Monthly Archives: June 2011

Biblical Evangelism

What the Bible says about evangelism (declaring and sharing the good news about the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ whose life, work and death was to save us from our guilt, sin and hell and to make us right with a holy God).

This study is from Bill Vermeulen’s Great Truths of the Bible syllabus.

Evangelism is testifying to the mercy and grace of God as experienced in one’s personal life, and especially as declared in the Scriptures. It is “gospeling” the good news.  Evangelism is God’s task, but he has graciously made you a participant in the task. It is both a privilege and a responsibility.

In the various accounts of evangelism in the Bible, we see that it is a fourfold task. It is (1) relational, (2) intentional, (3) presentational, and (4) invitational.

1. Evangelism was instituted by the Lord Jesus

a. John 20:21 – it was a commission

b. Mark 16:15 – there are recipients

c. Matthew 28:19-20 – he gave a basic strategy

d. Luke 24:46-48   – the content is repentance and forgiveness of sins based on the death and resurrection of Jesus

e. Acts 1:8 – geographically, it started in Jerusalem and continues to the ends of the world.

2. Evangelism is telling others about the saving work of God in our lives (Mark 5:19,20; John 9:26-33; Acts 2:5-11; John 4:29, 39; Acts 16:15, 40; 1 Peter 3:15; Philemon 6)

3. Evangelism is the spreading of the “Good News” message (Psalm 96:1; Matthew 24:14; Acts 8:5; 11:19-21; Revelation 14:6)

4. Evangelism is defending the faith of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27; 4:3; Acts 1:28).

5. Evangelism is to be done by the ordained (Ephesians 4:11; Acts 21:8; 2 Timothy 4:5)

6. Evangelism is to be done by the unordained (Luke 8:39; 9:60/ Acts 5:32; 8:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; James 5:19,20; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 22:17).

7. Evangelism involves prayer (Matthew 9:38; John 17:20).

8. Evangelism involves finding, telling and harvesting (Luke 19:10; Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 8:35-38; Matthew 9:38).

9. Evangelism involves modeling and equipping others for effectiveness (Acts 13:2; 14:1; Ephesians 4:11, 12).

10. Evangelism is done through friendship and hospitality (John 1:41, 45; Acts 10:24-27, 44)

11. Evangelism is done through diaconal ministries (Isaiah 61:1-3; Matthew 9:35; 10:7; Acts 2:45, 47)

12. Evangelism is done through visiting homes (Matthew 10:11-14; Luke 19:9, 10; 10:5-7).

13. Evangelism is done in large gatherings (Acts 2:1-41; 17:22-34).

14. Evangelism is done in small groups (Acts 10:24-27; 16:15, 31-32; 18L7, 8, 26; 28:7-10).

15. Evangelism is done with individuals (John 1:41, 45; 4:7-29; Acts 8:34, 35; James 5:20)

16. Evangelism involves (see 1 Corinthians 2:1-5):

a. A message about Jesus Christ

b. A messenger

c. A listener

d. The Holy Spirit

e. Prayer

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Stages to Church Growth and Steps to Decline

Taken from To Dream Again by Robert Dale (TN: Broadman Press, 1981)

Stages of church growth:

1. Visionaries and church planter(s) see a vision for a church.

2. Gifted people who understand the church’s purpose come alongside and develop a plan.

3. Leaders rise to lead in accomplishing stated goals.

4. Organizers fill in the basic structures for the church.

5. Activists take an active role in using their gifts and talents to do the work of ministry.

 

Steps to Decline:

1. People become locked in to the life of the church. Traditionalists maintain the old ways out of nostalgia for the “good old days.”

2. A few people (often newcomers) question the old ways and seek to change or revitalize the church. Sometimes these folks become inquisitionists and develop a sense of hostility toward others whom they perceive as standing in the way.

3. People take sides on various issues, and the fighters polarize the membership in the church.

4. A sense of hopelessness develops, people leave, drop out or become apathetic.

5. The church stagnates or dies.

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Characteristics in People of Biblically Healthy Churches

by Bill Vermeulen

1. A sincere love for fellow believers in Christ.

2. A genuine love for those who are lost without Christ.

3. A sense of significant purpose.

4. A high level of expectant faith.

5. A positive spirit rooted in God’s promises.

6. A strong outward-focus and desire for an abundantly spiritual harvest.

7. A deep concern for the glory of God.

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Church Life According to Acts 2-5

(This is from William Vermeulen’s Church Planting seminar materials, 1997)

 

As I read Acts 2 to 5, I find the following things emphasized:

1. Truth – God’s Word and my “truth”

2. Fellowship – Opening our lives to one another, caring for one another, owning nothing, sharing deeply.

3. Breaking bread – Sitting together at tables, sharing, singing, and praying together moves us more toward intimacy.

4. Prayer – The place where our hearts are better knit together and where greater brokenness before the throne takes place.

