Category Archives: Evangelism

Fair Midweek Update

This is Fair week for our County. 7-8 Maxwells are there each evening handing out soft drinks, water and making balloon animals/hats. The Lord has blessed the first two evenings. If you think of it, please remember us in prayer each evening for the remainder of the week. We desire to be bold in sharing the gospel and challenging people to contemplate eternity and where they will spend it.

In Christ Jesus,
Nathan

Gospel Tracts…

The Lord appears to be leading Nathan to have a booth at the County Fair again this year. Part of the preparations involves gospel tracts – lots of them. Nathan has asked if I would do some of the tract research and preparations. We would like to have a different tract each night as a primary tract, and feel variety will be even more important this year since we expect a number of visitors to the booth that would have also stopped by last year.

We have used some of the Living Waters tracts in the past and will use some of them again this year. We have appreciated the Living Waters tracts’ emphasis on the law and repentance, followed by the salvation message In addition, I was wondering if others have tracts that they have found to be effective that you could recommend to us? We are looking for two types. Some that would be for older youth and adults that contain a clear and strong gospel message (we try to avoid the “1-2-3, pray with me” types), along with some that would be appropriate to be given to young children with the balloons we’ll likely be making.

In Christ,
Christopher

Lifestyle Evangelism

“While I share your faith in the LORD, I wonder whether this act of evangelism is truly the Christian way. I personally interpret the Bible’s message of evangelism to mean living one’s faith every day as an example, hoping that others will follow this example and begin to explore the message of GOD. HE is truly great, and hopefully others will be inspired to follow HIM by their own will, rather than by being preached to or guilted into belief. Every one should learn to love HIM on their own; to be able to find their own way to HIM, because of HIS message of love and forgiveness, not because of a fear of Hell. God Bless,” Blog comment

I thought this comment was too important to simply respond to and that instead it should be a new blog post. If you want to read my post to which this comment refers, here is the link.

Just how clear is the Bible in defining what evangelism really is? How much is left to personal interpretation? Is “lifestyle” evangelism what Jesus commands us to do, or are we to be direct in our appeal for the lost to be saved?

I know of no better way to clarify then to go to Jesus’ own words in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Jesus used two key words, “go” and “preach.” Go is very clear, and the Greek word for “preach” means to herald or proclaim. Jesus did not say, “Live and let others observe your lifestyle.” He said to go and proclaim the gospel. There would be no need to look at additional verses, but because this is so important, let’s look further.

Jesus often used practical, real-life examples to illustrate spiritual truths. In Matthew 4:19, He said to Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” A fisherman’s job is a proactive vocation. If he waited for the fish to jump into his boat because it looked more desirable than the water, the fisherman would starve. Because fish are natural in the water, they will do everything they can to stay in the water. That is why it takes effort on the part of the fisherman to catch fish.

Catching a fish actually involves death for the fish. That is what must happen to real followers of Jesus. That is why He said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Real followers of Jesus must die to self, and that is not something that happens easily.

That is why the only way to bring a person to Christ is for him to realize he is headed for hell. That is why the Ten Commandments were given – so man can see that he has broken God’s law and is destined to spend eternity in hell, unless he has a Savior. That is why the Holy Spirit comes to convict men of their sin. “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8).

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). That is why Jesus told all who are His disciples to “go and preach the gospel.” In hearing, they are convicted by the Holy Spirit of sin and their need of righteousness because of the coming judgment.

We can learn from those who heard Jesus directly and see how they applied His command to “go and preach the gospel.” Did they go on with their business and hope others would see and want to follow, or were they overt in telling people they were headed for hell? “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go” (Acts 3:13). The whole section is great but look at Acts 3:19. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”

You might be surprised to learn who promoted “lifestyle evangelism” early on. “And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-20). Peter and John were commanded by Annas the high priest, Caiaphas and the council not to speak about Jesus. The Greek word for speak means to proclaim. Satan wants believers to be silent and disobey Jesus’ command to “go and preach the gospel.”

The question of “lifestyle evangelism” or Jesus’ command to “go and preach the gospel” can be best answered by Peter and John’s reply to the council. “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye” (Acts 4:19).

I hope this helps make it very clear the sort of evangelism Jesus has commanded us to practice. Everyone reading this has an obligation to their Lord and those they care about. What friend would sit back quietly while someone they cared about was headed for disaster? We must accept that Scripture is very clear when Jesus said we are to “go and preach the gospel”– He meant exactly that.

