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Evangelism as the Focus in the Assembly of Believers?


speerjp1
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  • IFB

Thanks for your input.

I honestly want to be in line with God's word on this.

I think a lot of what it will come down to will be whether or not to encourage lost folks to attend church regularly regardless of whether they are under conviction or if they are acquiring a form of religion. That's where prayer and biblical and spiritual discernment will have to guide us.

If a person is known to be lost and is attending a church without becoming "religious" or led into a false sense of security when it comes to eternal things, that person should be allowed to continue to attend.

If a person is known to be lost and is attending church and is therefore becoming a religious person who has turned over a new leaf and seems satisfied with his spiritual condition, I see no reason not to rattle that comfort by asking them not to return.

Also, remember in the real life example that I used, the person who was asked not to return got saved shortly thereafter.

In addition to these things remember that our Supreme Example never invited a person into the temple in order for them to receive salvation. He always went to the lost where they were in order to evangelize. I know that the church didn't exist as we know it at that time, but I think we can glean something from his example.

And when Paul wrote his letters to the churches, he never admonished them toward evangelism during their meetings. He laid down some guidelines for the benefit of the lost onlookers (implying that is normal and acceptable for lost to be in attendance during a meeting of believers), but never hinted that the church's evangelistic efforts should be any different than the Great Commission's command to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

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  • IFB
I do not believe that the church is the "primary" place for evangelism to the exclusion of other means but I do believe that a lost person should be able to attend church and if he does there should be no doubt that the gospel will be touched on at least briefly. Wouldn't it be sad for a lost person to visit a church and leave with no more idea of what was needed to be saved than when he came. I do think that pastor was very wrong to tell the lost man not to attend church but I am glad it worked out anyway. I don't see how that mans attendance would have got him "comfortable in his religious form" because any decent bible believing church will touch on the requirements for salvation from time to time and will teach that church attendance isn't going to help you get to heaven. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God and the more scripture a lost person hears the more tools the Lord has to convict his heart. Not to mention a bible believing church is going to require a that a new member understand salvation and have a clear biblical testimony of turning to God before they can actually join the church.



I can see how: Jeremiah 17:9 says "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

I find it interesting that you can determine that the pastor was wrong given your limited knowledge of the situation. Be careful here.

Generally when the term preacher is used in the NT it carries the idea of a public herald or a proclamation to a group. Individual one on one evangelism would not be the same thing as preaching although it is also important. If it were the same thing 1 Corinthians 9:14 would make no sense since every Christian is called to share the gospel one on one when there is the opportunity and the leading of the Spirit. Yes, any believer can preach if they wish and it isn't limited to pastors, missionary's or "evangelists" and yes teaching that a preacher must deliberately act foolish is a serious misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 1:21.


The word preacher is used 4 times in the NT and each time it simply means "one who proclaims." Yes, some are ordained to preach in a special place or for a special purpose or to a certain people, but that doesn't negate the fact that preaching the gospel is for all believers. It is not the "preaching" that is ordained for certain men, it is the "purpose" in preaching that is ordained. This is why a young man such as myself will preach the gospel to the lost, preach in area churches, and preach in nursing homes, but I will not be ordained as a preacher until I am sent for a particular purpose, be it pastor, missionary, or evangelist. Such ones should live of the gospel.

The word preach of itself carries no such denotation. It simply means "to proclaim." In the NT, preaching typically applies particularly to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is in the purview of every believer.
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  • IFB

I can see how: Jeremiah 17:9 says "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"


Fair enough, that is always a possibility I suppose.

I find it interesting that you can determine that the pastor was wrong given your limited knowledge of the situation. Be careful here.


Can you provide a biblical example where a unbeliever was turned out of a church(other than church discipline of members) or where it was ever right to tell someone not to come and listen to Gods word? If so I may alter my opinion, if not I must continue to believe it is unbiblical to discourage someone from hearing the word of the Lord being preached even if in one instance a big God showed grace and it worked out anyway.

Psalm 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

The word preacher is used 4 times in the NT and each time it simply means "one who proclaims." Yes, some are ordained to preach in a special place or for a special purpose or to a certain people, but that doesn't negate the fact that preaching the gospel is for all believers. It is not the "preaching" that is ordained for certain men, it is the "purpose" in preaching that is ordained. This is why a young man such as myself will preach the gospel to the lost, preach in area churches, and preach in nursing homes, but I will not be ordained as a preacher until I am sent for a particular purpose, be it pastor, missionary, or evangelist. Such ones should live of the gospel.

The word preach of itself carries no such denotation. It simply means "to proclaim." In the NT, preaching typically applies particularly to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is in the purview of every believer.



