About the Author
Read an Excerpt
WHO SHOULD EVANGELIZE?
1. What drew you to this study on evangelism?
2. What are you hoping to get out of these six sessions on evangelism?
The Bible calls all Christians to share the good news about Jesus's death and resurrection with those who don't believe in Christ.
At the outset of this study on evangelism, we should begin by defining what "evangelism" is and isn't.
What Is Evangelism? Evangelism is telling others the good news about what Jesus Christ has done to save sinners and calling them to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus.
In order to do this you must tell others that:
God is holy (1 John. 1:5). He is the creator of all things (Gen. 1:1).
All people are sinners who deserve God's righteous, eternal wrath (Mark 9:48; Rom. 3:10–19; Rev. 14:11).
Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to bear God's wrath in the place of all who would believe in him, and rose from the grave in order to give his people eternal life (John 1:1; Rom. 3:21–26; 1 Cor. 15:20–22; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:26).
The only way to be saved from eternal punishment and be reconciled to God is to repent of sin and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21).
This is the gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ. Evangelism is simply telling others this basic message and calling them to repent of sin and trust in Christ. On the other hand, evangelism is not:
Personal testimony. Talking about what God has done in your life may encourage Christians and intrigue non-Christians. And there's certainly a place for this in evangelism. But simply sharing about what God has done in your life isn't necessarily evangelism. Evangelism is telling others about what Jesus Christ has done to save every sinner who will ever turn from their sin and trust in Jesus.
Social action. When we care for the poor, defend the defenseless, and work for a more just society we may commend the gospel, but we haven't yet shared it. Evangelism is telling others the gospel. Contrary to the opinion of some, that can't be done without words!
Apologetics. Defending the faith against unbelievers' objections can lead to evangelism, but apologetics is not evangelism. Apologetics is a useful tool, but if we're not careful it can actually distract us from evangelism, which is telling the good news about Jesus Christ.
The results of evangelism. We can share the gospel. We can't make anyone believe it. Thinking that we haven't evangelized unless people have been converted is a serious error that can cripple Christians with a sense of failure and guilt. But if we recognize that our job is merely to tell others the good news about Christ and call them to repent and believe, we are liberated to simply preach the gospel and pray for God to change hearts.
1. Do you have any questions about what evangelism is?
Now that we've established what evangelism is and isn't, let's consider a few texts that speak to who should evangelize. Acts 8:1–4 gives us a window into the early church's evangelism:
1 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. 4 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
2. Who was scattered by the persecution in Jerusalem (v. 1)?
3. Who went about preaching the word, that is, the good news about Jesus (v. 4)?
4. What does this tell us about the early Christians' understanding of who should evangelize?
In Matthew 28:18–20, after rising from the dead, Jesus leaves his eleven disciples with a final charge:
18 All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
5. What does Jesus command his followers to make (v. 19)? What does that mean?
6. Of whom are we to make disciples (v. 19)?
7. What are all the things that making disciples involves (vv. 19–20)?
8. To whom does this "Great Commission" apply? Who's responsible to carry it out? Explain your answer from the text itself.
9. Why is Jesus's presence with us especially comforting as we go and make disciples of all nations (v. 20)?
10. Have you ever considered before that all Christians are responsible to evangelize? What's your initial response to that?
11. Have you ever heard someone say they were notobligated to evangelize? What kind of reasons do they give? Why would Satan loveto get people to think this way?
12. How can you fulfill the Great Commission as part of your daily discipleship to Christ? Give specific examples.CHAPTER 2
WHY SHOULD WE EVANGELIZE?
1. What are some reasons you don't evangelize?
2. What do you think it would take to motivate you to evangelize more?
The Bible gives us many different motivations to evangelize, which is something many of us need because we often lack motivation to evangelize.
In this study we're going to consider several biblical reasons why we should evangelize.
First, as we considered in the previous study, we should evangelize because the Bible commands us to.
