"Given this is not the case, but IF there were NOTHING save the command of Jesus to evangelize, would that not be enough? Maybe I'm missing your intent in asking, if so Sorry"
Thanks for your humble and sincere inquiry. Good question. My response is that Jesus Himself commissioned those specific disciples at that moment in time. Some might argue that if we are Christians then we are disciples of Christ and then this applies to us today as well. While that kind of works, it's not an absolutely conclusive argument, just opinion.
If Jesus said something like "and all who follow after Me are to verbally evangelize on a consistent basis" then the matter would be settled. But I haven't found any such statement. Here's what Jesus [i]did[/i] say in prayer concerning all who would later believe:
"I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me" (John 17:20-21).
What I am getting at is the [i]religious[/i] burden of evanglism. The one that says "You're not as loved and accepted by God if you're not consistantly sharing your faith with unbelievers." The one that says "You have to evangelize, it's your duty as a Christian."
Doing it out of some religious motive with the kind of mindset that you have to do it to be loved and accepted by God is the big problem I think.
I think R.A Torrey does an excellent job concerning this issue in "How to Witness to Anyone." He says:
"Certain requirements must be fulfilled for [b]real success[/b] in leading lost souls to Christ....
First, be a born-again believer. If you desire to bring others to Christ, you must turn away from all sin, worldliness, and selfishness, allowing Jesus to be Lord over your thoughts, purposes, and actions.
Second, [b]truly love others and long for their salvation. If you have no love for other souls, your efforts will be mechanical and powerless.[/b] But if you, like Paul, have great heaviness and continual pain in your heart for the unsaved (Romans 9:2), the earnestness in your tone and manner will impress even the most uninterested person....
Third, have a working knowledge of the Bible...
Fourth, pray frequently. Pray about whom you should speak to and what you should say. Pray that you would speak powerfully.
Fifth, be baptized in the Holy Spirit. After Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission, He told them:
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me..." (Acts 1:8)"
We can do a lot of things...work our courage up, die to self, etc., but I don't think we will see "real success" unitl all 5 of these requirements are met. That doesn't mean God won't direct us to evangelize in some way without all 5 of these in perfect maturity, but as a general idea, if we want to see real succes...
I think the majority of "evangelicals" in America who feel burdened to evanglize might fulfill requirement 3. Sometimes, maybe number 4 is sincere, and perhaps some truly fulfill number 1.
However, if 2 and 5 are not real in us, I would say we won't see much "real success".
If our motive isn't primarily love for God and out of that sincere love for others, I think we probably have a religious burden and that will only weigh us down and will be of little help to others, likely having a negative consequence for both.
Yes, Paul said to imitate him as he did Christ. I don't think that's totally clear. So we should wait until we are 30 to start public ministry, as Christ did? Or wait until we have a divine light blind us for three days and someone prays for us and scales fall off our eyes, like Paul? Or, like Paul, must we first go to the desert for years and only learn from Christ before we're qualified? I think a lot of what Paul was getting at is to imitate him in character, though there's likely a lot more to it.
Yeah, let's imitate Paul and Christ in reference to evangelism by not doing it until there's sincerity and right motives about it.
| 2004/5/27 13:41||Profile|
This thread has some great Scripture insights. You guys are so helpful!!! Praise God He can help the sheep from this form of communication!!!
| 2004/5/27 14:13||Profile|
There's an article I'd like you all to read about open-air preaching, I'd quote it here but it's probably simpler to give the link:
edit: I agree, by the way, that we should not evangelize/preach/witness/etc because of some sense of religious obligation, and those 5 points by Torrey sound about right to me. I believe, however, that if we don't fulfill those 5, we should earnestly seek God that He remedy the problems, we should not be complacent about whatever is disqualifying us from the work of preaching the Word.
As for the whole "4 spiritual laws" approach, it has some serious Biblical deficiencies regardless of the character of the one using it, though obviously a hypocrite preaching the Gospel is likely to make converts twice as fit for hell as he/she is.
| 2004/5/27 17:06||Profile|
"I desire mercy not sacrofice"
I would say that anything we do out of religeous duty is "filthy rags."
Paul though says
2 Cor 5:11
"Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men."
I know there is nothing directly stated here, but it implies that the direct result of the fear of the Lord (which is the beginning of wisdom) is a desire to persuade men to the faith.
My question is then...(and I know this is a bold question but I make it an extreme position for the sake of the discussion):
If we can have nothing of Wisdom without Fear, has there even been a Cristian reborn who was not given a desire to reach the lost?
I agree that to do anything out of religeous duty is dangerous at best, However EQUALLY dangerous is grieving the spirit who gave us the desire to see the lost saved, by keeping silent because of the fear of men.
What I am concerned happens is that TOO MANY of us keep silent because we fear men more then God.
I know that TOO OFTEN that hapens with me. In the book of Isiah 51 God shows That to be an offence to Him when he says:
12 "I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mortal men,
the sons of men, who are but grass,
13 that you forget the LORD your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day
because of the wrath of the oppressor,
who is bent on destruction?
For where is the wrath of the oppressor?
14 The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;
they will not die in their dungeon,
nor will they lack bread.
