Evangelism as a Spiritual Discipline – Colossians 4:2-6

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Further Application


  1. Have you considered sharing the gospel with other people a privilege or has evangelism evoked a deep sense of dread for you? Tell God why you are afraid, and ask him to deliver you from fear. Recall 2 Tim 1:7, and remember that God is looking for your obedience. Satan will coerce you to keep quiet for fear of failing and then condemn you for not trying. Share the gospel and trust God for the results.
  2. List five people whom you know that you can begin personally praying for opportunities to share the gospel. Consider sharing these with your family or an accountability partner who can also pray for these people with you.
  3. Practice listening well so that you can see where the gospel intersects their story.
  4. Write your testimony (or your story) so that you can share it clearly in under 3 minutes. Your story should include (a.) your life before Christ, (b.) the moment in which you surrendered your life to Christ, (c.) and how Christ has changed your life. If the either (b.) or (c.) are missing, it is time to seriously consider if you have genuinely surrendered your life to Christ and are saved.
  5. Practice sharing the gospel. A simple method of sharing the gospel is with the “3 Circles: Life Conversation Guide” from NAMB. A video of this presentation may be found at: http://www.dutchcovebaptist.org/#/why-jesus
  6. Choose an accountability partner that will commit to helping you develop the discipline of sharing the gospel. Then the two of you commit to having 2 gospel conversations each week. Keep a journal of your experiences and what you learn from each one. Then share your experiences with each other.

Sermon Notes


Main Idea: You can go into your community and unto the nations with the Gospel bearing confident expectation because: Whosoever will may come. And whosoever comes is brought by God.

Introduction
The Christian/Follower of Jesus has many privileges:

1. Prayer (v2)
-Because you are in Christ you can enter into the holy of holies.
-You can approach God, the Creator of the universe, the Almighty, with confident assurance that you will have his attention.
2. Praise (v2)
-Praise is an offering of gratitude, i.e. Thanksgiving
-Have you ever thought of being thankful as a privilege?

The Unbeliever:
For those with no belief system, i.e. those who claim there is no God, when something good happens to them they have no one to thank. For them, they have no Father to whom to be thankful and on whom to rely. The unbeliever has no confidence that anything good will ever happen to him again. He is simply at the mercy of some impersonal force or karma. The unbeliever has no greater person on whom to rely. Perhaps he could rely on other people, but people will fail him because people are imperfect. Burned by others, the unbeliever resorts to only relying on himself. But he will eventually fail himself too, because just like the people he scorned for failing him, he too is imperfect. And so now the unbeliever is left utterly defeated.
The Believer:
But not so for the believer! God is your heavenly Father who knows you, loves you, and “causes all things to work together for good to those who love [him], to those who are called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28). And for that we can be “alert” in our prayers for God moving in and through our lives with “an attitude of thanksgiving.”

3. Proclamation (v3-6)
As representatives of Christ. All believers are called by God to declare the Gospel with reckless abandon. All believers are called to actively, consistently, personally engage in evangelism.


A. What is Evangelism?
“Telling the Good News”
Evangelism is not merely an invitation to church, but rather Evangelism is an invitation:
-To see the truth of who you are before a holy God – a rebellious sinner destitute and destined to eternal imprisonment in hell under the wrath of God.
-To repent of your sin and believe on the redeeming gospel of Jesus Christ.
-To surrender your life and be born again to a life of obedience to the commands of Christ.

APP:
Biblical evangelism must be Christ centered, Christ exalting, and Christ dependent. Evangelism must call for a response.


B. Is Evangelism expected?
1. Consider the Command & Commander:
Proverbs 11:30, “He that winneth souls is wise.”
Matthew 28:19-20
Mark 16:15
Luke 24:46-47
John 20:21
Acts 1:8

2. Consider the Commanded (to Whom the Call is Given):
There is a difference between the gift of an evangelist (Ephesians 4:11-12) and the command to for every believer to be an intentional witness (1 Peter 2:off).

APP:
All followers of Christ are expected to Evangelize, to tell the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in full dependence on the Holy Spirit.


