Evangelism: How the Truth Travels (John #38)

Text: John 12:20-22

How does the truth move through this world?  How is the truth spread?

  • According to the Quran, the truth is spread by force.
    • Seize them and slay them wherever you find them: and in any case take no friends or helpers from their ranks.  Sura 4:89
    • I will instill terror into the hearts of unbelievers, smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips of them.  It is not you who slew them; it was Allah.  Sura 8:13-17
    • Truth is not propagated by the sword. People are not forced into belief.  Put it this way, God does not accept forced belief.  He responds to willingness.
  • Epistemology, the acquisition of the truth, according to whatever philosophy you subscribe to, is gained through some natural means of deduction.
  • According to our culture the truth is whatever is perceived as public opinion.
  • Preaching is the method of winning souls – 1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Evangelism means to bring good news.  It is a Bible word describing how God’s truth spreads and increases its real estate.  2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word.  Titus 1:3 God manifested his word through preaching.

Philip develops a reputation for bringing people to the Lord.  By the time we get to (Acts 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him), Philip is called an evangelist.

  • Nathanael in John 1:45
  • Greeks in John 12
  • Samaria in Acts 8
  • Ethiopian in Acts 8
  • Caesarea in Acts 21
  • 2 Timothy 4:5

Purpose of Evangelism

  • To increase the real estate of God’s truth.  To expose more souls to the truth.  Specifically, to introduce more souls to the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Greeks come and inquire because they are curious because they’ve heard some things.
  • Philip is gifted and has the office of evangelist.  The Holy Spirit uses him to bring in new people.
    • How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?  How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?  How shall they hear without a preacher?  Answer is they won’t call on him if they don’t believe.
    • The gospel is a reasonable system and it appeals to men’s understanding.  Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
    • Acts 8:30-35.  Needed a man to guide him.  Preaching done one on one.
    • Your knowledge of the scriptures is important.  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
  • Evangelism is important because people are not passive pawns in the redemptive work of God. Jude 21-23 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
    • John writes his gospel for the express purpose.  John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
    • Belief must have some reasons.  If you tell someone to believe, you’ve got to tell them who to believe in and why.  1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
  • There is no hocus pocus to this.  It is a spiritual work and it is a spiritual work done through vessels willing to open their mouths for the Lord.

Problems with Evangelism

  • Fear of Evangelism
    • Spake boldly after they were filled with the Holy Ghost.  We are filled with other things and so we fear.
    • Ephesians 6:18-20 Paul’s prayer that he would be able to speak boldly.  You’re fear is common.
  • Neglect of Evangelism
    • Too busy tending to temporary things like the disciples here.  People say, I’m too busy.  You are busy with exactly what you want to be busy with.
    • Do you realise the people that get this eternal work done could also say, I’m too busy.  I’m too tired.  I’ve got to work.  The only difference is that they don’t say it.
    • Don’t sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate
  • Untempered office
    • Zeal of evangelism.  Because someone is gifted that way, sometimes the desire may be so strong that the results become the main thing.  “We had 400 saved!” as though they were notches on a belt.
    • And all offices are subject to zeal without knowledge.
      • The overzealous Pastor and Teacher who wants to teach things so deep people’s hair is blown back and their mouths drop to the floor when he speaks.
      • Or as a preacher is fascinated with how eloquent and affirming he can be.  Or another preacher is fascinated with how loud and obnoxious he can be.
    • Philip is asked by the Lord about the feeding of the 5000 and how to get the right results in John 6; how are we going to feed this multitude?

Practicing Evangelism

  • 150-200 NTs gone out, taken on 6 missionaries this year, over 2000 tracts, over 500 homes visited and at minimum received information about the church
  • Fishers of men and there are different kind of fish.
  • Create an atmosphere where they can ask questions.  Vulnerability creates openness.
  • Pray for them.  Sow in tears shall reap in joy.
  • Opportunities are around us
    • he that winneth souls is wise – How do we use the word “win”?
    • It means to gain by successful competition, to gain by solicitation or courtship, to gain by kindness, or to gain by persuasion or influence
    • The opportunities are missed in soul winning because we aren’t looking for them.
      • How many souls have you led to the Lord this year?
      • People just don’t want to hear anymore is a common excuse.  How many people have you actually told this week? this month?
    • Your best opportunities are those familiar with you.  Those you know.
      • Find common interest.  Spend time with them.
      • Let them talk about them.  Listen!
      • Help them with something.  Become a friend.
      • Invite folks over to eat.
    • The opportunity is the people.
      • Paul said, ye are our glory and joy!  Opportunity is not the time you’re given, it is the people God’s put around you and in front of you.
      • Joy is not that I can put a checkmark by “soul winning”.  Joy is to see a life changed by the grace of God and being humbled that you had something to do with that.
      • Be personal.  Be compassionate.  Listen to people talk.
  • You don’t have to reap the harvest.  We’re talking about ministering the words of God and getting them to Jesus Christ.  You don’t have to have your 5-point plan, though a plan is good.  But sometimes the plan becomes the main thing and it keeps you from listening.
  • Listen, the gospel is a reasonable system and it appeals to men’s understanding.  You say, it’s spiritual, it’s not reasonable.  Really?  The gospel is a reasonable system.  What do you think understanding is if not spiritual?  It isn’t a sense of smell or a sense of taste.  Understanding is spiritual.