Evangelism


With some people, you may establish a relationship in five minutes, whereas with others it may take months. But the principle remains the same. The right to talk intimately to a person about the Lord Jesus Christ has to be earned, and you earn it by convincing him that you are his friend and really care about him. And therefore the indiscriminate buttonholing, the intrusive barging into the privacy of other people’s souls, the thick-skinned insistence on expounding the things of God to reluctant strangers who are longing to get away–these modes of behavior, in which strong personalities have sometimes indulged in the name of personal evangelism, should be written off as a travesty of personal evangelism. Impersonal evangelism would be a better name for them! In fact, rudeness of this sort dishonors God; moreover, it creates resentment, and prejudices people against the Christ whose professed followers act so objectionably. The truth is that real personal evangelism is very costly, just because it demands of us a really personal relationship with the other man. We have to give ourselves in honest friendship to people, if ever our relationship with them is to reach the point at which we are justified in choosing to talk to them about Christ, and can speak to them about their own spiritual needs without being either discourteous or offensive. If you wish to do personal evangelism, then–and I hope you do; you ought to–pray for the gift of friendship (J.I. Packer)

Who is to preach the Gospel? Is it the one who gets paid to preach the Gospel? Is it the one that is ordained and holds an office that some call Minister of the Word and others call Teaching Elder?

Can un-ordained men preach? How about women? How about 5 year olds or teenagers?

The answer, of course, is no and yes.

Does that sound like a postmodern answer to you? Well, it is quite ancient:

Acts 8:4-5 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached to them the Christ.

Verse 4 says that those who were scattered were preaching the word. Our English translation for preach is from the Greek word which means ‘spreading the good news’ or ‘gossiping the Gospel’. This is the duty of all whose hearts have been changed by the Lord Jesus Christ. A converted heart overflows with the love of God and there is a desire to ‘preach’ Christ to all who are around. This means that the un-ordained layman, the old church lady, the little kids, the teens…. all who have been redeemed have this obligation to preach, or gossip the good news of Jesus Christ and his death for sinners.

Verse 5 is a different story. This verse uses a different word for preach. The word is the same word as ‘herald’. In verse 5 we see Philip preaching the Gospel in a commissioned, ordained, set apart for public ministry way. This is heralding of the good news that Jesus Christ died for sinners! All who are ordained to the task of Minister of the Gospel, or Teaching Elder, has this responsibility. Preach Christ crucified!

Remember though. None of us are off the hook. We are all verse 4 preachers or verse 5 preachers! Now preach Christ to those who are lost.

Below is a letter that I received from a friend of mine who is Latino and Reformed. It is a plea to the Reformed Churches to reach the Samaritans of our day:

On this May Day, as we see in the news or in your home town the Latino/Mexica people protesting and marching for immigration rights, I would like to offer these insights and even challenge.

How will the Reformed and Presbyterian Church respond to the growing number of immigrants, particularly the Latino/Mexica immigrants, which are the largest group?

Will individual Reformed and Presbyterians jump on the Republican, Nationalist, anti-immigration band wagon and thus alienate the immigrants from even giving an audience to the Reformed Faith? Speaking out against the “invasion” of the other cultures within our borders and wish to turn these “illegals” over to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)?

OR

Will the Reformed and Presbyterian Church/individuals act like Christ and stretch out their hands to the disliked and unloved Samaritans of our time? Dine with the harlots and tax collectors (so to speak or as many see the immigrants)? The duty of Christians is to proclaim the Gospel to all people regardless of their social standing, and not to be an agent to oppress those that are perceived below their status.

We talk about sending missionaries to foreign lands, what will we do with those from foreign lands that are at our doorstep? Ignore them or reach out to them with the one True Gospel? Many of them are Roman Catholic or Muslim by profession, WE can reach out to them and by the power of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit they can become followers of Christ.

The Church has a tremendous opportunity and even obligation to reach out to the newly arrival in this nation. I pray that the Church does not squander this due to political ideology that can cause Christians to act contrary to the Gospel proclamation as was done towards the African-Americans.


The Conference on Biblical Theology went very well. We had around 150 people in attendance, which was 50 more than we were praying for! We also had 23 congregations represented and 10 Reformed denominations. It really shows that there is a need in the Reformed community and God is raising up his people to meet that need.

Feel free to pass on these mp3s to all who could benefit:

Biblical Evangelism’s Motivation
Biblical Evangelism’s Message
Biblical Evangelism’s Methods

First Reformed Presbyterian Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, welcomes you to join us for the Conference on Practical Theology, to be held at the Puritan Reformed Seminary, 2965 Leonard Street, Grand Rapids, MI on Sat, Feb. 2 from 8:45am – 3:30pm. This year’s theme will be Biblical Evangelism.

Our lecturer will be Dr. David P. Murray, professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Seminary. Dr. Murray comes with much practical experience in biblical evangelism. Dr. Murray also has a depth of biblical knowledge and a mastery of the original languages of Hebrew and Greek.

This conference will prove to challenge your view of evangelism and encourage you to fulfill every Christian’s duty to present Jesus Christ to a dying world!

First Reformed Presbyterian Church Conference on Practical Theology

Biblical Evangelism

8:30-9:00 Registration
9:00-9:45 Biblical Evangelism’s Motivation
9:45-10:00 Questions and Answers
10:00-10:30 Coffee Break
10:30-11:15 Biblical Evangelism’s Message
11:15-11:30 Questions and Answers
11:30-1:00 Lunch Break
1:00-1:45 Biblical Evangelism’s Methods
1:45-2:30 Final Questions and Answers
2:30-3:30 Coffee and Fellowship

Join us for this day of great Christian instruction, fellowship, and encouragement!

There will be a nominal fee to cover logistical costs.

If interested, please email Nathan Eshelman at nleshelman@gmail.com to have a flyer mailed. Please encourage friends and family to come!

Revelation 3.20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

This is one of the classically misused verses for evangelism. The church has decided that the verse portrays Jesus Christ patiently waiting for the sinner to come to his senses and open the door. This is not the case. This verse needs to be understood in the light of Luke 12.36-40 which speaks of the Great Marriage Feast. Jesus Christ will come to this feast with triumph and power and we will sup with Him in victory! Richard Bauckham says, Jesus’ knock is not that of a homeless traveler, standing outside the locked door of a human heart, seeking shelter. Rather, he is the master of the house, and he will burst through the door in sovereign judgment!”

It reminds me of a conference that Francis Nigel Lee did at Southfield a number of years ago when he said (speaking of Psalm 110), “This is no namby pamby Arminian Jesus knocking on the door of your heart saying, hey buddy its cold outside, could you let me in and spare me dime?

We serve an all power Savior who will save whom he desires, yet is gracious enough to invite even the most back-slidden of churches to hear his call to repentance and invite them to the marriage feast!



For those of you who do not follow comments: hidden under the post with the great Lloyd-Jones quote lies a buzzing comment section concerning the church’s duty to illegal immigrants. My position is that the church has a spiritual duty to minister to them and part of that duty is calling them to repentance for their violation of the 10th commandment. Others feel differently.

To give some spiritual widsom to this heated conversation, I would like to ask those interested to read the OPC position paper on illegal immigrants and church membership. I would be interested in reading other’s thoughts on this issue as well.

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