A painting of the four evangelists.

EVANGELISM – The LIFEBLOOD of the CHURCH

“We must all appear before the Judgement seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10

Live in the Light of Eternity
A thousand years from now, the only questions that will matter is: Who is in Heaven? and Who is in hell?
What are you doing of significance today that will matter a million years from now?
When you stand before the Judgement throne of Almighty God, it will matter on that day whether you told a very lost and dying world about Jesus,
whether you shared the most precious thing you have with everyone you could.

Make a Difference
As a new Christian I confronted one of the worst foul-mouthed blasphemers at my school: “You are lost! If you were to die today you would go straight to hell!”
Now that is hardly the way we are advised to evangelise.
Yet, by the grace of God, I did have the privilege to lead that pagan to Christ that very night!
We must be bold for the Lord.
Do something that will make a difference for all eternity!

The Most Important Priority
Dr. James Kennedy was one of the most listened to ministers in the world with a radio and television ministry reaching over 156 countries. The congregation he pastored, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, had a membership of over 9,000 and Dr. Kennedy authored over 45 books. He was Founder and President of Evangelism Explosion International, the Chancellor of Knox Theological Seminar and the Founder of the Centre for Reclaiming America. Yet, I learned that every Thursday night Dr. Kennedy went out into the streets and engaged in door-to-door, personal evangelism. So, the first time I met Dr. Kennedy, I asked him: “I hear that you are still involved, every week, in door-to-door evangelism. I am surprised that you have the time, considering your radio, T.V., writing and preaching ministry.”

Evangelism Explosion
Dr. Kennedy responded to me with intensity: “Peter, that is the most important thing I do! All these ministries around me, I doubt that many of them will endure long after I am gone, but Evangelism Explosion, this ministry of multiplication, reaching the lost, bringing them to Christ and training them to reach others also, this is far more important than all my radio, T.V and writing ministries.”

What is the Most Important Thing You Can Do?
Perhaps you thought that there is nothing particularly important that you can do, at least nothing as important as those who have high profile ministries? However, I have found some prominent ministers who are convinced that the most important thing that anyone can do is personal, one-on-one evangelism.

One-On-One Personal Evangelism
American evangelist, D.L. Moody in the 19th Century, preached to huge crowds in America and England. However, he did not consider his day to be complete unless he had engaged in one-on-one personal evangelism. He undertook never to go to bed without having witnessed to one person that day. Preaching to huge crowds in the city hall, or a sports stadium, did not qualify. There are numerous funny stories of D.L. Moody wandering the streets late at night, in his dressing gown, looking for a stranger to witness to. On these occasions he had apparently been prepared for bed, only to remember that he had not yet completed his day’s duties by personal, one-on-one evangelism.

Way of the Master
This has been a major emphasis of Ray Comfort’s Way of the Master. When I met Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron in Los Angeles, they impressed me with their enthusiasm for personal one-on-one evangelism. They have designed numerous effective conversation starters and tools for evangelism to help Christians use the Ten Commandments as “the schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.”

Mobilise to Evangelise
Yet, tragically, the vast majority of churchgoers do not engage in any evangelism at all. I have made it a principle to incorporate Evangelism Workshops, The Way of the Master training and practical outreaches in our leadership training courses, particularly the Great Commission Course. When they register participants of our various courses are often asked: “Have you ever led someone to Christ?” Most participants respond: “No.”

Yet, at the end of our courses, most participants write in their Response Forms that the highlight of the course was the personal, one-on-one Evangelism on the streets, in shopping malls, in the prisons, hospitals, townships, door-to-door evangelism and leading someone to Christ for the first time!

Many Christians are absolutely terrified of witnessing and yet, when they are forced to try it, are amazed by how open and responsive so many people are for the Gospel of Christ.

What Have You Ever Done for Christ?
My family was secular. We never went to church, or Sunday school. There was no prayer or Bible reading in our home, not even grace before meals. When I was 17-years old I heard the Gospel for the first time, at a cinema, which had been hired out by a local church for an evangelistic rally. As the visiting speaker, Rev. Rex Matthie, described the sacrifices and sufferings of Christ he challenged us: “This is what Christ has done for you, What have you ever done for Him?”

Convicted and Called
His challenge pierced my heart. I had done absolutely nothing for Christ. I had never even thanked God for His creation, for my life, or for my health. I realised that I was a self-centered, lost sinner, truly deserving the condemnation of the Almighty God on the Day of Judgment. When the appeal was made at the end, I walked forward and publicly committed my life to Christ. Right from the beginning of my adventure of discipleship, I could not help but be involved in Evangelism.

