Laws And Political Processes Are Essential
But Only The Gospel Can Change The World
The WHAT and WHY of evangelism should be the primary point of every curriculum in every Bible teaching program, whether it’s Sunday School, small group, or Bible college.
Why do I say that? Because Evangelism is paramount. Jesus didn’t die so you and I could become clever theologians. He died to save sinners.
Christians have a thirst to learn about God and the Bible and are more sensitized to Bible truth but knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn’t exactly the point. We should learn all we can and use what we learn for productive spiritual purposes but learning makes you responsible and accountable, not special. It doesn’t make you more spiritual.
Learning is important not because it makes us more knowledgeable but because the process of learning helps us develop useful qualities. The ability to read, analyze, and reason is helpful for all of life.
Christians often say the unconverted can’t intellectually process Bible truth but if you follow that idea to its logical end, you’ll find yourself in a junkyard of disposed ideologies. All humans can engage with biblical topics intellectually, saved or not.
I know some will read that and disagree. Why? Well, the Bible makes a statement that seems to counter the idea.
The natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
But is that verse speaking of the ability to grasp the truth or the ability to tolerate it? Probably a little bit of both. Remember that the Pharisees often reacted defensively to the teachings of Jesus not because they didn’t understand but because they did.
Either way, salvation should be the first point of discussion. If you are of the opinion that the unconverted have zero ability to see spiritual truths, that’s all the more reason to start and regularly flavor every conversation with the Gospel. How much you know otherwise may be helpful to you personally but it won’t impress the unconverted.
The Gospel and Salvation are the things we should talk about more frequently than anything else. It should at least be the first topic on the list. Think of it as Bible 101.
If you really believe the unconverted can’t understand Bible teachings at a deeper level then your only reasonable option is to speak often and repeatedly about salvation. That’s the only way to get the ball rolling.
With a conscience, anyone can understand the concepts of sin, faith. and forgiveness.
But they’ll never know about it if we don’t talk about it, hence Evangelism.
There are two important truths that can help motivate our evangelistic efforts but before mentioning those, a little background.
After 35 years of foreign missionary work, my wife and I retired and recently moved back to the US and to a new city, Charlotte, NC. We weren’t familiar with the local churches and decided to visit several to get an idea where we might fit in best. With so many churches to choose from, it was a daunting task. I don’t remember how many we visited but at one point, we went through a period of almost three months visiting a different church each week. Some were ultra-conservative and some were more liberal.
Honestly, I couldn’t find fault with any of them, even the liberal churches. All of them said things that any person could understand and agree to. They said nothing that directly contradicted anything in the Bible. The song selection was good, although the performance ranged from very moving to sadly lacking.
I’m sure if we looked more closely we might find a few theological flaws but from a public perspective, what they said openly in the congregation was completely acceptable. It was all good.
But there was one thing that was missing, Evangelism. It only occurred to me after visiting so many different churches that what was missing in almost every church was a clear presentation of the Gospel and an invitation to receive Christ.
I’m not saying they didn’t believe the Gospel. Clearly, they did but if you didn’t know the Gospel before you went, you didn’t get it while you were there.
Even the ultra-conservatives, the churches that promoted Trump, shared no Gospel and gave no invitation to get saved.
Admittedly, we visited some of those churches only once but if you visited different churches each week for 10 or more weeks, you would expect to get a Gospel hit on at least a few. But worse, this evangelistic blank spot was sadly evident even in the churches we visited multiple times.
Before we went on our church hunt adventure, we visited one very well-regarded church for quite a while and never once heard a clear invitation to get saved from the pulpit.
But there was one, only one that focused on inviting people to Christ in every service.
That one church really stood out but it wasn’t easy to see at first because all the churches read from the Bible. They all sang worship songs we love to hear. They prayed before and after the service. They encouraged congregants to help the needy.
What none of these churches did was offer the Gospel and invite people to get saved. Only one church made an effort to do that consistently and that was Transformation Church in Indian Land, SC.
I grew up in church circles that promoted evangelism as a priority. What I was taught is what Transformation is doing.
You might complain that we don’t need to do that every Sunday and I would beg to differ. The primacy of the Gospel which is short and simple should never be diminished. And whatever else you may say in your message, it takes no time at all to append the Gospel at the end:
Jesus loves you, died for you, rose from the dead for you, and longs to save your soul. Please trust Him now. (I Corinthians 15:3-4)
Yes, you can elongate the presentation and you’ll sound very smart and supercilious when you do but you’ll probably lose most of your listeners.
Evangelism is like fishing and the people who go fishing don’t stand on the shoreline discussing the qualities of the best fishing gear. They put a line in the water. Fish aren’t impressed with how much you know. They are only interested in bait.