Life-style evangelism is so much more comfortable, but it is not sanctioned by Scripture. We are commanded to live holy lives, but that is not for evangelism. “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11). “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

Steve

dadwitnessing.jpg

One of the children took this picture while I was witnessing to a man on a recent trip as we had stopped for diesel.

Arrived or A-Drift?

Teri and I were checking out at Sams when I asked the checker about where she was going to spend eternity. She responded that it would be heaven because of her Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. As we talked it was evident that she was truly saved, and her speech carried with it an excitement and love for the Lord Jesus.

I then asked her a question that I try to ask everyone who professes Jesus as their Savior. I asked her if she read her Bible every day. The conversation then took a turn that surprised Teri and me. She said how she has been in church since she was a child and heard every sermon there was to hear. Without directly saying it, she was saying that she didn’t feel she needed to read the Bible every day.

I encouraged her that just like physical food we need to daily partake of spiritual food. That is why God gave us His Word so that we could daily feed our souls. To our amazement, she became defensive about it even though my words were gentle and non-accusatory. By her response, it was evident she would not receive this form of “encouragement” so I let it drop and wished her a good day since we had finished paying. It is one thing for her to be convinced she would gain nothing from reading her Bible every day, but something entirely different in becoming defensive about it.

We are so blessed living in this country during this time to have the availability of God’s Word. May we never get to a point of thinking we have “arrived” and no longer need a daily time in our prayer closet with the Lord and His Word. It is so easy to be set a-drift following wrong doctrine and all manner of way of life, if we aren’t reading the Bible ourselves.

Each of us is filling our minds daily. The question is, “With what?” If her family is like the vast majority of professing believers, she is finding plenty of time for other things, most of which will not be beneficial for her family’s souls. May we be like the Bereans. “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few” (Acts 17:10-12).

Saturday at the Mission

On Saturday, the boys, Grandad, and I went to the homeless shelter to minister. Another brother from the area joined us because he wanted to be in on our noon chapel service. Since the temperatures were in the mid-teens, we expected a full house, and we weren’t disappointed. There was likely 150 men or so packed into that room.

Nathan led singing; Christopher played the piano and preached. We brought our instruments and sang a hymn (Whosoever Will), bluegrass style for the men. They really love the happy sound of the bluegrass music as we play a well-known hymn for them each time we go.

After the chapel service, the older ones will spread out and speak with the men. Most people have an idea of the type of men who would be at a rescue mission. Last month I spoke with two past drug dealers. They had finally gotten caught and quit “dealin,” but they spoke rather proudly of their past accomplishments. As one would expect they were not established in Jesus. However, I believe you would be very surprised in the other type of people who are living at homeless shelters as represented by those I spoke to this week.

The first was a professional musician, and I’m not talking about someone who played jazz in bars. He played the upright bass for a symphony in two towns. Music was his life, and he was brilliant. I’m confident, not only was his IQ way above mine, but so was his education. Yet, all of that meant nothing because he had an appetite for an illegal substance. He claimed to have placed his faith in Jesus, but it was not in the Jesus of the Bible. Before I was saved I had an intellectual knowledge of Jesus being the Son of God, but I had not seen myself as a sinner, repented of my sin and placed my faith in Jesus and what He did for me on the cross. This man’s “faith” resembled mine before I as saved. Therefore he continued to be a slave to his sin because he didn’t have the desire to forsake his drugs nor the power of God in his life. He called drugs his crutch.

The other man surprised me greatly. He was very gentle and humble and seemed to reflect a heart depending on Jesus, which was also his confession. He was a degreed engineer and about my age. Yet, he had struggled also with drugs and alcohol, but was clean for the last 6 months. This man had the power to be free, the issue was whether he would continue to use it. He acknowledged that he had used drugs because he was lonely, and it was a choice.

I praise God for organizations that give men food and a place to stay off the street. There are a lot of hurting people out there. There are also a lot of hurting people in the church. Some are there just acting the part, with no relationship with Jesus and a slave to private sin. Others are there who are saved and have the power of God, but won’t choose to use it. They squander their lives on the pleasures of this world. Those pleasures may be legal, but they are not edifying and result in wasted lives, when they could have had an impact on our world. Then there are others, few in number, who are willing to be living sacrifices, forgoing the pleasures of our world so as to invest in others. Oh God, please bless them, strengthen them, and enable them to be about the great commission as the Lord Jesus has commanded us. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Steve

Million Dollar Bills and the Good Person Test

Some have asked for more information about the million dollar bill tract, as well as the good person test.

