I’m finding that evangelism is not about winning an argument and having a sinner say, “You know what? I think I’m wrong and you’re right.”
Evangelism is about love and power and healing and letting those give people a reason to seek after God. But too often we squander all of this on compromise, bitterness, unforgiveness, and sin when we should be praying to bury and leave those things behind in the water of our baptism in repentance and prayer.
Jesus said to go, heal the sick, raise the dead, make disciples, baptize them in water and in the Holy Spirit. But if we cling to our sin, we’ll end up making excuses for the miracles that don’t happen rather than seeing the miracles Jesus called us to do. And I am ashamed to say that has by and large been the story of my life.
You cannot minister in power if you’re stuck in compromise. You cannot free the captives if you are a slave to sin yourself. It does not mean you need to get baptized twice if your baptism was a legitimate one after you repented from sin and surrendered your life to Christ. But when I have slipped back into a pattern of bitterness or lust or greed or pride, it is time to pray and decide what sins I want to leave in that baptismal of Valentines Day 1974. It is time to ask myself what I want to bury–fear? Faithlessness? Cowardice? Disobedience to Jesus’ call to make disciples?
If we are going a long time without praying for anyone, if our loved ones are dying and perishing to hell or living for hell year after year and we do nothing to pray for their salvation, if we have not done what Jesus’ asked us to do and prayed for their injuries and sicknesses or prayed weak, token prayers with no results and made denominational excuses which amount to lying, then it is time to bury that sin, to repent. If we’re swearing at people, if we’re viewing porn, even R rated movies or socially acceptable things, if we are losing our sensitivity to sin, we are very sick spiritually and need to repent and turn back to Christ.
We need to ask what we want to bury in those waters of baptism, and we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit that was in Jesus wants to dwell in us. If the baptism of the Holy Spirit will enable us to minister better, and if we are commanded in scripture to be filled, then it really is disobedience for us to refuse, and we put others and ourselves into grave spiritual danger.
We need to minister in power. We need to step out of our comfort zone. Or perhaps we need to get a little experience obeying Christ so that becomes our comfort zone. We need to trust Christ and do what He has called us to do in love and in power.
And having read this or having heard it, or having said it as I have done, we are responsible. We cannot afford to be a bobble-head and just agree that way. If we know it and admit that it is true, then we need to live it.
If we need to fast or seek God deeply and spend time with Him to find out where we need to be, then we need to do it. If we get interrupted, we need to let those at home know, and remind them and spend that time in prayer until we break through. We need to refuse to offer God any token prayers or any sacrifices that cost us nothing.
I believe token religion is what has gotten us into so much trouble these days. I also believe time is running out. If Christ were to return tomorrow and you knew it, what would you do differently today? Perhaps that is what we should be doing.
We need to minister in power–not argue–not try to win arguments. Not compensating for our lack of power due to our own cowardice and compromise. We need to surrender all to Jesus.