You might not catch fish every time you put a line in the water but you’ll catch none at all till you do.
We are called to fish. Not qualify fish. Not qualify fisherman. Not understand fishing gear. I’m not suggesting we should be ignorant. I’m saying we shouldn’t wait till we know everything about everything before we share the most important thing.
Now for the two truths that should motivate the effort.
Jesus Really Wants To Save Souls
This is a fact. Jesus wants to save souls. The same anticipation you have for your favorite activity, Jesus has for saving souls. And not just Jesus. All of heaven erupts with rejoicing when one soul is saved.
There are several verses that make the point quite clear.
- There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7)
- Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit. So shall you be my disciples…You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you SHOULD GO and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain. (John 15:8 & 16)
- The Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Pet. 3:9)
- God wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:4)
Jesus accomplished many things while here on earth but His most important achievement was dying on the cross, not for a few sins, but for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2 & John 3:16).
That fact alone should move us to do all we can to make the Gospel known far and wide. To use Jesus’ words we should shout it from the rooftops (Matthew 10:27). Yes, that would be a bit strange in our world but the point is we are to do everything we can to broadcast the message widely.
Is that happening? From our experience, it doesn’t seem so.
There’s a second truth to keep in mind.
The Gospel Is Power
In Romans 1:16 Paul made an interesting statement connecting the Gospel with God’s power:
I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the POWER of God unto salvation to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
If you’ve spent any time in Bible-preaching churches you’ve probably heard the Greek word for power – Dunamis – mentioned and explained. It’s the word from which we derive our word, dynamite.
We usually describe it as explosive power but that brief explanation misses the point.
There are several verses that attest to the power of God’s Word and that includes the Gospel.
- “Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29)
- My word…that goes forth from My mouth…shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
- I (Paul) suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds (jail); but the word of God is not bound. (2 Tim. 2:9)
- For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (Heb. 4:12)
But the most interesting point about this power is it is immeasurable and that fact applies to Gospel especially.
- The Gospel is more powerful than all nuclear bombs.
- The Gospel is more powerful than the sun.
- The Gospel power compares only to that of creation.
The power God exhibited in the creation of the universe is the same power that regenerates the soul of the repentant sinner.
The Nuclear Football
The nuclear football is the briefcase that contains the launch codes for an arsenal of missiles containing nuclear warheads. Secret Service personnel are responsible for protecting the briefcase and they also make sure it is never far away from the President. The President is the only person with authority to execute those launch codes.
If you ever tried to steal that briefcase you would be put down, no questions asked. It is kept out of site and inaccessible to any and all unauthorized individuals. You approach on penalty of death.
The nuclear capability of that briefcase is the greatest power known to man. Or at least the greatest power man can implement.
The Gospel, however, is more powerful than all the nuclear warheads in the world.
Gospel Power vs Nuclear Power
A comparison of the two powers illustrates how different they are.
- Represents potential. It’s static until deployed.
- We’re better off when it isn’t deployed.
- It is illegal for any unauthorized person to develop or possess nuclear capability.
- It’s only effect is destruction. Everyone and everything is destroyed when deployed.
Gospel power is very different to that:
- Gospel power cannot be held in reserve. It is living and active.
- It renews lives and builds up people when applied.
- It can be possessed by any and every person. We carry it in our pockets.
- We are commanded to share it with every person.
When we share the Gospel, we’re handling the greatest, most useful, most life-enhancing power in the universe. Why would we ever miss an opportunity to make it known?
There are a few reasons people neglect opportunities to make the Gospel known.
- They are afraid of offending someone. It happens. People have been known to get irritated by the Gospel.
- They don’t want to be insulted. That also happens. People laugh at and ridicule things they don’t understand.
- They don’t have control. Others do the believing and God does the saving. All we can do is share the message.
- They don’t believe the prospect is ready for salvation. And they may not be but that doesn’t excuse us being silent.
- They don’t want to do the work. Trying to effectively deliver the message clearly, without offense requires learning on our part. Some don’t want to do that.
- They become obsessed with laws and politics. Laws and political processes are necessary evils but the outcomes are limited. Only the Gospel can change the world.
Another reason people fail to share the Gospel is they’ve been led to believe that God will only save some. He won’t or can’t save every person and the ones He will save have already been selected. Only God knows who they are.
If you’ve been taught that idea, it’s hard to share the Gospel thinking the person you’re sharing with may not be chosen for salvation. How can you say Jesus died for them if they aren’t, in fact, one of the chosen? You can’t. Not without lying.
Whatever you’ve been told, Jesus commanded us to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). And the fact is, no one gets saved until they hear the Gospel. Don’t sit around thinking about the Gospel. Share it.