Evangelism Week 1
The Great Commission found in Matthew 28 vs 18-19 are words from the Bible every Christian knows. In his book Natural Evangelism which we are using as a guide for this course J John suggests that we all have opportunities to talk about Jesus but mostly we fail to take opportunities presented. We decided that a simple definition of evangelism is talking about Jesus. Christians often split into two groups when it comes to evangelism, the first group do not speak at all and the second group become very aggressive in the way they talk to people,
J John suggests that this is because of fear, he lists four fears
1) Fear of being inadequate . Worried about what we do not know. Mat 18 vs 3
2) Fear of losing reputation the example of Jesus Phil 2 vs 7
3) Fear of rejection – Isaiah 53 vs 3 .
4) Fear of appearing as a hypocrite 1 John 1 vs 8
These were all fears that Jesus experienced . Indeed using 2 Tim3 vs 12 J John points out that as Christians we are told to expect persecution. The Greek word for witness is marturia which translates to our word martyr, so we should expect some rejection when we talk about Jesus.
Another factor that causes us not to speak up is that we have been affected by Calvanist teaching , this believes that God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for glory and others for damnation (Romans 9:15,21). He has done this act before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4-8).
This is a belief that God will save those he has chosen for salvation, so if we fail to talk to someone about Jesus it does not matter because if God has chosen that person something else will happen so that person comes to faith.
Personally I disagree with this teaching , I believe God wants everyone to be saved that Jesus died for the world so everyone has a chance of salvation, our role in talking about who
Jesus is and what he has done is central to people being saved. The verb to evangelise appears 52 times in the bible . Some dictionaries describe this word as being purely a Christian word but the Cambridge dictionary describes it as “ talking about how good you think something is” Our conclusion was then that political parties, pressure groups, charities and even shops are all evangelising about something
So to evangelise might mean not just talking about Jesus but talking about how good we think Jesus is
William temple described evangelism like this –To evangelise is to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that people may come to put their trust in God through him, to accept him as their Saviour and serve him as their King in the fellowship of the church. In the last part of our meeting we looked at the relationship between our words and our works using Luke 4 vs18-19 and James 2 vs14-26 . Our conclusion was that we needed both words and actions that we needed to practice what we preached to be specific, we need to really love our neighbour and really forgive those who have wronged us.
What did we learn over the evening? There were a lot of different responses .
Here are some of them –
1) We need to pray more specifically about evangelism.
2) We need to be more certain about what we believe so that our belief affects our actions.
3) We need to learn more about this whole subject and how we can positively share our faith with others