November 16, 2018

Personal Evangelism

By David Bonner

Evangelism means promulgation of the gospel and personal means pertaining to a person or individual as opposed to a group. Personal evangelism, then, is the promulgation of the gospel by the individual Christian.

A. WHY SNOULD WE EVANGELIZE THE WORLD?

God would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:3-4).

We ought to desire to conform to the Lord's will (Mt. 6:10).

We ought to be obedient to the Lord's commands (Mt. 28:18-20; Jn. 14:15)

We ought to have pity for the mistaken (Rom. 10: 1-2).

Love should compel us to do for others what has been done for us (Gal. 6:10).

We ought to be concerned for the church's welfare (2 Cor. 11:28) and succeeding generations.

B. HOW WILL PERSONAL EVANGELISM HELP THE CHURCH?

It will build up the church spiritually and in numbers.

It will develop teachers. The harvest is always plenteous compared to the laborers.

It will virtually eliminate the problems every church faces by getting the brethren better taught, more interested, more faithful, and more tolorant.

It will rid the church of worldliness. If you are teaching you will want to let your light shine so your work won't be hindered.

C. WHY SHOULD THE INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN EVANGELIZE?

Christianity wasn't designed to be centered around a pulpit, a preacher, and a church house. If we really believe every Christian is a priest (capable of offering God all kinds of spiritual service personally Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:5,9), then serving God shouldn't be left up to just the full-time preachers. To do so tends to make priests of them ONLY.

In the early church all exerted an effort to teach. Now, most must be taught to exert an effort. The early disciples met to break bread and be edified but scattered to evangelize (Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 8:4). The present day disciples assemble to evangelize. Jesus didn't say preach to groups of sinners ONLY, but "preach . . . to every creature."

The question is asked in Haggai 2:19, "Is the seed in the barn?" We may have the finest seed but it'll bear NO fruit in the barn. The gospel is God's only power to save; yet too many leave it where it can't. The ground won't come to you. Someone says, "We're not baptizing half as many as we used to!" Maybe we're not sowing the seed half as much as we used to! "He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly."

D. WHERE CAN WE TEACH SINNERS?

In studying the book of Acts you will be impressed with the fact that the early disciples taught in the temple, in synagogues, on the river bank, in the street and market places, in jail, in a hired dwelling, and even in courts before kings and rulers. Anywhere there was one Christian and a sinner; there was a potential class. In our endeavor to RESTORE the primitive order of things, we shouldn't overlook restoring the ZEAL of the early disciples. "Every day, in the temple and at home, they ceased not to teach and to preach Jesus as the Christ" (Acts 5:42). The reason the Lord added to the church DAILY (Acts 2:47) in the first century was that the disciples then didn't do all their teaching on Sundays in the assembly.

One of the things that keep people in liberal churches is the fact that so many of those groups constantly keep before such people all the good (?) they are doing. In some way, either intended or unintended, such people have acquired the idea that work done by the group, even though they have no part in it, accrues benefit to them. (That's why they want to be in an active church!) Some of the most startling statements in the Bible are, "Each one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:12), "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (Jn. 15:6), and "For we must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10). REGARDLESS of how much the church I am in fellowship with is doing, if I am not doing something for the Lord, it won't help me. I'll be held accountable for how little I do; so will you! In order to go to heaven we must do the best we can (Mt. 6:33). Too many preachers and others are too busy to do personal evangelism! Jesus Wasn't! True, preachers are to teach others to teach (2 Tim. 2: 2), but how can they know about teaching others to do something if they are unfamiliar with it?

If there are fifty in the church where you are, there should be fifty personal workers. Who in a community would not hear of ANY product if there were fifty people working to sell it? Brethren, are we working? You don't need thirty in a class for it to be worthwhile. ONE SOUL is worth more than the whole world (Mt. 16:26). No man can do your work for you! If each person in the Lord's church today would convert JUST ONE each year (and all converted ones do likewise), in fifteen years all the world would be saved. Don't think that just ONE PER YEAR FOR YOU is an insignificant number. If we can teach ALL brethren to do PERSONAL EVANGELISM it will become increasingly significant. And, if we don't, the one you save will still be worth more than the whole world anyway. Sometimes people speak of "the minister" of a church but any Christian who is not a minister will be in sad shape at the judgment (Mt. 25:24-30). In a congregation of fifty the Lord wants fifty ministers or servants. How are you serving?

E. METHODS

For years I've been concerned about groups of preachers getting together and discussing topics and verses to their delight (good), BUT SELDOM DISCUSSING HOW TO REACH SOULS for the Lord. If we know the truth, shouldn't METHODS OF PRESENTING IT be one of our chief topics of profit? For years I've gone to people unknown by me, mention the name of the person who gave me their names, chatted a few minutes and then asked them if they ever study the Bible. Regardless of their answer, I say I have a home-study series (mimeographed and with charts  about ten lessons) I would like to study with them in their home just once each week. After describing the course ( to gain their interest) I ask if they will study. Before I allow them to say no (should I anticipate such an answer), I tell them I just happen to have the first lesson with me and would like to present it RIGHT THEN. This HAS worked many times to get a class going. Another approach I recently heard about is this. One church, just before a meeting, had all in it brought lists of names of people they knew. The brethren switched lists and invited them to the meeting. Reportedly some twenty outsiders averaged attending each night of the meeting.

Brethren, any scriptural method will work if we will. The gospel hasn't lost any of its power (Rom. 1:16). Human nature hasn't changed. Let's convert ALL the brethren to convert ALL the world but let's begin first ourselves.

TRUTH MAGAZINE X: 2, pp. 6-7
November 1965

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