Redeem the Time – Reach the Lost
Door-to-door evangelism, tract distribution in the streets, ministering in old age homes, Scripture Union holiday missions, teaching in Sunday school, leading a youth group, running the book table and evangelism at the railway stations. When I was called up for military service, I started a daily Bible study and prayer fellowship, out of which our mission, Frontline Fellowship, ultimately developed. Coming from a non-Christian background, I knew that there were many lost people out there who would respond to the Good News, if we would only take the time and make the effort to share it with them.

The Value of a Soul
We need to realise something of the value of an eternal soul in the eyes of Almighty God. What is a soul worth? “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul?”

It is a Privilege to Serve Christ
We need to change our mindset from the dutiful “I have got to witness” to “I get to witness!” It is not a burden. It is a privilege! It is not that we have got to go to church, but that we get to go to church! By just changing a vowel, it goes from being a task to being an opportunity! We get to pray to the Almighty God of the universe! We get to read the Holy Word of God! We get to worship the King of kings! We get the privilege to give back some of what God has so generously provided us with and invest it into the work of His Kingdom!

Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15. Charles Spurgeon declared: “If there be anything about which we cannot tolerate Luke warmness, it is in the matter of sending the Gospel to a dying world.”

Win-Win
What are the only three possible consequences when we share the Faith?
1. The person can surrender to Jesus Christ;
2. The person can reject Jesus Christ; or
3. We can plant a seed.

Obviously, when people surrender to Christ that is a winning situation! When we plant a seed that is a winning situation. So, much of the time that you share your faith, it is a winning situation. But actually, even when someone rejects the Gospel, you receive a reward for being reproached for the Name of Christ (1 Peter 4:14). Jesus said: “Blessed are you when men hate you and when they exclude you and revile you…for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven…” Luke 6:22-23. So, every time we share our Faith is a winning situation!

Into All the World
Wherever people gather together, it is an opportunity for us to witness to them. At parks, shopping malls, sporting events, concerts, coffee shops, university campuses, parties, music concerts, art festivals, beaches, laundromats, bus stations, taxi ranks, all these are great places where we can witness and hand out Gospel booklets and tracts.

Witness on Dates
As we bring the light of the Gospel into the darkness, we will see how the Lord works in amazing ways. Choose to go out witnessing on dates. Why can a date not consist of going to the mall to witness? Witnessing to strangers in the mall, or to waiters at a restaurant, can be great fun.

Launch Out of your Comfort Zone
We need to be ready to do some reckless and risky things in love for the Lord to reach the lost around us. They will never forget it. The more we know of the Word of God and the more we evangelise, the more we find people are responsive. You will be amazed at what you encounter when you step out in faith and begin conversations about Eternity.

Do Not Miss Opportunities to Witness
Every time we share our Faith it is a winning situation. The only time we lose when it comes to witnessing is when we do not share our Faith. When you ask a person how they are and they respond: “I am good!”, you can respond: “But Jesus said that no one is good. Only God is really good.” Their answer gave you the opportunity to mention the holiness of God and the depravity of man, therefore the need for a Saviour.

Be a Soul Winner
Charles Spurgeon declared: “I would sooner bring one sinner to Jesus Christ than unravel all the mysteries of the Divine Word, for salvation is the one thing we are to live for.”

Oswald J. Smith said: “O my friends, we are loaded down with countless church activities, while the real work of the church, that of evangelising the world and winning the lost, is almost entirely neglected!”

Excuses, Excuses
We should desire to be used by God in what really matters to His Kingdom. But, although we know that we should witness, there are many reasons why we do not boldly step out and share our Faith. Fear of rejection, fear of losing a friend, fear of strangers. “I don’t know how to”“I don’t know enough”“I just witness by my life” and “I’m just lazy!”

Be a Real Friend
The prime reason cited by young people for why they don’t share their Faith, is fear of losing a friend! But what kind of friendship do you really have if you would go to Heaven when you die, but your friend would go to hell? If you are friends for 20 years, then separated for eternity, what kind of friendship is that? If you are not eternal friends, are you really friends at all?

Fear God Alone
Are you more worried about what people think of you, or about what God thinks of you? Do not worry about losing friends by witnessing to them. When they see and hear the love of Jesus coming from you, you will have more friends than you know what to do with.

