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Evangelism Daily Readings

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EVANGELISM Daily Readings

Evangelism Daily Readings

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Copyright © 2016 Julian Batchelor Requests for information should be addressed to: Evangelism Strategies International (NEW ZEALAND) Phone: + 64 274 76 44 30 Email: seeyouatthetop@xtra.co.nz Web: www.esisite.com

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other – except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of Evangelism Strategies International Inc.

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Evangelism Daily Readings


Why a set of Evangelism Readings? The Church as we know it has existed for over 2000 years. In this time, many outstanding Christians have lived and died. Like shooting stars, they blazed a brilliant trail across the sky in their day. Though dead physically, their light continues to burn brightly through their writings. One purpose of these readings is to expose today’s generation of Christians to their light. The authors of some of the readings in this volume are still alive today: J.I Packer, Don Carson, John Piper and others. Whether contemporary or historical, all are remembered for different reasons - their intellectual brilliance, or courage, or tenacity, or faithfulness, or bravery, or passion, or love, or eloquence - or even a combination of some or all of these factors. Their attitudes, their thoughts, the trials they endured, their battles with sin within and without, their love for God and His purposes, are truly inspirational. They all bring great glory to Jesus. What they all have in common is a commitment to Jesus and His mandate to evangelise the world. We could call them “God’s evangelism heroes from history.” My prayer is that by reading about these valiant men and women, we might catch something of their spirit and heart which the Holy Spirit will use to propel us into mighty evangelism exploits today. And here’s the thing - when one gathers the writings of so many different giants in history into one volume, there flowers a richness, depth and beauty which could never be derived from studying one particular person. The grandeur and majesty is in the variety. It was Theodore Roosevelt who said, “Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.” Truly, these evangelism heroes lived (or are still living) lives worth remembering. The only one who doesn’t fit this description of an ‘evangelism hero from history’ is me! I am just the collator and editor of the readings. From time to time over the 84 readings, I felt inspired to write, so some of the devotions are my own thoughts. There are many others Christians in history who didn’t make it into the volume. I look forward to sharing their thoughts with you in the next volume.

How to use the readings.

In the Evangelism Strategies International small group DVD series, there are 12 foundational studies, which take a maximum of 12 weeks to view, one study per week. 12 weeks is 84 days, so there is one reading for each day of the 12 weeks. A week between DVD studies can seem like a long time. The readings will not only help you maintain momentum, but they will also complement and enrich what you are learning in the DVD studies.

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We urge you to set aside 30 minutes a day for each reading. This will give you time to read and meditate. You’ll also have time to respond to how God speaks to you. Some readings end with a simple prayer, others with comment from me, or application questions, or even specific suggestions about what do to as a result of what you have read. Other readings are not by ‘heroes of evangelism from history.’ They are readings written by great Christians which relate to evangelism in some way. Their purpose is none the less the same as the other readings - to encourage and inspire you to personally engage in evangelism. Yet other readings are exercises, where I ask you to critique a reading to look for the devices of the enemy. In these exercises, I am asking you to think critically and Biblically, so that you can increasingly be used by the Holy Spirit to help purge the Church of the devil’s devices. These critiquing exercises will only make sense if you have read my book, ‘Strategies from Heaven in the War for Souls.’ 1 If you haven’t read this book, please do! The evangelisation of the world since the time of Jesus can be likened to a long relay race. Each generation of Christians has run a leg of the race to complete the Great Commission. As they die, they hand the baton onto the next generation. This is our time. This is our leg of the race. The whole purpose of the readings is for the Holy Spirit to work through them to inspire you to take the baton from those in history who have run the evangelism race before you! The world, its people, and life itself are gifts from God. Don’t fritter away the opportunity to join in with God’s mission, sidetracked by the trivial and the eternally worthless. This is YOUR time in history, YOUR opportunity. Take the baton with both hands and run! Leave everything on the track - run as one who wants to win the prize! (1 Corinthians 9:24).

1 You can view a thumb nail description of all our resources at the back of this book, or by going on-line to www.esisite.com. I also recommend you look at another of our sites at www.biblein11. com and register your church on this site.

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CONTENTS WHY A SET OF EVANGELISM READINGS?

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Day 1 Julian Batchelor The Power of Vision  Day 2 Julian Batchelor The Price Of Being Naive  Day 3 Julian Batchelor Faith Is Precious To God  Day 4 Anonymous medical doctor Fear Not  Day 5 Dr Gary Gilley Christians Who Doubt The Authority of Scripture Will Stop Evangelising

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Day 6 Dr Maryn Lloyd-Jones The Authority Of Scripture  Day 7 Paul Cook, Baptist Pastor The Authority Of Scripture And Evangelism

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Day 8 Anonymous Author Which Are You? A Wagon Master Or An Engineer

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Day 9 Dr John McArthur Getting A Heart Of Compassion For The Lost  Day 10 Dr Gary Gilley Are We Influencing The World Or Is It Influencing Us?  Day 11 Theodore Wedel, Episcopal Priest A Club Or A Life Saving Station?

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Day 12 Anonymous Author Woe Is Me If I Preach Not The Gospel

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Day 13 Dr John Piper Perishing  Day 14 Dr J.I. Packer The Sovereignty Of God And The Free Will Of Man In Evangelism  Day 15 Anonymous Author Don’t Let A Sense Of Failure Put You Off Evangelism  Day 16 Dr John Stott The ‘Cannot’ and ‘The Will Not’  Day 17 A.W Tozer Proper Prayer  Day 18 Bishop J.C Ryle Are You Born Again?  Day 19 Bishop J.C Ryle Hell

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12 14 16 18

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31 33

40 42 44 46 48 51


Day 20 Bishop J.C Ryle Counting The Cost  Day 21 C.H Spurgeon When We Sense Our Weakness, God Releases His Power  Day 22 C.H Spurgeon How To Woo Sinners To Christ With The Gospel  Day 23 D.L Moody Where Are You?

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Day 24 D.L Moody Be Filled With The Spirit  Day 25 C.T Studd Christian Courage

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Day 26 Charles Finney How To Preach Without Converting Anyone  Day 27 C.T Studd Not Loving Our Lives To The Death

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Day 28 Andrew Murray It’s Not All Up To You

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Day 29 Andrew Murray How To Renew Your Energy  Day 30 Dr Mark Dever What Evangelism Is And Isn’t. We Must Stop Mistaking Other Christian Activities For The Spreading Of The Gospel  Day 31 Billy Sunday Every Believer Evangelism

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Day 32 Julian Batchelor Power Evangelism

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Day 33 Dr John Piper How to Have Beautiful Feet  Day 34 Norman Geisler Can Those Who Have Never Heard The Gospel Be Saved  Day 35 Dr John Piper Readiness  Day 36 Dr John MacArthur Join Hands  Day 37 Anonymous Being A Good Listener  Day 38 Bishop J.C Ryle True Christianity Is A Fight  Day 39 Andrew Bonar Oh, The Sweet Work Of The Holy Spirit In Evangelism

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58 60 62

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79 81

90 93 97 99 101 105

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Day 40 Basilea Schlink Taking Up Our Cross And Following After Him  Day 41 Fred Markert Active And Passive Lordship  Day 42 Beryl Amos Woman To Woman Evangelism  Day 43 F.B Meyer Power Ploughing And Watering

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Day 44 Hudson Taylor Go In Faith! The Lord Is With You!  Day 45 Hudson Taylor The Adventure Of Evangelism

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Day 46 D.L Moody Children And Evangelism  Day 47 Hudson Taylor Lord, Soften Our Hearts To The Reality Of Eternal Things

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Day 48 Hudson Taylor Preparing The Inner Man For Evangelism

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Day 49 Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones The Wrath Of God And Evangelism  Day 50 John R.Rice We Need More Evangelists In The Church  Day 51 Karina Social Action And Evangelism (Critiquing another person’s writing)

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Day 52 Linda The Mother Who Blogs Teenagers. Letting Your Light Shine (Critiquing another person’s writing)  Day 53 Anonymous Author Are You An Evangelist? (Critiquing another person’s writing)  Day 54 Julian Batchelor Jesus The Genie?  Day 55 Julian Batchelor The Rewards Of Evangelism

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Day 56 Dr Don Carson How Do We Work for Justice and Not Undermine Evangelism?  Day 57 Anonymous Fifty Years Later  Day 58 Lex Loizides How Spurgeon Was Converted  Day 59 Julian Batchelor The Power Of Spiritual Disciplines And How They Help Evangelism

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111 114 116

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142 144

148 152 155

160 161 163


Day 60 J.C Ryle How England Was Revived In The Eighteenth Century  Day 61 George Whitefield Satan’s Devices  Day 62 A.W Tozer Causes Of A Dozing Church

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Day 63 Joseph DeShezer The Untold Story Of Pearl Harbour  Day 64 Anonymous The Martyrdom Of Polycarp

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Day 65 J.I Packer How To Overcome Sin

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Day 66 A.B Simpson How God Gave One Man A Passion For Evangelism  Day 67 Wiliam Carey The Father Of Modern Missions

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Day 68 John Wesley Awakening Sinners From Their Sleep

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Day 69 Jonathan Edwards Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God  Day 70 Julian Batchelor Evangelism: Are we to go to strangers, or only to people we already know?  Day 71 Gary Bates Why don’t Christians evangelise? Church Survey reveals Ignorance to blame

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Day 72 John Stott The Relationship Between Evangelism And Social Responsibility

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Day 73 Matt Slick The Importance Of Prayer In Evangelism  Day 74 Michael Wells (Counsellor) God’s Tens  Day 75 Dr Mark Dever Apologetics Is Not Evangelism  Day 76 Dr Don Carson When Tolerance Works Against Evangelism  Day 77 Julian Batchelor Does Preaching About Hell Move People Towards The Point Of Conversion Or Not?  Day 78 Matthew Paris Atheist Reluctantly Promotes Evangelism  Day 79 Thom Rainer Factors Which Create An Evangelistic Church

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172 175

180

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221 223 225 227 229 232

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Day 80 David Livingstone Counting The Cost Of Evangelising The World  Day 81 C.H Spurgeon A Promise Of Revival  Day 82 Anonymous Evangelism (Critiquing Another Person’s Writing)  Day 83 George Barna How The Church Was In 2010

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Day 84 Anonymous Evangelism! Just Do It Now! (Critiquing Another Person’s Writing) 

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Day One The Power Of Vision Proverbs 29:18 “Without a vision the people perish.” Today’s reading is about vision. If we want to be used by God in evangelism, each of us must develop our own vision of how we want God to use us. Without such a vision, it’s highly unlikely we are going to be fruitful.

A Young Astronaut’s Vision It started like so many evenings. Mum and Dad at home and Jimmy playing after dinner. Mum and Dad were absorbed with jobs and did not notice the time. It was a full moon and some of the light seeped through the windows. Then Mum glanced at the clock. “Jimmy, it’s time to go to bed. Go up now and I’ll come and settle you later.” Unlike usual, Jimmy went straight upstairs to his room. An hour or so later his mother came up to check if all was well, and to her astonishment found that her son was staring quietly out of his window at the moonlit scenery. “What are you doing, Jimmy?” “I’m looking at the moon, Mummy.” “Well, it’s time to go to bed now.” As one reluctant boy settled down, he said, “Mummy, you know one day I’m going to walk on the moon.” Who could have known that the boy in whom the dream was planted that night would survive a near fatal motorbike crash which broke almost every bone in his body, and would bring to fruition this dream 32 years later when James Irwin stepped on the moon’s surface, just one of the 12 representatives of the human race to have done so?

Action is all important James Irwin had a dream to go to the moon. His dream became a vision when he began to take action i.e. He went to college, received aerospace training etc. Eventually, his vision was fulfilled. Jesus has a vision too. He too took action to birth His vision (He came to earth, died on a cross etc).

His vision is that everyone in the world would hear the gospel (Luke 19:10; Mark 16:15). When His vision is realised, one of the conditions for the Second Coming of Jesus will have been fulfilled. Unlike Irwin, Jesus’ vision has not yet been fulfilled.

Identifying with the heart of Jesus We ask ‘how can Jesus’ vision possibly be fulfilled?’ Only if each of us gets our own personal vision about becoming regularly active in personal evangelism. His vision ought to become our personal vision! When this happens, we are identifying with the very heart of Jesus.

Dreams versus Visions How will you achieve this? First, be sure about what ‘evangelism’ is and is not. Second, dream. Dream about what you could do. Dream about your street, neighbourhood, city, country. Dream about your school, university, place of work. Third, take action! Our dreams turn into a vision when we take action. What about putting a tract in every letter box in your street - that’s a vision! In every letter box in your neighbourhood - that’s a bigger vision! If our dream doesn’t go beyond the dream stage, we’re just dreamers. We have lost our saltiness (Matthew 5:13). But if our dream turns into a vision and then into action, we’re up there with Irwin - visionaries! And remember, Irwin had some challenges on the way to realising his vision - don’t expect any less for the fulfilment of your personal evangelism vision! God is with us. He promises to never leave Evangelism Daily Readings

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or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus, you are the one who gives vision and who can change my heart. Your word says ‘the heart of the king is in the hands of the Lord. He moves it like a water course where ever He pleases’ (Proverbs 20:1). Ezekiel 26:36 says ‘Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.’ Lord I ask you to make these verses a reality for me so that I would active for evangelism and began to form a vision for it in my own life. Thank you that I can rely on you Jesus to help me with this. Make my vision big enough that I would never do it on my own. I want a vision that is so big I will need to you come through to fulfil it! Amen.” Download a document called ‘The Benefits of Using Tracts’ from our web site at www.esisite.com/ resources

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Day Two The Price Of Being Naive Galatians 6:7 “Don’t be misled; remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it: a man will always reap just the kind of crop he sows!”(Living Bible)

A Naive Teenager A teenager brought home her new boyfriend to meet her parents, and they were appalled by his appearance: leather jacket, motorcycle boots, tattoos and a pierced nose. Later, the parents pulled their daughter aside and said “He doesn’t seem very nice.” “Mom,” replied the daughter, “if he wasn’t so nice, why would he be doing 5000 hours of community service?” The dictionary defines ‘naive’ in this way: “Too willing to believe that someone is telling the truth, that people’s intentions in general are good, or that life is simple and fair. People are often naive because they are young and/or have not had much experience of life.”

Are we naive too? I, like you, had a chuckle when I read this anecdote. Then I asked myself ‘why did I laugh?’ I laughed because the daughter in this story was so naive. She thought the new boyfriend was doing community service as a volunteer, unaware of the true motivation which was a punishment for a crime! I wonder if God sees us as naive when it comes to evangelism and growing the Church numerically? Every pastor and every Christian on the face of the earth wants to see non-Christians saved and the rapid expansion of the Church. We long to see non-Christians running into church to hear the word of God on Sunday, and services overflowing. We expend hours praying for this, singing about this, believing for this, preaching about this, and having conferences about this. Yet the rapid influx of non-Christians coming to find salvation hasn’t happened - yet. Why is this?

Something vital is missing.

What’s missing? In the first DVD session this week, we learned the difference between the words, the works, and the effects of the gospel. The words of the gospel are a likened in the Bible to a seed (Mark 4:26). Jesus commanded us to ‘go into all the world and proclaim the gospel’ (Mark 16:15). The God appointed power to save people is in this seed (Romans 1:16). Any farmer will tell you that unless he sows seed, there is absolutely no possibility of a harvest. It’s the same with the Church. If we expect to see unprecedented harvest without sowing the words of the gospel, we, like the daughter in the anecdote - are naive. Except God doesn’t chuckle at our naivety - He weeps. If only 2% of the Church are currently engaging in Biblical evangelism, is it any wonder harvest is only a pitiful handful of grain? As the Living Bible would put it in Galatians 6:7, we can’t ignore the command of God to evangelise the world and get away with it. Are we so naive to believe that through prayer and social action (as important as both these are in the mix) that God will somehow honour us, and grant us a harvest?

God honours obedience Prayer, social action and proclamation must go together. Some say ‘But what about in times of revival? Doesn’t God just move by a sovereign act of grace?” The answer is, ‘Yes, revival is a sovereign act of grace, but this grace is preceded

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by God’s people labouring in proclamation and travailing in prayer.’ This is the pattern. If God brought revival in the complete absence of any attempt on our part to obey the great commission, He’d be breaking one of His own rules which he established in Genesis 8:22. To understand His mind about this, meditate on 1 Samuel 15:22 “But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the

voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

Prayer: “Jesus, help us to always keep social action, prayer, and proclamation hitched together. And if either of these are weak, help us a church to strengthen the weakness. Above all Lord, help me to become active in evangelism so that I can become part of the solution to the tragic problem of a church which has all but stopped evangelising.”

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Day Three Faith Is Precious To God Hebrews 11:6 ‘.........it’s impossible to please God without faith.’

A Sparrow with a great attitude A spindly little sparrow is lying on his back in the middle of the road. A horseman comes by, dismounts and asks the sparrow what he’s doing lying upside down like that. “I heard the heavens are going to fall today,” said the sparrow. “Oh,” said the horseman, “and I suppose your spindly little legs can hold up the heavens.” “One does what one can,” said the sparrow. “One does what one can!”

We need the faith of this sparrow There are now over 6 billion people on the earth and many of them have not even heard the word ‘Jesus’ let alone heard the gospel. When we consider this in light of the command of Jesus to reach every person on the earth with the gospel, the task can seem overwhelming. We can easily be intimidated, buckle at the knees and end up doing nothing at all! If only we had the faith of the sparrow! Faith believes in spite of the odds! Even a trillion little sparrows would not hold up the heavens if they fell!

One at a time is all it takes So why is the attitude of the sparrow so wonderful? Firstly, he didn’t focus on what he couldn’t do but what he could. His little legs couldn’t hold up the entire weight of the heavens, but they could hold up a minute portion of it! If he was a Christian sparrow, he would know that if he did his bit, God would do the rest. So it is with world evangelism. If we do what we can, our bit, God will do the rest. You are not going to be the one who can reach a billion people with the gospel this is most probably what you can’t do. But what you can do is reach the people in your street, your school, your family, the people you brush with in shops, gas stations, and as you go about your day.

One at a time!

Doing the numbers Think about this - if you lived to the age of 80 and you started handing out tracts when you were 5 (and I have met such a person in Sydney, Australia who goes out evangelising with his dad regularly), just one per day, that’s 75 years of evangelism activity. Not counting leap years, that’s 365 days a year for 75 years or 27,375 days! Let’s say the Holy Spirit decided to convert 10% of the people who read the tract you gave out. You’d end your life having been used by God to save 2,737 people! What a fruitful life you would have led! Not only that, but think about all the glory that went to Jesus as a result of your efforts! But not only that, think of the joy you would have had doing it! And the great friends you would have made along the way!

Everyone can be fruitful in evangelism But let’s say your faith is like a mustard seed and you could only believe for 1% of that seed you sowed to be touched by the Holy Spirit. i.e. only 27 people came to faith through your efforts. Still, what phenomenal fruitfullness! The sad truth is most Christians pass through this life never having been used by God for the salvation of anyone! The reason? They have never gone about their life sowing the gospel. You see, it’s like this - if you don’t sow, you have absolutely no chance of reaping. One can’t win the lottery if one doesn’t have a ticket.

