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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2010

Church And Evangelism In Modern Times

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Every faithful church of the modern times must endeavour to preach the Gospel without diluting or altering the biblical concept and message of evangelism. We should never think of the success of evangelism as dependent on human skills and strategies.

Keys to the Success of Evangelism

 1. The unashamed preaching of the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Romans 1:16, the Apostle Paul shares with us the power of evangelism - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Like Paul, we must be convinced that the Gospel of Christ is powerful in leading multitudes from sin unto Christ's salvation. The Gospel of Christ is packed with divine power. There is nothing more effective for a soul-winner to do than the preaching of the true Gospel of Christ.

If people ridicule us for not appearing fascinating or contemporary in the preaching of the Gospel, we should not feel troubled. We can be rest assured that the simple and plain preaching of the Gospel is sufficient to win souls. "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. . . it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18-24).

Hebrews 4:12 provides further assurance concerning the power of the Word of God - "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." When a man or woman, who is armed with unwavering faith in the power of the Gospel of Christ, clearly expounds it to unbelievers, he or she will most certainly be a very effective soul-winner.

2. There must be abundant reliance on the power of the Spirit through prayer. In 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, Paul said, "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." Soulwinning is not a human art or skill. It is the work of the Spirit. Effective evangelism is never possible if the preacher does not abide in the power of the Spirit.

Paul was quick to acknowledge that the secret of his success in evangelism was not his eloquence or personal power of persuasion, but the empowerment of the Spirit. He repeatedly told the first Christians that his success in evangelism must be wholly attributed to God. "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish" (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). Truly, only the Spirit of God can equip and empower us for great soul harvests.

Today, churches and para-church groups talk a great deal about "cross-cultural evangelism training". Many Christians seem to be very concerned about the importance of knowing and adapting to other peoples' cultures to be successful. The present emphasis on cross-cultural training often shifts the real focus of evangelists and missionaries from the actual need of being empowered with the Spirit to that of world's culture and other relational skills. Jesus promised Christians the power of the Holy Spirit that will adequately prepare them to cross national and
societal boundaries to be effective preachers of the Gospel. Jesus' promise to us is that "ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Just as Jesus promised, the apostles and the early Christians received great empowerment from the Spirit in spreading the Gospel - "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:33). In Romans 15:19, Paul testified that "by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ".

There is no magical power in any method to bring about salvation. It is through the work of the Holy Spirit that people are born again (John 3:3-8). So let all of us, who yearn to be used of the Lord to win souls, be filled with the Holy Spirit and His power.

In Acts 4:31, we have a wonderful example concerning how Christians can be filled with the Spirit for effective evangelism. We read, "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."

Prayer is the key to being filled with the Spirit and His power for evangelism. Do you pray for courage and boldness to evangelise? Do you seek His help in meeting with people? Do you seek the Spirit's wisdom and power to share the Gospel clearly and accurately? If you pray earnestly and yield to the Spirit, He will empower you to be a soul-winner.

In John 15:16, Jesus has promised much more fruit in answer to our prayers - "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."

Pastoral Exhortation