Saved to Serve
Did not someone lead you to Christ? If so, you actually do know how to lead someone to the Lord. Yet, according to a survey by Christianity Today, only 1% of their readership had witnessed to someone “recently.”

Fruit of Faith
Probably the reason most people do not share their Faith is that they do not really have any faith to share. Charles Spurgeon said: “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that!”

Hollow and Empty Religion
If you have a theology that has dwindled into a philosophy, in which there is no fear of God, no risk or sacrifice, no thrill of faith, no terror of doom and no concern for soul winning, no missionary vision, then unbelief and worldliness have taken over.

A Matter of Motive
If the local church gave you R1,000 every time you shared the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, would you share your Faith more? Would you deal with your laziness problem for the love of money when you will not deal with it for the love of God?

An Attitude of Gratitude
We can never repay our Lord Jesus for what He did for us on the Cross, but what a fantastic Thank You we can give Him each time we step out and share the Faith with the lost!

Ashamed of the Gospel
Frequently we hear people say: “I’m just going to share my faith by my actions.”
To them, we could say: “Oh, you must be thinking of Romans 1:16, ‘I am ashamed of the Gospel of Christ…’”
“But that isn’t what the verse says.”
“That’s true, the verse actually states: ‘I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes…’” When we do not want to talk about our Faith, it is usually because we are ashamed of what people might think of us.

How Were You Led to Christ?
When you ask Christians how they were converted they tend to say: “My parents led me to Jesus”“A friend led me to Christ”“I responded to a sermon…” Everyone admits that they are a Christian today because somebody verbally explained the Gospel to them. Yet now some want to come up with a new way to share your faith, where you do not have to use words? “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. 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 except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of Peace and bring glad tidings of good things! … Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:13-17

Prayer Preparation
Usually, most people we approach are interested in conversations. Always assume that people do want to talk about Eternity. It is important to pray that the Lord will lead you to lost people during the day and that He will prepare their hearts. The best way to learn is to teach. Witnessing is one of the best ways that you will learn more about your Faith. When you talk with lost people and can’t answer their questions, it drives you to the Bible and other books to find the answers. Also, your prayer life changes. As you meet hurting people and want them to know the Lord, you begin to pray more for others and not just for yourself.

Be a Giver
People love gifts, so give them a gift that communicates the greatest gift ever given, Jesus Christ! The Jesus film, The Passion of the Christ and What if Jesus had Never Been Born? are great films to lend, or give, to your friends, neighbours and family members. Plant Gospel seeds, a presentation of the Gospel on a small piece of paper, a postcard, a booklet, CD, or DVD. Share your Faith with tracts and audio-visual presentations. As we walk through shopping centers, or airports, hand out tracts. Ask people, “Did you get one of these?” This is a great question that makes them feel like they are missing out on something, which they are.

Live in the Light of Eternity
How will we feel on Judgement Day, when God asks us what we plan to do with all that money now that we are dead. The income he blessed us with was intended to support missions, buy Bibles and help spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Be a giver. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Be Prepared
The pocket on your shirt is a tract pocket. It is meant to hold Gospel tracts, so that you can have them conveniently on hand to give to people you come into contact with during the day. Always have some tracts with you, in your car, bag, briefcase, or wallet. Be prepared.

“To be a soul winner is the happiest thing in the world. And with every soul you bring to Jesus Christ, you seem to get a new Heaven here upon earth.” Charles Spurgeon.

What Then?
We can be guaranteed that no matter how long we live, we will be dead a whole lot longer. Since that is true, you should be searching out what is on the other side, because you will be there a whole lot longer than you will be here on earth.

Ask people about their plans and then: “What then?” Right up to beyond retirement and death. “What then?” Remember, Eternity is an awfully long time! Make sure you have the right answer.

Make a friend. Be a friend. Lead a friend to Christ!
Most people who come to Jesus are introduced through a friend.

One advert for responsible driving declares: “A real friend does not let a friend drive drunk.” I would say that a real friend does not let a friend go to hell. A real friend tells a friend about Jesus! If you want to see your friends in Heaven, invite them! It is our responsibility to invite others to Heaven with us. It is their responsibility to decide how they are going to respond to this invitation.

We will never regret bringing up the topic of God with people. The main regrets we will have is when we did not point people to the Saviour.

“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap into hell over our bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees… Let not one go there unwarned, or unprayed for.” Charles Spurgeon.