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Plan for a great day at Judgement At the final judgement, an event all of us will have to go through, we are not going to be assessed according to how many people we saved (because salvation is from first to last the Lord’s work - John 6:65) but on how obedient we were to the command of Jesus to evangelise. Even if our minds and the devil tell us ‘what good will giving out tracts to strangers and people I know do?’ to put us off, we must overrule them both with faith. What does this mean? It means go and do it anyway. What pleases God is obedience, faithfulness and faith, not cynicism, skepticism,

and doubt, three great marks of the ‘old man’ (Romans 6:6). Luke 18:8 says “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Determine today to start your evangelism journey by adopting the fantastic attitude of the sparrow, doing a little bit each day, and doing what you can - by faith!

Application: “What’s your action plan? Here is a sample action plan. Step 1: Go to the Christian bookstore and buy some good tracts Step 2: put some in your handbag or briefcase. Step 3: When you go anywhere tomorrow in a public place, take one out and give one to someone. Just say ‘Excuse me, did you get one of these?’, smile, and keep walking, unless you feel the door is open to have a chat Step 4: When you get home, put a big tick on the wall calendar and a smiley face, for this is what Jesus thinks of your evangelism efforts today Step 5: Do this for the rest of your life and look forward to judgement knowing God is going to pronounce over you ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’ Go to www.esisite.com/resources and download Frank Jenner’s audio testimony and be blessed! It’s the account of how someone faithfully gave out tracts all his life and the incredible results he discovered at the end.

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Day Four Fear Not Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Today’s reading is written by a medical doctor.

Our God is Big God A couple of days ago I was running on my treadmill, watching a DVD sermon by Louie Giglio. And I was BLOWN AWAY! I want to share what I learned. He (Louie) was talking about how inconceivably BIG our God is. How He spoke the universe into being, how He breathes stars out of His mouth that are huge raging balls of fire etc. Then He went on to speak of how this star-breathing, universe creating God ALSO knitted our human bodies together with amazing detail and wonder.

How can anyone deny there is a Creator? At this point I am LOVING it because I am fascinated from a medical standpoint. And I was remembering how I was constantly amazed during medical school as I learned more and more about God's handiwork. I remember so many times thinking, 'How can ANYONE deny that a Creator did all of this?' Louie went on to talk about how we can trust that the God who created all this, also has the power to hold it all together when things seem to be falling apart, and how our loving Creator is also our sustainer.

together - LITERALLY. They are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell. Without them, we would literally fall apart. But what I didn't know is what they LOOKED like! But now I do. And I have thought about it a thousand times since. The picture below is what the structure of laminin looks like. This is NOT a ‘Christian portrayal’ of it. If you look up laminin in any scientific/medical piece of literature, this is what you will see. Now tell me that our God is not the coolest!  Amazing.  The glue that holds us together, all of us, is in the shape of the cross.  Immediately Colossians

God made Laminin! It was because he started talking about proteins in the body called laminin. Here is how Wikipedia describes them: 'Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue' You see, laminins are what hold us Evangelism Daily Readings

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1:15-17 comes to mind. ‘He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible And invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or Authorities;    All things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him All things HOLD TOGETHER.’ Call me crazy, but I just think that is very, very, very cool.

anything about laminin, Paul penned those words. And now we see that from a very LITERAL standpoint,we are held together, one cell to another, by the cross. You would never in a quadrillion years convince me that is anything other than the mark of a Creator who knew EXACTLY what laminin ‘glue’ would look like long before Adam breathed his first breath!”

Did the Apostle Paul know? Thousands of years before the world knew

Prayer: “Dear Jesus, fear of evangelising is something I am asking you to eliminate from my life. I know you are not the author of fear. I know you are the one who holds the whole world in your hands, and you hold each of it’s part together by your almighty power. I know I am a child of God, and special to you. I know that nothing can separate me from you love and protective power. Your words says ‘Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of whom shall I be afraid?’ Today, I trust you to keep me, protect me, lead me, guide me, empower me, uphold me in evangelism. You said in your word ‘I am with you, even to the ends of the world.’ Today I willingly stand on these promises in your word as I go into the world with the gospel, for your glory. Amen’.

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Day Five Christians Who Doubt The Authority Of The Bible Will Stop Evangelising “All Scripture is God breathed.....” 2 Timothy 3:16 The reading today is my summary of a terrific book called ‘The Little Church Stayed Home,’ by Dr Gary Gilley. A pastor with some 35 years experience, and a graduate of Cambridge Graduate School, he is also on the advisory board of the Brazil Gospel Mission. I recommend you get a copy of this book and study it, especially if you are in a leadership capacity in a church. According to Gary, many churches, riding the faddish waves of our times, have ‘gone to market. But not all have done this. Some churches are trying to ‘stay home.’ That is, remain firmly grounded in the Scriptures. Still, the pressures mount, the temptations are repackaged, and the schemes of the word become more and more persuasive. In his book, Gary explores the manifold pressures of conservative churches to sell out to modern trends and innovations, including the present temptation towards mystical theology. Churches toying with ‘new measures’ will be challenged to remain true to the historic doctrines of the Christian faith and to remain faithful to God’s chosen means of converting sinners to himself: the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am going to attempt to condense a 100 page book into 3 pages, so here goes!

A short history of Western thinking. Over the last 2000 years, people in the Western

World have lived through three distinct periods of thinking. The way they thought about their world was called their ‘world view.’ The first period was the ‘Pre-Modern’ period.

The truth about life was found in the Bible In the Pre-modern Period (from Jesus to the French Revolution in 1789), no one doubted the existence of God, spirits, demons, and other beings. During this period the Western World’s authority (the criteria it used to measure truth, the knowledge of right and wrong etc) was found primarily in the Church (Roman Catholicism) or in the Scriptures (Protestantism). If you wanted to know where ‘truth’ was to be found, this is where you would look. The challenge of the Christians in this period of history was to convince people that Jesus was the one true God. After the PreModern period came the Modern Period.

God and the Bible pushed out

Then came the Modern Period (from 1789 to the 1970’s and 1980’s). In this period, philosophers began to question the pre-modern sources of authority (i.e. The Scriptures and the Church) and instead offered human reasoning, science, and rational inquiry became the answer to the world’s problems. Science became the new God. Science viewed Christians as being naively committed to ancient myths, unable to see past their bias and to take an objective and neutral look at the world. With the Bible and the Church Evangelism Daily Readings

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‘out of the way,’ and armed with rationalism and science, the people of the world could make unlimited progress towards a better life. Or so they thought.

Science and rational thinking disappoint However, as with all world views other than the Biblical one, this ‘modern’ world view began to disappoint. People became disenchanted with reason and science, and neither was able to deliver on the promises to solve human problems and reshape society into Utopia (i.e. the ideal world). Then came the Post Modern Period.

The Postmodern Period (1970’s and 80’s until now) Having discarded the Bible as the source of truth, and having tried science and rational thought as the answers to life, but seeing these fail, the philosophers of the Modern Period had no where to turn except to the pessimism of nothingness, emptiness, and uncertainty. The book of Ecclesiastes became very relevant! Out of the ashes of the Modern Period has come the Postmodern Period. This is the period in which we are now living. To the average postmodern person, ‘truth’ is not found (indeed it is not capable of being found), it is created. Absolute truth is a fable. Postmoderns create their own truth. They assert it is not possible to find universal truth that is applicable to all people. For them, the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth. At the end of the day, truth is simply what each individuals make it to be and nothing more. What is the postmodern criteria for truth? Simply what works. If it makes me feel good or solves my problems, says the postmodernist, then this is ‘my’ truth. So cheating on taxes, adultery, sex before marriage, being deceitful in business and personal dealings are all ‘Ok’ as long as the outcome ‘works for me’ or ‘makes me feel good’ or ‘is attractive to me.’

Here is the interesting bit According to research, only 22% of Americans believe in absolute truth. Yet 33% of Americans say they are committed Christians. Other research shows these proportions are about the same for other Western Countries as well. What does this mean? It means for one thing that a

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significant proportion of the Church in the West no longer believe in absolute truth. They have taken on the spirit of the age and are now postmodern in their thinking. What’s worse, Gary Gilley contents that many church leaders are becoming postmodern in their thinking and are going with the flow of postmodern thinking. These leaders have decided that the only way to win postmodern people is to give them what they think they need in the hope of giving them what they really need. What are the marks of a postmodern thinking church? Its members: • Question the reality of truth and are suspicious of anyone who claims to possess it. • Deliberately tone down any emphasis on the objective truth of Christian doctrine because postmodern people in their congregations have short attention spans and are only interested in having their felt needs met. • Place a big emphasis on the creation of ‘the experience’ and ‘being entertained’ not on preaching of the Word. • Don’t believe the Bible can be interpreted objectively. The ‘meaning’ of any particular verse finally resides in the mind of the interpreter. And since there are many interpreters, there are also many meanings. As such, according to the postmodern mind, no one meaning can ever be thought to be superior to any other meaning. There is no objective basis on which to evaluate interpretations. When we hear someone deny the obvious interpretation of a passage or verse of scripture with ‘Well, this is your interpretation’ we are in the presence of a postmodern Christian, whether they have ever heard the term or not. The purpose of the postmodern church is to bring people into ‘success’ and ‘personal fulfillment’ rather than glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. Someone once said, ‘In leaning over to speak to the postmodern world, I fear we may have fallen in.’ If so, let’s climb out, open the Word, and powerfully proclaim it from the housetops.


Application: This is an extremely serious issue facing the church . If we ‘adjust’ the teaching of the Bible to accommodate the whims and felt needs of postmodern people, all we are doing is leading them further into deception and away from Jesus who is the Truth. We are like irresponsible weak parents who feed their children an endless supply of sweets and lollies instead of healthy food, just to keep them happy. But in the end, we make them sick and ill and they will curse us for being so irresponsible as parents. The most serious rebuke of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament was reserved for those in the Early Church who were tampering with the gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). Postmodern church leaders are tampering with the gospel. The truth is, unregenerate people do not know their real needs (they don’t know what they don’t know - Romans 1:21), so their real needs must be awakened in them through the power of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the Word of God. How does all this effect evangelism? It is having a catastrophic effect. Postmodern churches won’t proclaim the truth of the gospel because it’s politically incorrect to do so. They fear that to proclaim the gospel would put postmodern people off coming to church. The truth is, however, that people are attracted to Church when the word of God is expounded in it’s purest form, and is made alive by the Holy Spirit. It draws people like a magnet. Example: Jesus preached the gospel and crowds came to hear. Not only do the leaders of postmodern churches shy away from proclaiming the truth of the gospel inside their churches, but they are repulsed by the idea of training and equipping their people to proclaim the gospel outside of it. At this point, these leaders are moving into full blown heresy, for Jesus clearly commanded the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. At the root of this heresy are doubts about this command of Jesus in Mark 16:15.

What do to:

1. If you are a church leader, timetable in serious time every year preaching from the front on Sunday, via evening classes, or via the internet on-line, the reliability and infallibility of the Bible. Develop in your people a love for the Word of God, it fathomless depths, and it’s unsearchable riches. 2. Undertake a serious personal study of how the Bible came to be, and the arguments put forward as to why it is infallible and reliable. 3. The criteria for truth is God’s Word, not personal opinion. Teach your people who are contend for the faith. They will be able to do this ably and powerfully if 1-2 above are done well. 4. Boldly proclaim the truth in church. The giants of the faith in EVERY generation never soft-peddled or minimised the message of the gospel to avoid offending the insensitivities of the masses. 5. Teach the Word of God systematically on Sundays. There is a place for topical preaching, but not every Sunday. 6. Keep the balance. Let’s not become so full of the Word that we forget the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Nothing is more powerful and life changing as a power personal encounter with the Holy Spirit. As someone rightly said, Christians who are all full of the Word and no Spirit dry up, and Christians who are full of the Spirit but no Word blow up.

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Day Six The Authority Of Scripture ‘Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth’ Ephesians 6.14 The reading today is written by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899 – 1981) was a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London. Lloyd-Jones was strongly opposed to the liberal theology that had become a part of many Christian denominations, regarding it as aberrant. He disagreed with the broad church approach and encouraged evangelical Christians (particularly Anglicans) to leave their existing denominations, taking the view that true Christian fellowship was only possible amongst those who shared common convictions regarding the nature of the faith. Lloyd-Jones was well-known for his style of expository preaching, and the Sunday morning and evening meetings at which he officiated drew crowds of several thousand, as did the Friday evening Bible studies – which were, in effect, sermons in the same style. He would take many months – even years – to expound a chapter of the Bible verse by verse. His sermons would often be around fifty minutes to an hour in length, attracting many students from universities and colleges in London. His sermons were also transcribed and printed (virtually verbatim) in the weekly Westminster Record, which was read avidly by those who enjoyed his preaching.

Where the Church went wrong There can be no doubt whatsoever that all the troubles in the Church to-day, and most of the troubles in the world, are due to a departure from the authority of the Bible. And, alas, it was the Church herself that led in the so-called ‘Higher

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Criticism’ that came from Germany just over a hundred years ago. With ‘Higher Criticism.’ Human philosophy took the place of revelation, man’s opinions were exalted and Church leaders talked about ‘the advance of knowledge and science’, and ‘the assured results’ of such knowledge. The Bible then became a book just like any other book, out-of-date in certain respects, wrong in other respects, and so on. It was no longer a book on which you could rely implicitly. There is no question at all that the falling away, even in Church attendance, in this country is the direct consequence of the Higher Criticism. The man in the street says, ‘What do these Christians know? It is only their opinion, they are just perpetrating something that the real thinkers and scientists have long since seen through and have stopped considering’. Such is the attitude of the man in the street! He does not listen any longer. He has lost all interest. The whole situation is one of drift; and very largely, I say, it is the direct and immediate outcome of the doubt that has been cast by the Church herself upon her only real authority. Men’s opinions have taken the place of God’s truth, and the people in their need are turning to the cults, and are listening to any false authority that offers itself to them.


Is the all the Bible the Word of God or not? We all therefore have to face this ultimate and final question: Do we accept the Bible as the Word of God, as the sole authority in all matters of faith and practice, or do we not? Is the whole of my thinking governed by Scripture, or do I come with my reason and pick and choose out of Scripture and sit in judgment upon it, putting myself and modern knowledge forward as the ultimate standard and authority? The issue is crystal clear. Do I accept Scripture as a revelation from God, or do I trust to speculation, human knowledge, human learning, human understanding and human reasons. Or, putting it still more simply, do I pin my faith to, and subject all my thinking to, what I read in the Bible? Or do I defer to modern knowledge, to modern learning, to what people think today, to what we know at this present time which was not known in the past? It is inevitable that we occupy one or the other of those two positions.

The Early Church and the Bible The Protestant position, as was the position of the early Church in the first centuries, is that the Bible is the Word of God. Not that it ‘contains’ it, but that it is the Word of God, uniquely inspired and inerrant. The Protestant Reformers believed not only that the Bible contained the revelation of God’s truth to men, but that God safeguarded the truth by controlling the men who wrote it by the Holy Spirit, and that He kept them from error and from blemishes and from anything that was wrong. That is the traditional Protestant position, and the moment we abandon it we have already started on the road that leads back to one of the false authorities, and probably ultimately to Rome (i.e. The Roman Catholic Church) itself. In the last analysis it is the only alternative. People will have authority; and they are right in so thinking. They need authority because they are bewildered; and if they do not find it in the

right way they will take it in the wrong way. They can be persuaded even though they do not know the source of the authority; in their utter bewilderment they are ready to be persuaded by any authoritative statement. So that it comes to this, that we are back exactly where Christians were 400 years ago. The world talks about its advance in knowledge, its science, and so on, but actually we are going round in cycles, and we are back exactly where Christians were 400 years ago. We are having to fight once more the whole battle of the Protestant Reformation. It is either this Book, or else it is ultimately the authority of the Church of Rome and her ‘tradition’! That was the great issue at the Protestant Reformation. It was because of what they found in the Bible that those men stood up against, and queried and questioned and finally condemned the Church of Rome. It was that alone that enabled Luther to stand, just one man, defying all those twelve centuries of tradition. ‘I can do no other’ he says, because of what he had found in the Bible. He could see that Rome was wrong. It did not matter that he was alone, and that all the big battalions were against him. He had the authority of the Word of God, and he judged the Church and her tradition and all else by this external authority. We are back again in that exact position, and I am concerned about the matter, not only from the standpoint of the Church in general, but also from the standpoint of our own individual experiences. How can we fight the devil? How can we know how we are to live? How can we answer the things we hear, the things we read, and all the subtle suggestions of the devil? Where can I find this truth that I must gird on, as I put on all this armour of God? Where can I find it if I cannot find it in the Bible? Either my foundation is one of sand that gives way beneath my feet, and I do not know where I am, or else I stand on what W. E. Gladstone called ‘The Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture’.

Application: What do we as born again believers believe about the Authority of Scripture? First, we believe in it out of necessity. We will not understand God rightly if we do not turn to Scripture. Calvin believed that creation itself ought to reveal God to us, but that sin so distorted our vision that we could not see how clearly the world points to its creator. We need the Bible to function like eyeglasses, to help us see God at work in the world. The light of nature, the Westminster Confession of Faith explained, is “not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of Evangelism Daily Readings

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his will, which is necessary unto salvation” (Book of Confessions 6.001), and therefore we need the Bible to guide us. Second, we must hold onto the Authority of Scripture because it provides all we need for living a successful Christian life. In the face of Catholic Churches appeals to the authority of the church and its tradition alongside Scripture, the Scots Confession emphasized that the Scriptures alone are “sufficient to instruct and make perfect the man of God” (3.19). Likewise, the Second Helvetic Confession began by declaring that in Scripture the church “has the most complete exposition of all that pertains to a saving faith, and also to the framing of a life acceptable to God” (5.002). We do not need other authorities to provide additional information. Moreover, we do not need any human authorities to vouch for Scripture’s authority—its authority (quoting the Scots Confession) comes “from God” and does not “depend on men or angels” (3.19) Third, we must hold onto the authority of Scripture because of the witness in our Spirit. The Holy Spirit, Calvin taught, inspired those who wrote Scripture, and the decisive reason to accept Scripture’s authority comes not from “human reasons, judgments, or conjectures” but from “the secret testimony of the Spirit.” Just as “God himself spoke to the fathers, prophets, [and] apostles,” the Second Helvetic Confession confirmed, so God “still speaks to us through the Holy Scriptures” (5.001). “Our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof,” according to the Westminster Confession of Faith, is “from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts” (6.005). Conclusion. We must not pick out the parts of the Bible we like and ignore the rest. Scripture speaks with authority. When we doubt this authority, we move into a mirky world of shadows, smoke and mirrors, not knowing what is true and what is not. All the anchors for our faith and belief are cut away. We begin to doubt God’s will and way, and when this happens, we allow the devil to infiltrate our thinking. One of the casualties is evangelism. The evidence of the truth of this fact are the 84 devices I detail in my book.

