Mark Dever’s topic today was on sharing the good news. He asked four questions about his topic.
1. Who should evangelize?
2. How should we evangelize?
3. What is evangelism?
4. Why should we evangelize?
Second, how should we evangelize? Here Dever gave six Biblical guidelines for evangelism. They are:
I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and, hence, counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth, and unchristian strategy of attempting to makepeople aware of their lost and sinful condition.
Third, we must share the gospel with joy! We must tell sinners that if they repent and believe the gospel they will be saved. It’s worth it to follow Christ! As Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he can never lose.”
Fourth, we must use the Bible. Not because, as it was fifty years ago in America, people will take it as an authority. Whether, in order to show that the gospel message which we proclaim is not idea.
Fifth, we recognize that the lives of Christians are a powerful complement to our sharing of the gospel. The church can and should be “a confirming echo of our witness.” A church full of regenerate people loving one another as John 13:35 indicates can be a powerful witness to the world. We should ask ourselves not, “How can we be like the culture?, but, “How can we be distinct from the culture?”
Sixth, we must pray. If we recognize that fundamentally salvation is a work of God, doesn’t it then follow that we must pray to God for the conversion of sinners!?!?
Third, what is evangelism? Evangelism is not imposition. When you evangelize you do not impose your views on someone else, but you seek to present the Good News accurately. We cannot coerce people into becoming Christians.
Nor is evangelism personal testimony. Instead, evangelism is objective statments about God, the state of all men, sin and righteousness.
Evangelism is not social action or apologetics. It is not the results of evangelism. In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul’s proclamation of the gospel has two very different effects on two different types of people. We cannot predict what kind of people will be reached by the kind of music that we use (contrary to a popular book).
Positively, evangelism is to declare on God’s authority what He has done in Christ while calling on men and women to believe the gospel and repent of their sins.
This mission cannot fail! If there are no results, there is no failure as long as the message is faithfully proclaimed.
Finally, why should we evangelize? Some motives for evangelism can be wrong. You can have the motive of wanting to be right, to win an argument, to look spiritual, to increase your reputation. But here are three good motives for evangelism:
1. Desire to be Obedient
2. Love for the Lost
3. Love for God – this is the only sufficient motive. “Only a deep love for God” will sustain your evangelism when all other motives fall flat.
In conclusion Dr. Dever described the sales technique used in soul-winning by C.S. Lovett. Reading from one of his books, Dever said that we should take a firm grip on the potential convert’s shoulder. In a semi-commanding tone we are to tell him to bow his head. Don’t look to see if he bows his head, bow your head first. But out of the corner of your eye you will see him hesitate at first, then he will bow his head. You will feel his heart yeild by your hand on his shoulder. Then, lead him to repeat a “sinner’s prayer.”
Dever finally and passionately argued that instead of viewing God as the gentleman who would not force his way on anyone and the soul-winner as the one who is to use all his manipulative powers to persuade the sinner to pray a prayer, we should ourselves be the gentleman who simply proclaims the gospel message and calls on the sinner to believe and repent, then step out of the way and allow God to use all the resources of his power to impart life to the soul of the unbeliever.
Amen! You must hear the audio to this one! I can’t do it justice.