In Matthew 28:19–20 Jesus commands his disciples,
19 Go ... and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
Paul also exhorts the Corinthians to follow his evangelistic example when he writes,
32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. (1 Cor. 10:32–11:1)
As Christians, our inner beings long to obey all of God's commands. But in the case of evangelism, it can sometimes be difficult to muster up motivation out of a sheer sense of obligation. Thankfully, God's Word gives us several other motivations that spur us on to evangelism. Consider what the apostle Paul writes in Romans 9 and 10:
1 I am speaking the truth in Christ — I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit — 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. (Rom. 9:1–3)
1 Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them [that is, the Israelites] is that they may be saved. (Rom. 10:1)
1. Why does Paul have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in his heart?
2. Based on Romans 10:1 and what we learn from the rest of the New Testament, what does Paul's concern for his fellow Jews motivate him to do? (See also Acts 13:5; 14:1; 17:1–3; 18:4)
3. What motive for evangelism does this text give us?
4. What are some practical ways you can grow in cultivating and expressing love for non-Christians?
In John 15 Jesus says,
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:8–11)
5. What are the results of our bearing much fruit through obeying Jesus's commands?
6. How does evangelism in particular bring glory to God?
7. How does the thought that our evangelism glorifies God encourage us to persevere in evangelism?
8. In this passage, Jesus explains that the reason he has given us his commands to obey is that our joy may be full (v. 11). How is the promise of obtaining joy in obedience especially encouraging when you consider evangelism?
Through teaching about obeying Jesus's commands in general, this passage gives us at least two more motivations to evangelize:
1. to glorify God; and
2. to have our joy in Christ made full through obeying his commands.
There's one more biblical motivation for evangelism we should consider together. In 1 Peter 3:13–18a, Peter writes,
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.
9. What are the two main things Peter commands in this passage?
10. What has Christ done for sinners who trust in him (v. 18)? What is the result for those who trust in Christ (v. 18)?
11. How should Christ's suffering for us and God's acceptance of us through Christ motivate us to both share the gospel with others and be willing to suffer for Christ's sake?
12. What are some ways that sharing the gospel with others and suffering for Christ's sake might go hand in hand?
Think about the various biblical motivations we've covered in this study:
Obedience (Matt. 28:18–20; 1 Cor. 10:32–11:1)
Love for others (Rom. 9:1–3; 10:1)
The desire to glorify God (John 15:8)
Having our joy made complete through obedience (John 15:11)
Our acceptance by God through Christ (1 Pet. 3:18)
13. Are any of these motivations to evangelize particularly new or striking to you?
14. What are some ways that you can practically stir up yourself and others to evangelize using these biblical motivations?CHAPTER 3
HOW SHOULD WE EVANGELIZE? (PART 1)
In the next few studies, we're going to consider more practically how we should evangelize.
1. As a way to begin thinking about how to evangelize, what's some of the best advice you've received about evangelism?
We should evangelize_______and_______. (We'll fill in the blanks later.)
In 2 Corinthians, Paul describes his own evangelistic commitments as an apostle. In chapter 4 he writes,
1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (4:1–6)
1. What has Paul renounced (v. 2)?
2. What does Paul refuse to do (v. 2)?
3. What are some examples of disgraceful, underhanded ways or practicing cunning and tampering with God's Word?
4. Why is it tempting to tamper with God's Word when we evangelize?
5. How does Paul positively describe how he speaks the gospel (v. 2)?
6. What is the goal of Paul's open statement of the truth (v. 2)?
In following Paul's example (see 1 Cor. 10:23–11:1), we should evangelize honestly. We should proclaim the truth of the gospel openly. We should do this, as Paul says, in order to commend ourselves to others' consciences before God. However our unbelieving friends might respond to the gospel, we are accountable to God to share the message faithfully. We should evangelize honestly. (Fill in the first blank under "Main Idea.")
7. What are some things that tempt you not to share the gospel honestly? How can you work to overcome those temptations?
In 2 Corinthians 5 and 6, Paul further elaborates on his commitments as an evangelist, writing,
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
6:1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,
"In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you."
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Cor. 5:20–6:2)
8. In verse 20 Paul says that as an ambassador of Christ, God makes his appeal through him. What is that appeal?
9. What does it mean to implore someone? What does this reveal about how Paul evangelized?
10. What does Paul appeal to the Corinthians not to do (6:1)?
11. According 6:2, why is it urgent that the Corinthians be reconciled to God and not accept God's grace in vain?
Based on Paul's example in these verses, we should evangelize urgently. Now is the time of salvation. Now is the time when God extends mercy to all who turn from their sin and trust in Christ. That's why Paul implores the Corinthians to be reconciled to God and appeals to them not to receive the grace of God in vain. (Fill in the second blank under "Main Idea.")
12. Would you say that you typically evangelize urgently? Why or why not?
13. What are some examples of:
a) A wrong urgency in evangelism?
b) A right urgency in evangelism?CHAPTER 4
HOW SHOULD WE EVANGELIZE? (PART 2)
1. What kind of a response does the idea of evangelism typically provoke in you?
2. If that response is a negative one, what do you do with it? How do you seek to overcome it?
We should evangelize________and_______(We'll fill in the blanks later.)