Loaded Questions
Sometimes go to somebody and say: “I need some directions. Can you help me out?” People answer, “Sure, where do you want to go?” “I am trying to get to Heaven, do you know how to get there?”

If the person says Yes, find out why. If he says No, ask if he would like to know the way?

Another way to transition to spiritual topics is to say: “Can I ask you an interesting question?” or “Can I ask you a tough question?” This helps to pique curiosity and get people thinking.

“Where are you on your spiritual journey?
“If you died tonight, do you know for sure that you would go to Heaven?
“If you were to die tonight and stand before Almighty God and He asked, ‘Why shall I let you into My Heaven?’ What would you say?”
“Do you want to go to Heaven? Do you know how to get there?”

As you share your Faith, there are three things you should talk about in every conversation: SinSalvation (repentance and the Cross) and the Saviour (who He is and what He has done). For people to understand their need of salvation, it is vital that they understand God’s Law. “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Psalm 19:7

“The Law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24

Are You a Good Person?
One of the biggest lies satan tells the lost is that they will be good enough for God on Judgement Day.

Ask people: “Would you consider yourself to be a good person?” Most people will respond that Yes, they are very good. Then you can point out that God has given us a standard. “How many of The Ten Commandments can you remember?”“Would you mind if I asked you a few questions to see how you are doing?” “Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever taken God’s Name in vain? Have you ever looked with lust? Have you ever hated anyone?” Most people would have to admit to each of these.

After taking a couple of minutes to review The Ten Commandments you can then point out: “By your own admission, you have told me that you are a liar, a thief, a blasphemer, an adulterer at heart and a murderer at heart. If God was to judge you on the basis of His Ten Commandments would you be innocent or guilty? If you were to die today, would you go to Heaven or hell?”

We Are Christians!
We can learn so much from how naturally children share the Gospel. When my oldest daughter, Andrea was just 5-years old, we were in an aircraft flying to Europe. It was just after take-off, when Andrea shouted loudly for the entire aircraft to hear: “We are Christians!” I put down my book, turned to Andrea and said: “Yes, we are, but why do you bring it up right now?”

Andrea answered: “The lady was asking if there are any Christians, we should let her know.” I thought for a moment and answered: “I think that must have been, if there is any questions, we should let her know!”

The Magician in the Mall
Just before this trip, my mother had been taking Andrea shopping at Cavendish Square. She reported that when a magician called across the mall to Andrea: “Hey, little girl, come over here, we have magic for you!” Andrea replied: “My Lord Jesus does miracles and that’s better than your magic!”

The magician stood there speechless, as did many of the shoppers passing by. “Out of mouths of babes…”

The Rock in a Box
When my youngest son, Calvin, was 5-years old, he created quite a furore at the play school by asking some of the Muslim children: “Why do your parents bow down to a rock in a box in Mecca? The Second Commandment says we shouldn’t bow down to anything, that’s idolatry!” Some of the Muslim parents complained to the teacher, who complained to my wife, who complained to me and I congratulated Calvin and took him out to buy him a reward.

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Calvin memorized the Evangelism Explosion Gospel presentation and has given it at many public meetings, conferences, seminars, camps and schools. In fact, when he was 6-years old, he was the only “speaker” at a Carols by Candlelight service. A local church was organising an end of the year Carols by Candlelight. When one lady requested the pastor to ensure that there was an evangelistic message for the many unchurched parents (who were only coming to see their Sunday school children dressed as shepherds and angels, etc,) the pastor responded that he did not feel “called” to evangelism and found it very intimating and difficult! This lady rebuked him and said: “It’s easy to evangelise, even a 6-year old can do it!”

The pastor responded: “You find me a 6-year old who can present the Gospel and I’ll put him on the programme.” That day I received a phone call from this lady who had heard that my son Calvin was quite bold in presenting the Gospel. I spoke to Calvin, reminded him that this would be an outdoor meeting with several hundred people at night, in the dark, with people holding candles and he would have to use a public address system. By God’s grace, Calvin was still prepared to do it. I went over every aspect of the presentation with him numerous times beforehand, reminding him that as he stands up, he will find his throat muscles tighten and the temptation will be to speak much softer than normal. Yet, he would have to project his voice nice and loud, clearly, even for the deaf old lady in the back row whose hearing aid is switched off!