2605.
kataggevllw kataggello, kat-ang-gel'-lo; from 2596 and the base of 32; to proclaim, promulgate:--declare, preach, shew, speak of, teach.

Look up the verses where this word is used in scripture. I believe in every case it refers to a public event as does 2784.


The very first time the preaching of Christ is mentioned in the NT.

"Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

2784.
khruvssw kerusso, kay-roos'-so; of uncertain affinity; to herald (as a public crier), especially divine truth (the gospel):--preacher(-er), proclaim, publish.

We can be sure that Jesus did not just begin to share Gods word in Matthew 4:17. Even when he was 12 we see him in the temple being about his fathers business. Yet his preaching did not begin until his public ministry began. Preaching as the term is used today is a public act.

One time I can recall preaching being used to describe a one on one situation is this verse:

"Acts 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus."

That word is an entirely different word though:

2097.
eujaggelivzw euaggelizo, yoo-ang-ghel-id'-zo; from 2095 and 32; to announce good news ("evangelize") especially the gospel:--declare, bring (declare, show) glad (good) tidings, preach (the gospel).

That word does not necessarily mean public preaching and is where we get the term evangelize. That passage is just saying that Philip started witnessing to him.
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  • IFB

I know that some churches do not what to hear any message about salvation preached. I remember the 1st time I heard of this. A pastor friend had been to a church in a town quite far from us in view of call. After the morning service he was asked if he would meet with several members that afternoon to set down informally and ask him a few questions. he readily agreed to this.


About half way through a deacon made a statement as well as asked him a question, something like this. "With our last pastor I got so tired of hearing the word salvation used, I do not ever want another pastor that so much as use the word salvation. If we were to call you to be our pastor could you assure me that you would never use the word salvation?"

As he started answering another deacon rudely broke in addressing the deacon that had just spoken, "Brother Doe, {not his name} I to am tired of hearing salvation mentioned so much, I don't care if I never hear the word salvation again nor hear a pastor preach a message on salvation. I've heard that word so much I don't believe I will ever use it again."

He started to answer again, but yet another person interrupted him saying, "That last pastor, he must have preached a message on salvation as least once a month, I too am tired of hearing preachers speak on salvation, I hope we never have another pastor, nor a preacher, stand behind out pulpit and preach a message on salvation or even mention the word salvation, its the most useless thing and a complete waste of time."

He said, I them set there quietly for a few minutes fearing if I started answering them someone else would break in, finally Deacon Doe asked him, "Well, are you ever going to answer my question?"

He replied, "Sir, I have tired to 2 times, but I've been interrupted, I wanted to be sure that all of you were finished so that I could answer you."

Brother Doe replied, "Sorry, we get a bit carried away once in a while especially when its about subject that bothers us so much, please, go on and give us your answer.

He politely told them, "One thing for sure, you don't want me for your pastor. And I surely would not want to waste your time, I appreciate you very much for inviting me to your church, and I hope you will find the pastor your looking for."

The meeting was dismissed, he said everyone was real friendly and thanked him for being honest and for coming down. Deacon Doe handed him a check which he did not think he would receive and he tried to hand it back to him, but he refused.

I suppose, some people get tried of hearing that old old story, I never have, I can say that more than 95 % of the preaching that I've heard, I have enjoyed it. I could listen to that old story about Jesus a million times, and never tire of it. That said, I can't help but think of these old songs.

Tell me the old, old Story,
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love,
Tell me the story simply,
As to a little child,
For I am weak and weary,
And helpless and defiled.
Tell me the Old, Old Story,
Tell me the Old, Old story,
Tell me the Old, Old Story,
Of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the story slowly,
That I may take it in,
That wonder and ful redemption,
God's remedy for sin,
Tell me the story often,
For I forget so soon,
The early dew of morning,
Has passed away at noon,
Tell me the Old, Old Story,
Tell me the Old, Old story,
Tell me the Old, Old Story,
Of Jesus and His love.

Tell me of the story softly,
With earnest tones and grave,
Remember I'm the sinner,
Whom Jesus came to save,
Tell me the story always,
If you would really be,
in any time of trouble,
A comforter to me,
Tell me the Old, Old Story,
Tell me the Old, Old story,
Tell me the Old, Old Story,
Of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the same old story,
When you have cause to fear,
That this world's empty glory,
Is costing me too dear,
Yes and when that worlds glory,
Is dawning on my soul,
Tell me the Old, Old Story,
Christ Jesus makes thee whole.
Tell me the Old, Old Story,
Tell me the Old, Old story,
Tell me the Old, Old Story,
Of Jesus and His love.

Tell Me The Story Of Jesus

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word,
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was hears,
Tell how the angles, in chorus,
Sang as they welcome His birth,
Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tiding to earth.