We bought the million dollar bill tracts from Ray Comfort’s ministry, at LivingWaters.com. The front of the “tract” looks very realistically like a million dollar bill (although there is no such thing as a “real” million dollar bill); on the back, around the edge in small print, is a short gospel message (we usually like to combine the Million Dollar Bill with a more detailed tract when giving them away). While you are visiting LivingWaters.com we would recommend you watch Ray Comfort’s teaching titled “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” as well as “True and False Conversion.” (free online videos)

The principle of the “good person test” has long been used in evangelism, but we came to know of it through Ray Comfort’s Living Waters ministry. The idea is that it is crucial for a sinner to start out realizing that, in God’s eyes, we are not a good person. The “good person” test isn’t a script that must be followed, but more of a principle, and yet we’re amazed at how often the test follows the same pattern.

In talking with someone at the Fair there were a number of ways to bring up the Good Person test. Perhaps we were handing them a tract that was titled “Are You a Good Person?” Or, we’d hand them a million dollar bill, and then say that it was a gospel tract and had a variation of the Good Person test on the back. We’d ask if they have ever taken the Good Person test before. The usual response was that they hadn’t.

First question of the test is to ask if they consider themselves to be a good person? Proverbs 20:6 tells us how most will answer: “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness.” We then generally ask if it is OK to ask them a few questions to see if that is true, or we’ll go straight into the commandments. Are they familiar with the ten commandments? Most will say that they are, but that they can’t name them all. That’s OK as we’ll only be looking at a few of them.

The 9th commandment: have they ever told a lie? Most will admit that they have. Ask what they are called if they tell lies. Most will say “human” or a “sinner” but the right response starts with the letter “L” and isn’t the word “loser” (the right answer: “liar”). I’ll also admit to having told lies and, hence, being a liar. It only takes one lie for a person to become a liar.

The 8th commandment: have they ever stolen anything? Irregardless of the value: a cookie from their parents, a toy from a friend, something from a brother or sister. Most will admit to having stolen something. Ask what they are called if they’ve stolen in the past. Common response is a “stealer”, but the correct word is “thief”.

The 3rd commandment: have they ever taken God’s name in vain? Again, most everyone will readily admit to this. No one will likely know what this “sin” is labeled, so you can share with them that doing so is called blasphemy, and that God says He will not hold anyone guiltless who takes His name in vain. (Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.)

Sometimes we’ll cover the 6th or 7th commandments. You can either ask them if they have broken them (do not murder, do not commit adultery), or go straight into the “heart application” of the commandments (anger is equated to murder of the heart, and lust is equated to adultery of the heart). Most will admit to these.

The entire time it’s important to make sure one is sharing in love. Many people will often be laughing and having a good time going through the commandments. Generally, I will admit my guilt (I’ve broken every one of God’s commandments, if not in action I’ve done it in my heart) along with the person. Things generally become a bit more serious as you proceed from here.

You then summarize the person’s condition: “While you might seem like a good person compared to others around you, in God’s eyes, and based on your own admission, He would see you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, murderer, and adulterer at heart.” They will agree with what you say, because you are sharing in love and they have already admitted those things to you.

Next question is, “If you were to die, and God judged you based on the ten commandments, as He says He will, would you be innocent or guilty?” You’ll be amazed at how many people will say “Innocent” and you can then remind them that they just admitted to breaking every commandment you asked them about. The goal is for them to see themselves as God sees them and to acknowledge they would be “Guilty.”

The final question is, “Would you then go to heaven or hell?” The majority will say “Hell” and you can ask if it concerns them. A good portion will say “Heaven”, or “I don’t know.” From there, you need to share as the Holy Spirit leads. Perhaps asking why they would go to heaven. If they don’t have a good reason, maybe a Scripture or two demonstrates God judges those who break His commandments (Revelations 21:8 is a wonderful verse to illustrate the danger of hell for everyone who has broken the 9th commandment, “but the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”).

Each opportunity to share is different. We’re amazed at how many professing believers will answer that they are headed for hell. The proper response for a believer would be to say that God would judge them as guilty, but they would be headed for heaven. When asked “why?”, they should say “Because I have repented of my sin and am trusting in the blood of Jesus for my salvation.”

That, in a nutshell, is the “good person test.”

In Christ,
Christopher