Effective Evangelism

This sermon was preached by Pastor Wagner in the Cincinnati Church in 2008 five years before he was ordained. The outline is attached at the bottom of the page. Effective Evangelism I. The mandate to evangelize. 1. Because of the lack of understanding of the “great commission”, and poor doctrine, many Christians carry an unnecessary burden that requires them to witness to every person they meet in order to give them a chance at eternal life. A. It is by God’s grace alone that we are saved from our sins (2Ti 1:9), the gospel merely brings eternal life to light (2Ti 1:10). B. The “great commission” was given to the disciples (Mar 16:15) and they fulfilled it (Mar 16:20; Col 1:6,23). 2. The command concerning evangelism that we are given is to “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1Pe 3:15). A. This is one reason God gave us His word (Pro 22:20-21). B. Giving an adequate answer requires study (Pro 15:28; 2Ti 2:15). C. It also requires wisdom and Godly speech (Col 4:5-6). D. Paul was always ready to give an answer (Act 17:19-31; Act 24:24-25). E. Peter was likewise (Act 2:37-42; Act 4:7-12), and so was Phillip (Act 8:30-35). II. Don’t make excuses. 1. Don’t worry if you aren’t eloquent, neither was Moses (Exo 4:10), or Paul (1Co 2:1-4; 2Co 10:10; 2Co 11:6). 2. Don’t worry if you are young, so was Jeremiah (Jer 1:6) and Timothy (1Ti 4:12), and Elihu (Job 32:4-11). 3. Don’t worry if you are not highly educated (Act 4:13; 1Co 1:19-29). 4. Women can do it too (Act 18:26; Joh 4:28-29; 1Pe 3:1-2). III. When to witness. 1. When someone asks you to (1Pe 3:15). 2. When God opens a door (1Co 16:9; Act 18:9-11; Act 8:26-27; Act 10:17-22; Act 13:2-5; Act 13:14-41; Act 16:25-32). A. Pray that God will open doors (Col 4:3-4; 2Th 3:1). 3. When you feel the urge (Act 18:5). 4. When someone asks if you are in a cult (Act 28:22-23; Act 24:10,14). A. Don’t worry if they say you are nuts, they did so to Paul (Act 26:24) and Jesus (Mar 3:21). IV. When not to witness. 1. When God has not opened a door (Act 16:6-7). 2. When people oppose themselves and are unreasonable (Act 18:6; 2Th 3:2; Act 19:9; Act 13:46, 51; Mat 10:14). A. Have patience and give a person ample time and information before kicking the dust of your shoes off at them (2Ti 2:24-26). V. Who to witness to. 1. Religious people (Act 17:2-4; Act 18:4). A. Many of God’s children worship Him ignorantly and need to know the truth (Act 16:14-15; Act 10:1-4). 2. Idolatrous pagans (Act 14:11-18). 3. “Christian” idolatrous pagans (Act 17:16-17), “…the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews…” (Christmas, Easter…) 3. People who believe and teach heresy (Act 15:1-2). 4. People who will search the scriptures (Act 17:11-12). 5. People who are both small and great (Act 26:22; Gal 2:2; Phi 4:22). 6. Religious leaders (Act 4:5-12). VI. Where to witness. 1. In the desert (Act 8:26), could be a spiritual desert like the USA. 2. In a jail (Act 16:25). 3. In an errant church (Act 19:8-9). 4. Maybe even in a rented room (Act 28:31). 5. Any other place you get the chance. VII. What to witness. 1. Jesus Christ (Act 26:22-23). 2. Things concerning the kingdom of God (Act 19:8). 3. The resurrection (Act 24:15). 4. Righteousness, temperance, and judgment (Act 24:25). 5. Etc… VIII. How to witness. 1. We need to be all things to all men and adjust our methods according to whom we are witnessing (1Co 9:19-23). A. When witnessing to non-Christians: i. Reason from the creation (Rom 1:18-20; Act 17:22-26; Act 14:11-18). ii. Find something that they believe that is true and then reason from that point to Jesus Christ (Act 17:28-31). iii. Tell them to repent (Act 17:30). iv. Don’t be afraid to point out their superstitious and false religion (Act 17:22-23; Act 14:15; Act 13:10). v. Remember that many people ignorantly believe and practice error (Act 17:23,30). B. When witnessing to ignorant or deceived Christians: i. Reason from the scriptures (Act 8:35; Act 18:28; Act 17:2-3). ii. Give Bible examples and then tie it in with the situation the person is in (Act 2:14-42; Act 7:1-53). iii. When witnessing to a Christian that knows the Bible, use a lot of Bible (Act 7:1-53; Act 13:16-41). iv. Don’t be afraid to point out their false doctrine or practice (Act 2:23; Act 3:13-15; Act 4:10-11; Act 7:51-53). v. Settle disputes with sound scripture (Act 15:7-11,13-18). vi. Tell them to repent (Act 3:19) and be baptized (Act 2:38; Act 10:48; Act 22:16). vii. Remember that many people ignorantly believe and practice error, just as we once did (Act 3:17; Act 26:9). 2. General tips for witnessing. A. The word “love” is not used one time in the book of Acts, so don’t tell people that God loves them until they have shown evidence of such, but do emphasize God's love for lost sinners (Rom 5:8; Eph 2:1-4; 1Jo 4:10). B. Keep it short and succinct with 1 or 2 good proof texts per point (Act 4:7-12; Act 5:29-32). Example: i. Regeneration before belief (Joh 5:24; Joh 5:1). ii. God doesn’t love everyone (Rom 9:11-13). iii. Belief before baptism (Act 8:37). C. Long preaching is merited if people want to hear it (Act 20:7,11; Act 28:23). D. Warn people that reject the doctrine of sovereign grace (Act 13:39-41). E. Warn people that it’s not easy (Act 14:22 c/w Mat 7:13-14). F. Defend the doctrine and the faith when given the chance (Act 24:10-21). G. Don’t be afraid to tell people what they don’t want to hear (Act 24:25; Jer 37:17). H. Be bold when you need to (Act 4:13; Act 9:27-29; Act 13:46), but soft when you can (Pro 15:1; Pro 25:15; 2Ti 2:24-25). IX. Why do we witness? 1. To locate, educate, separate, (and sometimes irritate), the regenerate. 2. We witness to others so that they will repent and come into fellowship with God (Act 2:37-42 c/w 1Jo 1:3) and with us (1Co 9:23). 3. Some will believe, some won’t (Act 17:4-5; 32-34). 4. But never give up because there is a harvest to be reaped if we faint not (Gal 6:9; Ecc 11:1). 5. As long as we preach the gospel, then God is glorified no matter what the outcome (2Co 2:14-16).
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