Fasting alone in the desert,
Tell of the days that are past,
How for our sins, he was tempted,
yet was triumphant at last,
Tell of the years of His labor,
Tell of the sorrow he bore,
He was despised and afflicted,
Homeless, rejected and poor.

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain,
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again,
Love in that story so tender,
Clear than ever I see,
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
Love paid the ransom for me.

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  • IFB

I just realized that my post in response to Revelation3:20 must have gotten lost in cyberspace. :icon_smile:

Anyway, it was pretty short. To sum it up:

There are instances of stoppage when it comes to gospel preaching in the Bible. Matthew 7 tells us not to cast our pearls before swine and Matthew, Mark, and Luke all contain a parallel passage where disciples were commanded to shake the dust off their feet when they weren't accepted by folks. How can that be done if they are sitting in the church while rejecting Christ?

As to your understanding of the terms "preach" or "preaching," it seems like your Greek definitions lend themselves more toward public proclamation of the gospel: that would be out in the open as opposed to within the closed doors of a church. And doesn't that just make sense? It is in harmony with every command that we are given when it comes to evangelism. Never in the Bible are we commanded to bring the lost to anyone or any place other than Christ and his cross.

Preach the gospel. Preach it in the churches, yes, but we had better preach it more in public to the lost.

At any rate, we have all agreed to the idea that our assembly as a body of believers should not be the primary form of evangelism.

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  • IFB

In order for some to be saved, they have to know who God is and what he stand for (His Laws, Holiness, etc) . It is hard to tell them with fifteen or so minutes outside the church.

I know plenty of non-believers who hold a christian moral values. If we put them out, they would be more corrupted than ever (look at countries that don't hold christian moral values). It a good thing for them to use the bible as a guidance even though they don't believe. Let them come to church if they want to. They might learn a thing or two.

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  • IFB
It is hard to tell them with fifteen or so minutes outside the church. Some need to hear what Bible have to say anyway even if they are not saved.


Thank you for saying this, Psalms18_28! (What I am about to say is not directed at you personally; it is directed at the average lay person.)

Is the lost person's exposure to the Bible limited to 15 minutes outside the church because of us? Are we too busy to care for the lost? Do we have some place more important to be? Do we have some greater calling? Why can't I spend more than a couple of minutes with a lost person around God's word or host a Bible study for the lost that is evangelistic in nature in my home? Could it be indicative of the apathy and complacency that has crept into our churches? Could fear or lack of boldness dictate that our witness of the gospel is so limited outside of the four walls of our churches?

Or what if the 15 minutes outside the church is limited by the lost person? If a lost person will not hear 15 minutes of preaching in person, how can we assume that same person will sit and listen to 30-45 minutes of preaching? If a person rejects our gospel witness or an invitation to attend an assembly of believers, do we have the time or desire to pursue that person in prayer or in persistent preaching of the gospel? If that person continues to reject God, do we not have a cause to "shake the dust" from our feet according to the prompting of the Holy Spirit? Are we even close enough to God to trust and OBey such a Biblical prompting?

Again, so far, we have all agreed that our primary focus of evangelism shouldn't be within the four walls of our churches. Conversely, we must also agree that the primary focus of evangelism should be outside the church. That being the case, if we are willing to spend 1 or 2 hours 3 or more times per week evangelizing within our churches, why is our witnessing time so limited outside our churches? Somewhere along the way there is a discrepancy between what we are saying we are doing and what we are doing. That is the definition of hypocrisy.

I know I asked a lot of questions, but they are legitimate things that we need to think about. The fulfillment of the Great Commission has got to move to the exterior of the church buildings.
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I think a lot of the answers to your questions can be solved by how you define "witness." If you believe that it must involve verbal communication with one or more people about the Gospel, then I think you are going to be very limited considering people's time restraints and schedules. For example, lets say you begin to present the Gospel to a stranger you have met at a cafe during lunch. Before you feel you have sufficiently finished the presentation, the stranger must leave to return to work. You can't really fault the stranger for not sticking around and risking losing his jOB or being reprimanded for someone he just met.

I think that scripture supports the view that witnessing involves a verbal presentation of the Gospel, but it also supports presenting the good news of Christ through our actions in everyday life. I really don't have a lot of time for verbal witnessing. I spend most of my day behind a desk researching or in a meeting negotiating. Therefore, I believe the best way for me to witness is through my actions. Hopefully people will see me and notice something different about me that they would like for themselves. I hope they "witness" Christ's love within me.

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Sorry, forgot to add:

Wouldn't you also agree that one of the primary purposes of the Sunday service is worship. To gather together and acknowledge that we are weak and helpless mortals and that God is our only redemption. To get on our knees and submit to the One True God. To glorify and praise him above all others. To return to him in all areas in which we have fled. And, maybe most importantly, to please Him.

