THE MEANING OF EVANGELISM

Introduction

·         The Bible does not just CONTAIN the gospel; it is the gospel.

·         Ten biblical clues to the meaning of the gospel

Ø  Evangelism is the PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL.

Ö        Gospel = “Euaggelion”

o   Mark 1:14-15  Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel (Euaggelion) of the kingdom of God,  (15)  And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel (Euaggelion).

Ö        Proclaim/preach = “Euaggelizo”

o   Used 55 times in the NT

o   Revelation 14:6  And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel (Euaggelizo) to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people…

Ö        Evangelist = “Euaggelistes”

o   Used 3 times in the NT

o   2 Timothy 4:5  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

 

o   Ephesians 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

 

o   Acts 21:8  And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

Ø  Evangelism is making DISCIPLES.

o   Matthew 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Ø  Evangelism is BEARING WITNESS to Jesus Christ.

Ö        JESUS bore witness to himself.

Ö        The FATHER bears witness to Jesus Christ.

John 5:37  And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.

John 8:16-19  And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.  (17)  It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.  (18)  I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.  (19)  Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.

 

Ö        JOHN THE BAPTIST bore witness to Jesus Christ.

John 1:6-8  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  (7)  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.  (8)  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

John 5:33  Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.

Ö        The WORKS OF JESUS bear witness to him.

John 5:1-17

John 10:25  Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.

           

Ö        The SCRIPTURES bear witness to Jesus Christ.

Ö        The HOLY SPIRIT bears witness to Jesus.

John 15:26  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Ö        The APOSTLES were witnesses to Jesus Christ.

John 15:27  And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Ø  Evangelism is FISHING FOR PERSONS.

Mark 1:17  And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

 

Ø  Evangelism is being the SALT OF THE EARTH.

Matthew 5:13  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Ø  Evangelism is being the LIGHT OF THE WORLD.

Matthew 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Ø  Evangelism is BEARING FRUIT THAT REMAINS.

Ø  Evangelism is being the AROMA OF CHRIST.

2 Corinthians 2:15  For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved…

Ø  Evangelism is the MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  (18)  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  (19)  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  (20)  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  (21)  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Ø  Evangelism is advertising the wonderful DEEDS OF GOD.

1 Peter 2:9-10  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  (10)  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 

Selected Definitions

·         1918 Anglican Definition: To evangelize is so to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Savior, and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His church.

Ø  Emphasizes EDUCATION, growth, development and INDIVIDUAL responsibility.

·         1951 D.T. Niles Definition: It is one beggar telling another beggar where to get food.

·         1977 Church Growth Definition: To proclaim Jesus Christ as God and Savior, to persuade people to become his disciples and responsible members of his church.

·         1974 Lausanne Covenant Definition: Evangelism is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Savior and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God.

·         1979 George W. Hunter Definition: Evangelism is what we do to help make the Christian faith, life and mission a live option to undiscipled people, both outside and inside the congregation.  Also, it is what Jesus Christ does through the church’s kerygma (MESSAGE), koinonia (FELLOWSHIP) and diakonia (SERVICE) to set people free.

·         George Hunter’s five Approaches to evangelism

Ø  Let US help you.

Ø  Let GOD help you.

Ø  Hear the WORD.

Ø  Make a DECISION.  [Crusade Approach]

Ø  Become CHRISTIAN DISCIPLES.

·         Delos Miles , Introduction to Evangelism Definition: Evangelism is being, doing and retelling the gospel of the kingdom of God, in order that by the power of the Holy Spirit persons and structures may be converted to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Guidelines for a Definition of Evangelism

·         The heart of the definition ought to be the good news about the KINGDOM OF GOD.

·         It ought to be HOLISTIC without claiming hegemony over turf which does not rightfully belong to its domain.

·         It ought to make THEOLOGICAL sense.

·         It must have a SHARP CUTTING EDGE.

o   Bad News - Sin

o   Good News – Forgiveness of sins

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

Five Affirmations of a Definition of Evangelism

·         Evangelism is three dimensional: it is BEING, DOING and TELLING the gospel.

·         It should be tied to the GOSPEL.

·         It is a KINGDOM OF GOD enterprise.

·         It is dependent upon the HOLY SPIRIT.

·         It seeks to convert persons and structures to the LODRSHIP of Jesus Christ.

