How many of us experience some degree of terror when we think about going to someone and, on purpose, share our faith about Jesus? Most of us experience terror in one degree or another. We want to talk about  this a little today.

Defeating the Terror of Evangelism

by Delbert Young

Defeating the Terror of Evangelism

Video

audio

Defeating the Terror of Evangelism

Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:46, Acts 1:8, Psalms 139:13-14, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Acts 13:9-12

How many of us experience some degree of terror when we think about going to someone and, on purpose, share our faith about Jesus? Most of us experience terror in one degree or another. We want to talk about  this a little today. The Bible teaches us  we can look at the natural and receive understanding about the spiritual. Let’s read our scriptures for today.

1 Corinthians 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

Psalms 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalms 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

1 Corinthians 9:19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.

1 Corinthians 9:20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.

1 Corinthians 9:21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

1 Corinthians 9:23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

War

We are presently at war in the natural. This is a war far different from any war in history. Though war always brings terror, this war was brought on by terror. In fact, it is a war against terror. The primary weapon of the enemy in this war is terror. Osama bin Laden has been pegged as “the face of evil.” Since 1992, bin Laden has called for “jihad,” or a holy war. His tactics to bring about jihad is the use of “fatwa,” or acts of terror. Since 1992, each fatwa has been more savage than the act previous. Today bin Laden’s targets include all Americans and all Jews. His soldiers are called “vanguard Muslims” and bin Laden praises them for acts of terror where innocent people are killed by mass murders. He has a plan and a strategy. He has money.

The Bible teaches us what is happening in the natural can also be seen in the spiritual.

1 Corinthians 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

There is always first the natural and then the spiritual. There was Adam before there was Jesus. There were animal sacrifices before there was the sacrifice of Christ. There was the temple before there was the church. There was the earthly Jerusalem before there was the heavenly Jerusalem. There is the carnal mind before there is the spiritual mind. There is first the natural and then the spiritual.

There is a war in the natural dimension and there is a war in the spiritual dimension. The Bible speaks about this war. It tells us about weapons of our warfare (2Co 10:4). It tells us  we fight “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6:12). There is the true evil one the Bible refers to as “the great dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan” (Rev 12:9). He has soldiers. He has a plan to take as many people to hell as he can. This is the true “jihad.” One war is natural and one is spiritual, but the tactic of the enemy is the same. This tactic is terror.

Though the believer actually believes  faith in Jesus Christ is the most wonderful thing, the thought of witnessing and telling an unchurched person about Jesus terrifies us. Though we can willingly give 10% of our income to the Lord without blinking, we are horrified when we think of talking to a loved one or an unchurched person about Jesus. Though we faithfully attend church every Sunday and work diligently at our various ministries, we weaken at the thought of telling a soul there is a hell to face without the salvation that is in Jesus Christ. If I were to ask most of us to meet me here at seven o’clock tonight to go find people  we can share our faith about Jesus, a terror would grip most of us. We would find all sorts of reasons why we couldn’t make it. Am I close to being accurate here?

The devil’s plan is to make us fearful, even terrorized, about sharing our faith. In the natural, war has been declared on terrorist. It is time to declare war on the terrorist in the spiritual as well. If we are going to be a church making full proof of its ministry, we must first overcome the terror of evangelism.

Professional Evangelist

Years ago I had a “professional evangelist” here at Life Gate. On his first Sunday morning he angrily rebuked our people for not evangelizing. He basically told us  we were not even saved if we didn’t have the church full of lost people for the evening service and  if we didn’t get busy, he would load his team up and head north. Well, of course, there were about half the number of people there for the night service as there were for the morning. His tactic was that of a terrorist and this tactic just doesn’t work. (While I am on it this would never happen again. I was a much younger pastor then. Today, I would not wait for him to decide to leave. I would ask him to leave. It goes without saying  he has not been back to Life Gate and not one soul during his time here became a devoted follower of Jesus Christ.)

I tell this story to assure you  we are not going to make this teaching a terrorist event. Having a professional evangelist in is an event. Reaching people and making them devoted followers of Jesus Christ must be a value.

