Evangelism: Winning Souls, or Winning Arguments?
Me Scared

Evangelism: Winning Souls, or Winning Arguments?

Dan and Eileen
Dan and Eileen

Do you share your faith with others? How?

Do you pray for others to be saved from sin or from hell? Do you pray they will be saved and go to heaven?

Do you know how to start? Or do you just wing it? Do you find yourself afraid and unable to start? Or do you get up your courage just to get the brush-off?

Or do you plunge in and warn them straight away that if they don’t believe or accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, they will go to hell forever?

When you evangelize, what do you hope to accomplish? What outcome do you want? What do you hope to see? What is the first thing you expect to see when your evangelizing starts to show signs of success?

Immediate Gratification in Evangelism

Have you ever had a lengthy quarrel and your opponent suddenly stopped and said, “You’re right. I’m wrong. I want to pray for forgiveness right now with you”?

I have never heard of anyone experiencing that before. I had a person come into a church while I was cleaning and ask for me to pray with him to give himself to the Lord. But in a quarrel, pride gets in the way. Neither party wants to give up a single point. Both are trying to “slay”, “destroy”, “obliterate” each other.

Now, what I have seen happen is for the quarrel to end, where both sides stop battling and they start to be humble and confess their wrong in the fight. And I have seen that open the door to the point where the sinner pursues salvation and surrenders to Christ.

What About Rebuking In Love?

How to you show people their need for salvation if you cannot point out their sin? Some preachers just speak out against sin openly without pointing a finger or naming names. Other go ahead and name names and pray the person will repent after the anger settles down and the sinners see their need for Christ.

Evangelism Explosion asks a couple questions.

  • If you were to die tonight, do you know for certain you would go to heaven?
  • If you died and stood before God and He were to ask you why He should let you into heaven, what would you say?

Ray Comfort of Way of the Master asks people, “Are you a good person?” Then he asks if he can give them a little test to see. Then he touches on some of the ten commandments. “Have you ever lied?” “Have you ever lusted after someone?” “Did you ever steal anything?” “Did you ever take God’s name in vain?”

Then he would ask, “Would God say you were innocent or guilty?” If they don’t believe in God, then he might ask, “If there were a God who was perfectly loving and honest at the same time, would he have to say you were innocent or guilty?” “Does that concern you?”

All this brings a person to conviction. God wrote His law into our hearts and we know instinctively it is wrong to lie, cheat, steal, murder, and so on. The reasons we make excuses or attempt to justify something or reduce it to an honest mistake or accident is that we know it is wrong and we don’t want to bear shame for being cruel, unjust, unfaithful, cowardly, or having any other serious flaw in our character.

But knowing we are guilty, we instinctively know that God cannot be honest unless He acknowledges that we deserve punishment. We have sinned against Him and against the entire universe. We have put our lust or fear or greed above the well-being of others.

So, Jesus Christ footed the bill. Did he do this so we could have a license to continue sinning? God forbid that! He paid the price so we could give up our sin and leave it behind. God knows we cannot change the past, so we must either perish or be redeemed from our sin.

Do you want to win souls or just avoid losing an argument?

If you want to avoid losing, stay out of the battle. No brainer. Right?

How many people lost battles they never got into? Have you ever lost a battle you walked away from? Walk away from unnecessary and unproductive wars.

This is what Jesus meant when he told the disciples to find a person of peace and if none can be found, brush the sand off your feet. The goal there is not to stick a dagger into their hearts with an insulting parting shot. The goal is to spend time with folks who are open to the Gospel. Don’t neglect them for the sake of winning an argument with someone who only wants to quarrel and demand proof for the obvious.

Give them time. Let them observe from a distance and develop a desire to come clean and have a relationship with God. Approach them again later when they’re ready.

If someone wants to learn more about God, that person is precious. You have someone to share the Gospel with. If you spend more time with them, the hard cases will be more likely to come back and be ready to listen later.

Don’t waste your time on the hard cases while you ignore those hungry to learn more about God.

That’s a great way to start winning and cut down on the losing.

Evangelism is about love, power, healing and giving people a reason to seek God.  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.

How do we make disciples? By Example

Jesus said to go, heal the sick, raise the dead, make disciples, baptize them in water and in the Holy Spirit.

If we neglect prayer we will miss opportunities. So what? Isn’t life more important than being on some sort of religious treadmill or rat race?

Some feel that if we sin or turn to a life of sin we won’t lose our salvation, that we’ll only lose our rewards in heaven. When we lay down our crowns before Jesus, we won’t have so many crowns to lay down. Or if there are mansions, ours won’t be so nice. Or our place in heaven won’t be so super-nice.

But that doesn’t really matter as long as we get in. After all, we don’t want to be prideful or greedy. Right?

But what if those crowns we lay down at Jesus’ feet are our loved ones? Our children? Our parents? Our friends? What if we see our loved ones on judgment day and they’re not happy with us because we betrayed them into hell with our example of living in sin and hypocrisy?

Suppose we saved our own skin and betrayed our family and friends to an eternity with infinite pain for failing to embrace the salvation offered freely–a salvation bought and paid for by Jesus’ own blood?

What if we squandered Jesus’ suffering and blood so that it went for nought concerning those we claimed to love most?

What if we only saved our own skin?

Perhaps we would not wish for them to be lost while we were saved. Perhaps if we were truly saved we would wish we could be lost so they could be saved. Maybe we would wish we could trade places and go to hell so they could go to heaven. But we can’t. Or perhaps we are not as saved as we think we are. Saved from what? Hell or sin? Selfishness or the punishment for it?

Why do we care? Why don’t we care?

Where will we go with this?

We obviously need to minister in power. But to do that we need power. We need power 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.

How do we Evangelize? – By Doing

Knowing this, we are responsible. We cannot afford to nod like a bobble-head.  We need to live what’s true.

If we need to fast or seek God, let’s 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.

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