What do to:

1. The devil will use whatever means possible to undermine the authority of Scripture. He’ll work through scholars, authors, church leaders, the media...anything and anyone to try and weaken and poo poo our belief in the reliability and inerrancy of the Bible. Sometimes his attacks are extremely subtle. If you sense in your spirit, someone or something is knocking on the door of your heart to put you off trusting in God’s Word, resist. Remember in the Garden of Eden the serpent tried and succeeded to put doubts into the mind of Eve about what God had said (Genesis 3:4-5). So this strategy of the devil to undermine God’s work is as old and ancient as the world itself. 2. Memorise Scripture. As you read your Bible each day, expect God to speak to you. When a verse jumps off the page at you, and resonates deeply with you and your circumstances, memorise that scripture. You’ll be amazed how doing this will convince you more and more of the Authority of Scripture. This is because the word of God is living and active. When you internalise it, it affirms and confirms itself in your heart that it is indeed the truth. 3. Study how the Bible came to be and how it has survived. The more your delve into this, the more you’ll be convinced that God supernaturally and marvelously guided its compilation every step of the way. For example, did you know that the middle verse of the Bible is Psalm 118:8. Look this verse up and you’ll be encouraged! Voltaire, the French philosopher was an atheist. He threatened that he would see to the destruction of the Bible and its removal from the face of the earth. What happened is that the Bible Society bought the house where he was born after his death and today that building is one of the biggest sales centers of the Bible.

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Day Seven The Authority Of Scripture And Evangelism “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) The reading today is an edited version of a paper by Reverand Paul Cook, a retired Southern Baptist Pastor.

What is ‘the authority of Scripture?’ The authority of Scripture is the authority it possesses by reason of its divine origin and inspiration; by reason of it being the Word of God. “The Scriptures come from God, not from men,” declared Zwingle. They carry, therefore, the authority of God Himself. A person’s words cannot be separated from the character of the person who speaks them; they do, in fact, reveal and convey that character. The Scripture partakes of the attributes of the One whose Word it is. To hear the Scripture is to hear God. This was our Lord’s view of the Old Testament. It was also that of the apostles and the writers of the New Testament (e.g. the phrases, “God said”, “the Holy Ghost said” in Acts 13:34-35; Hebrews 3:7; 10:1517, etc). In the Bible we are confronted with God. The Word of God constitutes the authority of Scripture, and the Spirit of God within believers confirms it ( 1 Corinthians 2:12-16). The authority of the Bible is an infallible authority just as God, whose Word it is, is infallible. This is how the Reformers understood biblical infallibility. The Scriptures are infallible in as much as they are the Word of God. And all Scripture, they taught, is the Word of God, though some parts of Scripture may make that Word more evident than others. But the Word of God is in every part of Scripture. To depart from the authority of the

Scripture, therefore, is to depart from God. To disobey Scripture is to disobey God. To accept the Scripture is to accept God’s Person. It is nonsense to talk, as some do, about obeying “the will of God” and being guided by “the voice of the Spirit” whilst at the same time being unwilling to accept the Scripture where that will is found and where the Spirit speaks. To reject the authority of Scripture is to reject the authority of God who gave it, of Jesus Christ to whom it points, and the Holy Spirit who inspired it. “The Scripture cannot be broken,” declared our Lord (John 10:35).

Church Growth Depends on the Authority of Scripture Many churches today give the impression that they believe that their expansion depends upon something other than the authority of the Scriptures. But the divine commission to evangelise the world comes to the Church through the Scriptures. The authority to evangelise is a Scriptural authority. And the evangel we are called to spread abroad is none other than the Word of the living God. Although preaching from the pulpit still plays a significant part in evangelism the impression is often given that confidence for the success of evangelism is really in other things. There are those who seem to think that our spiritual heritage can be preserved by force of law and acts of Parliament. Others think they are advancing Christ’s kingdom in meeting the intellectual objections of the unbeliever by rationalising the faith in terms of the modern scientific method. Then there are those today who are supremely confident that the cause of the gospel will prevail Evangelism Daily Readings

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because in their movement or denomination they now have many more scholars than formerly. And the hopes of others are without doubt pinned to new strategies for reaching the lost including worship, good works, excellence in all things, etc. These things have a place in drawing non-Christians to Christians to Christ but should always take second place to the authority of Scripture.

The Word must be central If we take the Scriptures seriously and believe that they possess the very authority of God Himself our confidence will surely be in God’s Word. It will occupy a unique place in our thinking, so that all other things will seem quite insignificant compared with it. The point of contact between the Church and the world is the Word of God because nothing reaches the unbeliever with more relevance and authority. In many evangelistic meetings today the preaching of the Word has actually been replaced by music, dramas, films, testimonies, humour and the creation of the “right atmosphere.” These things, however important they may be, can never be a substitute for the preaching of the Word. The risen Christ commissioned the Church to preach the gospel in all the world, because it is by the authority of God’s Word and the ordained instrumentality of preaching that men are brought to repentance and faith. The replacement of the Word by other things in

our churches is a clear indication that the Church is no longer confident that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Only those who have felt for themselves in their own spiritual experience the overwhelming authority of the Scriptures will retain a belief in that authority. This is one reason why we so desperately need revival. It will reassert the supreme importance of the Word of God as the instrument of evangelism and give us all a far greater confidence in its authority and power.

The biggest revival in history The Protestant Reformation (1517-1648) took place as people accepted the authority of God’s Word. It was not a mistake, but one of the greatest and most glorious revivals of Christianity this world has ever seen. It blasted a false Church in two and created a holy division in the Church of the Middle Ages. As the flail of the Word of God moved across the threshing-floor of Europe, so a wind from heaven came to separate the chaff from the wheat. The Reformation brought people back to the Word of God and to the feet of Christ. Unity for unity’s sake is a pagan notion. It is a legacy in the Church inherited from Constantine. The unity we need to strive after is a unity brought about by a recognition of the authority of the Word of God.

Application: What is the situation in your own church? Is the Word of God central or has something else central? By central, I don’t mean the Word of God is used in the sermon. If this was how we defined ‘central’ the Word of God would be central in every church on earth! By central I mean this: Generally speaking, does your pastor preach and teach systematically through one book at a time in the Bible, book by book? Does he or she ever teach what each verse is saying in a passage of scripture, one verse at a time? Do you have a sense that the Word of God is central in your church? Does the Bible come alive by the Power of the Holy Spirit when he or she preaches? Is there a sense of the power of the Holy Spirit present when the Word is preached? Has there ever been a sermon on the importance of holding to the authority of Scripture in your church? Does your pastor or leader talk about the Bible as being the authority? Do they reverence the Word? i.e. do you have a sense that they treat the Word with honour? Is Jesus being glorified when the Word is preached? These are just some of the marks of a church which holds to the authority of Scripture.

What do to:

1. Begin to study the Bible personally. Memorise Scripture. Study one book at a time, and one chapter at a time. Use commentaries to help you understand what God is saying. The more time you spend in the Word, the more you’ll come to appreciate its authority, power, and wonder. Your faith in Jesus will soar. After all, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

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Day Eight Which Are You? A Wagon Master Or An Engineer? James 1:22.... “Be doers of the word and not merely hearers only.”

Jackson’s Army Dr. J.B. Gambrel tells a story from General Stonewall Jackson’s famous “ValleyCampaign.” Jackson’s army, being pressed by the enemy behind, found itself on one side of a river when it needed to be on the other side. After telling his engineers to plan and build a bridge so the army could cross, he called his wagon master in to tell him that it was urgent the wagon train cross the river as soon as possible. The wagon master started gathering all the logs, rocks and fence rails he could find and built a bridge. Long before day light General Jackson was told by his wagon master all the wagons and artillery had crossed the river. General Jackson asked where are the engineers and what are they doing? The wagon master’s only reply was that they were in their tent drawing up plans for a bridge!

Jesus and General Stonewall Jackson In the story above, General Stonewall Jackson and Jesus have things in common. They both have an urgent task they want ‘their men’ to complete. One building a bridge, the other world evangelism. Both General Stonewall Jackson and Jesus are on a mission to save people - the General his soldiers and Jesus the souls of men and women. The General involves two types of people: the doers (i.e. the wagon master and his men) and the theorist engineers. Jesus too wants to involve people - everyone in His Church. We know what happened in the case of the general and his men. The wagon master and his men could see the urgency of the task to build the bridge and they built it.

Always planning but never doing But what of the tragic history of those theorist engineers!? They retreated to their tent to plan and draw and speculate how to build the bridge. Oh to be a fly on the wall of the tent where they were planning! No doubt they would have argued over calculations and designs, and dangers, and risks, and costs, and even probably aesthetics! They would have had to talk with this person and that person. Oh, don’t get me wrong - they believed in the bridge! In spite of all their efforts, in the end, they contributed not one thing to the building of it. They delayed, dilly dallied around, became bogged down in detail and ended up failing in their mission! They didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. The parallels with the Church are too obvious to mention.

What might have happened? Consider what might have happened if the theorist engineers were the only ones available to build the bridge. General Stonewall Jackson’s enemy was moment by moment closing in on him from behind, potentially pinning him and his men into a hopeless situation with the river behind them and no where to go. Certain death would have been their fate if the wagon master and his men had not stepped up to the plate.

How this relates to evangelism Now consider world evangelism. Moment by moment the experience of death is closing in on Evangelism Daily Readings

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countless millions of non-Christians who have never heard the gospel, and eternal conscious hell is their fate. Sadly, the stats show 98% of the Church are ‘theorist engineers’ who are busy preparing, planning, visiting friends and family, shopping, watching TV, going to movies, Christian conferences, working, saving, singing, praising, giving - doing everything - EXCEPT building the gospel bridge! It isn’t that each of these things isn’t legitimate. They are all part of the mix. It’s

just that they are not the main thing. The main thing is‘building the bridge.’ We never make it out of our tent to actually go and do evangelism. Anglican historian Dr David Barrett wrote: “The greatest enemy of world evangelisation is Christian rhetoric - the continual discussing and arguing, the endless talking and preaching about evangelising the world without any crucial implementation.”1 1 Cited in George B. Duncan. One Race One Gospel. One Task. World Congress on Evangelism. World Wide Publications. 1967, p58

Prayer: “Jesus, I pray to you today that I when I die I may not be charged by You of being a Christian theorist engineer when I was on earth. I sincerely ask you to show me what part I am to play in the process of bringing people to Christ, and that once you have shown me, I want to take action, not just for a day or two but for the rest of my life. Your will is for me to do your will, so I now you will empower me. Amen.”.

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Day Nine Getting A Heart Of Compassion For The Lost Luke 10:2 “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.” Today’s reading is written by Dr John McArthur, a United States evangelical writer and minister, noted for his radio program entitled Grace to You. MacArthur is a fifth-generation pastor, a popular author and conference speaker and has served as the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969. He has been acknowledged by Christianity Today as one of the most influential preachers of his time, and is a frequent guest on Larry King Live as representative of an evangelical Christian perspective. MacArthur has authored or edited more than 150 books, most notably the MacArthur Study Bible, which has sold more than 1 million copies and received a Gold Medallion Book Award.

What is ‘the harvest’ is Luke 10:2? Now what are we talking about when we talk about harvest here? What does Jesus have in mind? What does He mean ‘the harvest is plentiful?’ This is not the field of John 4:35 where Jesus says ‘the fields are white for harvest.’ That’s a different picture all together. What is this harvest that He is talking about here in Luke 10:2? The Jews knew about a harvest. The prophets had talked about a harvest. In fact, Joel 3:12 says: “Let the nations be aroused and come to the valley of Jehoshaphat. I’ll sit to judge and all the surrounding nations, put in the sickle for the harvest is ripe. Come tread for the winepress is full, the vats overflow for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision for the

day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon grew dark. The stars lost their brightness as the Lord roars from Zion.” That’s the harvest. It’s the harvest of the final judgment.

The compassion of Jesus excited And that’s why the compassion of the Lord is excited in Matthew 9:36 (i.e. ‘When He saw the multitudes He was moved with compassion’) because He sees these people on a path to devastation. He sees them not only in their stricken condition, but in their disastrous future. He looks ahead, down human history, as it were, and He sees many who will be literally devastated, depressed and destroyed by false religious and ideological leaders who have wrong ideas about God, life and living. And His heart aches over them because they’re headed for the final harvest and it is a harvest of judgment. The New Testament follows that imagery. The Lord Himself in Matthew 13:30 talks about the wheat and the tares growing together and He says they will grow together until the harvest. He says “I’ll say to the reapers, ‘Gather up the tares, bind them in bundles to burn them. But gather the wheat into My barn.”’ Again, the harvest is the end of the age when the angels gather together God’s people and put them into His Kingdom - that’s the barn. He also gathers together the ungodly and they burn forever in hell. That Evangelism Daily Readings

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is clearly explained later in Matthew 13:39. “The enemy who sowed the tares is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age and the reapers are angels. Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, they’ll gather out of His Kingdom all stumbling blocks, all those who commit lawlessness, cast them into the furnace of fire. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” That’s the harvest.

Not the harvest we often think of It’s not a harvest that we often think about. We often think the harvest is all about those souls that need to be harvested for Jesus. That’s not the imagery here. The imagery is this - these unredeemed, unconverted, deceived people are headed toward a harvest of judgment and it is a massive harvest. It is a worldwide harvest. It reminds us again that few there be that find the narrow way. The massive humanity are headed toward a divine harvest.

The harvest in Revelation In Revelation 14:14 we read further and more specifically about that harvest. Listen to these gripping words: “I looked and behold, a white cloud, sitting on the cloud was one like a Son of Man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.” That was the tool of harvest. “And another angel came out of the temple crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Put in your sickle and reap because the hour to reap has come because the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ And He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth and the earth was reaped.” The next few verses carry the imagery. “Another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also had a sharp sickle and another angel, one who had the power over fire came out of the altar and called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle and said, ‘Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth because the grapes are ripe.’ And the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth and threw them into the great winepress of the wrath of God.”

The wrath of God The harvest is associated with the wrath of God.

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This wrath will be unleashed at the coming of Jesus Christ. It is the wrath of God at the end of time. And so the Lord looks at the people and His heart is just overturned with compassion for them. He is literally sick in His stomach because He sees the future all the way out to the great horrific wrath of the final harvest. And to compound the matter, the labourers are few. You’ve got this mass of humanity moving toward judgment and only a few labourers.

Why evangelism is so critical So this is where evangelism begins. You understand the massive issue. How can you be content to do nothing? How can you be content to sit idly by? Evangelism begins with a compassion born of a proper assessment of the massive character of the problem. Unbelievers flayed and stripped and depressed and destitute and made so by false religions all over the face of the earth, lying as it were on the highways and byways of the earth destitute, desolate, bewildered, confused and headed toward divine wrath, destroyed by false shepherds and on their way to a fiery hell. You know, you have people in the Church today who don’t even want to talk about hell, but that’s where all evangelism starts as to its motivation.

Feeling how Jesus felt about the lost We have to understand the eternal plight. Instead of the Church owning up to that and proclaiming that in its seeker-friendly new environment, it wants to eliminate the doctrine of hell and invent a new doctrine that says, “Well, just about everybody on the planet is going to heaven.” It’s just the opposite of what responsibility we should have. The Lord was wrenching in His stomach, feeling physical agony over the hell that the mass of humanity was headed toward. Father, thank You for this reminder of our need to have a heart of compassion, a heart that Christ had toward the lost headed for the harvest. That we need to pray, plead with you to send out messengers. That we need to have a sense of urgency that dispatches us immediately to evangelize. That we need to be vigilant knowing that we are like lambs in a wolf pack and be wise and not say things that exacerbate our enemies. And we certainly need to trust You to meet all our needs and to give us favour and blessing as we go. I pray


that You’ll make out of this church a great force or labourers into the harvest. Give us all the joy of serving You in this most important way. What

a privilege. We thank You in our Saviour’s name. Amen.

Prayer: “Jesus, open my eyes to the tragedy of and horror of the harvest Jesus is talking about here. I want to see with your eyes, and feel with your heart, the full weight of the tragedy of the state of the lost in my street, in my school, in my neighbourhood, city, and country. Holy Spirit, I need more than information and just another sermon. I need revelation. Break me out of my chronic apathy and pitiful unconcern. Lord, I need a miracle. I feel so dead to the plight of the lost, and to the terror of their plight. I sincerely want to be awakened so that I might be gripped with love and concern for them, just like you were in this passage in Luke. So help me God. Amen.”

John MaArthur Quote “Since Scripture imparts salvation, effective evangelism depends on the faithful proclamation of the Word. God will prepare the soil and bring forth the fruit. We must be faithful to plant the seed.”

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Day Ten Are We Influencing The World Or Is It Influencing Us? Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” The reading today is taken from a terrific book called ‘The Little Church Stayed Home,’ by Dr Gary Gilley. A pastor with some 35 years experience, and a graduate of Cambridge Graduate School, he is also on the advisory board of the Brazil Gospel Mission. I recommend you get a copy of this book and study it, especially if you are in a leadership capacity in a church.

A church that wanted to grow numerically Gene Veith tells the story of a church which wanted to grow numerically and decided to use a ‘new modern strategy.’ First came the market survey, which pinpointed the number of steps necessary to implement such growth in a modern world. For example, it was determined that the church must change its name because the term ‘Baptist’ was a turn off in the community. Next they decided that people would only come to church if it was convenient so it was decided to re-locate to a prime position just off the freeway (motorway in countries other than America!). Next, a modern facility was erected with all the bells and whistles that reflect a materialistic society. Religious symbols such as the cross, were offensive to some, so were removed. It became necessary to remove certain words as well, because they too might offend: hell, saved, lost, conversion, repentance, judgement and so on. The language of the church was therefore carefully sanitised and scripted. The church decided that if they were going to reach the world for Jesus, they

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must give the world what it perceives it wanted. And what do they want? They want to have their perceived needs met and they want a religious experience. Instead of preaching that leads to conviction of sin and salvation through the cross of Jesus, the church decided to preach ‘feel good’ messages to cheer up people. The church became a therapy centre where psychological well being not Biblical truth became the controlling factor.

Therapy not theology Theology was replaced with therapy. What the Bible truly said did not determine the content of sermons preached in this church. Rather, preachers wrote out what they wanted to say first, and then found verses in the Bible to back up their thoughts and support their arguments. The preachers became the authority, not the Bible. In this environment, evangelism did not involve proclaiming God’s judgement against sinners and His gracious offer of salvation through faith in Christ. Rather the word ‘evangelism’ was redefined.

Evangelism re-defined It came to mean ‘educating people about how much God loves them’; about ‘how God isn’t going to punish anyone’; about ‘how God wants people to feel good about themselves and lead a


full happy life and to be happy.’ Instead of covering specific historical biblical content (i.e why we must be saved, how Jesus can save us, what we must do to be saved, and the cost of being a disciple), ‘the gospel’ in this modern church portrayed Jesus as one who fixes marriages, ensures our dreams come true, cancels loneliness, gives us power, health and wealth, and generally makes us happy. 1

What you have just read today comes largely from a book by Pastor Gary Gilley. I have weaved in some of my own thoughts. Have all churches today become like the church he describes? Or is what he is saying only describing one or two isolated churches? What about your own church? If he is describing a wide spread problem, is this a worry? Why? Why not? What would Jesus think of this ‘modern strategy?’ What was His strategy? The strategy of the Early Church? Will this modern church meet the real needs of the people in the world? What are their real needs?

