Saturday 19 April 2014

Understanding God’s role and ours in evangelism – Get it wrong and you're setting yourself up for unnecessary grief

The prospect of evangelism causes many Christians to break out in a cold sweat.

To maintain our sanity we need to understand clearly who is responsible for what in sharing the Good News.

In particular we need to address the questions, 'What is God's part and what does he expect of me?' 

Get the answers to those questions wrong and you will find that your experience of evangelism is an unhappy one because you have fallen into one of the following traps:

  1. 'If God is in control there is no point in me doing anything.'
  2. 'I feel so guilty that I don't share my faith with everyone I meet.'
  3. 'I must find a better technique to make people come to Christ.'
  4. 'I give up! None of those I talk to has followed Christ.'
So what's the answer?

We need first to see the big picture - it is God who is in control of history and the universe itself. He is its Creator (Gn 1:1-2; Ps 8:3; 2 Pet 3:5), Owner (Ps 24:1; Jb 41:11), Sustainer (Heb 1:3; Ps 147:8-9,15-18), Director (Dn 2:21, 4:17; Is 40:15,22-24) and Redeemer (Rm 8:20-22; 2 Cor 4:16-5:5)

It is he who will bring history to an end (Rev 5:9-6:1). His ultimate plan is a new heaven and a new earth (Rev 21:1; Is 65:17, 66:22) where there will be no more death, crying or pain (Rev 21:4), populated by a people drawn from every nation (Gn 12:3, Rev 7:9) who have been set apart to do his will (Titus 2:11-14; 1 Pet 2:9). He is now in the process of gathering this people (Mt 24:31) before the world as we know it is destroyed (Zeph 1:2-3; 2 Pet 3:7; Rev 21:1). This is achieved through evangelism, the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:15-17; Rm 10:14-17).

God's Sovereignty in Evangelism

The proclamation of the Gospel requires human instruments (us), but it is God's work. It is he who:

  • Gives us the Word to proclaim (Rom 1:1,16)
  • Opens doors of opportunity to proclaim it (Acts 14:27; Col 4:3)
  • Gives us the courage to speak (2 Tim 4:17; Acts 4:29; Eph 6:19-20)
  • Enables hearers to understand the message (Acts 16:14)
  • Convicts people of sin (John 16:8)
  • Enables sinners to repent (Acts 5:31,11:18; Eph 2:8)
  • Brings about rebirth (Acts 2:38; Rom 8:9; John 3:3-8)
God does all these things! The fact that God is sovereign in evangelism takes an enormous burden off our shoulders. 

But it doesn't mean that we can sit back and let him do all the work. William Carey, the father of the modern missionary movement was told by the hyper-Calvinists of his day that if God wanted to save the lost, he would do it without his help. Carey's refusal to believe this led to the massive spread of the Gospel around the world in the 19th Century. God has chosen to use us. It is certainly his work to open blind eyes and unstop deaf ears, so that people will recognize Jesus as Lord - but it is our work (in his strength) faithfully to proclaim and defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is God's means to bring men and women to faith.

What are the Implications for Us?

1. The biggest obstacle to evangelism is not technique but opposition. Our enemy the devil's opposition will take many forms...often our indifference means he hardly need bother doing anything else. But in reality he is a defeated enemy because Christ who lives in us has conquered him (Eph 1:19-21) and we share his victory (Eph 2:4-7; 1 Cor 10:13; 1 Jn 4:4).

2. Our response needs to be spiritual and practical. Paul's response was to pray and encourage others to pray also (Eph 6:18-20). Prayer is central because it is a recognition of our humble dependence on God. If he does not inspire and empower our efforts, our work will be in vain (Ps 127:1). We must pray for opportunities and courage.

3. But it does not stop with prayer. We must also obey. We are commanded to ...'go and make disciples...' (Mt 28:19). We have actively to step out in faith and take the opportunities he gives us.

God is in control of the universe and our own lives. Evangelism, the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is his work, but we are his instruments. We need first to pray for opportunities, and the courage to use them to step out in faith.

This article is adapted from CMF’s Confident Christianity course


  1. God does exist, he got a doctor to come and help me when I had pneumonia, they left me on the trolly all night and I thought I was going to die and didn't much care either at the time because I was so sick of the secret family courts and the paedophiles keep threatening me and I was in agony. But God helped me and if I'd died my children wouldnt have had a mother any more and they needed me, even though I was so shattered with all the strain of all the endless fighting all the time. After the doctor gave me an injection I started to get better and the day I went home it was a lovely sunny day and we went to Brampton Park and I knew God had made me get well again, though I still felt very weak, but I did get well again, and now all the stuff about Cyril Smith has come out and vindicated me so they cant call me a liar and a nutter any more.

    God also showed me all about Richard Gardner and Ralph Underwager when I was crying, and I did cry JESUS HELP ME and why would it be anyone else but Jesus, no-one else is going to help someone when the person has cried out to Jesus for help, that would be mad.

    Jesus is there, but you can't see him, at least I can't, some people might be able to, some people have said they've seen Him but I haven't, but I know He's there because of my prayers being answered. But some people think I am demented and that I believe in fairy stories, but He is definatly there, though no-one can prove it.

  2. God is coming back to judge the quick and the dead, that means the living ones and the dead ones, that means us, God is coming back and some people will still be alive when he comes back, because thats what He said, so it could be at any time.

    If I had had a doctor or a nurse come up to me while I was suffering and ask me "Can I pray for you?" I would have said "Yes please!", unless I was feeling very angry with God at the time, and then I might have said no, but inside of me I would still have wanted to be prayed over, the no might have come out of me because of lack of faith, because when you have been persecuted so much your faith really does take a bashing, mine has, the only reason I can think that I didn't lose faith was because of how God so strongly showed me He is alive, when I first came to believe in Him in 1984, after Yorkminster.