15 For I am the LORD your God,
who churns up the sea so that its waves roar-
the LORD Almighty is his name.
16 I have put my words in your mouth
and covered you with the shadow of my hand-
I who set the heavens in place,
who laid the foundations of the earth,
and who say to Zion, 'You are my people.' "
Sorry about the length, this is something God has REALLY been working on me about.
for what it's worth
| 2004/5/28 9:08||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
Wow, outstanding you guy's (and girl's :-D)
Thanks to all. Matt, love Is 51, a scripture that often comes to mind and makes one realize the absurdity of fearing man who are but grass as we all are, here today, gone tomorrow. Mere creatures that come in and go out of this world the same way.
Like the Torrey assessment as well and it seems the train of thought I am following is not lost on anyone. I guess I just don't want to be deceived or am 'coping out'.
I think I am more inclined, because of my own past experience, to be a bit overprotective when I have been 'witnessing', which is not often.
"Stay away from these guy's" "Whatever you do, don't listen to..."
It's still coming together but I do feel that my role may be that of prayer and of 'feeding'. 'You guy's bring 'em in and will get them a change of clothes, make sure they are well [i]fed[/i] and protected, will stand guard and fend off the wolves'. Exhort and encourage.
There are fishers of men but somebody has to clean the guts out...
Have been praying about this this morning and wrote down what I think the Lord is telling me, may share it at a later date. I know am pretty fond of the word 'seems', I prefer it because I don't trust most of what passes through this fallible mind. Yet I also trust and know that the Lord will confirm what He wills to preform.
Some more scriptures that come to mind:
Joh 21:16 "[i]He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him,[b]Feed my sheep."[/b][/i]
Joh 4:34 [i]"Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish his work"[/i].
Mat 9:37[i]"Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;[/i]
Mat 9:38[i][b]"Pray[/b] ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."[/i]
Mat 28:19 [i]"Go ye therefore, and [b]make disciples[/b] of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:
Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world".[/i]
| 2004/5/28 10:17||Profile|
Your post made me think of this...
1 Cor 12:
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
I don't mean to make it seem as if everyone needs to be a mouth, I guess I just see the field as being SOO white, and the workers soooo few.
| 2004/5/28 12:56||Profile|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Quote:This quote is often attributed to Francis of Assisi; however, you will not find it in any of his works. Nevertheless, it captures the essence of what he was trying to say.
[b][i]Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words.[/i][/b]
| 2004/5/31 16:26||Profile|
"2 Cor 5:11
'Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.'
I know there is nothing directly stated here, but it implies that the direct result of the fear of the Lord (which is the beginning of wisdom) is a desire to persuade men to the faith."
This is an interesting thought, and I don't totally understand that passage. I don't follow your logic that "it implies that the direct result of the fear of the Lord (which is the beginning of wisdom) is a desire to persuade men to the faith." It seems clear to me that, in context, Paul is referring primarily to persuading Christians towards godliness. What I get from that verse is that, since they have comprehension of the seriousness of life and eternity, how our temporal choices have eternal consequences, they persuade men in various ways with eternity in mind. So I definately think this can be applied to evangelism but I don't think it's the primary meaning.
"My question is then...(and I know this is a bold question but I make it an extreme position for the sake of the discussion):
If we can have nothing of Wisdom without Fear, has there even been a Cristian reborn who was not given a desire to reach the lost?"
I think the answer is clearly "yes." As far as I can tell, fear and wisdom are not requirements for salvation.
"I agree that to do anything out of religeous duty is dangerous at best, However EQUALLY dangerous is grieving the spirit who gave us the desire to see the lost saved, by keeping silent because of the fear of men.
What I am concerned happens is that TOO MANY of us keep silent because we fear men more then God."
I think you could be right about this, and I think the fear of man is a big problem. But I don't think the solution is somehow working ourselves up and overcoming our struggle with the fear of man. Then evangelism becomes more of a therapy for you so you can feel like you're ok and God is now ok with you. Then, if you do somehow overcome the fear of man, you will likely have to deal with pride issues and that's obviously dangerous. I think this type of awareness (i.e. a desire not to greive the Spirit) is useful to drive us into the secret place and become more desperate for God and His power. But God deals with us as individuals and takes us through seasons and works on certain areas at different times and in different ways... so I don't think every sincere believer is going to start out with a sincere and burning desire to see the lost saved.
I believe that as we get more intimate with God and keep the first commandment first (loving God), the second one (ministry) will naturally come about in it's proper time and way. To force it for any reason seems dangerous. God doesn't love or accept us anymore on the basis of our works. I think that when we get right with God we won't fear man. So God direcely is our source and means of change, not our own efforts to try harder. Just getting closer to Him.
| 2004/5/31 16:59||Profile|
What an important thread! Thanks for all the comments offered and questions raised
good stuff. Hope you dont mind my rambling a bit on several things that seem to flow throughout the thread.
1. It can be quite dangerous to take the commands of Christ to His disciples and relegate them to the not for us disciples today pile without very good reason. If this door is opened too wide, think of the commands that might be banished outright. (
love one another even as I have loved you, and
you also ought to wash one anothers feet.) Whats to keep these commands spoken only to the twelve from being lumped into this pile for the same reasons?