Today I want to begin the attack on the terror  the enemy has successfully placed on the thought of evangelism. I am going to talk about the seven different evangelism styles again (I added a new one), but first I want to develop the thought a little more than I did last week.

The Bible teaches  the devoted follower of Jesus Christ has the Holy Spirit. A primary purpose of the Holy Spirit, if not the primary purpose of the Holy Spirit, is so we can be witnesses. Let’s look at the verse to verify the statement.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

(TLB) Acts 1:8 But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power to testify about me with great effect, to the people in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, about my death and resurrection.”

Obviously the power is to witness or testify about Jesus. Is it fair to say  each person who has received the Spirit of God has also received the power to be witnesses and the power to testify? This witnessing or testifying is called evangelism. Yet, strangely most believers do so little in this area. Why? The answer is terror. We are afraid we don’t know enough. We are afraid we will run people off. We are afraid people will think we are weird and “holy rollers” or something.

In the novel Singing with the Angels by Robert Coleman, he writes of the notorious criminal Charles Peace on his way to the scaffold. The prison chaplain approached Peace and offered him salvation through Jesus. Charles Peace, staring at the chaplain asked demanding, “Do you believe it? Do you believe it?” In bitterness Peace cried, “If I believed that, I would crawl across England on broken glass on my hands and knees to tell men it was true.”

The reason we do not witness is not because we don’t believe. It is because we are afraid. The power  the Holy Spirit gives us is power to overcome  terror. How does  power work? First we must realize  we are each uniquely different.

Psalms 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalms 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

The Bible tells us  we are each formed differently by the Lord. The Bible says  in our mother’s womb we were each fearfully and wonderfully and uniquely made (Psa 139:14). If you have gone through our temperament teaching then you know this “full well.” Though I have at this time a primary temperament, I have within me all four temperaments. Jesus did also and he drew on the temperament  he needed for each situation. I have learned this as I conform more and more to his image, I also draw on each temperament according to the situation. This must be true. If Christ is in me (Col 1:27), then I have within to me all  Christ is, correct? The situation determines the temperament instead of the temperament dictating the situation. This is the way Jesus responded to every situation perfectly.

This is also true with the gifts. The gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher (Eph 4:11) are given to every one of us (Eph 4:7). If you have gone through our gift teaching then you too know this. I have giftings within me. I draw on my gifts according to the situation just as Jesus did. If I have the Spirit of God within me then all the gifts are within me. As I conform more and more to Jesus by the work of the Spirit, I find I too can use the gift needed in the situation to best minister to the need. The situation determines the gift instead of the gift dictating the situation. This is how Jesus ministered perfectly to every person including you and me.

As we saw in our last lesson, the Bible teaches several ways  the evangelism gift is released. We called them the seven styles of evangelism. All these styles are within each of us. However, each of us will find  we fearlessly use one of these styles to witness and testify. In fact, you are probably using one of these styles right now, but don’t realize it. With just a little tweaking of the power, you can turn up your evangelism skills. Allow me to refresh us on the different styles.

1. Intellectual

2. Confrontational

3. Interpersonal / Relational

4. Invitational

5. Serving

6. Testimonial

7. Praying

By using this style, we defeat the terror of evangelism. It means  each of us can reach people  others cannot reach because of our individual uniqueness using the style in which we are confident. Now if you will, imagine how affective we each could be if we could use each style? The goal is to allow the situation to determine the style instead of my limitations determining the style. It is exactly what Jesus did. He adapted his style to the situation. It is exactly what the Apostle Paul said he did.

1 Corinthians 9:19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.

1 Corinthians 9:20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.

1 Corinthians 9:21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

1 Corinthians 9:23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

Paul allowed the situation to determine how he responded evangelistically. He used any and every style. We have already discussed how he used the Intellectual style with those at Athens (Acts 17). However, was Paul ever Confrontational? Paul and Barnabas had gone to Cyprus to do some missionary work. It was there they ran into a man named Elymas who opposed Paul’s teachings.

Acts 13:9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said,

Acts 13:10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?

Acts 13:11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.

