Week 32 in the year of our Lord 2021

Evangelism, but also false shepherds

12 minutes to read

In Current Year, evangelism is more important than ever. With society so polarized, there is a subset of people who have never been more receptive to the gospel of Christ’s kingship—especially when they see that it Christians who are standing firm against tyranny, because we fear God, not man.

Here are some principles to remember about declaring the gospel to others:

1. Evangelism is a gift and a skill.

Not everyone is “naturally” gifted to evangelize. Some Christians are introverted or slow-witted. Evangelism is often very challenging for them. Other Christians are extroverted or can think quickly on their feet. Evangelism comes much more easily for them.

Evangelism does rest on a certain set of skills and knowledge that can be developed. Everyone can grow, but we all have different ceilings and different giftings.

2. Evangelistic opportunities are a natural consequence of a godly life.

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)

A godly life will provoke people to ask questions. Every believer needs to be prepared to provide basic answers to all inquirers. Greg Koukl’s Tactics is a great starting point for upskilling in this, once you have basic theology down.

3. Most evangelistic opportunities come in the form of short spontaneous conversations.

And He had to pass through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being weary from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. (John 4:4–6)

There is a tendency to isolate evangelism to planned programs. Evangelism does happen through programs. This is especially true of the Lord’s Day service. The problem comes when we limit evangelism to these programs.

For the average believer, most evangelistic opportunities happen during the ebb and flow of everyday life. These opportunities usually take the form of a 3–5 minute conversation. Your goal is always twofold:

i. Present gospel as clearly as possible;
ii. Leave a pebble in their shoe.

4. You don’t need to earn permission. You’ve been given a mandate.

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)

Christians often believe that they must earn the right to preach the gospel to a particular individual. They think that they need to make repeated relational deposits before they can make any withdrawals.

Clearly, this isn’t the practice of Jesus and the Apostles.

God has not only given us permission—He has commanded us to proclaim His truth everyone. This doesn’t mean that we throw relationships out the window. It just means that we needn’t feel guilty about cutting to the chase evangelistically.

5. Evangelism is the product of the Great Commandment (i.e. loving God & your neighbor).

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)

Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (John 4:9)

Roland Allen writes, “Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love.“

Love is the engine that drives evangelism. If you love God, you’ll keep His commandments. God has commanded you to be prepared to give an answer.

If you love people, you’ll listen to their questions. Some of them are looking for a shepherd, whether they know it or not. And you know the Good Shepherd.

6. Evangelism often requires a disregard for societal norms.

For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. (John 4:9)

When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2:16)

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, so Jesus went into the Pharisee’s house and sat at the table. A sinful woman in the town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house. So she brought an alabaster jar of perfume and stood behind Jesus at his feet, crying. She began to wash his feet with her tears, and she dried them with her hair, kissing them many times and rubbing them with the perfume. When the Pharisee who asked Jesus to come to his house saw this, he thought to himself, “If Jesus were a prophet, he would know that the woman touching him is a sinner!” (Luke 7:36-39)

Society loves any rule that keeps you from obeying God’s law.

You aren’t supposed to talk about politics and religion in the workplace. You can talk about raunchy movies. You can vigorously argue about sports teams. You can even crack “your mama” jokes. But you mustn’t ever ever talk about religion.

Any norm that keeps you from obeying God’s command should be disregarded.

Some norms, though not biblically derived, should still be honored.

Thus, this does take a great deal of discernment and wisdom. It is also one of the many reasons God installed wise men as elders in your local church.

7. All resistance to the gospel is ultimately moral. Therefore, evangelism requires that you focus your efforts on the most obvious stronghold of sin.

He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” (John 4:16–18)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. (Romans 1:18)

Intellectual arguments are smokescreens. People don’t reject God because of dinosaur bones, starlight, or the problem of evil. They reject Him because they love their sin.

This doesn’t mean that you avoid answering or dealing with non-believers’ arguments. Answering questions is often the way to finding their strongest point of rebellion.

Once you have found something approximating this, you go after it.

In the garden, God asked, “Where are you?”

Jesus said, “Go, call your husband.”

These questions are the beginning of a call to repentance.

8. Successful evangelism both hardens and softens hearts.

Success in evangelism isn’t measured in conversions.

Success in evangelism is measured in faithfulness to proclaim God’s truth to the people He sends your way. Some He will harden, others He will soften.

