The Evangelistic Lifestyle

All believers in Jesus Christ are ambassadors.  We are representatives for Jesus and have the awesome responsibility and privilege of declaring the gospel message to a fallen world.  The apostle Paul is a great example to us of a bold and loving ambassador who brings the message of  reconciliation to all those he comes in contact with (2 Cor. 5:16-21;  1 Cor. 9:19-23).  However, most of us are not the apostle Paul when it comes to doing faithful evangelism!  For many believers the task of evangelism is one filled with fear, guilt and apathy.  It does not seem to be the joyful privilege that it should be.  My observation is that most believers struggle with doing faithful biblical evangelism to one degree or another.  I too am included in this “struggle” category.  Sometimes I seem focused on pursuing those without Christ and proclaiming the glorious gospel but at other times I fail to see the urgency of the evangelistic endeavor and make little effort to tell others the Good News.

What can be done to become more faithful with our evangelistic efforts?  Much could be said in reply.  In the future, I hope to develop some further ideas on this.  First, I recommend reading several excellent books on doing biblical evangelism to help one understand and apply a biblical approach.   I have read each of the following books and found them very biblical, practical and encouraging.  None of us is born a faithful, zealous ambassador for Jesus.  We must pray that the Lord would change us as needed and then practice telling the gospel to others while depending on God to save sinners.  Here is my list of suggested books:

  • “Tell the Truth”  by Will Metzger
  • “The Gospel & Personal Evangelism”  by Mark Dever
  • “Evangelism & The Sovereignty Of God”  by J.I. Packer

As a believer and ambassador, my goal is to live an “evangelistic lifestyle”.  I desire to “show and tell” the gospel at anytime and with anyone.  I am not at this point yet but God is changing me!  Will Metzger reminds us in his book “Tell the Truth” that evangelism must be God-centered and exalt God’s grace.  This must be communicated in a personal way to lost sinners.  He writes the following:  “God centered evangelism is a way of life.  It does not advocate a method but encourages knowledge of people and how to apply a macrogospel to the conscience and heart.  Witness should be natural, educational and bold.  It is something we are, not just something we do.  ‘Personal witnessing’ is the phrase that best describes the evangelistic life to which all of us are called” (p. 205).

This statement by Will Metzger has helped me over the years become more effective and faithful in my evangelistic efforts.  My focus is not on a particular evangelism method but on understanding and living out the gospel before a watching world.  My life is to be saturated with the glorious truths of Scripture and the gospel.  Biblical evangelism is centered on God and his purpose to rescue sinners from eternal punishment through the cross work of Jesus Christ.  The unbeliever needs to get right with God in order to escape the wrath to come.  My role is to bring this Good News to fallen people.  I must be involved with people and love people.  I am to proclaim the truth of the gospel but only God can bring results.  He alone has the power to save dead sinners. God saves sinners!  Thanks be to God!

In closing, I have a few encouragements to help you develop the “evangelistic lifestyle”.

1.  Immerse yourself in the glorious truth of the gospel and the cross of Christ (Col. 1:21-23).

2.  Evangelize for the glory of God (1 Pet. 4:11).  Desire to see God exalted in all things.

3.  Use your sphere of influence (home, work, family, neighbors, etc.) to build relationships with people and proclaim the gospel of Christ  (Phil 1:12-14).  God calls us to love others.

4. Rest upon the sovereign grace of God to rescue sinners while working to win people to Christ (1 Cor. 3:5-9).

5.  Bathe your evangelistic efforts in prayer.  We must depend on God and ask God to make us bold and zealous to see others reconciled to God (Col. 4:2-4).

May the Lord cause you to grow in your love for Him and the Gospel.  We have been given a wondrous privilege.

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”     (Romans 1:18)

9 thoughts on “The Evangelistic Lifestyle

  1. Hi Bill.

    I don’t think I can courteously keep bringing these things up on another’s blog, but this seemed like a good opportunity.

    I think there are some theological points that are really on my mind that are fundamental to this subject.

    I’ll just state them! One is that I personally think that the bible’s presentation of the atonement and substitionary atonement makes a distinction between an atonement *made*, and an atonement *applied*. There have been plenty of calvinists that believe in, or showed aspects of a belief in, a universal atonement/particularist application schema. I think it must make all the difference between presenting a “gospel” that is just a transcript of eternal election, or a description of God’s saving activity etc,and one that realizes there has been a provision made for all, that makes the declaration “be ye reconciled to God!” all the more meaningful. Man has to believe with his own will, and he has all the faculties to do so, and God has already effected the objective side of his reconciliation – that is God to man, at the cross. So, with respect to man’s responsibility, there is *nothing* that prevents him from being saved but his own stubborn will. This runs parallel to the understanding that God’s grace must sovereignly come to him if man’s will is ever to be freed from its sin bent so that he can and will believe.

    Also, I think that when we *objectively* know that Christ died for us, it surely has knock-on effects for our doctrines of assurance and sanctification…I have to go…I tried to write some of my thoughts on that on Mike’s post concerning “Campus Crusade”. I don’t know if you’ve read it. I really think these things must be so crucially important.

