TEXT: Doctrinal, Multiple Texts
INTRO: Today’s question in the development of Our Christian Worldview is: “Does a Christian have a responsibility to share his or her faith in Christ with other people?” The doctrine with which we are dealing is “Evangelism.”
I. THE DEFINITION AND PRACTICE OF EVANGELISM.
A. ROM. 1:14-16. “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. Thus, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”
Are we compelled to share the gospel? “euangelion”= “godspiel” = “gospel”= Good news! A Consensual definition: “proclaiming the gospel for the purpose of sharing the message of hope and teachings of Jesus Christ.” ; “The proclamation of the good news is the continuation of the work which God began in Jesus Christ. It is not about history, but an ongoing of that history.”; R.C. Sproul: “The gospel is only about us as it pertains to its effect on us. Otherwise, it is about Jesus and His work towards the kingdom of God.”
B. Comparative statistics: 1.) A 1993 survey: 9 out of 10 Christians agreed Christians had a responsibility to share their faith (89%); 2018: only 64% agree (25 pt. drop).
II. WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITY TO SHARE THEIR FAITH.
A. Biblical mandates to share:
Matt. 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Luke 10:1-11, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send the laborers into the harvest.”
Acts 1:8, “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and to all Judea and Samaria and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
B. Biblical inferences to share our faith: 1.) 1 Thess. 1:5, 6, “for our gospel did not come to you in word only (Paul had shared the gospel with them), but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and was full of conviction . . . . You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit.” 2:2, 8, “we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition . . . . we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives.”
2.) Gal. 1:11, 23, “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man . . . . [the churches kept hearing that], He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.”
3.) 2 Tim. 4;5, “do the work of an evangelist.”
4.) 1 Cor. 15: 1-2, “Now I make known to you, brothers, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.”; vss.3-4, “For I delivered to you, as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
5.) Entire book of Acts; 2:41, “so then, those who had received his word were baptized and there were added that day about 3,000 souls.”
III. THE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE OF SHARING THE GOSPEL.
A. From Christ’s resurrection – 100 A.D., first church founded; 50,000 Christians in an empire of 70 million. In 70 A.D., Rome sacked Jerusalem, church moved into world.
1-2 century: persecution and secretive meetings
313 A.D.: Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal, and it became the state religion. It became socially, economically, and politically advantageous to join church. “Sharing the faith” became a social norm, rather than a spiritual conviction. “Imperialistic evangelism,” = expanding the kingdom of God by expanding the Kingdom of man.”
1500’s-1600’s: Protestant Reformation: evangelism became prominent in reaching converts Struggle between sate churches and free exercise of Christianity led to relocation in New World. Evangelism: the basis for the formation of many denominations.
1800’s and the influence of the Theory of Evolution. Gospel challenged.
1960 – current: Liberal persecution and loss of boldness in sharing faith. Increasingly sterile gospel witnessing movement.
IV. POSSIBLE WAYS TO SHARE THE CHRISTIAN FAITH.
A. 1.) Basic preparation for evangelism: a.) Know your relationship to Jesus. 1 Pet. 3:15, “Set apart Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
b.) Pray and look for opportunities with expectation.
c.) Don’t procrastinate and don’t give up.
2.) Five styles of evangelism Jesus used: a.) Lifestyle evangelism
b.) Friendship evangelism:
c.) Situational evangelism:
d.) Mass evangelism
e.) Program evangelism,
B. Jesus is a Savior, not a commodity. You don’t have to sell Him, just introduce Him.
Is a Christian responsible to share his or her faith in Christ with other people? Do you think it’s important?