THE MESSAGE OF EVANGELISM

What Is the Gospel?

·         Etymologically speaking, the gospel is the GOOD NEWS.

·         The gospel is the Good News that the POWER of God is made PERFECT in the weakness of PERSONS.

·         The gospel in a word is JESUS.

·         The oldest creed of the church was “JESUS  IS LORD” (1 Corinthians 12:3).

·         Some people have strange notions that the gospel is their view of the ATONEMENT or their view of the BIBLE or even their view of JESUS.  The gospel is synonymous with none of these.

·         The gospel in a sentence is “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,” (2 COR. 5:19).

·         The gospel in a paragraph is found in 1 COR. 15:3-5.  That one paragraph refers to Christ’s DEATH, BURIAL, RESURRECTION and 2 of his post-resurrection appearances.

·         There can be ONLY  ONE gospel.

·         The gospel is not the gospel of CIRCUMCISION which the Judaizers proclaim.

·         GNOSTIC heretics denied the reality of Christ’s humanity.

·         First Corinthians 15 was written to correct those who denied the BODILY  RESURRECTION.

·         The gospel in a book can be found in either one or all of the four Gospels: Matthew, mark, Luke and John.  Their evangelistic intent articulated most clearly in the Gospel of JOHN.

John 20:31  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

·         The four Gospels are not biographies of Jesus so much as they are EVANGELISTIC autobiographies and biographies of FAITH.

·         The gospel in a book can also be discovered in the Book of ROMANS.

·         An outline of Romans that reveals the gospel:

Ø  The gospel—1:1-17

Ø  Why people need salvation—1:18-3:20

Ø  How people are saved—3:21-4:25

Ø  The benefits of salvation—chs. 5-8

Ø  Those who refuse the gospel—chs. 9-11

Ø  The daily life of the believers—chs. 12-15

·         The gospel also is found in the PREACHING of the apostolic church.

·         Apostolic preaching gathers around the INCARNATION, crucifixion, resurrection, ASCENSION and second coming of CHRIST.

·         The gospel is found in the second article of the APSOTLE’S  CREED.               [The oldest creed of the early church outside of the Bible]

“I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.”

The Gospel and the Kingdom of God

·         The Kingdom of God is God’s GOVERNMENT.

·         The Kingdom of God is the WILL of God being done on EARTH as in HEAVEN.

·         The Kingdom of God is the CENTRAL  THEME of Jesus’ message.

·         Paul Minear’s seven requisites for understanding the Kingdom of God:

Ø  This reality is the KINGDOM  OF  GOD.

Ø  It is to be understood through its continuing WARFARE with an enemy kingdom.

Ø  It is to be apprehended as a NEW  AGE, a time of fulfillment which terminates a former age and imparts a new sense of DURATION.

Ø  It is a realm which a person enters by a NEW BIRTH.

Ø  The Kingdom of God is inseparable from His GLORY and POWER.

Ø  It will be realized only through the COMMUNION of saints, the FELLOWSIHP of those who inherit it.

Ø  LOVE is the key to understanding it.

·         Rottenberg’s five paradoxes:

Ø  The Kingdom of God is not of this world, yet it is very much RELATED to this world.

Ø  It comes as gift, but it does not come CHEAP.

Ø  It does not consist in talk, yet it is imperative that it be PROCLAIMED.

Ø  It does not mean food and drink, yet it can be compared to a WEDDING  _BANQUET.

Ø  It is both HIDDEN and manifested, both future and PRESENT.

Luke 17:20-21  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:  (21)  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Implications for Evangelism

·         The Kingdom of God is the goal of EVANGELISM.

Ø  . . . Not CHURCH  GROWTH.

Ø  . . . Not to build OUR kingdom

Ø  . . . But to proclaim the GOSPEL

·         We need to be careful not to reduce the Kingdom of God to our brand of CHURCH or to any ECCLESIOLOGY.

·         God’s rule is the goal for human SOCIETY and for the WORLD.

·         Evangelism has an intentional aspect to it which seeks to convert PERSONS and STRUCTURES to the rule of God.

·         Ultimately, the message of evangelism is PERSON centered rather than MESSAGE centered.

* Jesus did more than preach the kingdom of God. He embodied the kingdom. He was the kingdom!