    Phil

  2. http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/2008/2723 (I’m Sending You To Open Their Eyes)

    Thanks, Bill(y); as you may have read (via recent comments by me as well as via comments by me to some of Steve’s “posts”), I regularly contend that the only reason our Lord leaves us here after He saves us is so that we do the one thing we can do here that we can’t do hereafter: Share the “good tidings” … the RHEMA Rom. 10:17 (Faith comes by hearing the RHEMA — the “message of the Cross” … the Great Exchange … the Substitutionary Atonement). That said, I attended a Voice of the Martyrs conference two days ago; I realize now more than I did before Saturday that my victory over my pride in “risking” various potential unfavorable reactions is inconsequential as compared to the risks taken by our brothers and sisters who comprise “the persecuted Church”.

  3. Phil,
    Thanks for your comments. I am not sure I follow all your thoughts. The Bible is clear that the unbeliever is dead in sins and unable to chose Christ. God alone has the power to save and change the dead sinner (Eph. 2:1-5). However, the Bible also declares that man is accountable before God to repent and believe the Gospel (Acts 17:30). We must hold on to both biblical truths: God is sovereign and man is responsible. I recommend that you read “Evangelism & The Sovereignty of God” by J.I. Packer. This book presents the biblical balance on this subject. In Christ, Bill

  4. Thanks for the reply, Bill. Yes, I (and many others who may would be called “calvinists”) believe the unbeliever is dead in sins. But, where we make a distinction that we think “high calvinism” tends to err on biblically, is between man’s “natural” and “moral” ability to respond. Man is NOT “unable” because he doesn’t possess all the faculties needed to exercise saving faith, but, because he is bent on his sin in his will, he WILL NOT…unless God frees that will from sin’s power so that he WILL. Further,even if high calvinists affirm this much, they limit the provision of the atonement just to the elect, and locate the gift of faith as something DIRECTLY purchased in the atonement itself, without biblical warrant. Thus, in that scheme, it is true that some CANNOT believe – in the absolute sense – that is,for more reason than just a stubbornly UNWILLING will. Rather, because God has not made space for them (the non-elect) on his side. But, as Jonathan Edwards said (a “high” calvinist(?) who nevertheless made the “natural”, “moral” ability distinction), if the sinner is lost the fault lies wholly with himself. It’s because he WON’T give his consent.

    But that doesn’t mean that the sovereignty of God isn’t preserved with the necessity of an effectual calling for man to willingly receive this salvation, according to God’s purpose in election.

    I think this holds a biblically superior compatibilism between man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty. Sovereignty and responsibility are not set against each other. They are not, in God’s mind “in tension”. They are compatible. I also tend to think that many modern day calvinists have lost, or else have never understood the gospel, in their understanding of these things.

    I haven’t read it, but you may be interested in this on Calvin’s views (not that we are bound to any man, but I mention it for the obvious historical reasons)

    http://calvinandcalvinism.com/?p=230

    and this,

    http://responsivereiding.wordpress.com/confession-of-an-ex-highper-calvinist/

    I also wrote an essay on the unlimited/particular view of the atonement, but I don’t feel comfortable in putting myself forward like this, as I think that generally, I have but little experiential grasp, and think that I need to become a fool so that I may become a wise man.

    Phil

  5. Must-watch, “on-point” video @ http://defendingcontending.wordpress.com/ * http://defendingcontending.worpress.com/2007/08/23/an-intense-video-that-asks-are-you-willing-to-die-for-your-faith/

    Please read comments 5 – 7 (at least) after watching the video!

    * The second link should “open” the video; if not, the first link is to the Home page; along its right margin is a link to Top DefCon posts; look for An Intense Video that asks Are You Willing to Die for your Faith?

    By-the-way, any who havent yet read Mike’s “post” regarding Jerry Bridges’ RESPECTABLE SINS ought to “visit” Love Broke Thru post haste!**

    ** Look along right margin of this “page” for Love Broke Thru link

  6. Just found this, not read all,but will!! Remember Jesus never ceased to be God but willingly limited His perogatives. Many times he told the disciples..only the Father knows….The greatest leader of all time had no dreams,goals,initative of His own demonstrating how WE are to live totally dependent on the power of the risen Christ for our lives.
    Only God can do God’s work. We just have the opportunity to be an extension of His life to this world. ‘I only do what the Father tells me to do and I always do what He tells me to do! Evangelism isnt a millstone around the neck when you see God totally in control of all the details of our lives. It gives us boldness to walk out each day, knowing God is at work laying out all that comes before us each day.
    The christian life is an aggressive life, never in its initative but in its response! We just need to learn from start to finish it’s Gods work. We come up with ideas and ask God to bless it or God gives us His idea and we work it out in our strength. NO it has to come all from Him. Thats what makes life and church hard. We have lots of activity, but is it God’s or ours….janitor

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