Thursday, May 30, 2013

EVANGELISM CHRISTS IMPERATIVE COMMAND



This week I am sending several articles by my friend of many years, W. F. Bell. he is a gifted writer and preacher, and a dear friend. I pray that you will benefit from his work, as I always do. I am sure if you will read them you will be blessed. (Charles Woodruff)



             Evangelism: Christ's Imperative Command
                                                            W.F. BELL
Evangelism is central in both Scripture and church history. Evangelism is simply the  preaching of the gospel, or the earnest efforts of the church to spread the gospel. The word  "evangelism" does not occur in the New Testament, but the word "evangelist" is found (Acts  21:8; Eph. 4:11; 2 Tim. 4:5), and comes from two Greek words, eu, meaning well or good,  and angelos, meaning messenger. The word "gospel" comes from the Greek word  euangelion, meaning simply "good tidings." The one proclaiming these good tidings is the “evangelist," the messenger carrying the announcement. Evangelists were the traveling missionaries in the early church, for the early church took evangelism seriously. See Acts 8:25 & 35.

Our great Commander-in-Chief has given his marching orders to the church in Matthew 28:19-20. These commands constitute the Magna Charta of evangelism. The central verb of  this passage is formed on the noun for "disciple" (mathetes) and should be translated  "making disciples" (matheteuo). The other verbs are participles: going, baptizing, teaching.  All of these verbs are very important, but the imperative (first aorist) "make disciples of all the nations" is of greatest importance. The Lord Jesus Christ himself is our gospel, and he is the one who sends his church into the world to make disciples unto him.

Personal witnessing is central in the labors of any New Testament church, as missionary endeavor is the very heart of Christ's commands. Missions is a good Latin word meaning to send, and gospel missions is the sending of evangelists and missionaries to carry the gospel to all the world. Is it not right then to ask ourselves: How much do we care, share and dare for Christ and the souls of men? True evangelism is carried on by burning hearts that are filled with 
love for Christ and compassion for sinners. Christ Jesus alone saves men (and this is never to be minimized), but it is every Christian's responsibility to witness of Him who is "mighty to save"

Dare we profess to strongly believe the Bible if we fail to obey our Lord in this all-important 
area of evangelism? Let us all preach Christ with our lives and lips! "Therefore they that 
were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4).

 “Books may preach when the author cannot, when the author may not, when the author 
dares not, and which is more, when the author is not.”
— Thomas Brooks

"Oh that I could do more for Him! Oh that I was a flame of pure and holy fire, and had a 
thousand lives to spend in the dear Redeemer's service....The sight of so many perishing 
souls every day affects me much, and makes me long to go if possible from pole to pole, to 
proclaim redeeming love."
— George Whitefield

                               TRUTH UNPOPULAR-W.F. BELL
                              A Commentary on the Times (But not aired on CNN)

 "Any pastor desiring to carry the torch of truth today need not expect to have many friends."  So wrote Chuck Baldwin in a recent article for The Covenant News.  Baldwin also said, "It has never been harder to continue to carry the torch of truth than it is today," and "Truth has been replaced with entertainment."  Well said, absolutely true.  (Note, these very words are not popular.)
  
    It's hard to write truth today.  (Try it sometime.)  It's even harder to live truth.  Friends and family leave us one by one when we stand firm for truth.  Congregations dwindle.  Readers move on to something more soothing and comforting.  We're called "unloving."  In a word, truth is very unpopular.
  
    Let's get specific.  The truth about God makes us unpopular, for few really seem to care for biblical theology.  "Theology" is even a word that turns people off today.  What about the glory of Christ?  Another unpopular subject.  What about personal holiness, or proving that we are justified by sanctified living?  (Bad question.)  Shouldn't we just be mostly concerned with church growth, accommodating our message to the masses, being friendly, being emergent-minded, being entertaining, concerned with the overall numbers -- isn't this what matters?     No, not really. (And no apologies.) 
  
   Anyone ever read the Bible?  (Bad question.)  Well, though unpopular, here it is:  "Buy the truth, and sell it not" (Proverbs 23:23).  We "buy" truth by believing it, living it, honoring it.  And we must never "sell" it, no matter how tempted we are to do so.  Proverbs 23 contains particular instructions for children to know how to "be wise" in life, by "listening" to fathers and mothers who "guide" them "in the way" (verses 19-22).  Don't Christians in general need this also?  Truth is built on the solid foundation of God Himself, and His infallible Word.  The modern church needs to get back to this solid ground, for apart from the truth of Christ, "all other ground is sinking sand."   And there goes my popularity.  But no matter, "a remnant" shall hear!  Selah. 
 
 NOTE: Here is a great quote from John Wycliffe.  But we must do more than just say "Amen" to this!  Let us examine our hearts, our lives, our beliefs, and our church traditions thoroughly, seeking to "prove all things" by Scripture alone.  wfb
                             PROVE ALL THINGS BY THE WORD OF GOD
“The true Christian was intended by Christ to prove all things by the Word of God: all churches, all ministers, all teaching, all preaching, all doctrines, all sermons, all writings, all opinions, all practices.  These are his marching orders.  Prove all by the Word of God; measure all by the measure of the Bible; compare all with the standard of the Bible; weigh all in the balances of the Bible; examine all by the light of the Bible; test all in the crucible of the Bible.  That which cannot abide the fire of the Bible, reject, refuse, repudiate, and cast away.  This is the flag which he nailed to the mast.  May it never be lowered!"      John Wycliffe (1328-1384)
What a word is this!  If we truly followed the above counsel, would it not deliver us from false doctrine, error, and the traditions of men?  "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."  "Hold fast the form of sound words."  I Thessalonians 5:21; 2 Timothy 1:13.  wfb
Published by Charles Woodruff- email: oursong2000@yahoo.com 

2 comments:

Trent Cannon said...

Excellent article and great quotes, but even more important, timeless truths! Thanks for sharing.

charles said...

Thank you Trent. There are many articles by W.F. Bell that are so good and edifying. From time to time I publish his work. He is a dear friend; has been for over 40 years. Visit all through the site and see what else you find. Thanks again, and God bless you!