1 Gary E. Gilley. This Little Church Stayed Home. A Faithful Church In Deceptive Times. Evangelical Press. 2008. 38-41

Application: I believe Gary’s assessment describes many churches today. How can you be part of the solution without being critical of church leaders? Go to prayer and ask the Holy Spirit for specific strategies. For example, take today’s reading to your leadership (this will take courage, tact, and timing, and prayer), and ask them for their assessment of it. If this ‘modern church’ describes your own church, don’t criticise the leadership from afar and behind their backs. Go to them one on one and begin to dialogue with them. Seek solutions together with them. Pray for them and have others pray for them. If your church is not like the church described at all, congratulate your leadership! Determine to be an influence and not be influenced.

Gary Gilley Quote “The truth is [in much of today’s church] the gospel message has been gutted of its power.” .” ” .” ”

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Day Eleven A Club Or A Life Saving Station?

Luke 19:10 “I came to seek and save the lost.” The reading today is written by Theodore Wedel (1953), and Episcopal Priest. The photo at right is of an Episcopal priest, but this is not Theodore. There was no photo of him available.

The life saving station On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life saving station. The building was just a hut and there was only one boat but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea and with no thought for themselves they went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little life saving station and it became famous. Some of those who were saved and various

others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and wanted to give their time and money and effort for the support of its work. So new boats were bought and new crews were trained and the little life saving station grew. Some of the members of the life saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt a little more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge

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of those saved from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots and beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the life saving station became a popular gathering place for its members and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely because they used it as sort of a club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life saving missions so they hired life boat crews to do the work.

From life saving station to club happened very very slowly The life saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decorations and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where club initiations were held. About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. And the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where the victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

Then life saving became a hassle At the next meeting there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life.


Some members insisted on life saving as their primary purpose, pointed out they were still called a life saving station. They were finally voted down and told if they wanted to save the lives of various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life saving station down the coast, which they did.

Clubs multiply and so do the shipwrecks As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that occurred in the old one. It evolved into a club and yet another life saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself. And if you visit that coast today, you will

Prayer:

find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters but most of the people drown.” It’s not hard to see that this is a parable of the Church. And we have to ask ourselves the question: where has the passion for life saving gone? Where is the burden for evangelism? Why is it that evangelism seems to be a distraction for the Church rather than its central function? Has the Church settled for a self-indulgent kind of Christianity that makes of the Church nothing more than activity centre? Are we all content with comfort and personal prosperity? Has the Church become a place where the lost are invited, rather than a place from where life savers are relentlessly trained and constantly sent?

“Jesus, I pray for my own church as much as I do for myself. Show me if my Christianity has become self indulgent, and my vision nothing more than my comfort and personal prosperity. If my church has lost its vision and purpose, and has become nothing more than an activity centre, or a club for nice people who believe in God, help me be part of the solution. Give me a personal vision to see my church return to a true, Biblical status as a life saving station. Amen.”

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Day Twelve Woe Is Me If I Preach Not The Gospel 1 Corinthians 9:16 “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel.....”

The zealous Christian farmer There was once a zealous Christian farmer who wanted to use different words than “giddyup” and “woah” as commands for his horse. So he taught the horse to respond to “Praise the Lord” and “Hallelujah”. When the farmer shouted “Praise the Lord”, the horse would take off in a fast gallop. When he wanted the horse to stop, he would shout “Hallelujah”. All went well until the day he was riding his horse at full gallop across a field when suddenly the farmer remembered that there was a cliff just a short distance ahead. In his excitement, he temporarily forgot what he had taught the horse, and he yelled, “Woah!”, but the horse didn’t stop. He yelled “Stop!”, but the horse kept running straight for the cliff. At the last possible minute the farmer remembered he had taught the horse to stop at the command, “Hallelujah”. When he shouted it out, sure enough, the horse obediently came to a sudden stop, just inches before the horse and rider would have plunged over the cliff. Totally relieved, the farmer exclaimed, “Praise the Lord!” These might be funny stories, but actually there’s something serious about these words.

Woe is me This expression “Woe is me” is found several times throughout the Bible. It literally means, “how horrible it will be.” The expression has to do with “horror”, “disaster”, or “calamity.” Paul uses “Woe is me” as he describes his duty before God to declare the gospel. “Woe is unto

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me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16). Paul wanted the church at Corinth to understand that he had a very strong motivation for preaching the Gospel. It was God’s call. It was divine commission. Jesus had called Paul audibly to the task of preaching the gospel (Acts 26:1217). In light of this, Paul was especially sensitive to this idea of “woe.” After all, he had been a Pharisee, and had heard Jesus speaking words of “woe” to the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13). He knew the gravity of those words.

Evangelism and Divine Judgement One commentator, Dr Gordon Fee, points out that when Paul uses this expression, he is not referring to a mere ‘inner distress’ if he were to cease preaching the Gospel. Rather what is implied here is that “Paul believes he would stand under divine judgment if he were to fail to fulfil his divine destiny of preaching theGospel.” So how does this apply to us? At times the Church has lost its way. Perhaps we could be likened to the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness. We have forgotten what our purpose for being is, forgotten our true destination, our true calling. To us today the message is still “Woe to us if we preach not the Gospel.”

A pastor who is taking ‘woe is me’ seriously Not long ago I spoke with a Pastor friend who serves an Assembly of God church in a small city of 40,000 people. He told me that his church was in the midst of a campaign to reach every household with the gospel, by going to each home with


a gospel tract. Already part of the city had been covered by four teams which were going out each week. This may not be the strategy for the next city, or for ours, but we can believe that the Lord

will guide His church if they sincerely seek His will. Our calling is to preach the Gospel. This is our duty. This is our divine destiny. “Woe to us if we preach not the Gospel.”

Prayer: “Jesus, I know the ‘woe is me’ does not just apply to Paul the apostle. It applies to me as well. I know that part of my duty and call in this life is to preach the gospel, and part of my divine destiny. One day I will stand before you at The Judgement about this. I ask you to empower me and strengthen me for the task. Strip away all my excuses. Show me what it is that is stopping me from proclaiming the gospel. I need a breakthrough Lord. Today I come to you as a willing humble servant, willing and wanting to do your will. Amen.’

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Day Thirteen Perishing John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching. In this reading, John expands on one aspect of this verse, which is Jesus’ mention of ‘perishing’.

The Danger: Perishing The truth from this verse for us today is simple; and is probably the third or fourth most important thing anybody could tell you in all your life. Namely: you and I and everyone will perish if we don’t trust Christ. We are all perishing—apart from Christ. I have three questions: What is perishing? Why are we all perishing if we do not believe in Christ? Is it helpful to hear this threatening news? What Is Perishing? Of all the things that the Bible teaches about what happens when unbelievers die, let me mention four.

1. Perishing Means Being Under the Wrath of God. See John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already.” The issue is not merely dying, but being judged by God. John 3:36 is the most sobering of all in this gospel: “He who believes in the

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Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” What John 3:16 shows us is that if we are rescued from perishing, it is because the love of God has rescued us from the wrath of God. To perish means that we remain under the wrath of God because we will not trust Christ. And that is a terrifying place to be.

2. Perishing Means Fiery Torment. In one of John’s other books, the Revelation (14:10), he describes the one who is perishing like this: “He will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” Perishing is not, as some say, going out of existence. It is staying in existence and suffering in the fiery torments of hell. One celebrity joked last week that he did not want to go to heaven because he couldn’t improve anything there. It’s too perfect. He preferred hell because he could make a contribution. Let’s pray that God wakes him up before that kind of levity will become unredeemable hardness. It’s hard to make improvements when you are in agony.


3. Perishing Means Separation from the Glory of God. Paul describes the perishing in 2 Thessalonians 1:9: “These

will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” Here in this world God reveals himself in a thousand ways every day, if we would see. In hell the perishing will be cut off from all his work— except the work of wrath.

4. Perishing Is Everlasting and Irreversible. Here in John 3:16 it’s the opposite of eternal life. Jesus calls it “eternal punishment” in Matthew 25:46. In Luke 16:26 he says there is a great chasm fixed between heaven and hell, so that no one goes from one to the other. Perishing is eternal and irreversible. Perishing means wrath; it means fiery torment; it means separation from God; and it lasts forever. Now I tell you this plainly as a warning to flee from the wrath of God to the love of God through the door of Jesus Christ.

No excuse This is an awesome moment for us in this service. Because what this moment means is that any of us who stands before the throne of judgment unbelieving will not be able to say to the Lord, “Nobody ever told me what was at stake.” The Lord will say, “On December 4, 1994, at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, I appointed you to be there and I appointed my servant John Piper to warn you. You were there and he did warn you.” Now is the acceptable time, today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). The great news of John 3:16 is that the love of God rescues us from the wrath of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Why Are We All Perishing If We Don’t Trust in Christ? The simplest way to answer this is to quote the apostle Paul in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death,” that is, perishing. We have all sinned. And sin deserves perishing. But there is a less simple, but utterly crucial and biblical way to go a step deeper.

Why sin is so serious Why is sin so serious as to deserve perishing? The answer is that God is the most worthy person in the universe. His greatness and his value are infinite. All things are measured by him. He is the beginning and the ending of all things. Every person depends on him for everything. We owe him perfect trust and allegiance and love and worship and honour and respect and obedience, because he made us and owns us and sustains us. Therefore rejecting him, and distrusting him, and disobeying him, and neglecting him, and enjoying other things more than him—all these are infinite insults because he is an infinite treasure. And an infinite insult—or a life of infinite insults—deserves infinite punishment. The more you dwell on that the more precious John 3:16 becomes: God loved us enough to give his own Son to rescue us from this perishing.

Is news of hell helpful? Finally, is it helpful to hear this threatening news? Many of us could testify of how the wrath of God drove us to the gospel where the love of God relieved our fear. John Newton, who was born in 1725 and became a sea captain and slave trader and generally perverse rebel against God, was brought to faith in Christ through a series of fearful dangers that shocked him into spiritual seriousness, and made him take heaven and hell seriously. He was almost shipwrecked. And while God was dealing with him after that, he was in Londonderry, Ireland, hunting: “As I climbed up a steep bank, pulling my shotgun after me, in a perpendicular direction, it went off so near my face as to burn away the corner of my hat. (Out of the Depths: Autobiography, p. 70) Newton came to see these experiences as God’s way of getting his attention and teaching him to fear so that he would look for relief in the only place it can be found: Christ. So he finally wrote the great hymn:

T’was grace that taught my heart to fear And grace my fears relieved, How precious did that grace appear, The hour I first believed. Evangelism Daily Readings

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It was a turning point in my life, and I May God do that for some this morning. Like have wanted to thank you and tell you he did for a young woman in my office nine years that ever since. I assured my Mom that ago. Here’s what she wrote to me in 1992: a warning such as the one you gave me in 1985 made me feel all the more loved. “It was 1985—I wonder whether you I heard what you really thought of hell. remember a very much younger me, sit- That you cared enough to tell me, a ting in your office and telling you I was stranger at that time, means the world afraid God would have to use a car acto me. It echoes in my ears.” cident or some other awful event to get So, yes, it is helpful to warn people about what my attention? You pointed out that the is at stake in life. I pray that your experience may consequences of my deliberate choice to be the same as this young woman’s and the same continue sinning would be nothing short as John Newton’s. There is no reason to delay. of hell itself. No one had ever before told For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him me I was headed for hell, missionary’s should not perish, but have eternal life. kid that I was, “saved” at the age of 6.

Application: We don’t need to be apologetic when talking about hell. Jesus talked about it openly, frankly, and without shame because He was fully aware of what was coming for unbelievers after death. He also talked about it with a tear in His eye. Determine today not water down the gospel by leaving hell out. And when you are discussing the gospel with Christians, stand with Jesus and the New Testament by explaining how important it is to leave the subject of hell in the gospel message. Finally, think on this: if it isn’t helpful to warn people about hell, as many Christians today advocate, then was Jesus being unhelpful when he warned people? Had He, the God of the universe, got it wrong? Absolutely not. And neither should we think we have got it wrong when we include hell in our gospel presentations. We are to take the whole gospel to the whole world, not just the bits we think non-Christians will like. For more on John Piper, please visit www.desiringGod.org

John Piper Quote “ Evangelism can never be finished, but missions can be finished. The reason is this: missions has the unique task of crossing language and culture barriers to penetrate a people group and establish a church movement; but evangelism is the ongoing task of sharing the gospel among people within the same culture.”.” ”

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Day Fourteen The Sovereignty Of God And The Free Will Of Man In Evangelism Romans 8:33 “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” J. I. Packer is Board of Governors Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia

Are all people elect or just some? Can the elect resist God’s drawing power? It is a Biblical truth that God has elected (called the doctrine of election) a certain group of people in the world to be saved. According to some, salvation for this group is irresistible i.e. God will save them no matter what. How big this group is, only God knows. Some argue all people are elect. With this thought in mind, some may conclude ‘If they are going to be saved whether they are evangelised or not, what’s the point of doing evangelism?’

Evangelism pointless without God’s sovereign hand being involved J.I. Packer, in his excellent treatise Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God answers this question: “Some fear that belief in the sovereign grace of God leads to the conclusion that evangelism is pointless, since God will save His elect anyway, whether they hear the gospel or not. This is a false conclusion based on a false assumption. So far from making evangelism pointless, the sovereignty of God in grace is the one thing that prevents evangelism from being pointless. For it creates the possibility–indeed, the certainty–that

evangelism will be fruitful. Apart from it, there is not even a possibility of evangelism being fruitful. Were it not for the sovereign grace of God, evangelism would be the most futile and useless enterprise that the world has ever seen, and there would be no more complete waste of time under the sun than to preach the Christian gospel.” The effects of such confidence in the sovereign grace of God should, according to Packer, produce three things:

1. It should make us bold. “You are not on a fool’s errand. You are not wasting either your time or theirs. You have no reason to be ashamed of your message, or half-hearted and apologetic in delivering it. You have every reason to be bold, and free, and natural, and hopeful of success. For God can give His truth and effectiveness that you and I cannot give it. God can make His truth triumphant to the conversion of the most seemingly hardened unbeliever. You and I will never write off anyone as hopeless and beyond the reach of God if we believe in the sovereignty of His grace.”

2. It should make us patient. It should keep us from being daunted when we find that our evangelistic endeavours meet with no immediate response. God saves in His own time, and we ought not to Evangelism Daily Readings

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suppose that He is in such a hurry as we are. . . . We are tempted to be in a great hurry with those whom we would win to Christ, and then, when we see no immediate response in them, to become impatient and downcast, and then to lose interest in them, and feel that it is useless to spend more time on them; and so we abandon our efforts forthwith, and let them drop out of our ken. But this is utterly wrong. It is a failure both of love for man and faith in God.”

3. It should make us prayerful. “Prayer . . . is a confessing of impotence and need, and acknowledging of helplessness and dependence, and an invoking of the mighty power of God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. In evangelism, we are impotent; we depend wholly upon God to make our gospel proclamation effective; only because He is able to give men new hearts can we hope that through our preaching of the gospel sinners will be born again. These facts ought to drive us to prayer. The knowledge, then, that God is sovereign in grace, and that we are impotent to win souls, should make us pray, and keep us praying. What should be the burden of our prayers? We should pray for those whom we seek to win, that the Holy Spirit will open their hearts; and we should pray for ourselves in our own witness, and for all who preach the gospel, that the power and authority of the Holy Spirit may rest upon them.”

It’s God’s will that all are saved But the doctrine of election is not the only doctrine with which those who engage in evangelism ought to be concerned. We must also be

Application:

concerned with the doctrine of the free will of man (e.g. Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15) which clearly teaches all of us have free will to choose. We also know it is a biblical truth that God wants everyone saved (e.g. 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Corinthians 15:22) and has made provision for everyone to be saved (John 3:16). This is why we are commanded to reach everyone with the gospel (Mark 16:15). They must hear before they can be saved (Romans 10:14-15). How can the doctrine of free will and the doctrine of election both be true at the same time? For the answer read Isaiah 55:8. Surely, if we can reconcile these two great doctrines, then we would be God! To be faithful to God as a Christian is to obey Jesus on the basis of what we can understand (i.e. Mark 16:15 ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel), rather than disobeying Him on the basis of what we can’t. i.e. giving up on evangelism because we can’t reconcile these two great Biblical truths of election and free will. Sadly, this is not the only reason people give up on evangelism. Some supporters of the doctrine of election are so extreme in their views, they don’t participate in evangelism at all. This is tragic disobedience. Think about it - if any interpretation of any scripture (s) leads us to give up on evangelism, this is the surest sign our interpretation is faulty. These faulty extremist theologians are hiding behind the their doctrine as an excuse not to evangelise. Anyone who is not participating in evangelism is a delight to the devil, a source of sorrow to Jesus, disobedient to the priority of the Church, and a robber of their own joy.

There are six great truths here: The Bible teaches God does elect people to be saved. God also desires to save everyone (2 Peter 3:9) No one can come to the Son unless the Father draws him (John 6:65) Anyone can make a free will choice to come to Jesus (John 5:40) Lost people must hear the gospel (Romans 10:13-14) The whole church (that’s you and me) is commanded to take the whole gospel to the whole world (Mark 16:15) To be true to God and the Bible, we must hold all these truths in tension, even thought some seem contradictory, combining patient trust and complete dependence on God for ‘results’, yet at the same time serving God in evangelism with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Spurgeon was asked by one of his students regarding the balance between our efforts and God’s grace in evangelism. Spurgeon’s reply was ‘It’s 100% of both!’

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Day Fifteen Don’t Let A Sense Of Being Inadequate Stop You Doing Evangelism 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’’

Don’t Panic. You are not alone Some Christians read the words of the great commission and panic. They feel woefully inadequate, and not up to the task. “I’m not a great theologian,” they might say. “I’m not an educated apologist, or a great speaker.” For them, the call to evangelise seems daunting. Take, for example, the following email we received from someone called Gene :

“I am too old to have the learning necessary to "argue" for the Gospel in an evangelical way. I don't view myself capable to formulate answers to questions in a way that would give me any credibility. I might end up looking like a fool instead of accomplishing accurate dissipation of the WORD. Also.........I haven't lived the life that would testify to any sincerity on my part. Have you advice for me?”

There are great tools to help us Gene expressed some fairly common reservations. There is a wonderful, hopeful answer for Gene though, and for all those that share his concerns. First, Gene feels inadequate when it comes to being able to make an educated case for the truth of the gospel. We’re not all great theologians. Very few of us are educated apologists like Josh McDowell or C.S. Lewis. We aren’t all

great orators with the ability to uplift and inspire with the spoken word. The good news is that we don’t have to be any of those things! Why? Well, firstly we now have wonderful tools to be able to deliver the gospel through technology or the web.