Acts 13:12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

I would say It was somewhat Confrontational. Paul was very Interpersonal / relational as well. He took Timothy under his wing and brought Timothy into the kingdom through a relationship with, perhaps, Timothy’s mother Lois and grandmother Eunice (2Ti 1:5). Paul was relational andInvitational with Aquila and his wife Priscilla (Act 18:2-4). Paul was also Testimonial. Paul was testimonial. Paul shared his testimony of how he was before coming to Jesus and how he was after coming to Jesus (Act 22; Act 26). Paul was Serving also. He received an offering in Asia and brought it to the church in Jerusalem to reach people during the famine. Paul utilized every style of evangelism to reach everyone. He became “like” the situation. He became all things to all men that he could be used to save some.

We see this also in the life of Peter. We know  Peter was Confrontational. At least, he was when he preached (Act 2). He was also very Testimonial. Remember when he and John went to the gate called Beautiful and raised the crippled man (Act 3:6). Peter said, “Look at us . . . Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have to give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Peter said he was giving what he had. Peter’s testimony was Jesus. Peter was very Relational. He remained many days at the house of Simon the tanner (Act 10:43) and Cornelius (Acts 10:48). This was probably very easy for Peter. He loved being with people.

The point is   there is one style   we can move fearlessly. But we should not only use  this one style. We need to use the style necessary to win all people. We need to have a plan given us by the Holy Spirit and then allow him to help us bring people into the kingdom of God.

I want to end today by telling you a story. The year was 1987. I had only been in LaFayette and in full time ministry for a few years. Willis and Linda Wilkey had introduced me to Linda’s sister Karen and her husband Steve Allmon. Their marriage was a mess and they were at the brink of divorce. Karen began coming to church, but Steve would not. I decided to see if the Lord would use me to bring Steve into the kingdom. I began praying for Steve’s salvation (Praying). I befriended Steve and began to develop a relation with him (Relational). We would play golf and do some things together. I remember once  when Willis was helping Steve paint his house. So, I went over and helped a little (Serving). I remember one time  when Judy kept their son Zack for a week so they could go on a vacation. Willis and Linda would have us over to eat or talk and I noticed   Steve and Karen would usually stop by. It’s a sign someone is interested and being drawn by the Father. We would always end up talking about spiritual things. Steve would never join in, but would sit in their living room where he could listen (Intellectual). I have always had a problem inviting people to church when I am preaching. It’s like I am saying, “Come here me preach.” But I knew   Linda and Willis and Karen were inviting Steve and he began coming occasionally (Invitational). However, as I remember it, the defining moment was one Saturday when I had invited Steve to play golf with me. He and I were playing golf at LaFayette course when it was a nine-hole course. We had teed off on number three hole and walking to make our second shots. We were in a conversation about life and why I do what I do. I remember saying, “Steve, if someone could absolutely prove to me beyond a shadow of doubt   Jesus Christ was a myth and never actually existed, I would not change the way I live one bit. This life works. I am happy. I have a great family. I do well financially. I am healthy. This works” (Testimonial). I remember him looking at me and nodding his head. The next Sunday Steve came to church, came down to the altar and prayed with me to receive Jesus as Lord of his life. That day he entered the kingdom and today is a pastor in Rome. I called Steve to make certain my facts were correct and   I could use this story.

What I desire we see in this story is   several different styles were used. Another point is evangelism usually takes some time, effort, prayer, and planning. Occasionally someone will bump into you and ask you how to receive Jesus Christ, but   won’t happen often. To be efficient and effective in evangelism, we must do the work of the evangelist (2Ti 4:5).

1 Corinthians 9:23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

The Apostle Paul said   he became all things to all people so he could be used to save them. He used all the methods he could to bring them into the kingdom. Then he said this, “I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” There are special blessings coming only through doing the work of the evangelist. I hear people saying they need a blessing. They need a miracle. They need God to move in a special way in their lives. Then begin implementing the different styles of evangelism. Stop being terrorized by the devil. Share in the blessings of the gospel.

Other Related Sermons:

Baptism Into Jesus – sermon series video audio notes

It’s Great To Be Alive With Technology – sermon notes

Ascension The Day The Kingdom Began – sermon notes video audio notes