume that I am there by divine appointment to share the good news of Godís love and forgiveness."56/31 Jesus said that if we were ashamed of Him before men, He would be ashamed of us before His Father and the Holy Angles. Therefore, Jesus wants us to take advantage of whatever opportunity we have to share His love and forgiveness with men. For this reason this is an important aspect of witnessing our faith with others, but as I will show later it is not the kind of Evangelism that Jesus specifically commanded us to do in the Bible.

Another argument I hear frequently against aggressive planned Evangelism is "I do not feel led of the Holy Spirit to do so." Many of these people have been telling me this for years. I believe in Holy Spirit led Evangelism also. But what I mean by the leading of the Holy Spirit and what my brethren in Christ mean by this are two different things. What they mean by the leading of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism is being involved in Evangelism period. That isnít what I mean by being led of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism. Let me explain.

If by the leading of the Holy Spirit Christians mean waiting for the command to go and share their faith with others, let the Christian know and understand that Jesus and the Holy Spirit have already given this command. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-19,

"All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. GO THEREFORE! Make disciples of all the nations."

In this passage Jesus tells us that all authority has been given to Him in heaven and on earth. Because this is true and because He lives in us, He tells us in conclusion, GO THEREFORE! Jesus is saying, "All authority in the physical and spiritual realm have been given to Me. Because this is true, you no longer need to wait for My command to go. My command is GO! As you go, I will be there with you and will guide you and help you succeed and overcome whatever obstacles you might encounter."

The Apostles Peter and Paul tell us that all Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.39 In other words these men wrote the Bible under the inspiration of God through the Holy Spirit. By the Holy Spiritís leading Matthew wrote that Jesus said all authority has been given to Him by the Father and that for this reason we are not to wait for further instructions from the Holy Spirit to get involved in Evangelism, but rather we are to GO NOW! The leading of the Holy Spirit to get involved in Evangelism is an ever present now GO THEREFORE! The Apostle Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians 6:1-2,

"And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vainófor He says, ĎAt the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped youí; BEHOLD, NOW is Ďthe acceptable time,í BEHOLD, NOW is ĎThe day of salvation.í"

Other Christians pose the argument this way, they will say, "In our Church we feel that Evangelizing our community at this time is not right. Our community is not ripe yet for Evangelism." What does Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit through the writer John say about this argument? Jesus said,

John 4:35-38 "Do you not say, "There are yet four months, and then comes the harvestí? Behold, I say to you lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who Reaps is receiving wages, and is gathering fruit for life eternal; that he who Sows and he who Reaps may rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true, ĎOne Sows, and another Reaps.í"

Jesus asks us in this passage, "Are you saying you need to wait until your conmunity is ripe? You are wrong. I say to you look out on your community and see that it is ripe for Evangelism now!" To help the reader, Jesus goes on to explain what he means by Evangelism and ripe for Evangelism. He explains that not all Christians are called to be Reapers but all Christians are called to be Sowers.

What is the difference between a Sower and a Reaper? In farming terms, the Sower is the farmer. The farmer goes out and plants the seed, waters and fertilizes the ground and weeds the ground. Who does the reaping? Hired labor. Is not an Evangelist someone who is hired to Reap where he did not Sow? Your community may not always be ready for an anointed Evangelist, but your community is always ripe to be Evangelized. Not all Christians are called to be Evangelists, but all Christians are called to do Evangelism. If you are not called specifically to be an Evangelist, you along with all other Christians are called to do Evangelism. You are called to be a farmer. You are called to Sow, water, fertilize and weed. You are called to go and plant the seed of the Word into the hearts of men. You are called to prepare the ground for the Evangelist. The command to do this has already been given. You do not need to wait for the leading of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has commanded you and I to GO THEREFORE! Behold the fields are WHITE for harvest!

Part of the problem of getting Christians involved in aggressive Evangelism is that unless they can be guaranteed to reap a harvest every time they go out, they get discouraged and wonít continue. That would be like a farmer saying that unless he can have a harvest now, he wonít sow seed, water, fertilize and weed his field. If the farmer refused to sow seed and then water, fertilize and weed his field, there would never be a crop for the Reapers to harvest. If Christians do not Sow the seed of the Word and then water, fertilize and weed the field, there wonít be a harvest when the Reaper comes. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 11:4 "He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap."