The web and Social Networks See www.biblein11.com for example. All the hard questions people ask are answered on this site. In this case, at the very least, all we have to do is point people to the web address, or download the gospel onto our phone or computer. Then there are things like Facebook. I know people who are actively evangelising on Facebook by directing people to www.biblein11.com. This is making the most of technology and using it for God’s purposes. Evangelising like this means you don’t even have to leave your home! Secondly, if we don’t want to use any of these tools, the gospel message is simple and uncomplicated. It can be learned quite easily. Third, we can learn some good answers to the hard questions people ask. Fourth, we must keep remembering that it is not we through our cleverness and eloquence who saves people. In fact, those who are feeling weak and inadequate have a distinct advantage when it comes to evangelism. Think about this - throughout history, God has often chosen the least among us to show His power. He magnifies Himself through weak and imperfect people. Abraham was too old; Moses wasn’t a great speaker; Jonah kept trying to run the wrong way. Evangelism Daily Readings

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In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul shared what the Lord told him about how to view weakness: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’’

A radiant example of Christ? Then there is the issue of Gene feeling like his Christian life is not a radiant shining example. Honestly, how many of us could boast we have lived such a life? Certainly not me. I am too aware of my weaknesses to even think about boasting! The devil loves to attack us with his fiery darts, taunting us with accusations that we are hypocritical if we share the gospel because our lives don’t match up. How should we respond? Firstly, if we are sharing the gospel with strangers, they will not know of our struggles and failings. This is one great advantage of reaching people we don’t know. Secondly, we can take tracts with us and leave them in places or give them to people. We can let them do the talking. Again, those we give them to, if they are strangers, will not have seen our struggles and failings. Third, we go to the lost with Christ’s authority, not our own. This is very important. Jesus said ‘all authority under heaven and earth has been given to me, therefore, go!’ (Matthew 28:1819). We are not evangelising on the basis of our

Prayer:

authority (i.e. our perceived quality of our Christian life, our qualifications, or oratory ability), but on the facts of God’s promise! This makes all the difference. There is therefore no reason why someone who thinks they are not a shining example of a Christian can’t still participate in evangelism. You see, it’s not all about you. It’s about God working through you.

Work on our example, yes, by all means, but keep don’t stop evangelising. Yes, if we have been a poor example at work, or in our family, it’s going to be tough sharing the gospel in those circles and we ought to seek God about changing this. Jesus exhorts us in Matthew 5:16 to ‘let our light shine.’ For the reasons outlined above, it is imperative we all obey Jesus and go to strangers with the gospel. If you have been a poor example, I will reach your workmates and family. If I have been a poor example, you will reach mine. I believe Jesus experienced what I am talking about here when he went to His own home town and they didn’t accept Him. He even said ‘A prophet is not accepted in his own home town.’ (Luke 4:24). Coming from the God of the universe, that should be encouraging people like you and I who don’t have it all together!

“Jesus, you know I often feel like I am failing in my Christian life. When I look at the life you led, and the life I am leading, the gap between the two sometimes seems enormous. Empower me to do your will in evangelism inspite of my perceived weaknesses and failings. I ask you today to do two things. First, I ask you to help me be a better example that my light might shine. Second, I ask you to prove your word true that your strength is made perfect in my weakness, especially when it comes to evangelism. Amen.”

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Day Sixteen The ‘Cannot’ And The ‘Will Not’ John 6:65 ‘No-one can come to me unless the Father draws him ...’ Today’s reading comes from Dr John Stott, CBE. Born 27 April 1921, Stott is an English Christian leader and Anglican clergyman who is noted as a leader of the worldwide evangelical movement. He is notable as one of the principal authors of the Lausanne Covenant in 1974. In 2005, Time magazine ranked Stott among the 100 most influential people in the world.

Only God can do it, but we can choose In this reading, Stott discusses one of the great puzzles of evangelism. This is to say, trying to reconcile two seemingly equal and opposite truths. On the one hand, when someone is saved we learn from Scripture that this miracle is all the work of God. For example, in John 6:65, Jesus said “no one can come to the Son unless the Father draws him.” On the other hand, the Bible also says all of us must make a decision of our own free will to come to Christ. For example, Jesus in John 5:40 said ‘...you are not willing to come to me that you may have life’. So how do we reconcile the ‘cannot’ of John 6:44 with the ‘will not’ of John 5:40? This is what John Stott has to say: “It is grievously mistaken to suggest that the purpose of evangelism is to cajole sinners into doing what they can perfectly well do if only they put their minds to it and pull themselves together. This the Bible emphatically denies.” Consider these two statements: ‘No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 12:3). ‘No one can come to me unless the

Father ... draws him’ (John. 6:44). We need to hear much more in the church of this ‘no-one can’, this natural inability of men to believe in Christ or to come to Christ. Only the Spirit can reveal Christ to men; only the Father can draw men to Christ. And without this double work of the Father and the Spirit no one can reach the Son.” It is quite true that Jesus also said ‘you are not willing to come to me that you may have life’ (John. 5:40), and that the human mind finds it impossible to resolve neatly the tension between this ‘cannot’ and this ‘will not’. But both are true, and man’s refusal to come does not cancel out his inability without grace to do so.” So says John Stott. And I agree with him.

A second opinion Now let’s hear a slightly different perspective from another anonymous author. Let’s call him the second writer. “Any discussion of man’s free will must begin with an understanding of his nature because man’s will is bound by that nature. A prisoner has the freedom to pace up and down in his cell, but he is constrained by the walls of that cell and can go no further, no matter how much his will might desire it. So it is with man. Because of sin, man is imprisoned within a cell of corruption and wickedness which permeates to the very core of Evangelism Daily Readings

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our being. Every part of man is in bondage to sin – our bodies, our minds, and our wills. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us the state of man’s heart: it is “deceitful and desperately wicked.” In our natural, unregenerate state, we are carnally minded, not spiritually minded. “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be” (Romans 8:6-7). These verses tell us that before we are saved, we are at enmity (war) with God, we do not submit to God and His law, neither can we. The Bible is clear that, in his natural state, man is incapable of choosing that which is good and holy. In other words, he does not have the “free will” to choose God because his will is not free. It is constrained by his nature, just as the prisoner is constrained by his cell. How then can anyone be saved? Ephesians 2:1 describes the process. We who are “dead in our trespasses and sins” have been “made alive” through Christ. A dead man cannot make himself alive because he lacks the necessary power to do so. Lazarus lay in his tomb four days unable to do a thing to resurrect himself. Christ came along and commanded him to come to life (John 11). So it is with us. We are spiritually dead, unable to rise. But “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He calls us out of our spiritual graves and gives us a completely new nature, one undefiled by sin as the old nature was (2 Corinthians 5:17). God saw the desperate and helpless state of our souls, and in His great love and mercy, He sovereignly chose to send His Son to the cross to redeem us. By His grace we are saved through the gift of faith which He gives us so that we can believe in Jesus. His grace is a free gift, our faith is a free gift, and our salvation is a free gift given to those whom God has chosen “before the

Prayer:

foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Why did He chose to do it this way? Because it was “according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:5-6). It’s important to understand that the plan of salvation is designed to glorify God, not man. Our response is to praise Him for the “glory of His grace.” If we chose our own salvation, who would get the glory? We would, and God has made it clear that He will not give the glory due to Him to anyone else (Isaiah 48:11). The question naturally arises, how do we know who has been saved “from the foundation of the world”? We don’t. That is why we take the gospel to the ends of the earth, telling all to repent and receive God’s gift of grace. Second Corinthians 5:20 tells us we are to be pleading with others to be reconciled to God before it is too late. We cannot know who God will choose to release from their prison cells of sin. We leave that choice to Him and present the Gospel to all. The ones who come to Jesus He “will in no way cast out” (John 6:37).

Conclusion Both Stott and this second writer agree that no one can come to the Son unless the Father draws him. However, this second writer goes further than Stott by suggesting that the unconverted person does not even have to ability to or desire to come to Christ. In other words, if he makes a decision to come to Christ, it is not really done with free will, because even the will to come was given by God i.e. there is no free will involved. I believe this goes too far and I side with Stott and his assessment. People have free will to accept or reject Jesus.

Our challenge is to be obedient to what we do know, and not to be paralysed into inactivity because we can’t solve the puzzles. Many Christians, unable to work out how to reconcile the free will of man and the sovereignty of God, end up not evangelising. This is a great tragedy. Furthermore, we must never ever let doctrinal disagreement between ourselves and other Christians stop evangelising. When I was in Sydney, I remember phoning pastors of a particular denomination about evangelism. All they wanted to do was tell me about what they believed and how right they were about this and that and how wrong everyone else was. When I asked them if they were doing evangelism, there was a long silence the other end. If ‘right theology’ doesn’t lead to right action, it’s wrong theology. The test of the rightness of our theology is to ask ‘Does what I believe lead me to be passionate about evangelism?’ If the answer is ‘no’, change your theology.

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Day Seventeen Proper Prayer Luke 18:1 “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart...” Todays reading is written by A.W. Tozer (April 21, 1897 - May 12, 1963). He was an American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor, Bible conference speaker, and spiritual mentor. For his work, he received two honorary doctorate degrees.

Prayer and Evangelism? Think Bicycle Evangelism and prayer ought to be like two wheels on a bicycle - never separated. It is easy to neglect prayer altogether, or to pray quick prayers before we go out to evangelise, thinking God will just bless the sowing of the seed of the gospel because ‘...my word will not return void’ (Isaiah 55:10-11). No doubt God can and does bless the gospel even when the sowing of it has not been preceded or followed by prayer. But we are fools if we camp on this thought and make it a rule. It is not a rule. It is an exception. The truth is, we simply can’t afford to do evangelism without prayer. When we pray we are acknowledging, among other things, our utter dependence on God for success. Having reached over 20,000 people personally with the gospel, I can testify to the difference prayer makes. I have found there is always a marked difference in the quality of my encounters in evangelism when I have prayed ‘properly’ before I have gone out to evangelise. In this reading, I want to pick up the thought of ‘praying properly.’ It’s an idea the great Christian writer A.W Tozer had much to say about. On this

subject, he writes:

Pray till you pray “Dr. Moody Stuart, a great praying man of a past generation, once drew up a set of rules to guide him in his prayers. Among these rules is this one: “Pray till you pray.” The difference between praying till you quit and praying till you pray is illustrated by the American evangelist John Wesley Lee. He often likened a prayer meeting to a church service, and insisted that many of us close the meeting before the service is over. He confessed that once he arose too soon from a prayer session and started down the street to take care of some pressing business. He had only gone a short distance when an inner voice reproached him. “Son,” the voice seemed to say, “did you not pronounce the benediction before the meeting was ended?” He understood, and at once hurried back to the place of prayer where he tarried till the burden lifted and the blessing came down.

Effective prayer takes time The habit of breaking off our prayers before we have truly prayed is as common as it is unfortunate. Often the last ten minutes may mean more to us than the first half hour, because we must spend a long time getting into the proper mood to pray effectively. We may need to struggle with Evangelism Daily Readings

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our thoughts to draw them in from where they have been scattered through the multitude of distractions that result from the task of living in a disordered world.

prevailing mood.

Praying our way through Whatever a dreamy idealism may say, we are forced to deal with things down on the level of practical reality. If when we come to prayer our hearts feel dull and unspiritual, we should not try to argue ourselves out of it. Rather, we should admit it frankly and pray our way through. Some Christians smile at the thought of “praying through,” but something of the same idea is found in the writings of practically every great praying saint from Daniel to the present day. We cannot afford to stop praying till we have actually prayed.”

Being ‘real’ Here, as elsewhere in spiritual matters, we must be sure to distinguish the ideal from the real. Ideally we should be living moment-by-moment in a state of such perfect union with God that no special preparation is necessary. But actually there are few who can honestly say that this is their experience. Candor will compel most of us to admit that we often experience a struggle before we can escape from the emotional alienation and sense of unreality that sometimes settle over us as a sort of

Prayer:

“Dear Lord, we know EXACTLY what Tozer is saying here. It is our experience as well. We know what it is like to pray and break through and we know what it’s like when we don’t. There is a big difference. We know too that prayer is so indispensable to evangelism but often we struggle to pray until we’ve prayed through. Help us to practice this, praying through, and make us better at it. Let us not rush from our prayer meetings or our private times of prayer with you, but let us persevere until we really sense we have broken through into your presence and the distractions of the day and the world have been vanquished from our minds. Grant us the patience and perseverance to pray like this, for your glory, and for the sake of the lost whom we are reaching. In Jesus name, Amen.”

A.W Tozer Quote “Christians don’t tell lies they just go to church and sing them.” .” ”

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Day Eighteen Are You Born Again? Jesus Christ said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). This reading comes from Bishop J.C Ryle (10 May 1816 - 10 June 1900). In 1880, at age 64, he became the first bishop of Liverpool, at the recommendation of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. A scholar and Oxford educated, he was a writer, pastor and a powerful preacher with world wide influence.

The most important question Are you born again? This is one of life’s most important questions. Jesus Christ said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). It is not enough to reply, “I belong to the church; I suppose I’m a Christian.” Thousands of nominal Christians show none of the signs of being born again which the Scriptures have given us—many listed in the First Epistle of John. First of all, John wrote: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin” (I John 3:9). “Whosoever is born of God sinneth not” (5:18). A person who has been born again, or regenerated, does not habitually commit sin. He no longer sins with his heart and will and whole inclination. There was probably a time when he did not think about whether his actions were sinful or not, and he did not always feel grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin; they were friends. But the true Christian hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, considers it his greatest plague, resents the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be completely delivered from it. Sin no longer pleases

him, nor is it even a matter of indifference to him; it has become a horrible thing which he hates. However, he cannot eliminate its presence within him.

A true Christian hates sin If he said that he had no sin, he would be lying (I John 1:8). But he can say that he hates sin and that the great desire of his soul is not to commit sin at all. He cannot prevent bad thoughts from entering his mind, or shortcomings, omissions, and defects from appealing in both his words and his actions. He knows that “in many things we offend all” (James 3:2). But he can truly say, in the sight of God, that these things cause him grief and sorrow and that his whole nature does not consent to them. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

A true Christian is born again Second, John wrote: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (I John 5:1). A man who is born again, or regenerated, believes that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour who can pardon his soul, that He is the divine person appointed by God the Father for this very purpose, and beside Him there is no Saviour at all. In himself he sees nothing but unworthiness. But Evangelism Daily Readings

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he has full confidence in Christ, and trusting in Him, he believes that his sins are all forgiven. He believes that, because he has accepted Christ’s finished work and death on the cross, he is considered righteous in God’s sight, and he may look forward to death and judgment without alarm.

A true Christian trusts only in Christ He may have fears and doubts. He may sometimes tell you that he feels as if he had no faith at all. But ask him if he is willing to trust in anything instead of Christ, and see what he will say. Ask him if he will rest his hope of eternal life on his own goodness, his own works, his prayers, his minister, or his church, and listen to his reply. He may have fears and doubts. He may sometimes tell you that he feels as if he had no faith at all. But ask him if he is willing to trust in anything instead of Christ, and see what he will say. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again? Third, John wrote: “Every one that does righteousness is born of Him” (I John 2:29).

A true Christian will lead a holy life The man who is born again, or regenerated, is a holy man. He endeavours to live according to God’s will, to do the things that please God and to avoid the things that God hates. He wishes to continually look to Christ as his example as well as his Saviour and to prove himself to be Christ’s friend by doing whatever He commands. He knows he is not perfect. He is painfully aware of his indwelling corruption. He finds an evil principle within himself that is constantly warring against grace and trying to draw him away from God. But he does not consent to it, though he cannot prevent John Newton, ex its presence. slave trader who Though he may somewrote the famous times feel so low that he hymn ‘Amazing questions whether or not he is a Christian at all, he will Grace’ be able to say with John

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Newton, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.” What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again? Fourth, John wrote: “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren” (I John 3:14).

A true Christian love other Christians A man who is born again has a special love for all true disciples of Christ. Like his Father in heaven, he loves all men with a great general love, but he has a special love for those who share his faith in Christ. Like his Lord and Saviour, he loves the worst of sinners and could weep over them; but he has a peculiar love for those who are believers. He is never so much at home as when he is in their company. He feels they are all members of the same family. They are his fellow soldiers, fighting against the same enemy. They are his fellow travellers, journeying along the same road. He understands them, and they understand him. They may be very different from himself in many ways—in rank, in station and in wealth. But that does not matter. They are his Father’s sons and daughters and he cannot help loving them. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again? Fifth, John wrote: “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world” (I John 5:4).

A true Christian uses the Bible as the standard to judge right and wrong A man who is born again does not use the world’s opinion as his standard of right and wrong. He does not mind going against the world’s ways, ideas and customs. What men think or say no longer concerns him. He overcomes the love of the world. He finds no pleasure in things which seem to bring happiness to most people. To him they seem foolish and unworthy of an immortal being. He loves God’s praise more than man’s praise. He fears offending God more than offending man. It is unimportant to him whether he is


blamed or praised; his first aim is to please God. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again? Sixth, John wrote: “He that is begotten of God keepeth himself’ (I John 5:18).

A true Christian feels he is an enemy living in a foreign land A man who is born again is careful of his own soul. He tries not only to avoid sin but also to avoid everything which may lead to it. He is careful about the company he keeps. He knows that evil communications corrupt the heart and that evil is more catching than good, just as disease is more infectious than health. He is careful about the use of his time; his chief desire is to spend it profitable. He desires to live like a soldier in an enemy country—to wear his armour continually and to be prepared for temptation. He is diligent to be a watchful, humble, prayerful man. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again? These are the six great marks of a born again Christian.

distinctness of these marks in different people. In some they are faint and hardly noticeable. In others they are bold, plain and unmistakable, so anyone may read them. Some of these marks are more visible than others in each individual. Seldom are all equally evident in any one person. But still, after every allowance, here we find boldly painted six marks of being born of God. How should we react to these things? We can logically come to only one conclusion—only those who are born again have these six characteristics, and those who do not have these marks are not born again. This seems to be the conclusion to which the apostle intended us to come. Do you have these characteristics? Are you born again?”

The editor’s footnote:

I would add one more mark to Bishop Ryle’s list of six. John 14:21 says ‘He who has these commands of mine and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.’ We know from our study that evangelism is Biblically the priority of the Church. Any truly born again Christian will from their heart want to align themselves with this priority.

All marks may not be obvious in any person all at once There is a vast difference in the depth and

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, you know our hearts. They are desperately wicked above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). We delight to think we are much better than we really are. Show us the truth about these seven areas. Show us where we are not doing so well, that we might be more fruitful as Christians, and bring more glory to your name. We trust in you Holy Spirit to change us and mold us, to make us into the people you want us to be. You delight to have us lean and rely on you to change us, for your word says ‘He delights not in the strength of the horse: he takes not pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in their unfailing love’ (Psalm 147:10-11). Amen.”