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  • IFB

I have been in a church in the past where a lost couple came to the church faithfully Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night for years and never got saved. They admitted to not being saved, and in that particular church they did hear a clear Gospel message fairly regularly. What happened? They got comfortable and blended in with the members of the church. People started treating them like members. I don't know if they ever got saved. I remember that bothering me at the time. I believe that if you allow lost people to come to church for months on end without confronting them about their lost condition a few things happen: they get comfortable and the members of the church get familiar with them. As that happens, I have seen the lost person begin to "fit in" with the members and learn what to say and how to act and the members begin to just overlook the fact that the person has admitted that they're not saved and just accept them the way they are. As they get more familiar with this person the Christians must OBviously convince themselves that this person MUST be saved since they are able to fit in so well. This is a dangerous position for the lost person because he will convince himself that he is fine based on the fact that he fits in with the rest of the Church and is just as good as them. I'm not speaking theoretically here. I've really seen this. This is especially true when the Gospel is not being preached and presented on a regular basis. Therefore I believe that if a church is going to use their assembly as their primary form of evangelism (which I don't agree with) the pastor better be giving a CLEAR presentation of the Gospel every single service and the church as a whole better be praying for the conviction of God in the services.

On the other hand, when Jesus approached people (i.e. the woman at the well, blind man, etc.) he didn't befriend them, make them feel comfortable, create a relationship, talk about sports, hunting, and politics and then witness to them. No, the first approach was concern about their spiritual condition. That should be our primary focus. Not making the lost person comfortable and creating a relationship in order to win them, but making it clear from the beginning that you are concerned about their soul first and foremost.

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I think a lot of the answers to your questions can be solved by how you define "witness." If you believe that it must involve verbal communication with one or more people about the Gospel, then I think you are going to be very limited considering people's time restraints and schedules. For example, lets say you begin to present the Gospel to a stranger you have met at a cafe during lunch. Before you feel you have sufficiently finished the presentation, the stranger must leave to return to work. You can't really fault the stranger for not sticking around and risking losing his jOB or being reprimanded for someone he just met.

I think that scripture supports the view that witnessing involves a verbal presentation of the Gospel, but it also supports presenting the good news of Christ through our actions in everyday life. I really don't have a lot of time for verbal witnessing. I spend most of my day behind a desk researching or in a meeting negotiating. Therefore, I believe the best way for me to witness is through my actions. Hopefully people will see me and notice something different about me that they would like for themselves. I hope they "witness" Christ's love within me.


St. Francis of Assisi was famous for saying "Preach the Gospel. Use words when necessary."

The Bible says: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"

Lifestyle evangelism is not commanded in the Bible. Living lives of holiness is. Preaching the gospel is. One isn't better than the other neither can one replace the other. Anything less is disOBedience.
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I think a lot of the answers to your questions can be solved by how you define "witness." If you believe that it must involve verbal communication with one or more people about the Gospel, then I think you are going to be very limited considering people's time restraints and schedules. For example, lets say you begin to present the Gospel to a stranger you have met at a cafe during lunch. Before you feel you have sufficiently finished the presentation, the stranger must leave to return to work. You can't really fault the stranger for not sticking around and risking losing his jOB or being reprimanded for someone he just met.

I think that scripture supports the view that witnessing involves a verbal presentation of the Gospel, but it also supports presenting the good news of Christ through our actions in everyday life. I really don't have a lot of time for verbal witnessing. I spend most of my day behind a desk researching or in a meeting negotiating. Therefore, I believe the best way for me to witness is through my actions. Hopefully people will see me and notice something different about me that they would like for themselves. I hope they "witness" Christ's love within me.

:goodpost:

and

Sorry, forgot to add:

Wouldn't you also agree that one of the primary purposes of the Sunday service is worship. To gather together and acknowledge that we are weak and helpless mortals and that God is our only redemption. To get on our knees and submit to the One True God. To glorify and praise him above all others. To return to him in all areas in which we have fled. And, maybe most importantly, to please Him.

:goodpost:
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  • IFB

Sorry, forgot to add:

Wouldn't you also agree that one of the primary purposes of the Sunday service is worship. To gather together and acknowledge that we are weak and helpless mortals and that God is our only redemption. To get on our knees and submit to the One True God. To glorify and praise him above all others. To return to him in all areas in which we have fled. And, maybe most importantly, to please Him.


One of my reasons for moving evangelistic efforts more outside the assembly of believers is for this very reason: we are commanded to meet for certain purposes-- evangelism is never mentioned among those purposes.
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