5. Witness – Individual and group witness is a powerful means of grace for our growth in Christ as well as a primary way to reach others with the Gospel.

6. Awe – The five things above lead to a healthier fear of God and an intensified worship and prayer life.

7. Unity – Which comes through celebrating our diversity and differences, and we best grow in this important area of the Christian life in the small group context.

8. Worship – The intimate worship of the small group adds tremendous vitality to the formal corporate worship of God’s people, and it can do a great deal to change attitudes to “what can I give to” rather than “what can I get out of” the services.

9. Favor with people – It came out of authentic biblical community: their love and care for one another and their excitement of being in these households of faith spilled over on others.

10. The Lord added daily – Something a large number of churches need desperately need, and/or want to see happen. God encourages us with the repeated emphasis in Acts on the growth of his church.

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Praying for Power Preaching

The following is adapted from Dr. Dave Eby’s Power Preaching for Church Growth

 

Pray to God for your preacher and his preaching in these specific ways:

 

1.  Help him to realize his absolute dependence on You, that apart from You he can do nothing (John 15:5);

2.  Help him to pray for his preaching continually and depend on Your Spirit for power;

3.  Anoint him and fill him with your Spirit for preaching.  Bring him under complete submission to you;

4. Enable him to preach the Word with accuracy, clarity, boldness and love;

5. Anoint the ears of listeners to be humble, hungry hearers of the Word;

6. Bring conviction of sins and true conversion by the preached Word to unbelievers;

7. Bring conviction of sin, on-going repentance, edification, encouragement and growth/sanctification to believers.

 

 

You could also take the words of the Westminster Larger Catechism Question 159 and pray:

Lord, help our preacher to preach sound doctrine

1.  diligently

2.   plainly

3.   in the power of the Spirit

4.   faithfully

5.    wisely

6.    zealously, with fervent love to God and His people

7.    sincerely, aiming at God’s glory, and the conversion, edification and salvation of all who listen to the Word.

Finally, remember that power preaching is what our church needs, as well as all the churches in our presbytery and in our county and beyond this to our state, nation, and all over the world.  Pray for God to raise up power preaching and power preachers.  You can be used by God to promote the powerful preaching of His Word.

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A Prayer for a Conflicted Church

This is a prayer by a fictitious elder of a fictitious (but could be a familiar) church. Nevertheless, it is one prayer that ought to be prayed in many of Christ’s churches today:

“Lord, we’ve been a terrible church.  We’ve not only offended our pastor and his family, we’ve not only failed to protect them, encourage them, love them and lift them, but we have failed you too.  We have been cranky and mean.  We have allowed the sins of gossip and slander, grumbling and complaining, hiding or fighting to take over us.  We’ve been a disgrace to your name, O Lord!  We put up with the cranky and the crabby too long.  Allowed the goats to hurt the sheep, the tares to smother the wheat, our wayward brethren to weary our body.  Forgive us, Lord!  May you change our souls and the very soul of this church!  We want to live by your heat and light; to be willing clay pots in your mighty hands.  We want to be a people gripped by the Cross, grasped by the Spirit, grounded by your Word, and gladdened by your joy.  Help us, O Lord, to be a Gospel people who live by truth and grace and love. In Jesus’ awesome name!”  And with him came a chorus of amens.

Taken from the last chapter in The Perfect Pastor? (Xulon Press; 2007).

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Christian Leaders Become Discouraged

“Many Christian leaders become discouraged.  The work doesn’t go as one imagines, the church doesn’t grow as one desires, lay leaders won’t cooperate with one’s leadership, people are excessively critical, or finances are down.  The list goes on and on.  Someone said that discouragement is the occupational hazard of the ministry, and Spurgeon was no exception to this rule.  As successful as he was, he still experienced discouragement, and, in his case, it often deteriorated into depression.  He became so depressed at times that he could barely function.  In his lecture on “The Minister’s Fainting Fits,” Spurgeon opened with these words: “As it is recorded that David, in the heat of battle, waxed faint, so may it be written of all the servants of the Lord.  Fits of depression come over the most of us….The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy.”

From  Larry J. Michael’s Spurgeon on Leadership; p. 191

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