Very few people have a difficult time telling good news so…
C. Why do we have a difficult time sharing the Gospel?
1. We rightly understand the WEIGHTINESS OF THE MATTER
2. We wrongly ASSUME THE RESPONSIBILITY of someone’s salvation
Illustration
Listen to what one researcher found:
“One dominant reason underlying the increasing reluctance of Christians to share their faith with non-Christians pertains to the faith sharing experience itself and asking questions about their witnessing activities, we have found the 9 of 10 individuals who attempt to explain their beliefs and theology to other people come away from those experiences feeling as if they have failed…. The reality of human behavior is the most people avoid those activities in which they perceive themselves to be failures. As creature seeking pleasure and comfort, we have the size those dimensions and activities in which we are most capable and secure. Thus, despite the divine command to spread the Word, many Christians redirect their energies into areas of spiritual activity that are more satisfying and in which they are more likely to achieve success.”[1]

3. So then, what is success in Evangelism?
SHARING THE GOSPEL IS SUCCESSFUL EVANGELISM
Illustration
Like the postal service, success is delivering the message on time and in a legible/understandable manner. Success is not how you will receive the message the postman delivers.delivers.[2]


D. Not an Ordinary Message, Not by Ordinary Means
You are not delivering an ordinary message by ordinary means. EVANGELISM IS EMPOWERED.
1. The Gospel Holds Power
-(Rom 1:16) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
-Our effectiveness sharing the Gospel does not depend our cleverness.
(c.f. 1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God… 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

APP:
Proclaim the Gospel clearly as truth, not cleverly as a sales pitch.

2. The Spirit Empowers
-(Acts 1:8) “…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
-Remember, we rightly understand the weightiness of the matter, but so often wrongly assume the responsibility of someone’s salvation.
(a.) The Role of God the Holy Spirit
It is Holy Spirit’s job to do the convicting, convincing, and converting (c.f. John 16:7ff).
(b.) What Does Scripture Say (c.f. John 6)?
“All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (v. 37);
“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life” (v. 40);
“No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (v. 44);
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life” (v. 47);
“No one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father” (v. 65)
(c.) We must trust in the sovereignty of God
Trusting in the sovereignty of God in salvation frees you and encourages you to evangelize.
(d.) We are like a sleeve for the Holy Spirit.
There are 3 ways we can tie a knot in the sleeve:
1. Unrepentant sin
2. Sinfully ignorant of the Gospel
3. Sinfully idolatrous: Time, Time, Time & Tools, Tools, Tools

APP:
When you give God your time, you are the tool in the hands of the Master Craftsman


E. The Discipline of Evangelism
1. Delivered out of Devotion (Col 4:2)
-Are you devoted to the privilege of evangelizing out of devotion to the Lord?
-Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40): Love God with everything AND love others as yourself

APP:
When you love God rightly, you will love others rightly. There is no greater gift of love than to give someone the gospel.

2.Preceded by Prayer (Col 4:2-3)
-We must be people of prayer

APP:
Pray in preparation for God to use you for his glory
Pray for opportunities to speak the Gospel
Pray specifically for those whom you know but do not know if they are saved
Pray for Holy Spirit discernment on how to begin a Gospel conversation, i.e. where does the Gospel (God’s Story) intersect their story?

3. Sharing as a Story (Col 4:4-6)
-We have to discipline ourselves to be good storytellers.
-People generally love to tell you their story and hear a good story.
-Where does the gospel (God’s Story) intersect their story

APP:
Practice listening, telling your story, telling the gospel

4. Open for Every Opportunity (Col 4:3, 5)
-Devotion over duty doesn’t preclude evangelism as a discipline
-Our Goal: That our everyday conversations become naturally evangelistic because we think in terms of the Gospel, our conversation is saturated with the Gospel, and we see through the lens of the Gospel (what we do and how we do it)
-One may think that evangelism is as natural for a follower of Christ as is breathing or walking.
Illustration (1)
As adults, we think breathing is natural; that we do it without thinking about it. But our bodies have to become disciplined to breathe. Babies can forget to breathe (SIDS). But as their brains mature, breathing becomes automatic. Similarly, as a new believer matures, evangelism should become automatic.

To develop this natural evangelism, we have to be willing to start. We have to be willing to be obedient in God’s eyes even if the world would consider us a failure. We have to be willing to fall and get up and go again.

Illustration (2)
None of you were born knowing how to walk…

None of you were born knowing how to walk. You may not remember, but you learned to walk by trying (and failing) over and over until walking became very natural. Similarly evangelism will not become natural until you learn it by doing it over and over.

APP:
Consider disciplining yourself to share the gospel twice a week for 15 weeks in a row.

 

For a pdf version: Evangelism as a Spiritual Discipline-Col 4_2-6-Spiritual Disciplines Series


[1] George Barna as quoted in Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014), 123-124.
[2] Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014), 124.

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