Jump to content

The Protestant Community

Sincerely inquiring about the Protestant faith? Welcome to Christforums the Christian Protestant community. You'll first need to register in order to join our community. Create or respond to threads on your favorite topics and subjects. Registration takes less than a minute, it's simple, fast, and free! Enjoy the fellowship! God bless, Christforums' Staff
Register now

Christian Fellowship

John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
Sign in to follow this  
News Feeder

To Prepare for Evangelism, Put on Your Oxygen Mask

Recommended Posts

oxygen-mask-tgc-300x128.jpg

“Secure your own oxygen mask first before assisting other passengers.”

This directive is familiar to anyone who has traveled in recent years on a commercial airplane. In the event of an emergency (“a sudden loss of cabin pressure”), we’re told that an oxygen mask would descend from the plane’s ceiling for each person.

Naturally, in such a scary moment, parents would instinctively try to get the air to their children first, husbands and wives would want to ensure that their beloved spouses could breathe, and adult children would focus on preserving the life of elderly parents seated next to them. Such altruism might be instinctive, but it isn’t wise, the airlines warn.

A passenger who is herself wheezing is in no condition to rescue others. If she passes out from lack of oxygen, neither she nor her helpless seatmates will survive.

In our evangelistic efforts, we should take counsel from the flight attendants. We are in an emergency situation: all around us, people are gasping for spiritual breath. But in order to best assist them, we must have our own supply firmly affixed.

Nearly 2,000 years before the advent of commercial air travel, the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy with these words: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:16). If you want to labor effectively for Christ, secure your own soul’s oxygen mask first.

The oxygen that nourishes us and fuels our evangelism is largely composed of four things.

1. Knowing Christ

As evangelists, our first and most essential resource isn’t something we can secure for ourselves. Instead, someone else secured it for us. While we were yet sinners, while we were enemies and strangers to God, while we were far off and lost and blind and ignorant and dead, Christ died for us.

And knowing this Christ—loving him, worshiping him, meditating on him, enjoying him, and becoming more like him—is the primary resource every evangelist must have.

You may have met Christ when you were obviously rebellious or when you were seemingly upstanding. You may have met Christ in a crowded worship service or in the solitude of your own bedroom. You may have met him suddenly and unexpectedly or as the inevitable answer to your persistent questions. But somewhere along the way, you met Jesus. And you haven’t been the same since.

It’s because of our own experience with Christ that we invite others to meet him too. Like Philip, we have been found by Christ, and so we hurry to find others (John 1:46). Like the woman at the well, we have heard the voice of Jesus, and so we speak to others (John 4:29). Like Paul, we affirm, “I know whom I have believed” (1 Tim. 1:12) and like Peter and John, we insist, “we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

We know Christ in our experience, and we know Christ through his Word. A thorough knowledge of Christ in the Scriptures equips us to answer our neighbors’ questions and objections. Scripture is “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16).

2. Prayer

The second resource of the evangelist’s heart is prayer. Though outwardly unremarkable, our prayers are a spiritual weapon in a spiritual war (Eph. 6:10–20) that God uses to accomplish both judgment (Rev. 8:3–5) and also salvation (2 Cor. 1:11). And by the prayers of his people, God sends out gospel laborers into his abundant harvest field (Matt. 9:37–38).

Prayer humbles our hearts, shapes our desires, spurs our obedience, and invokes the mercy of a God who delights to save sinners. For the work of evangelism, we have no better tool.

The prayer of every evangelist is an act of dependence on God. We know that one may plant gospel seed and another may faithfully sprinkle gospel water, but God is the one who makes soul seedlings grow (1 Cor. 3:6–7).

On our knees, we acknowledge our own weakness and ask the sovereign God to work in our hearts and the hearts of our neighbors. When we pray faithfully for our neighbors to come to Christ and be saved, our naturally indifferent hearts are continually stirred with compassion for their souls.

3. Holiness

The next resource evangelists need is a life of personal holiness. The Bible exhorts every believer: “as he who calls you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Pet. 1:15).

