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Biblical Evangelism: Part TwoJuly 13, 2017
What is biblical evangelism? Who is the intended recipient of biblical evangelism? Why is biblical evangelism important? I want to answer these three questions in this piece since a previous post could at least leave for some the thought that since we have as Southern Baptists done biblical evangelism so poorly in the past, maybe it is not as important as we have thought. That would be a woefully wrong impression. It is important. It is more than important; it is essential. And it is exceedingly urgent. Elton Trueblood once wrote, “a non-witnessing Christian is a contradiction in terms.” To profess to know Christ and not to proclaim Christ is quite simply a betrayal of Christ.
What is biblical evangelism? It is the announcement of the Good News of the perfect law keeping of Christ for us so that we do not have to keep the law perfectly in order to be saved. It is the announcement that Jesus Christ who alone obeyed fully and faithfully the holy standard of God for us in the law is also the one who offered Himself up to God through the cross as our justice satisfying and wrath absorbing sacrifice who through the cross is our substitute. He took our place. He received in Himself the enormous, gut-wrenching death bringing pain that we deserve. He died. He was buried. He was raised by the power of God on the third day so that He through the cross defeated sin and through the resurrection defeated death for all who believe. Biblical evangelism announces this Good News to all who are in our circle of influence. We make it clear. We make it complete. We make it courageously. We make it compassionately. We call people compellingly to believe. We do this in large groups when we teach and preach, we do it in small groups when we are hanging out with friends that include lost people and we do this one on one. We both look for and create opportunities to share this Good News.
With whom to we share the Good News? The Good News is good news for people whose lives are filled with bad news. The challenge is that many people do not know the bad news that fills their lives. The bad news for every human is far worse than cancer. There is no disease more devastating or deadly, there is no darkness more penetrating than the state into which we are born and live until the Holy Spirit convicts us of our true, natural state before God. Here it is: God is pure and perfect who has put His standard for being right with Him in His law. We cannot keep His law. We are born as those who despise God; How do I know? Because we are hate all who tell us what to do and exercise authority over us. This is our natural state. We are enemies of God. God has come in Christ through the cross and by way of the resurrection to bring us to God. But we will not and cannot respond until we hear the Good News of the Gospel and are called by someone to repent or to change our minds and turn from our sin to the God who loves us and gave Himself for us. No person will ever respond to God who does not hear the good news of God. Evangelism, thus, is not just something we should do; it is a must for every man and woman of God. We fail miserably as His people when we do not evangelize.
Why is evangelism important? It is simple. People remain in their sin when we fail to evangelize. People are left in bondage to themselves and their desires when we do not evangelize. People are under the wrath and judgment of God when we do not evangelize. People go to hell when we do not evangelize. So, let me ask you a very simple question right here and right now: who have you evangelized this week?