In Luke 2, a very familiar passage, angels announce the birth of Jesus. Beginning in verse 8:
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to then, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" (2:8–14)
1. Who and what appeared to the shepherds (v. 8)?
2. How did the shepherds respond to these things (v. 9)? Why did they respond this way?
3. What did the angel tell the shepherds to do (v. 10)?
4. What did the angel "bring" to the shepherds (v. 10)?
5. Why was this news good?
6. Why did this good news mean the shepherds didn't have to be afraid?
The angels' announcement of Jesus's birth vividly demonstrates that the gospel, which means "good news," is a joyful message. It addresses guilty, condemned sinners and announces that they can be at peace with God through the Savior whom he has sent. That's why we should proclaim this message joyfully. (Fill in the first blank under "Main Idea.")
7. Why is a joyful evangelist (as opposed to a somber or fearful one) both attractive and appropriate?
8. When you evangelize, do you do so joyfully? Why or why not?
9. Give some practical examples of what it means to evangelize joyfully. How can you seek to grow in evangelizing in these ways?
From Luke 2 we've learned that we should evangelize joyfully. As Paul responds to the plight of his fellow Jews in Romans 9:30–10:1, his example presents us with another aspect of how we should evangelize.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Reaching the Lost: Evangelism"
Copyright © 2012 9Marks.
Excerpted by permission of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
An Important Mark of a Healthy Church: A Biblical Understanding of Evangelism Mark Dever 9
Week 1 Who Should Evangelize? 13
Week 2 Why Should We Evangelize? 17
Week 3 How Should We Evangelize? (Part 1) 21
Week 4 How Should We Evangelize? (Part 2) 25
Week 5 How Should We Evangelize? (Part 3) 29
Week 6 What Does the Church Have to Do with Evangelism? 33
Teacher's Notes 37
What People are Saying About This
“9Marks, as a ministry, has taken basic biblical teaching about the church and put it into the hands of pastors. Bobby, by way of these study guides, has taken this teaching and delivered it to the person in the pew. I am unaware of any other tool that so thoroughly and practically helps Christians understand God’s plan for the local church. I can’t wait to use these studies in my own congregation.”Jeramie Rinne, Senior Pastor, South Shore Baptist Church, Hingham, Massachusetts
“Bobby Jamieson has done local church pastors an incredible service by writing these study guides. Clear, biblical, and practical, they introduce the biblical basis for a healthy church. But more importantly, they challenge and equip church members to be part of the process of improving their own church’s health. The studies work for individual, small group, and larger group settings. I have used them for the last year at my own church and appreciate how easy they are to adapt to my own setting. I don’t know of anything else like them. Highly recommended!”Michael Lawrence, Senior Pastor, Hinson Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon; author, Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church
“This is a Bible study that is actually rooted in the Bible and involves actual study. In the 9Marks Healthy Church Study Guides Series a new standard has been set for personal theological discovery and corresponding personal application. Rich exposition, compelling questions, and clear syntheses combine to give a guided tour of ecclesiologythe theology of the church. I know of no better curriculum for generating understanding of and involvement in the church than this. It will be a welcome resource in our church for years to come.”Rick Holland, Senior Pastor, Mission Road Bible Church, Prairie Village, Kansas
“In America today we have the largest churches in the history of our nation, but the least amount of impact for Christ’s kingdom. Slick marketing and finely polished vision statements are a foundation of sand. The 9Marks Healthy Church Study Guides Series is a refreshing departure from church-growth materials, towards an in-depth study of God’s Word that will equip God’s people with his vision for his Church. These study guides will lead local congregations to abandon secular methodologies for church growth and instead rely on Christ’s principles for developing healthy, God-honoring assemblies.”Carl J. Broggi, Senior Pastor, Community Bible Church, Beaufort, South Carolina; President, Search the Scriptures Radio Ministry
“Anyone who loves Jesus will love what Jesus loves. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus loves the church. He knows about and cares for individual churches and wants them to be spiritually healthy and vibrant. Not only has Jesus laid down his life for the church but he has also given many instructions in his Word regarding how churches are to live and function in the world. This series of Bible studies by 9Marks shows how Scripture teaches these things. Any Christian who works through this curriculum, preferably with other believers, will be helped to see in fresh ways the wisdom, love, and power of God in establishing the church on earth. These studies are biblical, practical, and accessible. I highly recommend this curriculum as a useful tool that will help any church embrace its calling to display the glory of God to a watching world.” Thomas Ascol, Executive Director, Founders Ministries; Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, Florida