Which takes more time: sowing, watering, fertilizing and weeding or Reaping? The sowing and nurturing of the ground of course. The harvest comes at the end of the year and is over as quickly as it comes, but only after several months of sowing, watering, fertilizing and weeding. The same is true in Evangelism. There are long periods that when I go out and share the Gospel with men that I see no conversions at all. But then a harvest comes. This happened to me one time while doing regular college Evangelism. For several weeks I did not see any fruit. Then one day Jesus said to me, "It is time for a harvest!" The following week I led six college students to Christ. Josh McDowell is one of my greatest heroes in the faith and one of the greatest Evangelists of our time, but I heard him share once that even in his ministry there are times that he goes through long periods without seeing any conversions either. He shared that once he shared with more than thirty-six individual people the Gospel before someone prayed and received Christ. If your Church is going out and sharing the Gospel regularly, but you are not seeing any present results, donít get discouraged. You are not abnormal. You are not striving or producing flesh. You are sowing, watering, fertilizing and weeding. But what does the Scripture promise? Galatians 6:9 "And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary." The Scripture commands us to not become weary in well doing. Why? Because in due season you will reap a harvest.

Who is more important: The farmer or the Reaper? In Evangelistic terminology, who is more important: The Sower or the Evangelist? The Sower of course. The Sower is the one who has prepared the ground, planted the seed of Godís word, fertilized it, weeded it, watered it and nurtured it.38 The farmer is the one who gets the blue ribbon at the fair, not the Reaper. The Sower is the more important factor. But what does Jesus say about the Reaper? Jesus says about the Evangelist, "I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor." Jesus tells us that the Evangelist is the least important factor who Reaps where he did not Sow or labor.

Brother and sister, if you are not called to be a Reaper, then Jesus has called you to be a Sower and the command is to GO THEREFORE! The command to go has already been given. If you are a Sower, Jesus says do not minimize your importance. Jesus says you are more important than the Reaper.

So what do I mean when I say I believe in the leading of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism? I do not mean, "Does Jesus want me to go?" That is already commanded to all of us in His Word. I mean, "Jesus, where do you want me to go and how much time in my week do you want me to spend in Evangelism in relation to the other responsibilities and callings you have given me." This is an important prayer because Jesus is Lord and we want to obey His leading in our lives in the use of our time during the week. It is not whether He wants us to make time for Evangelism, but rather when during the week He want us to do Evangelism. That is Holy Spirit led Evangelism, not whether He wants us to go or not go.

There are times like now in my life, because I am called to do Pastoral work, that Jesus has given me specific commands about my involvement in Evangelism; but there have been times in the past when I wasnít getting any specific direction. In those times when I would make a schedule to complete the then present responsibilities Jesus was giving me, I would make sure I put two to four hours in there some place for the specific purpose of going out and sharing my faith with others. I would do this not as a matter of salvation, but out of a motivation of love and because I love Jesus and this is what he wants me as a child of God to do. I would do and still do this unless Jesus gives me specific direction in Evangelism to do otherwise.

I tell you solemnly that unless all Christians get involved in regular weekly aggressive Evangelism, the lost in this country will not be reached and America will never be turned around. Making more laws and increasing the police force will not turn the country around. Ask Russia. They had more laws and the majority of their money went to police action. It did not deter crime or any other societal problems in the least. Only the Word of God can change a personís heart and turn man around, nothing else will. There is only one way that Godís Word gets into the hearts of men: when all believers take time in their weeks to go out and share the Word of God with men. Aggressive community planned Layman Evangelism is not an option, it is an absolute necessity to bring America back to God. Nothing else will.

What should you do? If you have not been trained in Evangelism, the first thing you need to do is go through a training program in Evangelism like this one. Experience the ministry Gift of Evangelism for yourself. In this Section of the Textbook explain why a training program like this one is so important. One of the values of a training program like this one is that you learn from the experiences of others what to do and what not to do and how to share the Gospel successfully and in love. In this training program you also learn what the Gospel is and how to properly disciple a person when they receive Jesus so they can grow in Him. In this Training Program of Evangelism you also learn how to deal with tough questions you might encounter on the field. explain the importance of a Training Program in Evangelism, what the necessary ingredients of an Evangelism Training Program are to become successful in Evangelism and how this Textbook more than fulfills these requirements.

Once you receive training, the second step is to then pray and ask Jesus if there is any specific way he wants you to apply your training. If Jesus does not give you any specific direction after a reasonable period of time, He is then telling you that He is leaving it up to you to decide how and in what capacity to be involved in Evangelism and continue this until Jesus gives you a specific command in your involvement in Evangelism.

But as to whether Jesus wants you involved in regular ongoing aggressive Evangelism now or at all, that question has already been answered: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. GO THEREFORE! and make disciples of all the nations... the fields are white for harvest." Now lets go on to Chapter 2 and discuss what is involved in bringing a person to Jesus Christ and why it is so important that you involve yourself in this process.

Study Questions
Bibliography & Notes
Chapter 2
Section 1 Chapters

Further Reading:

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How to Bring a Person to Saving Faith in Jesus Christ

 

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