Carols by Candlelight
We need not have worried at all. When the day came, Calvin strode up on his own to the platform, stood in front of the microphone and flawlessly, word for word, with clarity and emphasis in all the right places and with much passion and enthusiasm, presented the Evangelism Explosion Gospel presentation to the stunned audience. Everyone sat absolutely riveted holding their candles and watching and listening to this enthusiastic 6-year old present the Gospel, call them to repentance and commitment, adding in numerous Scripture verses such as John 3:16 and John 14:6 and even led them in prayer.

When Last Did God Speak to You?
When my youngest daughter, Daniela, was turning 13-years old, we invited many of her friends to a sleepover at the local Girl Guide Hall. As we were getting them settled, I noticed some teenage boys on their skateboards hovering outside. I told my wife that I was going to threaten them with severe bodily consequences if any of them dared step over the threshold onto the Girl Guide property. On my way out I was amazed to see Calvin walking towards me from those very boys. Calvin told me: “I’ve been talking to these boys. I told them the Ten Commandments, that they were lost and going to hell. I shared with them the Gospel presentation and I think that some of them are ready to give their lives to the Lord. But I need your help. Can you come and pray with them please?”

I was stunned. I also felt severely rebuked of the Lord. I was not thinking of their souls! In fact, I had no charitable thoughts at all at the time! Yet, Calvin, just 6-years old at the time, had taken initiative and had challenged these teenagers with the Gospel. I went over and sure enough, they were most receptive and in a teachable frame of mind. I counselled and discussed with them the implications of surrendering their lives to Christ and had the joy of leading three of them to Christ in prayer that night.

Later, I told Calvin: “God really spoke to you tonight!
Calvin responded: “But, I didn’t hear Him!”
“But God did speak to you,” I told him. “Just as Samuel thought that Eli had called him in the Tabernacle, so you need to remember what God’s voice sounded like, so that you can recognise it next time: ‘Speak Lord, for your servant listens.’ Calvin, none of the rest of us were thinking of those boys’ eternal destinies, but God spoke to you and you were the one who listened to what God’s Spirit was saying.”

My Father-in-law later told me that Calvin came rushing over to him exclaiming: “Granddad! Granddad! God spoke to me tonight!”

You can have that joyful excitement of being guided and blessed by God as you reach out to your neighbours, co-workers, friends and family members with the life changing Good News of God’s Law and God’s love. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

Be Prepared
Stock up with great Gospel literature. Give Gospel tracts to shop attendants, petrol attendants, passers-by and to friends and neighbours. Include carefully selected appropriate leaflets with your letters, or bills. Subscribe to good Christian magazines for friends and family members. Give gifts that will bless your friends, family and co-workers, select great books, DVDs and CDs, or study Bibles. Invite friends to your home to watch a suitable Christian film together.

Improve your evangelistic training by completing the Evangelism Explosion and Way of the Master courses and by participating in the Great Commission Course.

The last command of Christ must be our first concern.

Be bold in sharing your Faith with the lost. To be a missionary you do not have to cross the sea, but you do have to see the Cross.

Do Not Procrastinate
A Missionary friend in Japan shared this poem with me:
“When He saw a need, would our Lord just wait?
Would He make an excuse to procrastinate?
If He had the means, would He not reach out?
And if you can too, then why do you wait?
“Let us be His hands, let us be His feet,
Giving life and love to the ones we meet,
Bringing hope and cheer to those far and near,
Sharing clothes and home, sharing bread and meat.
“Calm the anxious fear, wipe the falling tear,
Lift the fallen ones to the Risen Son
We can make a difference to the life of one,
Then we’ll hear our Saviour, when He says ‘Well done!’”

Tell the World
In my Bible, I have written in a chorus from the 1970s:
“Hear the call of the Lord and set the world ablaze;
Stop a while, hear His Message and there’ll be happy days;
Do His work and obey and ask no reward,
Then we’ll build a new world for our Lord.
“We’ll tell the world of our Lord and spread the News abroad,
Then all sinners will know that He loves them so.
Just let Jesus reign and be born again
Is to live in the world of His love.”
“Don’t be shy. Don’t be scared, what people think, or say.
Tell the world of our Saviour and His love every day,
Let your Faith be your shield and the Bible your sword,
Then we’ll build a new world for our Lord.”

Rescue the Perishing
In the words of that great Hymn, Rescue the Perishing:
“Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep over the erring one, lift up the fallen.
Tell them of Jesus the Mighty to save…
“Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labour the Lord will provide;
Back to the Narrow Way, patiently win them;
Tell the poor wanderer a Saviour has died.”

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