Friday, September 22, 2017

Don't Let It Be Said, Too Late











The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish , but that all should come to repentance.   (II Peter 3:9)








Why does the world need to be evangelized? To answer this question we must understand two things: The definition and the destiny of the lost.

Genesis 1-3 tells us about the creation of the world and man and how sin entered the world.  When Adam and Eve were first created, they had a perfect sinless nature. After they sinned that nature was corrupted. As Adam and Eve began to reproduce and have children, these new additions to the human race were born with a basic sin nature. Man was no longer good as God had created him. His natural thought and action patterns were contaminated.

Genesis 4:1-6 describes the pattern of sin as it began to spread throughout the world. These chapters record the first murder, the first lie, and how the wickedness of man grew until every thought, as well as action, was contaminated. Finally, the whole world was so sinful that God actually repented that He had made man 

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.  (Genesis 6:5-6).

Because of the rapid growth of sin, God decided to destroy the earth with a flood but saved one righteous man, Noah, and his family. (Genesis 6:8-9:17)   After the flood, Noah's family began to reproduce. Almost immediately, the pattern of sin reoccurred. This is why all people everywhere are called "sinners":  

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

All people who have not repented of sin and experienced the new birth described by Jesus in John 3 are considered "lost" because they have lost the sinless nature with which God originally created man. We may also say they are "unsaved", "lost" or "unbelievers" because they have not been saved from their sins through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

Because of the original sin of Adam and Eve, death entered into the world and because of this eventually everyone dies physically. After physical death comes judgment:  

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

After death, we will stand before God for judgment. People who have not repented of their sins and followed the path of salvation will face a second death. They will die the "spiritual death" of eternal separation from God. Their destiny is Hell:  

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. . .

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12, 15)

When you really understand the destiny of the lost, you realize the urgent need for evangelism. If people are not reached with the Gospel, they will die in sin and be destined for eternity in Hell.

Evangelism is a process that includes the presence and proclamation of the Gospel, persuasion, planting, and participation.

"Presence" evangelism is that which radiates the qualities of Jesus through demonstrating Christ-like character and concern. The world will not be reached for Jesus without an authentic Christian presence. Believers must learn to build relationships, identify with, and serve unbelievers. You cannot win sinners if you have no contact with them.

Many believers remain silent Christians. They think their presence among unbelievers is enough to fulfill the Great Commission to evangelize the world. But the command of Jesus is that we verbally communicate the Gospel through preaching, teaching, and witnessing. We must also demonstrate the power of the Gospel through healing and deliverance. These are ways the Gospel is proclaimed.

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Mark 16:17

Proclamation of the Gospel does not end the process of evangelism. The Gospel must be presented in such a way that people are persuaded to become believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The new convert who has been persuaded to follow Jesus must then be "planted" in a church fellowship or a church must be "planted" among a group of new believers.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

As a result of this planting, converts mature spiritually as disciplining is accomplished within the context of the church. Spiritual maturity is called "perfection" in the Bible.  Apostle Paul exhorts the body of Christ to move on to perfection:  

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection;  (Hebrews 6:1)

The process of evangelism is complete when new believers become active in the task of evangelism themselves and begin to reproduce spiritually.  This can only be accomplished when the new believer has taken on the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ:  

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
(Hebrews 6:1-2)

(Biblical Studies)

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