J.C Ryle Quote “ If we have anything to tell others about Christ, let us resolve to tell it. Let us not be silent, if we have found peace and rest in the Gospel. Let us speak to our relations, friends, families and neighbors, according as we have opportunity, and tell them what the Lord has done for our souls. All are not called to be ministers. All are not intended to preach. But all can walk in the steps of the man of whom we have been reading, and in the steps of Andrew, and Philip, and the Samaritan woman. (John 1:41, 45; 4:29.) Happy is he who is not ashamed to say to others, “Come and hear what the Lord has done for my soul.” (Psalm. 66:16.) Evangelism Daily Readings

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Day Nineteen Hell Jesus Christ said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The reading today is another from Bishop J.C Ryle.

A good neighbour gives the alarm When a house is on fire, what ought to be done first? We ought to give the alarm and wake the inhabitants. This is true love to our neighbour. This is true charity. Reader, I love your soul, and want it to be saved. I am therefore going to tell you something about hell. There is such a place as hell. Let no one deceive you with vain words. What men do not like, they try hard not to believe. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to judge the world, he will punish all who are not his disciples with a fearful punishment. All who are found impenitent and unbelieving; all who have clung to sin, stuck to the world, and set their affections on things below; all who are without Christ; all such shall come to an awful end. Whosoever is not written in the book of life shall be “cast into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:15.

Hell a severe place The punishment of hell shall be most severe. There is no pain like that of burning. Put your finger in the candle for a moment if you doubt this, and try. Fire is the most destructive and devouring of all elements. Look into the mouth of a blast furnace, and think what it would be to be there. Fire is of all elements most opposed to life. Creatures can live in air, and earth, and water; but nothing can live in fire. Yet fire is the portion to which the Christless and unbelieving will come. They will be “cast

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into the lake of fire.” The punishment of hell will be eternal. Millions of ages will pass away, and the fire will never burn low and become dim. The fuel of that fire will never waste away and be consumed. It is “unquenchable fire.” O reader, these are the sad and painful things to speak of. I have no-pleasure in dwelling on them.

Christ spoke of it often Who would desire to speak of hell-fire if God has not spoken of it? When God has spoken of it so plainly, who can safely hold his peace? I dare not shut my eyes to the fact, that a deep rooted infidelity lurks in men’s minds on the subject of hell. I see it oozing out in the utter apathy of some: they eat, and drink, and sleep, as if there was no wrath to come. I see it creeping forth in the coldness of the hearts of my fellows Christians: they show little anxiety to awaken the unconverted, and pluck brands from the fire. I desire to denounce such infidelity with all my might, believing that there are “terrors of the Lord.”

Wrong ideas of hell abound I call on all who profess to believe the Bible, to be on their guard. I know that some do not believe there is any hell at all. They think it impossible there can be such a place. They call it inconsistent with the mercy of God. They say it is too awful


an idea to be really true. The devil of course, rejoices in the views of such people. They help his kingdom mightily. They are preaching up his old favourite doctrine, “Ye shall not surely die.” I know furthermore, that some do not believe that hell is eternal. They tell us it is incredible that a compassionate God will punish men for ever. He will surely open the prison doors at last. This also is a mighty help to the devil’s cause. “Take your ease, “he whispers to sinners-” if you do make a mistake, never mind, it is not for ever.” I know also that some believe there is a hell, but never allow that anybody is going there. All people with them are good, as soon as they die, all were sincere, all meant well, and all, they hope, got to heaven. Alas! what a common delusion is this! I can well understand the feeling of the little girl who asked her mother where all the wicked people were buried, for she found no mention on the gravestones of any except of the good.

The devil desires silence about hell And I know very well that some believe there is a hell, but never like to hear it spoken of. It is a subject that should always be kept back, in their opinion. They see no profit in bringing it forward, and are rather shocked when it is mentioned. This also is an immense help to the devil. “Hush! hush!” says Satan, “say nothing about hell.” The fowler wishes no noise to be made when he has laid his, snares. The wolf would like the shepherd to sleep, while he prowls round the fold. The devil rejoices when Christians are silent about hell.

What does the Bible say about hell? Reader, all these notions are the opinions of man. What is it to you and me what man thinks of religion? Man will not judge us at the last day. There is but one point to be settled, “what says the word of God?” Do you believe the Bible? Then depend upon it, hell is real and true. It is a true as heaven, as true as justification by faith, as true as the fact that Christ died upon the cross. There is not a fact or doctrine which you may not lawfully doubt, if you doubt hell. Disbelieve

hell, you unscrew, unsettle, and unpin everything in the Scripture. You may as well throw your Bible aside at once. From “no hell” to “no God” is but a series of steps. Do you believe the Bible? Then depend upon it, hell will have inhabitants. The wicked shall certainly be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God. The same blessed Saviour who now sits on a throne of grace, will one day sit on a throne of judgement, and men will see there is such a thing as “the wrath of the Lamb.” The same, lips which now say, Come, come unto me,” will one day say, “Depart, ye cursed” Alas! how awful the thought of being condemned by Christ himself, judged by the Saviour, sentenced to misery by the lamb! Do you believe the Bible? Then depend upon it, hell will be intense and inalterable woe.

Hell not a figure of speech It is vain to talk of all the expressions about it being figures of speech, the pit, the prison, the worm, the fire, the thirst, the blackness, the darkness, the weeping, the gnashing of teeth, the second death, all these may be figures of speech if you please. But Bible figures mean something beyond all questions, and here they mean something which man’s mind can never fully conceive. O reader, the miseries of mind and conscience are far worse than those of the body. The whole extent of hell, the present suffering, the bitter recollection of the past, the hopeless prospect of the future, will never be thoroughly known except by those who go there.

Believe what the Bible says about it Do you believe the Bible? Then depend upon it, hell is eternal. It must be eternal, or words have no meaning at all. “For ever and ever,” “everlasting,” “unquenchable,” “never-dying” all these are expressions used about hell, and expressions that cannot be explained away. It must be eternal, or the very foundations of heaven are cast down. If hell has an end, heaven has an end too. They both stand or fall together. It must be eternal, or every doctrine of the gospel is undermined. If a man may escape hell at length without faith in Christ, or sanctification of the Spirit, sin is no longer an infinite evil, and Evangelism Daily Readings

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What kind of neighbours are we?

there was no such great need of Christ’s making an atonement. And where is the warrant for saying that hell can ever change a heart, or make it fit for heaven? It must be eternal, or hell would cease to be hell altogether. Give a man hope, and he will bear any thing. Grant a hope of deliverance, however distant, and hell is but a drop of water.

What would you say of the man who saw his neighbour’s house in danger of being burned down, and never raised the cry of “fire?” What ought to be said of us as ministers if we call ourselves watchmen for souls, and yet see fires of hell raging in distance, and never give the alarm?

Application: The doctrine of hell is a vital part of the gospel message. Don’t omit to tell non-Christians about this place, and why it exists. It exists because of the justice of God. And don’t be ashamed of talking about it openly and honestly with Christians either. Jesus was not ashamed to mention it or preach about it, so we ought not to be ashamed. Did He make a mistake by preaching, teaching, and warning about hell? I don’t think so. There is a great pressure not to mention hell in many church circles today because it is not fashionable or trendy. But since when are we to take our lead from what is fashionable or trendy? We are to hold fast to take our lead from none other than the Bible and Jesus. Friend, hold fast to the truth about hell. 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” Philippians 1:27 “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel.” And remember, when we speak about hell, let’s follow the example of Jesus and do it with tears in our eyes.

J.C Ryle Quote

“A genuine Gospel-faith has nothing selfish about it – it never makes a man think only of his own salvation. It stirs him up, on the contrary, to concern about the souls of others. I always suspect that those who care nothing whether their brethren are saved or not, must in reality be ignorant or thoughtless about their own state.” .” ”

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Day Twenty Counting The Cost Luke 14:28 “Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost?” The reading today is another from Bishop J.C Ryle.

Look forward and consider The text which heads this page is one of great importance. Few are the people who are not often obliged to ask themselves, “What does it cost?” In buying property, in building houses, in furnishing rooms, in forming plans, in changing dwellings, in educating children, it is wise and prudent to look forward and consider. Many would save themselves much sorrow and trouble if they would only remember the question: “What does it cost?”

The cost of the salvation of a soul But there is one subject on which it is specially important to count the cost. That subject is the salvation of our souls. What does it cost to be a true Christian? Let there be no mistake about my meaning. I am not examining what it costs to save a Christian’s soul. I know well that it costs nothing less than the blood of the Son of God to provide an atonement and to redeem man from hell. The price paid for our redemption was nothing less than the death of Jesus Christ at Calvary. We “are bought with a price.” “Christ gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Timothy 2:6). But all this is wide of the question. The point I want to consider is another one altogether. It is the amount of sacrifice a man must submit to if he intends to serve Christ. It is in this sense that I raise the question: “What does it cost?” And I believe firmly that it is a most important one.

Outward Christianity costs nothing I grant freely that it costs little to be a mere outward Christian. A man has only got to attend a place of worship twice on Sunday and to be tolerably moral during the week, and he has gone as far as thousands around him ever go in religion. All this is cheap and easy work: it entails no self– denial or self–sacrifice. If this is saving Christianity and will take us to heaven when we die, we must alter the description of the way of life, and write, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to heaven!”

Genuine Christianity costly But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken, a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run. Conversion is not putting a man in an armchair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. Hence arises the unspeakable importance of “counting the cost.” Let us see particularly, one by one, the things Evangelism Daily Readings

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that true Christianity will cost a man.

yet be saved!

Cast off self righteousness

No cross, no crown

1. True Christianity will cost one his self–righteousness. He must cast away all pride and high thoughts and conceit of his own goodness. He must be willing to give up all trust in his own morality, respectability, praying, Bible reading, church–going, and sacrament receiving, and to trust in nothing but Jesus Christ.

Moreover, I grant it costs much to be a true Christian. But what sane man or woman can doubt that it is worth any cost to have the soul saved? When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew think nothing of casting overboard the precious cargo. When a limb is mortified, a man will submit to any severe operation, and even to amputation, to save life. Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven. A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown. But there is a certain group of people to whom especially I wish to address myself in handling this part of my subject. It is a large class, an increasing class, and a class which in these days is in peculiar danger. Let me in a few plain words try to describe this class. It deserves our best attention.

Going to war against sin 2. True Christianity will cost a man his sins. He must be willing to give up every habit and practice which is wrong in God’s sight. He must set his face against it, quarrel with it, break off from it, fight with it, crucify it and labour to keep it under, whatever the world around him may say or think. The parting must come. “Though wickedness be sweet in the sinner’s mouth, though he hide it under his tongue; though he spare it, and forsake it not,” yet it must be given up, if he wishes to be saved (Job 20:12, 13).

Taking the path of sacrifice 3. Also, Christianity will cost a man his love of ease. He must take pains and trouble if he means to run a successful race toward heaven. “The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat” (Prov. 13:4). This also sounds hard. Anything that requires exertion and labour is entirely against the grain of our hearts. But the soul can have “no gains without pains.”

Losing the favour of the world 4. Lastly, true Christianity will cost a man the favour of the world. He must be content to be thought ill of by man if he pleases God. He must count it no strange thing to be mocked, ridiculed, slandered, persecuted and even hated. The Master says, “Remember the word that I said unto you, ‘The servant is not greater than his Lord.’ If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20). Considering the weight of this great cost, bold indeed must that man be who would dare to say that we may keep our self–righteousness, our sins, our laziness and our love of the world, and

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Fake Christians not rooted or grounded The people I speak of are not thoughtless about religion; they think a good deal about it. They are not ignorant of religion; they know the outlines of it pretty well. But their great defect is that they are not “rooted and grounded” in their faith. Too often they have picked up their knowledge second– hand, from being in religious families, or from being trained in religious ways, but have never worked it out by their own inward experience. Too often they have hastily taken up a profession of religion under the pressure of circumstances, from sentimental feelings, from animal excitement or from a vague desire to do like others around them, but without any solid work of grace in their hearts. People like these are in a position of immense danger. They are precisely those, if Bible examples are worth anything, who need to be exhorted to count the cost.

The Israelites didn’t count the cost For want of counting the cost, myriads of the children of Israel perished miserably in the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan. They left Egypt full of zeal and fervour as if nothing could stop


them. But when they found dangers and difficulties in the way, their courage soon cooled down. They had never reckoned on trouble. They had thought the promised land would be all before them in a few days. And so when enemies, privations, hunger and thirst began to try them, they murmured against Moses and God and would sincerely have gone back to Egypt. In a word, they had not counted the cost and so lost everything and died in their sins.

The example of Demas For want of counting the cost, Demas forsook the company of Paul, forsook the gospel, forsook Christ, forsook heaven. For a long time he journeyed with the great apostle of the Gentiles and was actually a “fellow–labourer.” But when he found he could not have the friendship of this world as well as the friendship of God, he gave up his Christianity and cleaved to the world. “Demas has forsaken me,” says Paul, “having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10). He had not “counted the cost.” These are solemn and painful truths. But they are truths.

No cheap grace I am bold to say that it would be well if the duty of counting the cost were more frequently taught than it is. Impatient hurry is the order of the day with many religionists. Instantaneous conversions, and immediate sensible peace, are the only results they seem to care for from the gospel. Compared with these, all other things are thrown into the shade. I say without hesitation that such a naked, one–sided mode of teaching Christianity is mischievous in the extreme. Let no one mistake my meaning. I thoroughly approve of offering men a full, free, present, immediate salvation in Christ Jesus. I thoroughly approve of urging on man the possibility and the duty of immediate instantaneous conversion. In these matters I give place to no one. But I do say that these truths ought not to be set before men nakedly, singly and alone. They ought to be told honestly what it is they are taking up if they profess a desire to come out from the world and serve Christ. They ought not to be pressed into the ranks of Christ’s army without being told what the warfare entails. In a word, they should be told honestly to

count the cost.

The serious challenge Now, let us make the serious inquiry: “What does your Christianity cost you?” Very likely it costs you nothing. Very probably it neither costs you trouble, nor time, nor thought, nor care, nor pains, nor reading, nor praying, nor self–denial, nor conflict, nor working, nor labour of any kind. Now mark what I say. Such a religion as this will never save your soul. It will never give you peace while you live, nor hope while you die. It will not support you in the day of affliction, nor cheer you in the hour of death. A religion which costs nothing is worth nothing. Awake before it is too late. Awake and repent. Awake and be converted. Awake and believe. Awake and pray. Rest not until you can give a satisfactory answer to my question: “What does it cost?”

The power of reflection Think, if you want stirring motives for serving God, what it cost to provide a salvation for your soul. Think how the Son of God left heaven and became Man, suffered on the cross and lay in the grave, to pay your debt to God, and work out for you a complete redemption. Think of all this and learn that it is no light matter to possess an immortal soul. It is worthwhile to take some trouble about one’s soul. Ah, lazy man or woman, has it really come to this, that you will miss heaven for lack of trouble? Are you really determined to make shipwreck forever, from mere dislike to exertion? Away with the cowardly, unworthy thought. Arise and play the man. Say to yourself, “Whatever it may cost, I will, at any rate, strive to enter in at the strait gate.” Look at the cross of Christ and take fresh courage. Look forward to death, judgment and eternity, and be in earnest. It may cost much to be a Christian, but you may be sure it pays.

Final exhortations The time is very short. A few more years of watching and praying, a few more tossings on the sea of this world, a few more deaths and changes, a few more winters and summers, and all will be over. We shall have fought our last battle and shall need to fight no more. It may cost much to be a true Christian and a consistent holy man; but it pays. Evangelism Daily Readings

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Prayer: “Dear Jesus, you paid a great price to secure my forgiveness and what is writing by this great man of God here in this reading rings true. We know that your cause will never be furthered unless men and women in this generation count the cost and pay the price. Lord, if I am not someone counting the cost in a particular area of my life, please show me that area that I may not miss the mark. Whether the cost is trouble, or time, or thought, or care, or pains, or reading, or praying, or self–denial, or conflict, or working, or labour of any kind, or giving my resources to your cause, Lord show me where and how I need to count the cost. I want my life to truly count for you and know what it never will until it starts to really cost me something. Amen.”

J.C Ryle Quote

“We are not to be ashamed to confess Christ before men, and to let others know what He has done for our souls. If we have found peace through His blood and been renewed by His Spirit, we must not shrink from avowing it, on every proper occasion. It is not necessary to blow a trumpet in the streets, and force our experience on everybody’s notice.” “All that is required is a willingness to acknowledge Christ as our Master, without flinching from the ridicule or persecution which by so doing we may bring on ourselves. More than this is not required; but less than this ought not to content us. If we are ashamed of Jesus before men, He will one day be ashamed of us before His Father and the angels.” ” .” ”

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Day Twenty One When We Sense Our Weakness, God Releases His Power 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon (June 19, 1834 – January 31, 1892) was a British Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the “Prince of Preachers”. In his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times each week at different places. His sermons have been translated into many languages. He was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, a commentary, books on prayer, a reading, a magazine, poetry, hymns, and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime.

What God is looking for A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God’s work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness. When God’s warrior marches forth to battle, strong in his own might, when he boasts, “I know that I shall conquer, my own right arm and my conquering sword shall get unto me the

victory,” defeat is not far distant. God will not go forth with that man who marches in his own strength. He who reckons on victory thus has reckoned wrongly, for “it is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” They who go forth to fight, boasting of their prowess, shall return with their bright banners trailed in the dust, and their armour stained with disgrace.

God’s way or no way Those who serve God must serve Him in His own way, and in His strength, or He will never accept their service. That which man does, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth He casts away; He will only reap that corn, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love. God will empty out all that you have before He will put His own into you; He will first clean out thy granaries before He will fill them with the finest of the wheat. The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in His battles but the strength which He Himself imparts. Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting Evangelism Daily Readings

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Grace is my shield and Christ my song.”

down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

“When I am weak then am I strong,

Application: I have been an evangelist for nearly 30 years. When I first knew I had this gift, people used to say I had ‘the gift of the gab.’ I was proud of this accolade. I felt good about being able to talk to anyone anywhere about the Lord. I enjoyed flexing my personality and ability ‘for the Lord.’ When people came to the Lord, I thought that it was me and my personality which had done it. How foolish and ignorant. Now I realise that something quite different is needed for real success in evangelism. Thankfully, I pray, my attitude has shifted a mile from where it used to be in the early days. Now I know that only what the Lord does through me is of any worth. I am only the conduit of His grace. Even if I were the most charming, intelligent, charismatic, lovable person on the earth, and the Lord decided not to save the person I was talking to, they would not be saved. What the Lord loves is a humble person who relies utterly and completely on Him for success in evangelism. In fact, the more “I” get out of the way, the better my evangelism becomes. It seems to me now that the more I rely on Him, and the less I rely on me, the more He delights to exercise His saving power and strength. So if you are feeling weak, timid, afraid, and unable to evangelise, you are prime candidate to be used by God to win souls for Him. You are the kind of vessel He delights to work through. You have a 30 year advantage over me, for it’s taken me so long to learn this vital lesson.

Psalm 20: 7-8

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.

