We’re taking time this Summer to review & revisit some of the “fundamentals” that we need in order to grow up “in all aspects into Him Who is the Head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15)!
Last week we began reviewing every Christian’s favorite spiritual activity – evangelism.
As indicated by my snark earlier, the word “evangelism” usually evokes a reaction in Christians similar to the reaction vampires (at least the ones back in the day!) have to garlic, the sun or a cross…!
That’s really unfortunate because evangelism isn’t just a lot of fun…
It’s actually GOOD NEWS!
I mentioned last week that the word from which we get the English word “evangel” or “evangelism was originally used to “herald” or announce the news of a ruler’s victory in war, a birth of a king, the ENTHRONEMENT of a king… You get the idea.**
Again, consider how that relates to OUR announcement about the GOOD NEWS of MESSIAH JESUS:
· Jesus is THE King born to be the Light of the world; the One Who takes away the SIN OF the world!
· Jesus IS THE King Who has defeated death, hell & the grave!
· He is THE King Who is enthroned at the right hand of God-the-Father to rule and reign in justice, righteousness and LOVE – and to reign and rule in a NEW world…!!!
NT Wright says:
**The task of evangelism is therefore best understood as the proclamation that Jesus is already Lord, that in him God’s new creation has broken into history, and that all people are therefore summoned to submit to him in love, worship and obedience.**
**The logic of this message requires that those who announce it should be seeking to bring Christ’s Lordship to bear on every area of human and worldly existence.”**
(NT Wright, Commentary on Colossians)
Seriously, is there any better news than this?!!
Last week we looked at quite a bit of Acts 1 & 2…
A few things stood out, which I’m just going to list without much comment:
· The first thing that is obvious: evangelism (let’s call it “good newsing”) is completely a Spirit-inspired activity… (1:8)
· This Spirit-inspired evangelism took place in a unique way (vv. 2-16, especially 5-6 & 11-12)…
· Ordinary people were empowered to do some amazingly EXTRAordinary things – things they probably would never have been able to do ordinarily (Peter preaching his incredible sermon; vv. 22-36)
· The response was Spirit-inspired conviction (v. 37)
· The spiritual gift of PASTOR is released to Peter (vv. 38-40)
· The result was discipleship – evidence that a true change had occurred; a Spirit-empowered change (42-47)
So how do we “DO” evangelism?
What strategies or tools do we use?
There are lots out there: EE, Roman Road, 4 Spiritual Laws, tracts, rallies, crusades, “revivals”…
And, maybe even more problematic for Christians is:
“Do I KNOW enough? What if somebody asks me a question I can’t answer?!!?”
Believe me, I feel ya…!
And we WILL talk about that – just not today.
Today I want to talk about the evangelism program we use here at the Vineyard.
I’m trained in the Southern Baptist model of EE – it’s (how shall I put this delicately) VERY, VERY similar to what D. James Kennedy developed…
But that’s not what we do!
We don’t use the Roman Road, 4 Spiritual Laws or anything like that (not knocking them)…
We want EVERYTHING we do to be initiatedand inspired and ESPECIALLY EMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT!!
We call it “being naturally supernatural…
So we have to have an ear tuned into God’s frequency. The good news YOU & I ALREADY DO – (“My sheep hear My voice…” John 10:27)!!!
There is a bit of a learning curve on hearing the Shepherd’s voice (full disclosure – everyone of us is still learning…), but it’s something God desires to see developed in us, so it’s something He makes easy FOR us by accommodating Himself TO us!!
(I’m going to have to quit in a moment, but let me explain what I mean by that… [learning styles])
I’ll develop this more next week.