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Theme: Prioritizing the Gospel through prayer, planning, and purpose.

It seems everyone nowadays wants to influence those around them for the sake of a philanthropic platform. As Christians, we are to have similar influence in our immediate vicinity and globally for the Gospel.

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Main Points:
Prioritizing Prayer:
Evangelizing the lost never happens effectively without the support of prayer. Jesus told His disciples to pray for laborers to evangelize the lost (Luke 10:2) and prayed Himself for all who would believe in His name (John 17).

Why must evangelism be accompanied by fervent prayer? Because the eyes of the unsaved are blinded to understanding God’s truth. Opening a lost heart requires a supernatural transaction, a miracle done by God.

Planning:
We saw last week that all members of the Trinity give an example of fervent action in commitment to the Gospel. The apostles likewise prioritized evangelism (see Acts 15:7), and pastors are commanded to do the same. But Jesus’ Great Commission was given to all believers, and we are all responsible to be evangelizing.

There have been 2 main enemies hindering personal evangelism: Well-intentioned men who taught churches that evangelism is to be done by professionals, and reliance on methods as the proper way to evangelize. All believers must evangelize in their own circles of influences, not relying on corporate outreach. Our primary way to evangelize is not even inviting lost friends to church – first they must see a counter-cultural lifestyle, and we must speak to them of Christ ourselves!

Jesus intends for His people to be in the world, shining His light. With much of our time dictated by commitments to work, family, and church, we have to deliberately plan opportunities to rub shoulders with lost people.

Purpose:
You must practice the doctrine of evangelism, or you will lose it.
The content of the Gospel is the life of Christ and why He came. We may not add anything to the Gospel in order to please other people. We must guard the truth of the Gospel that has been given to the church.

Evangelism can be the hardest thing to maintain, but it is not an option – it’s a command.

Application Points

  • Much personal and corporate evangelism ends up fruitless because it has little to do with the activity of prayer. How much time do you spend during the week praying for the salvation of specific lost people you know? Who can you start praying for?
  • When is the last time someone asked you about your faith because of your testimony? How can you shine the light of Christ for those you interact with? Do you need to do more planning in order to rub shoulders with lost people?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:

  • John 17:15,18 – Jesus wants us to be in the world.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, Acts 16:14, Acts 26:16-18, Galatians 1:15-16, Romans 8:30, John 6:44-45, 1 Corinthians 12:3, Matthew 16:16-17 – The eyes of the lost must be supernaturally opened.
  • Acts 15:7, 2 Timothy 4:2-5, Ephesians 4:11-12 – Evangelizing is a responsibility of pastors and those with the gift of evangelism.
  • Matthew 28:19-20 – Evangelizing is the responsibility of every believer.
  • Galatians 1:3-12 – Protecting the truth of the Gospel.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 – the content of the Gospel.
  • Luke 15 – Three parables about the power of one.


A Hymn to Encourage: “Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It!”
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child and forever I am.

Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus,
No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell.

I think of my blessèd Redeemer,
I think of Him all the day long:
I sing, for I cannot be silent;
His love is the theme of my song.

I know there’s a crown that is waiting,
In yonder bright mansion for me,
And soon, with the spirits made perfect,
At home with the Lord I shall be.

Quotes to Ponder:
Francis Schaeffer: “When believing prayer has been offered with expectation towards God alone, there has always been evidence of the power of God unto salvation according to His covenant promises. And when Christians cease to pray for lost souls, not only are the priceless results of the saving power of God hindered, but the individual believer has suffered unmeasured loss in his possible reward … when the prayer of intercession has for any reason ceased. Prayer presents the greatest opportunity for soul-winning, and there is precious reward promised to those who bring souls to Christ and are found to be suffering with Him in His burden for the lost.”

R.B. Kuiper: “Only God Omniscient can accurately appraise the results of evangelism. Only He can count converts. When through mass evangelism, many come to profess Christ, only He who searches hearts and minds can judge how many of them possess true and abiding faith. And when Robert Morrison, father of Protestant missions in China, after 28 years of zealous missionary endeavor, numbered about 10 souls to his efforts, only God knew in how many additional hearts His Spirit was about to begin or even had begun to work. When at the gates of Damascus, God turned Saul of Tarsus, He knew that through the labors of that one convert, millions would be brought into the kingdom at the very end of time. And when His own Son, dying the death of a criminal, concluded his earthly mission in what appeared to be complete failure and ignominious defeat, God knew that, lifted up on the cross, he would draw to himself from every kindred, tribe, people, and nation, a throng which no man could ever number.”

Recommended Resource: The Best-Kept Secret of Christian Mission by John Dickson