C.H Spurgeon Quote

“To be a soul winner is the happiest thing in this world. And with every soul you bring to Jesus Christ, you seem to get a new heaven here upon earth.” ”

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Day Twenty Two How To Woo Sinners To Christ With The Gospel 2 Timothy 2:15 “Rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon

How to rightly handle the gospel What is the right way, then, to handle the Word of Truth? It is like a sword and it was not meant to be played with. That is not rightly to handle the Gospel. It must be used in earnest and pushed home. Are you converted, my Friends? Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Are you saved, or not? Swords are meant to cut and hack, wound and kill—and the Word of God is for pricking men in the heart and killing their sins. The Word of God is not committed to God’s ministers to amuse men with its glitter, nor to charm them with the jewels in its hilt, but to conquer their souls for Jesus!

Telling the truth about sin He that rightly handles the Word of God will never use it to defend men in their sins, but to slay their sins! If there is a professing Christian here who is living in known sin, shame upon him! And if there is a non-Christian man who is living in sin, let his conscience upbraid him! What will he do in that day when Christ comes to judge the hearts of men? Remember, the books shall be opened and every thought shall be read out before an assembled universe! I desire to handle the Word of God so that no man may ever find an excuse in my ministry for his living without Christ and living in sin, but may know clearly that sin is a deadly evil and unbelief the sure

destroyer of the soul! He has, indeed, been made to handle the word aright who plunges it like a two-edged sword into the very heart of sin!

Woo by sweet assurance The Gospel ought never to be used for frightening sinners from Christ. I believe it is so handled sometimes. Sublime doctrines are rolled like rocks in the sinner’s way and dark experiences set up as a standard of horror which must be reached before a man may believe in Jesus—but to rightly handle the Word of Life is to frighten men to Christ rather than from Him—yes, to woo them to Him by the sweet assurance that He will cast out none that come! That He asks no preparations of them, but if they come at once, as they are, He will assuredly receive them. Have I not handled the Word of Truth in this way hundreds of times in this house? Has it not been a great magnet attracting sinners? As a magnet has two poles, and with one pole it repels, so, no doubt, the Truth of God repels the prejudiced, rebellious heart—and thus it is a savour of death unto death. But our object is so to handle it that the attractive pole may come into operation through the power of the Spirit of God—and men may be drawn to Christ.

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Are you standing on the Rock? If you are not converted, do not pretend that you are. If you have not known what it is to be brought down to see your own nothingness and then to be built up by the power of the Spirit upon Christ as the only foundation, O, remember that whatever is built upon the quicksand will fall with a crash in the hour of trial! Do not be satisfied with anything short of a deep foundation, cut in the solid rock of the work of Jesus Christ. Ask for real vital godliness, for nothing else will serve your turn at the Last Great Day. Now, this is rightly to handle the Word of God—to use it to push the Truth of God home upon men for their present conversion, to use it for the striking down of their sins—to use it to draw men to Christ, to use it to arouse sinners and to use it to produce, not mere profession, but a real work of Grace in the hearts of men.

Proclaim the plain gospel There are preachers who are always dealing with the deep things, the very deep things. For them the coral caves of mystery and the far descending shafts of metaphysics have a mighty charm. I have no quarrel with their tastes, but I do not think the Word of God was given us to be a riddle book.

To me the plain Gospel is the part which I cut out and rightly cut out of the Word of God.

Seek first the souls of men There is a soul that needs to know how to find peace with God. Some other Brother can tell him where predestination falls in with free agency, I do not pretend to know. But I do know that faith in Jesus brings peace to the heart. My business is to bring forth that which will save souls, build

up saints and set Christians to work for Christ. I leave the mysteries, not because I despise them, but because the times demand that we, first, and above all other things, seek the souls of men! Some Truths of God press to be heard. They must be heard now, or men will be lost. This is what the preacher has to do—leaving certain parts of the Truth of God for other times, he is now rightly dividing the Word of Truth when he brings out that which is of pressing importance. In the Bible there are some things that are essential, without which a man cannot be saved at all. There are other things which are important, but still, men are saved, notwithstanding their ignorance of those things. Is it not clear that the essentials must have prominence?

Don’t give first place to second truth Every Truth ought to be preached in its turn and place, but we must never give the first place to a second Truth, or push that to the front which was meant to be in the background of the picture. “We preach Christ,” said the Apostle, “Christ and Him crucified.” And I believe that if the preacher is rightly to divide the Word, he will say to the sinner, “Sinner, Christ died, Christ rose again, Christ intercedes. Look to Him. As for the difficult questions and nice points, leave them for awhile. You shall discuss them by-and-by, so far as they are profitable to you, but just now, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is the main matter.” The preacher must, thus, separate the vital from the secondary, the practical from the speculative and the pressing and immediate from that which may be lawfully delayed. And in that sense he will rightly divide the Word of Truth.

Prayer:

“Jesus, I pray for myself and my friends who are praying this prayer that we would be people who put first things first. Let this be so also for the way we use our resources, our time, and our talents. Let the advance of the plain gospel be first in all we do, and let us be people who ‘cut out the gospel’ and proclaim it everywhere. Amen.”

C.H Spurgeon Quote

“The man who is all aglow with love to Jesus finds little need for amusement. He has no time for trifling. He is in dead earnest to save souls, and establish the truth, and enlarge the kingdom of his Lord.”

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Day Twenty Three Where Are You? Genesis 3:9 “But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”’

D. L. Moody (1837 – 1899 ) was an American evangelist who founded the Northfield Schools in Massachusetts, Moody Church and Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and the Colportage Association.

If the Lord appeared in your bedroom? I have heard of a great many people who think if they are united to the Church, and have made one profession, that will do for all the rest of their days. But there is a cross for everyone of us daily. Oh, child of God, where are you? If God should appear to you tonight in your bedroom and put the question, what would be your answer? Could you say, “Lord, I am serving Thee with my whole heart and strength; I am improving my talents and preparing for the kingdom to come?”

Are you an ‘O O’ Christian? When I was in England in 1867, there was a merchant who came over from Dublin, and was talking with a business man in London; and as I happened to look in, he introduced me to the man from Dublin. Alluding to me, the latter said to the former, “Is this young man all O O?” Said the London man, “What do you mean by O O?” Replied the Dublin man, “Is he Out-and-Out for

Christ?” I tell you it burned down into my soul. It means a good deal to be O O for Christ; but that is what all Christians ought to be, and their influence would be felt in the world very soon, if men who are on the Lord’s side would come out and take their stand, and lift up their voices in season and out of season.

Would any one know you are a Christian? As I have said, there are a great many in the church who make one profession, and that is about all you hear of them; and when they come to die you have to go and hunt up some musty old church records to know whether they were Christians or not. God won’t do that. I have an idea that when Daniel died, all the men in Babylon knew whom he served. There was no need for them to hunt up old books. His life told his story.

What it takes to advance the gospel What we want is men with a little courage to stand up for Christ. When Christianity wakes up, and every child that belongs to the Lord is willing to speak for Him, is willing to work for Him, and, if need be, willing to die for Him, then Christianity will advance, and we shall see the work of the Lord prosper. There is one thing which I fear more than Evangelism Daily Readings

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anything else, and that is the dead cold formalism of the Church of God. There is none so dangerous as this dead, cold formalism, which has come right into the heart of the Church. There are so many of us just sleeping and slumbering while souls all around are perishing. I believe honestly that we professed Christians are all half asleep. Some of us are beginning to rub our eyes and to get them half-opened, but as a whole we are asleep!

While the Church sleeps, millions are perishing There was a little story going the round of the American press that made a great impression upon me as a father. A father took his little child out into the field one Sabbath, and, it being a hot day, he lay down under a beautiful shady tree. The little child ran about gathering wild flowers

and little blades of grass, and coming to its father and saying, “Pretty! pretty!” At last the father fell asleep, and while he was sleeping the little child wandered away. When he awoke, his first thought was, “Where is my child?” He looked all around, but he could not see him. He shouted at the top of his voice, but all he heard was the echo of his own voice. Running to a little hill, he looked around and shouted again. No response! Then going to a precipice at some distance, he looked down, and there upon the rocks and briars, he saw the mangled form of his loved child. He rushed to the spot, took up the lifeless corpse and hugged it to his bosom, and accused himself of being the murderer of his child. While he was sleeping his child had wandered over the precipice. I thought as I heard that, what a picture of the Church of God and it’s relationship with those who don’t yet know Christ!

Prayer: “Lord, I want to be an O O Christian. I ask you to forgive me for not being this in the past, but today is a new day. When you return I want you to find me serving you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. And Lord, let me never be one in the Church who has fallen asleep under the tree! Amen.”

D.L Moody Quote

“When a man is filled with the Word of God you cannot keep him still, If a man has got the Word, he must speak or die.”

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Day Twenty Four Be Filled With The Spirit! Ephesians 5:18 “Be filled with the Spirit”.

D. L. Moody (1837 – 1899 ) I SUPPOSE if I could put the question and ask those who are filled with the Spirit to respond, very few if any would.

power from on high.”

Being filled with the Spirit is a command

We can be Christians but not be filled with the Spirit

And yet we read in Ephesians 5:18 that this is a command: “Be ye filled with the Spirit.” God commands us to be filled with the Spirit; and if we are not filled, it is because we are living beneath our privileges. I think that is the great trouble with Christendom today: we are not living up on the plane where God would have us live. In the 20th chapter of John’s Gospel, and the 22nd verse, are these words: “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” Now, those men had already the Holy Ghost dwelling in them. They would never have left their fishing smacks and followed Christ during those three years of humiliation and suffering if it hadn’t been for the Spirit of God working in them.

If those men needed to be endued with power, do you think we are going to be used without it? The great trouble with many of us is, that we are working for God without power. We are sons of God - no doubt about that - and daughters of God. We can “read our titles clear to mansions in the skies,” but we are sons and daughters without power. That is the trouble.

Jesus breathed on His disciples But almost the first thing after the resurrection, when our Lord appeared to His disciples and showed them His pierced hands and His wounded side, He breathed upon them and said: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” Yet again, after that, as we see in Luke 24:49, He said: “Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with

Two ways the Spirit comes Now look at Acts 1:8: “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” Notice, Christ said that to the Apostles after they had been with Him three years, and after He had breathed upon them and said: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” There are two ways in which the Holy Spirit comes to a man. The Spirit dwelling in him is one thing, and the Spirit on him for power is another thing. I think that is where Christian people are misled. The trouble is, they are not looking for the Spirit of God for service. When the disciples were about to begin their great work, our Lord said: “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” How many, do you suppose, would have been Evangelism Daily Readings

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converted on the day of Pentecost if Peter had gone and preached without this power? Not one. How quickly this whole world would be reached if we were just looking to God for this same Apostolic power!

Turn to the second chapter of Acts and see how the promise was “Our Gospel that we are preaching is a supernatural Gospel, and we have got to have supernatural power to preach it.” When the power came upon the Apostles, they did greater things than the Master ever did. There was a time when I thought the raising of Lazarus was the greatest work ever done on this earth. But I think the conversion of those 3,000 Jews on the day of Pentecost was more wonderful still. Those hard-hearted Jews were full of hatred and unbelief; many, no doubt, were the same men who murdered Christ. And yet they were swept down by the mighty power of the Spirit. We have got the same obstacles to contend with as the Apostles had. Our Gospel that we are preaching is a supernatural Gospel, and we have got to have supernatural power to preach it.

fourth of Acts, it says again, “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” They had either lost their power or had got greater capacity - I don’t know which. There are a great many men who had power five years ago that haven’t got it now. They are like Samson robbed of his strength, or like fishermen working with old, broken nets. Notice, again, that about ten years after, Peter went out to Caesarea and told Cornelius the words whereby he and his house were saved. While he was speaking, what happened? “The Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word.” That was about ten years after the day of Pentecost, and yet they received the special gift of the Holy Ghost. I firmly believe that if we had this building filled with men and women expecting the Pentecostal power, we would get it. I believe if this building was filled with men and women hungry for the Spirit of God, we would have this place shaken, and there would be an influence felt not only in this land, but in foreign lands. It wouldn’t take long to reach the whole world. Talk about twenty years. It needn’t take twenty years if the Church of God is baptized and quickened.

Is the Baptism in the Spirit for today?

Example of people being filled in the Bible

There is a class of people who say: “Yes; I know the Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, but He came in miraculous power; and we are not warranted in looking for anything like that today.” If you turn to the fourth chapter of Acts you will find that this wonderful work went right on after the day of Pentecost. Peter and John were cast into prison, and brought before the Sanhedrim. The Council didn’t dare to stone them to death because there were so many young converts. So they gave them this order: “Now, you can preach in the Temple or wherever you like, but upon one condition - don’t you preach any more in this man’s name.” The Apostles went forth from the Sanhedrim to the other disciples, and they had a little prayer meeting. What was the result? “The place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” In the second of Acts it says that “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,” and here, in the

Notice that those who are filled with the Holy Ghost immediately begin to testify of Jesus Christ. Elisabeth, when visited by the Virgin, was “filled with the Holy Ghost,” and spoke of the coming Lord. Zacharias also was “filled with the Holy Ghost,” and quoted Scripture in reference to the Messiah. Stephen was “filled with the Spirit,” and received such unction that the men of the synagogue “were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke.” He was able to stand before the whole Sanhedrin, and the power of God was on him in a wonderful degree while he testified of Christ.

3000 swept into the Kingdom by the Spirit of God

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The filling was over and over When Peter was “filled with the Spirit” he went out to preach Christ - he couldn’t help it. All through the New Testament we are told that the Apostles were again and again filled with the Spirit. And as they preached “much people were added to the church.” That always follows. There will be conversions breaking out in all the


churches if we are filled with the Spirit.

Pray to be filled with the Spirit Let us pray that we may receive power for service. Let us not be satisfied with only the power by which we are “sealed unto the day of redemption;” but let us pray that we may be baptized with that power from on high by which we can do great things for the Master.

Evangelists - stay with your calling! It is important to know whether the work we are doing is the work God would have us do. I remember that one time when Dr. Kirk came to Chicago, his old power came back upon him, and he just shook that city as I had never seen it shaken. I suppose if he had stayed, there would have been thousands and thousands converted. The Mayor of the city and the leading men all came to hear him, and they said: “If we could have that kind of preaching we would be glad to hear it.” But he went back to his pastoral work. I believe that man was meant for an evangelist; yet he went back to visit the widow and the fatherless. That was an important work, but others could have done it.

Are you in the right place? Some men are gifted one way and some another. One man has got gifts as a pastor, and another has got gifts as an evangelist, while another is specially qualified to stir up Christians. Let every one ask, “Am I in the right place? Am I where God wants me to be?”

How to receive power for service If you want this power for service God will give

it to you. Just say: “Here I am, Lord. Send me where you please - only give me souls. Give me power to win souls for Jesus Christ.” When that is the uppermost thought in our hearts He won’t disappoint us. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.” If He gave us His Son, will He withhold the Spirit? “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” Are you toiling all night and catching nothing? Cast the net on the right side. Come, my friend, are you ready to go anywhere? Can you say: “Lord, send me to whom you will - only send me. Let that power come upon me, that I may proclaim the gospel for Jesus Christ?” May we have no will but God’s sweet will. Oh, that our wills may be swallowed up in God’s will.

Don’t live without power May we say: “Here we are, Lord; take us - take us - fill us - use us.” I think, if I know my own heart, I would rather die at once and be buried right off than to live without power. Oh, it is an awfully sad thing for a man to outlive his usefulness - to be laid aside as a vessel no longer fit for the Master’s use. There are a good many Christians God can’t use as He used them once.

Final prayer He has got a good many children that were full of power a year ago or five years ago, but they are not right now. How He wants to use them! Oh, I pray from the depths of my soul that as long as I live I may be filled with the Holy Ghost. Let us pray that we may be filled with this power from on high; and that we may be always ready - ready for anything.

Prayer: “Jesus, you say in your Word that if we want this power for service God will give it. Here I am, Lord. Send me where you please - only give power in my evangelism. Give me power to not only evangelise, but to win souls for You. Jesus, may we have no will but your sweet will. Oh, that our wills may be swallowed up in your will. We are not satisfied with the Holy Spirit in us. Holy Spirit we want you to come upon us! Amen.”

C.T Studd Quote

“Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal- a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body.” Evangelism Daily Readings

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Day Twenty Five Christian Courage Joshua 1:6“Be strong and of good courage...!” C.T. Studd (1860-1931) was an English missionary who faithfully served His Saviour in China, India, and Africa. His motto was: “If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” He was an outstanding County and All-England Cricketer, a freshman at Trinity College Cambridge in 1879-1880, taking a degree in law. He forsook his cricketing fame and the family fortune to evangelise the world.

death, whom he counts among his bosom friends. The otherwise Christian is a chocolate Christian! Dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. Sweet they are! Bonbons, lollipops! Living their lives on a glass dish or in a cardboard box, each clad in his soft clothing, a little frilled white paper to preserve his dear little delicate constitution. Here are some portraits of Chocolate Soldiers taken by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself:

The marks of chocolate soldiers Heroism in Christianity has been lost Heroism is the lost chord, the missing note of present day Christianity! Every true soldier is a hero! A Soldier without heroism is a Chocolate Soldier! In peace true soldiers are captive lions, fretting in their cages. War gives them their liberty and sends them, like boys bounding out of school, to obtain their hearts desire or perish in the attempt. Battle is the soldiers vital breath! Peace turns him into a stooping asthmatic. War makes a whole man again, and gives him the heart, strength and vigour of a hero.

True and false soldiers Every true Christian is a soldier of Christ a hero par excellence! Braver than the bravest, scorning the soft seductions of peace and her oft-repeated warnings against hardship, disease, danger and

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They tell others to go, and yet do not go themselves. Never, said General Gordon to a corporal in the midst of a battle, tell another man to do what you are afraid to do yourself. To the Chocolate Soldier the very thought of war brings a violent attack of sickness, while the call to battle always finds him paralysed. I really cannot move, he says. I only wish I could, but I can sing, and here are some of my favourite lines:

I must be carried to the skies On a flowery bed of ease Let others fight to win the prize, Or sail thro bloody seas Mark time, Christian heroes, Never go to war; Stop and mind the babies Playing on the floor. Wash and dress and feed them Forty times a week.


Till they’re roly poly Puddings so to speak. Round and round the nursery Let us ambulate Sugar and spice and all that’s nice Must be on our slate. Go where you will through the Scriptures or history, you find that men who really knew God, and didn’t merely say they did, were invariably Paragons of Pluck; Dare-devil Desperadoes for Jesus; Gamblers for God. Fools and Madmen.

Nobly they fought to win their prize, Climbing the steep ascents of heaven, Thro peril, toil, and pain O God, to us let grace be given, to follow in their train.

The ten spies in Canaan The ten spies were chocolates. They melted and ran over the whole congregation of Israel, turning them into chocolate cream softies, afraid to face the fire and water before them. God put them all into the saucepan again and boiled them for forty years in the desert, and left them there. He has no use for Chocolates. Its not small things He despises, but Chocolates; for He said, Your little ones shall inherit the promise land which you have forfeited through listening to men and despising Me. (Numbers 13)

Chocolate Soldiers speak out against those they perceive as fanatics Chocolates are very fond of talking loud and long against some whom they call fanatics, as though there were any danger of Christians being fanatics nowadays! Why, fanatics among Christians are now rare! Now, if they spoke out against lukewarmness, they would talk sense. Gods real people have always been called fanatics. Jesus was called mad; so was Paul; so was Whitfield, Wesley, Moody, Spurgeon. No one has graduated far in Gods School who has not been paid the compliment of being called a fanatic. We Christians of today are indeed a tepid bunch. Had we but half the fire and enthusiasm, we would have the world evangelized and Christ back among us

in no time. We could have every soul on earth knowing the salvation of Jesus Christ in less than ten years.

