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

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

The Conference

We’re traveling through the plains of Nebraska right now. We’ll be home by early this evening!

We are grateful for the opportunity to be at the CHOIS Idaho Conference this past weekend. After we arrived Friday morning at the church, the boys helped Dad and Mom set up in the sanctuary for their first session, while we girls worked on the set up of our book tables.

Throughout the day, Joseph, John, and Christopher made sure to take care of Dad and Mom by helping with their computer set ups, sound needs, and also sitting in on their sessions in case something was needed. When they weren’t helping, they were back at the book tables with us.

Although we didn’t do our Gospel Music Evening in Idaho, Dad decided we’d sing two hymns before the Keeping Our Children’s Hearts session Saturday morning. Since we brought our small trailer on this trip (which we became very grateful for due to the high winds on the first part), we didn’t have room to bring all of our instruments, just a few of the main ones (the rest of us were missing ours! :-)).

Saturday afternoon, Anna and Mary loved holding two little ones during a quiet time at our booth. We all love babies, and it was a treat to be able to be with these delightful little ones.

We packed out of the hotel Sunday morning and were on the road at a good time. Near lunchtime, as we drove through Utah, Joseph made a comment to Dad to the effect of, “Is Salt Lake City on the other side of those mountains?” as he pointed to the southwest. Dad replied were he thought Salt Lake actually was. It didn’t take more than a minute or two to realize we actually were rapidly approaching Salt Lake City, and we’d missed our shortcut that bypasses SLC! How could nine people miss our exit? Well, we did! So, we ended up going around downtown SLC, and going through a pretty valley up in the mountains that Mom loves, but we wouldn’t have normally seen going our normal route! Our “missed exit” mistake only cost us about 30 miles, and we did enjoy the scenery :-). The stretch between Cheyenne and SLC we love looking for antelope. A special delight this time of year was seeing little baby antelope!

Thank you to all who have been praying for us. We truly felt the Lord’s blessing on this trip.

Serving Jesus,

Sarah

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Dad and Mom giving Keeping Our Children’s Hearts Saturday morning.

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Dad said that puppies are great, but babies are the best :-)! (After the conference, a girl was carrying around her puppy, and Dad was just going to look at the puppy, but she offered for Dad to hold her.)

Summer Blizzard, But We’re Here!

Hurrying out of the hotel this morning, we found the temperature was quite cold, and it was definitely windy. As we drove, the wind was quite stiff, with gusts over 60 mph. Probably about two hours down the road, we hit a blizzard. Yes, a blizzard in Wyoming in June! With the wind and snow, it made for very interesting road conditions. Dad did a wonderful job handling the van and trailer in the difficult situation. We are so grateful for the Lord’s protection! We’re looking forward to the conference this weekend. For now, we’ll be having family devotions and then off for a good night’s rest.

Only for Jesus,

Sarah

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This was taken at the beginning of the snow storm!

Across the Wind-Driven Plains

We left around 7 a.m. this morning, a little earlier than normal, as Dad decided we ought to get a start because of the weather conditions. It was expected to be very windy. As we drove across Nebraska, the 45 mph gusts were definitely buffeting the van and trailer. Early to mid-afternoon, though, the wind calmed down (to about 25 mph) –which was such a blessing. We’re spending the night in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and while Dad was pumping diesel, he was amazed at the gusts of wind! The wind is expected to be even stronger tomorrow morning (supposedly even up to 60 mph!), but after we get through Laramie, Wyoming, the wind should be calming down. Please pray for Dad as he drives and for protection. 

We are grateful for your prayers as we travel and prepare for the conference Friday and Saturday. We’ll be arriving in the Boise, Idaho, area tomorrow night, Lord willing!

Blessings,
Sarah for all the rest

Conference Report

This past weekend’s conference in Wichita was such a blessing! Thursday afternoon, we arrived in town. Several volunteers helped cart all of our things into the exhibit hall. After that, while the family worked on setting up the booths, Christopher and I were able to share for about an hour with the young people who were going to be doing the children’s program. That night, as our family sat around in a hotel room, someone mentioned the idea of a walk along the river and also to look at an old sailboat on display near the river. Dad decided we had time before we had our family devotions.

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(Dad’s not in the picture as he took it :-).)

The conference went well Friday, and then Friday evening, we did our family music session. Our desire was that our music would allow families to see the potential of their family working together. We may post a MP3 recording of a song or two from the evening soon.

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Mary playing the psaltery.

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Jesse taking a turn at the bass.

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Mom was sharing a testimony.

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Thank you for your prayers for this conference. The Lord truly worked in the hearts of those attending. We will be leaving Wednesday morning for the Idaho convention. We are excited to be heading out West again.

Oh, a fun side note, after we had finished up lunch on Sunday afternoon, I looked out in the backyard, and noticed a squirrel in my grandparents’ tree. The squirrel seemed small, too small to be Chippy. I hurried outside and was delighted to see that this was really Chester! How did she get to Chippy’s tree (sorry Chippy)? I called for her, and she scrambled over, up the chain link fence, and onto me, happily squeaking and chattering. It was enough to melt your heart. I snapped a few pictures today as Anna fed her. I guess she’s enjoying her new spot, much closer to us. Chester’s original tree had been out near the new house, but somehow she’s decided to come closer to us. Her fur has now turned smooth and sleek, and she’s just a delightful little creature!

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No doubt about it, she loves sunflower seeds!

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Just to show how much Chester has changed, the above picture was taken three weeks ago.

Blessings!

Sarah

On our way to Wichita

We are on our way to the TPA conference in Wichita, Kansas. The boys loaded most of the trailer last night, and then this morning they packed our personal luggage and other miscellaneous things. A special treat this trip is the addition of Nathan and Melanie. They normally aren’t able to come, but since we’re so close to home, they were able to join us. Grandad and Grandma graciously offered to watch Honey, our golden retriever. Oh yes, for those who may still be thinking about little Chester, Grandad’s going to keep sunflower seeds in her food bowl on the tree.

 

Grandad and Grandma joined us for the special prayer time as everyone stood in a circle while Grandad prayed. We’re looking forward to the conference this weekend, and our prayer is that the Lord Jesus Christ would be glorified in all that is spoken and received.

 

Maybe we’ll meet some of you all!

 

Blessings,

Sarah
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The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.