Saturday, July 6, 2013

Evangelism--What is a Christian to do?

Each person who comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus comes in a way designed by God.  Some have picked up a Gideon Bible in a hotel room, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, their eyes are opened to the truth.  Someone else may hear an evangelist preach and his or her heart is strangely warmed like John Wesley’s.  Someone else may be reading a book and suddenly realize the truth.  Here is a blog about another way to look at receiving salvation:

In my case as a young child I believed John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

My parents took me to church and Sunday school, which I always enjoyed.  As a teen I loved attending the youth group.   When I was in high school my dad would take my older brother and me to Youth for Christ meetings.  I was critical of the way they had alter calls and teens would go forward to receive Jesus.  It was all too emotional for me.  At our Presbyterian church we didn’t have alter calls.

Enter Billy Graham—he had alter calls at his rallies.  I thought that is fine for others if they want to go forward, but the most important thing to consider is, if it was just for show, or was there some change in the person’s heart?  Later research showed that of the people who go up for an alter call, many will drift away if they are not followed up by a local church. 

When Billy Graham came to Spokane, Washington in the 70’s our church went door to door handing out “I found it” booklets.  These gave the 4 spiritual laws—

1.God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

2. All people are sinful and separated from God.

3.  Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay for your sins.

4.  To be saved from sin you need to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior.

So even though I didn’t like the emotionalism of Billy Graham rallies I went door to door, and if the people were open, asked if they would like to pray to receive Jesus, then invited them to church.

Next came seeker sensitive churches in the 80’s and 90’s.  They didn’t want to scare people away so they watered down the salvation message.  Mega churches were born but then later it was shown that there was no spiritual growth unless the people were plugged into a small group Bible study. 

All this is to say that the main thing Christians are to do is to love God,  love our neighbor,  to spread the Gospel, and make disciples.  How each Christian does this depends on how God has designed us.  In the Evangelical Covenant church many prefer to do one on one ministry.  Some teens have gone to beaches and pursued the crowd in search of those who would like to talk about spiritual things.  Of course we hold Vacation Bible Schools and some organize Good News Clubs.  Others will invite friends to special events the church may hold.  Some may hand out tracks or leave a few in public places.  Still others become missionaries or go on short-term missions.  Now open air preaching is being revived.  Street preachers are popping up here and there.

So which is the correct way to spread the Gospel?  I would say each person must consult God about it.  Pray and believe that God will bring the last little sheep into His fold in His timing.

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