Election is none of our business. It is the business of God. Our business is simply and faithfully proclaiming the good news.

Jude 1:16 identifies for us the sort of men to whom we ought not listen:

These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

Beware of grumbling and fault-finding men.

False teachers are whiners and complainers. Their platforms are built on discontent; they feed on negativity to grow. They gain followers by telling them they’re victims of the system “out there.”

Beware of lust-following men.

False teachers are sensual and indulgent. They are slaves to their appetites, especially those of a sexual nature. Jude says their lust makes them like unreasoning animals.

Beware of arrogant men.

False teachers are braggadocious. They love to sing their own praises. They’ll tell you of their sexual exploits, financial ability, toughness; whatever works. They pass off cockiness as confidence, saying they’ll make you better.

Beware of flattering men.

They use smooth words, telling their audience what they want to hear. They’re talented liars, knowing what weakness and hurt to exploit so as to manipulate people for gain. They don’t want responsibility for souls; they want power over them.

Where do we see grumbling men complaining about the system and bragging about their lustful exploits, under the guise of teaching and ministering, in an effort to gain advantage through their followers?

Mark these places and the men who congregate there. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

Membership vows swing both ways. The classic Presbyterian membership vows conclude with these two questions:

  1. “Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?”
  2. “Do you submit yourself to the government and discipline of the Church, and promise to study its purity and peace?”

The elders of churches make it very difficult for members to submit to the government and discipline of the Church when they do not allow them to keep their promise to to support the Church in its worship to the best of ability.

After all, how can you truly support a church in its worship if it refuses to even gather for worship?

They are creating a dilemma of conscience for those who took vows which reflected a commitment to “not [give] up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as [they] see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

And many churches that have opened are considering an extra-biblical (and extra-confessional) requirement to allow access to the ordinary means of grace in word, sacrament, and prayer. Namely, requiring their members to be subjected to an unnecessary medical treatment which can be life-threatening to some, on the grounds it MAY prevent harm to a select few. This unnecessary medical procedure is known in some cases to “wound” or “tend to the destruction of the life” (Larger Catechism 136).

In other words, some sessions are abusing their authority, because they are “commanding things unlawful” (Larger Catechism Q 130). This contradicts their ordination vows:

Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will on your own initiative, make known to your Presbytery the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?

Ministers who require vaccinations are requiring members to violate the 6th commandment, as exposited in the Larger Catechism. But you cannot require your people to violate the very thing you vowed to “receive and adopt.”

This also creates a dilemma of conscience for members, as the elders have added an unbiblical requirement for access to the ordinary means of grace. Members essentially have to submit themselves and their families to unnecessary and potentially dangerous medical procedure, or they are functionally suspended from the Lord’s table.

This is a violation of another standard ministerial ordination vow:

Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in maintaining the truths of the Gospel and the purity and peace and unity of the Church, whatever persecution or opposition may arise unto you on that account?

These elders/pastors are undermining their commitment to the truths of the Gospel, and causing schisms in their own churches, through their unwillingness to stand against “persecution or opposition.” There are people who desire to keep their vows and obey God. But cowardly elders make that very difficult.

Knowledge is rarely the biggest deficiency in the shepherding of your children. The biggest deficiency almost always comes down to laziness and selfishness.

…most of our daily news is inert, consisting of information that gives us something to talk about but cannot lead to any meaningful action. —Neil Postman

Notable: #

  • Remember, the covid vaccines are safe and effective, just like Distaval (thalidomide):
    <img src="https://img.bnonn.com/thalidomide.gif
  • AD Robles: How Did We Become Such Sissies? - YouTube.
  • AD Robles: How to Unsissify Yourself By God’s Grace - YouTube. Adam quotes Michael’s list of practical steps towards a cultural reformation. The first is to get to a defendable position. If you’re not sure what this means, it is simply this: find a country/city/town where you aren’t entirely vulnerable to the whims of liberals. Look for a place where you have, or can create, strategic allies and resources, that allow you to build something that can ride out the storm.
  • The play being run on us:
    1. X is never going to happen
    2. X is not happening
    3. X is happening
    4. X is happening and it’s good
    5. X is happening and should happen more
    6. If you don’t like X, you should be killed (source)
  • The times, they are a-changin’

Talk again next week,

Bnonn & Michael

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