Our daily acts of obedience can be used by the Lord to awaken faith in our neighbors. As your car pulls out of the driveway every Sunday morning on its way to church, you reinforce the existence of an unseen God to your watching neighbors. As you speak kindly to your children on the playground, you demonstrate the Spirit’s power before the other moms. As you refuse to participate in office gossip, you bring honor to Christ in the breakroom. Even in your response to your own sin—admitting wrong and asking forgiveness—you testify to the truth of the gospel you proclaim.

Sadly, the opposite is also true. If we’re unkind to those around us, if we dismiss the needs of others and speak harshly to our family members, if we’re more often at the ballpark than church on Sunday, if we ignore our sin and fail to repent, we communicate to our neighbors that God isn’t important and his Spirit is impotent. As Al Mohler explains, “We shouldn’t expect that the gospel will have credibility if we don’t look like gospel people.”

4. Commitment to a Church

Commitment to the local church is also one of your vital resources as an evangelist. In the church, you are yourself discipled. You join with God’s people to receive his Word, offer him worship, use your gifts for his glory, and serve his saints. Two skills that you most need—handling God’s Word rightly and talking easily about it with others—are modeled, encouraged, and practiced in the church.

Moreover, to invite someone to church is to invite them to hear the gospel proclaimed with power and to see the gospel lived out in the lives of a diverse group of people. As we obey God’s commands in the context of the church, we bear witness to the power of the Spirit to transform all kinds of people into a holy community—and we invite our neighbors to join us.

The whole life of faith equips and compels evangelism. These things aren’t particularly flashy, and they certainly aren’t new. And yet they are the spiritual supply that God gives to equip evangelists for their spiritual task.

A2w3gqcWCHo

View the full article

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Topics

    • Don’t Be Individualistic in Evangelism

      The priority of evangelism is incontrovertible according to the Bible. And yet, most Christians probably feel they don’t do enough of it. Perhaps one reason is that we tend to think of evangelism as an individualistic endeavor. Yes, we must share the gospel as individuals. But exclusively lone-ranger evangelism is far from the biblical ideal. While some people prioritize individual proclamation, others emphasize the importance of community in evangelism. Both are good ways of thinking. But we

      in Christian Current Events

    • Don’t Put Your Hope in Date Night

      Running a nonprofit ministry geared toward moms of young children means our inbox continually fills with questions about parenting and marriage. One of the most frequent is, “How do you do date night?” As married moms of littles, we understand firsthand where this is coming from. Like our podcast listeners, we look for reasons to hire a babysitter and spend one-on-one time with our spouses. Out-of-the-house date night without children in tow feels like the secret ingredient to a healthy marriag

      in Christian Current Events

    • Nearly Half of Millennial Christians Believe Evangelism is Wrong, New Survey Finds

      Nearly half of millennial Christians say that evangelism is wrong, a new study shows. View the full article

      in Christian Current Events

    • How to Prepare a Child to Read the Bible

      Why do we teach our children to read? You’ve probably never given the question much thought. After all, no one has ever asked you, “Do you want your child to learn to read, or do you think it’s unnecessary?” (If your child’s teacher asked that question, you’d likely be looking for a new school.) We consider literacy to be so obviously beneficial to our lives, we’d never consider not teaching our kids how to read. But we don’t give much thought to why we teach them to read. If you’re a Christia

      in Christian Current Events

    • That D*** Dog: How Pets Can Be a Catalyst for Evangelism

      “The German Shepherd is running loose again. She came out of nowhere and charged me this morning while I was walking Little Napoleon!” “The shepherd is on the loose tearing up my rose garden. That d*** dog!” “I almost ran over the shepherd coming home from work last night!” “Whose dog is this? Do these people know about the leash law?” “I think that dangerous dog belongs to the new people over on 4th Street. Do they speak English? Do they know about the leash law? Someone needs to do somethi

      in Christian Current Events

×
×
  • Create New...