    I get so angry sometimes and I just feel I don't care about the ones who ganged up on me and my family going to hell, I just feel I don't care, then God reminds me of how they were abused as children as well, and thats why they have turned so devient and wicked, not that its any excuse, but thats the reason, because little babies arent born evil, they turn evil but they're not born evil, God told me that, the paedophiles tried to make out I was evil from birth, but no-one is evil from birth, not even Hitler, so then I knew that was a lie. Because I blamed myself for being abused for a long time, a tempress, the paedophiles called me "Lolita", the paedophiles got it put in the paper "THEY WERE NO ANGELS", but God reminded me, no, you weren't an angel, you were a child, and so I was.

    I think its terrible that doctors and nurses are getting into trouble for being Christians. Why would anyone want anyone to be getting into trouble for asking kindly to pray for another human being who is suffering? I don't understand why anyone would do that, a person who does that must be very bitter. But I can understand people getting bitter and angry, the secret family courts do that to people, but Jesus said dont let your heart become bitter. Thats not that easy though. I shouted and screamed at Jesus, another reason they think I am a nutter, but Jesus can bear my pain far better than another human being, and Jesus didnt destroy me for taking my grief out on Him, because He has broad shoulders, and is very very kind.

    1. Zoom pad

      Fantastic testimony God Bless you


  3. If we're going to talk about evangelising, I may as well do some evangelising of my own.

    Is Anne Widdecombe deliberately trying to make Al Qaeda look compassionate, or is it merely incidental?

    To paraphrase: "If I was Tony Nicklinson, I would want to die."She then goes on to say that since self-dehydration is legal, there is no need to legalise voluntary euthanasia.

    What a hypocrite. If that wasn't bad enough, she also made Al Qaeda look compassionate in the same breath!

  4. 'If we're going to talk about evangelising, I may as well do some evangelising of my own.'

    Dash it! You've just shatterted the secular lie of neutrality!

    1. Why would secularists be natural when equality is being threatened?

      As an example, only people who are on dialysis or respirators have the right to assisted suicide right now. That's hardly fair.

    2. Is that the type of 'equality' where if one is depressed one can have access to assisted suicide?

      If not, do tell what you mean by 'equality'?

  5. Doc - now take it easy - please.

    'The biggest obstacle to evangelism is not technique but opposition.'

    I beg to differ.

    It is not technique.

    Nor opposition.

    It is the deafening failure by you Judaeo-Christians to:

    1. Repent; and
    2. Believe (John the Baptist).

    If this analysis is correct it would affirm Jesus' foundational message: turn away from your wrong-doing and believe.

    I have often wondered what it means for your people (Judaeo-Christians) to repent (turn away from wrong-doing').

    It would mean, I suppose superficially, to cease using churches to sell second hand goods (to support building maintenance); to cease giving God a tip of £10 during the Sunday morning collection; to permit men in each church to become men - rather than to hearing the endless stream of the banal female voice.

    What would it mean to believe, for your people?

    It would mean that Judaeo-Christian men would act (without seeing immediate results) that God will bless their little church - a mere acorn that is dying - the paradox - so as to become an English oak.

    If only.


    If only.


    The gospel plan salvation is not difficult to understand if you simply read it as God inspired it. Just read the Bible and believe it.

    The Scriptures only get hard to comprehend when men distort, pervert, and misrepresent the clear teachings of the Bible. Man's opinion can and does make if difficult for many to understand God's plan of salvation.


    Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

    1. Who believes will be saved.
    2. Who is baptized will be saved.
    3. Who does not believe will be condemned.

    It is not difficult to understand.

    John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."

    1. If you do not believe Jesus is the Son of God you will die in your sins.

    There is nothing complicated about that statement.

    Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    1. Repent in order to have your sins forgiven.
    2. Be baptized in order to have your sins forgiven.
    3. After repentance and baptism you will receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit Himself.

    There is nothing unfathomable presented here.

    Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    1. You must acknowledge Jesus as Lord to be saved.
    2. You must believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead to be saved.

    Nothing mysterious about that.

    Galatians 3:26 You are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,

    1. Through faith in Christ Jesus you can become a son of God.

    Nothing troublesome in that statement.

    Galatians 3:27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

    1. Men become clothed with Christ by being baptized into Him.

    There is nothing confusing about that.

    Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith---and this not from from yourselves, it is a gift of God.

    1. We are saved because of God's grace. No man earns his salvation.
    2. We are saved through faith.
    3. The gift that God gives is salvation.

    There is nothing enigmatic found here.

    Acts 2:47 .....And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

    1. The Lord and only the Lord adds to His church.

    Nothing inexplicable in that.

    Acts 22:16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'

    1. Saul was still in his sins until he was baptized in water.

    You do not need a degree in theology to understand that.

    John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    1. Whoever believes in Jesus can have eternal life. Salvation is available to all who hear the gospel.

    There is nothing difficult about that.

    1 Peter 3:20-21...were saved through water. 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also---not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

    1. Water baptism is essential to salvation.
    2. Water baptism saves you if you have good conscience toward God.
    3. Without the resurrection of Jesus no one could be saved.

    You do not need a masters in education to understand that verse of Scripture.

    Is the gospel difficult to understand? No it is not. The gospel plan of salvation is only made complicated when presented using man-made traditions.

    1. FAITH: John 3:16
    2. REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38
    3. CONFESSION: Romans 10:9
    4. WATER BAPTISM: Mark 16:16





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