Of course there are times when the commands of Jesus were only for the twelve, but those are easy to spot as they were relevant to special times or circumstances. Wed have to work pretty hard to place Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19-20 in this special category. Though Acts 1:8 was apparently only spoken to the apostles, there is clear evidence that His whole message (verses 4-8) was also meant for other disciples of the time, and not just strictly the eleven. After all, it wasnt just the eleven who waited in Jerusalem for the Spirit to be poured out. Acts 1:14-15 indicates that there were 120 believers waiting with the apostles for this outpouring. And they along with the apostles seem to have received it. If this part of Jesus Acts 1 message was heeded by other disciples at the time, might this be an indication that the command in verse 8 is for us as well?
Matthew 28:19-20 is even easier to figure out. Jesus specifically tells the apostles to teach them to observe all that I commanded you. Think about it. This would mean that the apostles were under obligation to teach these disciples of all the nations (thats us) to go make disciples of all the nations. This was, after all, one of the things that Jesus commanded them to do. We can know for sure, then, that this Great Commission is still a relevant command for all disciples today.
Even though there are plenty of other New Testament scriptures (already listed in another post) that show our obligation to evangelize the lost, one might wonder why it isnt mentioned more often or with greater clarity. Not to worry. I believe this only means that evangelism is one area that the early church got right. Most of the epistles were written to deal with issues or correct problems in the existing bodies. The historical record of the early churchs success in reaching the lost, along with this lack of mention, just shows how devoted these believers were to obeying the mission Jesus had given them.
Its been mentioned that maybe not every Christian is called to evangelism. I guess if one could show me an exemption from such a clear calling in the Word, I might buy it. Otherwise, its a bit of an iffy stand. (Most Christians are called, but not me.) Ive encountered this thinking many times in the ministry were part of. A believer who would like to join our ministry team but indicates that their calling is discipleship and not evangelism. (Which always means, I dont want to do evangelism.) My reply is always the same. What kind of disciples will you make if you are not actively involved in evangelism? Answer: Disciples who are not involved in evangelism. Disciples who dont reach the lost. They will be molded by what they see in the mature disciplers life and actions
and not just by the disciplers teaching. They will end up following the example of non-evangelism. (And become a very unhealthy unfruitful disciple.)
The whole Word of God reeks with the desires of God to set the captives free, and with our calling to partner with Him in this great mission. I think it was Hudson Taylor who said something like, The Great Commission is a command to be obeyed, not a suggestion to be considered. We have enough Christians today who will opt out of such a command
lets be careful not to water it down for them. (Or for ourselves.)
2. I think its a huge mistake to feel that we must get our lives and motives purified enough before stepping out in this great calling Jesus has given us. What is holiness but stepping out in obedience to the commands of Christ? Is there another practical definition I dont know about? Should we ever delay obedience in order to become more obedient? Of course not! It has been suggested that we should obey the first (and greatest) command first, and that the second command will come naturally. Surely there is a relationship between the two, but the conclusion to wait is wrong. After all, the second command is a command. That means we are called to do it
whether we feel ready enough or not.
Its my experience that we actually put ourselves in a great position to purify our lives and motives when we step out in obedience to those things we might not be ready enough to accomplish. The very act of stepping out in obedience puts us in a position of growth. (I presume, of course, that Im addressing believers on this board who desire to obey Jesus and live holy lives. This doesnt apply to those church-going hypocrites mentioned in an earlier post whose hearts are not bent on following Jesus.)
Also lets not presume that holiness or purified motives are a prerequisite for being used by God. Are any of us there yet? Not by a long shot. But God can use us in amazing ways if we allow Him to. We can even take heart (as Paul does in Philippians 1:18) that Christ is proclaimed even in pretense. (Not that we should ever aim or settle for such false motives. But Pauls attitude sure puts things in a God-glorifying perspective.)
In the final analysis, the one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James 4:17) I believe this would include our calling to evangelize the lost. Lets not wait for perfection or maturity before obeying Jesus. Perfection and maturity are obeying Jesus.
3. I agree that lifestyle is a very valid (read biblical) method of evangelism, but would caution against using an either/or stand in its application. Words without lifestyle is usually impotent. And lifestyle without words can be equally impotent. In other words, its usually not enough to preach or share when your life doesnt match up. Its also usually not enough to be a great example if you never end up communicating the actual gospel message at some point. We must have both if we want to be effective witnesses for Jesus. (The concept of lifestyle evangelism has often served as an obedience cop-out in many churches. The idea that as long as we live it we dont need to preach it. This has sadly resulted in a social gospel approach to evangelism around the world.)
Well, enough rambling for now. My bottom line is
lets obey! We dont have to be constrained by one method or strategy in reaching the lost, but lets do be constrained by an obedience (yes, a duty) that results in God receiving the glory due His name.
| 2004/6/1 6:15||Profile|
Is there any biblical support for this?
It is a nice idea, but where is it in the bible?
Actions are NECESSARY, but are words not also?
| 2004/6/1 9:01||Profile|