1 Corinthians 9:11
May 20, 2000
Subject: The Importance of Truth in Evangelism
It is a real blessing to see your progress in the Lord and Your fruit in Evangelism. John, in this letter I want to talk with you about the Importance of TRUTH in Evangelism! Often times I hear Christians make remarks that something was of God because the power and presence of the Holy Spirit was there. Often times these comments have been made in light of a spiritual truth I have shown them in the Scripture that contradicted that spiritual experience. A servant of Godís concern is not what is interesting or what makes people feel good in presenting the Gospel, but rather "Is what I am sharing in the Gospel the truth of the Gospel? Is what I am sharing true?" People are saved when? When they believe the truth of Godís Word, that is when they believe what is true about what Godís Word is teaching about Jesus and our salvation. If we are not communicating what is true concerning the Gospel, we are not bringing people to saving faith in Jesus. My goal in sharing the Gospel with someone on the field is to explain to them what it means to be a Christian and how to become one, what is true. If they also at the end of communicating these truths believe on the Gospel and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, praise the Lord! But if I have communicated the truths of the Gospel and they donít at that time receive Jesus, praise the Lord, I have still had a successful time of evangelism, because I communicated clearly what the Gospel is and what they need to do to be saved when they are ready to do so.
I shared the Gospel recently out at a park with a man who afterwards told me he was a Jew. I did not know he was a Jew at first. I told him I was taking a survey on What Is Eternal Life? (WEL) and could I get his reaction to it and he said yes. I shared completely through the truths of this tract with him. When I got to the two people on page 11 of the tract and asked him which one represented him, he said he was in the middle. I asked him if he had received Jesus before. He said "No, I am a Jew." He then said to me, "Why donít you just talk to people instead of going through this tract?" I explained to him that I do when it is appropriate, but that when I go out to talk to total strangers about the Gospel, that my goal is to explain to a person what the claims of the Gospel are and how a person can receive Jesusí salvation for them on the Cross. He expressed that he had as a result of this presentation come to understand what the claims of the Gospel of Christianity are and what he would need to do if he wanted to be saved and become a Christian. He communicated to me that I had successfully shared the Gospel with him. He then had many questions which he needed answered that were keeping him from believing the Old Testament literally let alone the New Testament. I answered these questions for him, especially about Creation verses Evolution. I explained to him that one could not understand the New Testament without also reading the Old Testament, since the New Testament is the recording of the fulfillment of prophecies regarding Israel and the Messiah Jesus Christ. I then when on to talk about some of these prophecies concerning Jesus and how they were fulfilled in Him. He was not aware of these facts and so when I offered him my book The Bible: Godís Word Absolutely, explaining to him that it had a chapter on Old Testament fulfilled Prophecies in the New Testament and even today, he became very excited about it and accepted it thankfully. I also shared with him how the Christian faith is a Jewish faith started by Jews. We talked about the significance of Jesusí Resurrection and how this was why thousands of Jews converted to the Christian faith to begin with. I also explained to him had the fact of the resurrection been false all the leaders of Israel would have had to do was present the body and everyone would have gone home. We then talked about Paul and how he went about arresting Christians trying to stop the spread of Christianity among Jews and how the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus and that it was because of the fact that Jesus was truly resurrected and alive that Paul surrendered to Jesus as Savior and Lord and became then a leader and champion of the Christian Faith. I explained the significance of 1 Cor 15:3-8 to him which he found very interesting. His excitement to accept the book I offered him showed me that even though he was not ready to receive his messiah Jesus, the message had reached him and he wanted to know more, wanted to know for certain what is true, before he could intelligently and with certainty of truth make that decision.
In another example, I have witnessed to many Mormons on the field. When I come to page 11 of the salvation tract and share the two different kinds of people the Bible talks about (Chapter 9 of Section 1explains how to do this (© 1999), often a Mormon will tell me he is a Christ controlled person, that his life is the one on the right. However, the Jesus he is talking about whose control he is under is not the same Jesus I am talking about as described on page 4 of WEL. Mormonism teaches that Jesus was a man to begin with, the product of sex between Adam and Marry, who in time evolved to become a god. So he did not know nor was talking about the Jesus I was talking about taught in the Bible. Because this was true, even though he was sincere, he was not saved and would not go to heaven. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the one and only God from all eternity who in time took on a human nature as well (1 John 4:1-4), just the opposite of what Mormonism teaches. After I explain this to them they are not ready to receive Jesus then, but because I have communicated to them the truths of Christianity and how to be saved, I have had a successful time of evangelism. When in time they are ready to be saved and receive the Jesus of the Bible, they will now know what they need to do.
That is what Chapter 8, "Unalterable Biblical Foundations for Successful Evangelism," is all about: what truths taught in scripture are unalterable if we are to be assured of truly bringing people to saving faith in Jesus. That is why it is vital that you read this chapter completely through with understanding, carefully and thoughtfully, so you can be sure in your communicating the Gospel to someone, you are sharing with them the true Gospel so they understand what they are receiving. A person can receive Jesus and not be saved, if they are not receiving the Jesus of the Bible or do not understand what they are receiving clearly. I think this was true about your friend Ricardo. He prayed the sinners prayer with me, but he didnít really understand what he was doing, so I am not convinced he came to Jesus. The fruit of his life that followed causes me to come to that conclusion. John, when a person truly surrenders to Jesus, it doesnít mean they become perfect over night (as your example has well demonstrated, ha ha), but they do show an immediate hunger and thirst to know more, initiative, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, for the truth; and an immediate evidence of a changed life, changed behavior away from sin and toward Jesus.
Consider Genesisí teaching about creation in six days and the fall of man. I talk to evolutionists on the field all the time. Because they doubt the teaching of Genesis chapters 1-3, they also doubt the words of Jesus (John 5:46-47). If they doubt the words of Jesus, how can they come to saving faith in Jesus. This is why in our sharing the Gospel with men we must start with the Bibleís teaching on the creation and the fall of man as is shared on page 3 of WEL. A person cannot understand there need of Jesus if they donít first understand what the Bible teaches about the creation of man and manís fall. John, what is important is not what we find interesting or what moves us emotionally. That is irrelevant. What is important in what we share in the Gospel or hear preached is "Is it True?" That is what Chapter 8 is all about: truths of the Gospel that are vital and cannot be altered in our sharing the Gospel if we are to truly bring people to saving faith in Jesus. This is because salvation takes place when a person believes on the truths of the Gospel, not when they feel saved. Note what Jesus said in John 18:37,
"Pilate therefore said to Him, ĎSo You are a king?í Jesus answered, ĎYou say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.í"
What did Jesus come into the world for? To bear witness to
what is interesting? No! To bear witness to the TRUTH! This is what you need to
be concerned with in studying Godís word and in what you read: is it TRUE? This
is what you need to be concerned about in sharing the Gospel: "Am I sharing the
TRUTH of the Gospel that will lead that person to true salvation?" John, did you
read chapter 4 of Section 1 completely through? If you did you would already
understand this. I quote from this chapter commenting on the issue of