Chocolate soldiers substitute prayer for evangelism We Christians too often substitute prayer for playing the game. Prayer is good, but when used as a substitute for obedience, it is naught but a blatant hypocrisy, a despicable Pharisaism. We need as many meetings for action as for prayer perhaps more. Every orthodox prayer meeting is opened by God saying to His people, “Go work today; pray that labourers be sent into My vineyard.” It is continued by the Christians response, “I go, Lord, I will go where ever you send me, that your Name may be hallowed everywhere, that your Kingdom may come speedily, that your Will may be come on earth as in heaven”. But if it ends in nobody going anywhere, it had better never been held at all. Like faith, prayer without works is dead.

Chocolate soldiers waste time and money We are frittering away time and money in a multiplicity of conventions, conferences and retreats, when the real need is to go straight and full steam into battle! Will you fear or will you fight? Shall your brethren go to war and shall you sit here? When He comes, shall He find faith on earth? A thousand times you have admitted: Christ’s -

Love so amazing, so divine, Demands your life, your soul, your all.

Final exhortations To your knees, man or woman! And to your Bible! Decide at once! Don’t hedge! Time flies! Cease your insults to God, quit consulting flesh and blood. Stop your lame, lying, and cowardly excuses. Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.

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Prayer: “Jesus, your servant C.T Studd. was used mightily by you and he brought much glory to you through his life. His fire and zeal for you house was nothing short of inspirational. Grant us, O Lord, that same zeal and fire that you might be pleased to use our lives in the same way as you used his. Jesus, thank you for this mans courage and commitment to your purposes, that he literally gave up everything to serve you in his life time. Do it again through us Lord! Amen.”

C.T Studd Quote “We Christians too often substitute prayer for playing the game. Prayer is good; but when used as a substitute for obedience, it is nothing but a blatant hypocrisy, a despicable Pharisaism...To your knees, man! and to your Bible! Decide at once! Don’t hedge! Time flies! Cease your insults to God, quit consulting flesh and blood. Stop your lame, lying, and cowardly excuses. Enlist! [in the cause of world evangelism]

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Day Twenty Six How To Preach Without Converting Anybody Joshua 1:6“Be strong and of good courage...!” Charles Grandison Finney (August 29, 1792 – August 16, 1875) was a Presbyterian and Congregationalist figure in the Second Great Awakening. His influence during this period was enough that he has been called The Father of Modern Revivalism. Finney is probably best known for his contribution to the religious movement known as the Second Great Awakening during the 1830s. At the heart of this movement was a series of revivals. Finney was an evangelist who spoke at these revivals, using powerful sermons to urge his audiences to devote their lives to God. He was extremely successful in obtaining converts. Today I am going to talk about how to preach without converting anybody.

Don’t preach about Jesus Preach on every doctrine that centres the attention on man rather than Jesus. Teach every doctrine that makes man the centre of God’s attention rather than God the centre of man’s reading. Tell people only what God will do for them. Avoid preaching about the necessity of a radical change of heart, through the truth revealed to the heart by the agency of the Holy Spirit.

Try to be popular with the people Let your supreme motive to be popular with all people, then, of course, your preaching will be suited for that purpose, and not to convert souls to Christ. Avoid preaching doctrines that are offensive to the carnal mind, so that no one should say to you, as they did of Christ, “This is a hard saying, who can hear it?”

Don’t give the impression you believe what you say Make no distinct points, and do not disturb the consciences of your hearers so that they may become truly alarmed about their souls. Avoid all illustrations, repetitions, and expressive sentences that may compel people to remember what you say. Avoid all heat and enthusiasm in your delivery, so that you never make the impression that you really believe what you say.

Don’t make people feel uncomfortable Make appeals to the emotions, and not the conscience, of your hearers. Be careful not to testify from your own personal experience of the power of the gospel, so that you never should produce the conviction upon your hearers that you have something which they need. Do not stir up uncomfortable memories by reminding your hearers of their past sins. Evangelism Daily Readings

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Do not talk about specific sins Denounce sin in a general way, but make no reference to the specific sins of your present audience.

Do not call for an immediate decision Do not make the impression that God commands your listeners here and now to obey the truth. Do not let them think that you expect them to commit themselves right on the spot to give their hearts to God.1 Give the impression that they are expected to go away in their sins, and to consider the matter at later time of their convenience.

Preach grace, but not why you need it Preach salvation by grace; but ignore the condemned and lost condition of the sinner so that he never should understand what you mean by grace, and know his need of it. Preach the gospel as a remedy or a cure, but conceal or ignore the fatal disease of the sinner. Do not speak of the spirituality of God’s holy law (by which comes the knowledge of sin), so that the sinner never should see his lost condition and repent. Make no appeals to the fears of sinners; but give them the impression that they have no reason to fear. Preach Christ as an infinitely friendly and goodnatured being. Ignore those scathing rebukes of sinners and hypocrites which so often made His hearers tremble.

Do not confront sin in any way Do not rebuke the worldly tendencies of the church, so that you should never hurt their feelings, and finally convert some of them. Admit, either obviously or casually, that all men have some moral goodness in them; so that sinners should never understand that they need a radical change of heart, from sin to holiness.

Never mention hell Say so little of hell that your people will think that 1 In the Leader’s Study Guide, study 5, question (4), I discuss how to discern whether it’s right to invite someone to Christ ‘on the spot’ or not. Finney was a mass evangelist so he would naturally teach ‘always invite an immediate response,’ for this is expected of a stage evangelist. This is not the case with personal evangelism.

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you do not believe in its existence yourself. Make the impression that, if God is as good as you are, He could not send anyone to hell. Make no disagreeable reference to the teachings of self-denial, cross-bearing, and crucifixion to the world, so that you should never convict and convert some of your church members. Do not rebuke extravagance in dress, so that you should never make an uncomfortable impression on your vain and worldly church members. Encourage lots of church socials, and attend them yourself. Aim to make your hearers pleased with themselves and pleased with you, and be careful especially not to wound the feelings of anyone.

When talking about sinners, use ‘them’ not ‘us.’ Make sure you avoid preaching to those who are present. Preach about sinners, but not to them. Say “they,” and not “us,” so that anyone should never take your subject personally, and apply it to their own life, securing the salvation of their soul. Preach that the new birth is something God deposits in people, not a fundamental change in the ultimate purpose of our lives.

Tell them ‘Lordship’ is not necessary Never tell people that they must cease from serving self and serve God and do His will. Never tell them that repentance is man’s ability and responsibility to turn from his sin to God! Teach them to delay turning away from all known sin toward God.

Teach extreme Calvinism Preach predestination in such a way that results in fatalism and apathy on the part of all people. Make each person believe that God has already determined who shall be saved, and nothing can change His will. You never want anyone to think that their actions can make any difference. Preach that man is totally unable to obey God. Teach him that no one can turn to God, but he must wait upon God to turn (change) him. Make sure that no one realizes his true responsibility requiring him to repent in order to be saved. You never want anyone to know that man can turn from sin to God but the real problem is that he will not!


Teach the holiness is just an option Teach that holiness is just an option and not a requirement of the gospel. Teach them that they can be Christian without becoming true disciples. Preach eternal security in such a way that requires no perseverance in faith or continuance in holiness on the part of the believer. Make every person think he has his ticket to heaven that is all paid for so that he will always safely scoff at all calls for repentance and righteousness.

Teach Christians that sin is a normal and natural part of their every day life and that they can never truly expect to ever overcome sin through the power of Christ. Preach that no Christian needs to do anything. Teach them that they are safe and heaven bound even if their lives are disobedient and rebellious. To preach like this, dear friends, is to preach so as to not convert anyone!

Teach that sin cannot be overcome Application: Ouch! Although this reading applies mainly to mass evangelists, and stage preachers, this reading is still challenging for anyone who preaches. How did you measure up? Were you guilty, like me, of doing/thinking some of the very things Finney is warning we ought not to do/say? Were there any points which really stood out to you? Where do you need to make some adjustments? How would your church fare if it was measured against these standards? Many churches don’t see many conversions over an entire year. Could this be the reason why? Which of his suggestions would not be politically correct today? Next time you verbalise the gospel with someone, take into account what Finney is saying. Refuse to compromise.

Charles Finney Quote “When sinners are careless and stupid, and sinking into hell unconcerned, it is time the church should bestir themselves. It is as much the duty of the church to awake, as it is for the firemen to awake when a fire breaks out in the night in a great city.�

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Day Twenty Seven Not Loving Our Lives To The Death Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ....” C.T. Studd (1860-1931)

How to train a soldier in Christ for battle The best training for a soldier of Christ is not merely a theological college. They always seem to turn out sausages of varying lengths, tied at each end, without the glorious freedom a Christian ought to abound and rejoice in. You see, when in hand-to-hand conflict with the world and the devil, neat little biblical confectionery is like shooting lions with a pea-shooter: one needs a man who will let himself go and deliver blows right and left as hard as he can hit, trusting in the Holy Ghost. It’s experience, not preaching that hurts the devil and confounds the world. The training is not that of the schools but of the market:

It’s the hot, free heart and not the balanced head that knocks the devil out.

Not loving their lives to the death Nothing but forked-lightning Christians will count. A lost reputation is the best degree for Christ’s service. It is not so much the degree of arts that is needed, but that of hearts, loyal and true, that love not their lives to the death: large and loving hearts which seek to save the lost multitudes, rather than guard the ninety-nine well-fed sheep in the

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British pen. I can easily see why the folks at home want to eliminate Hell from their theology, preaching and thought. Hell is indeed awful unless its preaching is joined to a life laid down by the preacher. How can a man believe in Hell unless he throws away his life to rescue others from its torment? If there is no Hell, the Bible is a lie.

Stop procrastinating Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time of waiting is past! The hour of God has struck! War is declared! In God’s Holy Name let us arise and build! ‘The God of Heaven, He will fight for us’, as we for Him. We will not build on the sand, but on the bedrock of the sayings of Christ, and the gates and minions of hell shall not prevail against us.

Being willing to die for Jesus Should such men as we fear? Before the world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God, we will venture our all for Him, we will live and we will die for Him, and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts. We will a thousand times sooner die trusting only our God, than live trusting in man. And when we come to this position the battle is already won, and the end of the glorious campaign


in sight. We will have the real Holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring faith and works for Jesus Christ.

Being a missionary not romantic The “romance” of a missionary is often made up of monotony and drudgery; there often is no glamour in it; it doesn’t stir a man’s spirit or blood. So don’t come out to be a missionary as an experiment. It is useless and dangerous. Only come if you feel you would rather die than not

come. Lord Wolsey was right: “A missionary ought to be a fanatic or he encumbers the ground.” There are many trials and hardships. Disappointments are numerous and the time of learning the language is especially trying. Don’t come if you want to make a great name or want to live long. Come if you feel there is no greater honour, after living for Christ, than to die for Him. That does the trick in the end. It’s not the flash in the pan but the steady giving forth of light, it’s shining on and on that we need out here.

Our job is to make all hear the Word. God’s job is to give penetration to His Word.

Application:

There are so many truths for me in this reading today (and maybe they are different for you) but here is one on which I would like to comment. ‘It’s not the flash in the pan, but the steady giving forth of light that we need out there’. My prayer for you is that as you process the Evangelism Discipleship DVD series, the Holy Spirit would speak to you about NOT being a ‘flash in the pan’ evangeliser. The real work of the Kingdom is carried out by the steady, faithful people who work tirelessly and consistently over a life time to accomplish the mission of Jesus to evangelise His world. Today, determine in your heart to be one of these people, and not a ‘flash in the pan’ person who changes tack when someone new and more exciting comes along.

Prayer: “Lord, turn us into fanatics, as CT uses the word, so that I will be able to handle hardships, trials, and disappointments, so that our lives will really count on earth. I am not wanting to make a name for myself or to live a long life. What matters to me is that I serve you with all my heart in this life time. Amen.”

C.T Studd Quote “Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell.”

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Day Twenty Eight It’s Not All Up To You Luke 22:42 “Not my will, but yours be done....” Andrew Murray (May 9, 1828 – January 18, 1917) was a South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor. He considered missions to be “the chief end of the church.” Murray is best known today for his reading writings, which place great emphasis on the need for a rich, personal reading life. Many of his 240 publications explain how he saw this reading and its outworking in the life of the Christian.

If we yield, He will do it God works total surrender to Him in the secret of our heart. God urges us by the hidden power of His Holy Spirit to come and speak it out, and we have to bring and to yield to Him that absolute surrender. But remember, when you come and bring God that absolute surrender, it may, as far as your feelings or your consciousness go, be a thing of great imperfection, and you may doubt and hesitate and say: “Is it absolute? Have I really totally surrendered?” But, oh, remember there was once a man to whom Christ had said: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” And his heart was afraid, and he cried out: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

Come with all your doubts, and misgivings, and fears That was a faith that triumphed over the Devil, and the evil spirit was cast out. And if you come and say: “Lord, I yield myself in absolute surrender to my God,” even though it be with a trembling heart and with the consciousness: “I do not feel the power, I do not feel the determination, I do not feel the assurance,” it will succeed. Be not afraid, but come just as you are, and even in the midst of your trembling the power of the Holy Ghost will work.

We are feeble, but God is great! Have you never yet learned the lesson that the Holy Ghost works with mighty power, while on the human side everything appears feeble? Look at the Lord Jesus Christ in Gethsemane. We read that He, “through the eternal Spirit,” offered Himself a sacrifice unto God. The Almighty Spirit of God was enabling Him to do it. And yet what agony and fear and exceeding sorrow came over Him, and how He prayed! Externally, you can see no sign of the mighty power of the Spirit, but the Spirit of God was there. And even so, while you are feeble and fighting and trembling, in faith in the hidden work of God’s Spirit do not fear, but yield yourself.

Yield in faith And when you do yield yourself in absolute

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surrender, let it be in the faith that God does now accept of it.

That is the great point, and that is what we so often miss - that believers should be thus occupied with God in this matter of surrender.

I pray you, be occupied with God. We want to get help, every one of us, so that in our daily life God shall be clearer to us, God shall have the right place, and be “all in all.”

It’s all up to God, if would only but come to Him and yeild And if we are to have that through life, let us begin now and look away from ourselves, and look up to God. Let each believe while I, a poor worm

on earth and a trembling child of God, full of failure and sin and fear, bow here, and no one knows what passes through my heart, and while I in simplicity say, O God, I accept Thy terms; I have pleaded for blessing on myself and others, I have accepted Thy terms of absolute surrender - while your heart says that in deep silence, remember there is a God present that takes note of it, and writes it down in His book, and there is a God present who at that very moment takes possession of you. You may not feel it, you may not realize it, but God takes possession if you will trust Him. God not only claims it, and works it, and accepts it when I bring it, but God maintains it.

Prayer: “Lord, I can tell Andrew Murray really knew you, and relied on you, and trusted in you, and leaned on you to change him. He realised it was all up to you Lord. Today Lord, we surrender to you. We look away from ourselves, and look up to You. Even though we feel like poor worms on earth, trembling children of God, full of failure and sin and fear, we bow to you today. We accept your terms of surrender and ask you to talk possession of us. We trust you to work this miracle in us, and to maintains it. Amen.”

Andrew Murray Quote

“There is no one so far lost that Jesus cannot find him and save him.”

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Day Twenty Nine How To Renew Your Energy John 4:34 ‘My food is to do the will of the one who sent me...’”

Andrew Murray (May 9, 1828 – January 18, 1917)

There is not secret to renewing spiritual energy Jesus said: My will is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.’ ‘John 4:34. ‘I have food to eat that ye know not of.’ Jesus had a hidden manna that He received from the Father, and that was the secret of His wonderful power. The nutriment of His life He received from God in heaven. No one could have discovered what it was; but when He tells it to us, it appears so simple that many a one gets puzzled over it. ‘My food is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.’

Living to only to please God Food is the meeting of need, satisfaction. The hunger of Jesus, the yearning of Jesus, extended only to one thing: to please God. Without that He could not rest; in that one thing, He had all He required. And when He found the will of God, He did it, and thereby at once fed His soul with its appropriate food, and was satisfied. Food involves appropriation, the exercise of fellowship. The weak soul, who truly surrenders himself to do the will of God, becomes thereby wonderfully strengthened.

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Obedience is the key Obedience to God, instead of exhausting the energies, only renews them. The doing of God’s will was the food that Jesus had. Food involves quickening and joy. Eating is not only necessary as medicine for strength, but is also in itself something that is acceptable, and imparts pleasure. To observe a feast in the spirit is itself equivalent to food. Obedience to the will of God was Jesus’ highest joy.

Jesus is our food As One who did the will of God, Jesus became our Saviour (Hebrews 10:9-10). He therefore that trusts in Him, receives Him as the fulfiller of the will of God, and with Him receives also the will of God as his life. Now, then, Jesus has become my food; and He Himself dwells in me as the power of my life. And now I know the means by which this life must be fed and strengthened within me.

Jesus is our example The doing of God’s will is my food. The doing of God’s will was for Jesus the bread of heaven; and since I have now received Jesus Himself as my heavenly bread, He teaches me to eat what He Himself ate: He teaches me to do the will of God. That is the meat of my soul. I received the same Spirit that was in Him, and it became truth for me, as for Him. My meat, the highest satisfaction of my soul, fellowship with God, renewal of my


energies, an unbroken feast of joy, is ‘to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.’ Thus the feast of the Supper is prolonged in the continued life of obedience to the will of God.

Application: What a powerful reading! Doing God’s will and being energised as a result is a general principle of life in Christ. Yet, I believe God reserves His greatest blessings to those who engage in His priority, which is evangelism. Listen to Mark 8:35 ‘He who loves his life will lose it, but he who hates His life for me and the gospel will find it.’ Notice Jesus’ inclusion of ‘the gospel’ in this verse. Some would argue that the reason I am energised by doing evangelism is that I am operating in my spiritual gift. If others operate in their spiritual gift, they would be similarly energised. What are we to make of this thought? Well, I think it is true that we are all energised when we operate with our spiritual gift, but I think there is a dimension of life in Jesus which is released in anyone who does evangelism. How do I know that Mark 8:35 teaches this? The word ‘gospel’ in this verse is the Greek word euaggelion which is the same word used in Mark 16:15: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” In Mark 8:35 Mark is talking about the words of the gospel, not the whole sweep of the gospel (i.e. the Bible). I believe that participating in evangelism is the golden key to moving out of a boring mundane Christian life.

Andrew Murray Quote “While others still slept, He went away to pray and to renew His strength in communion with His Father. He had need of this, otherwise He would not have been ready for the new day. The holy work of delivering souls demands constant renewal through fellowship with God.”

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Day Thirty What Evangelism Isn’t. We Need To Stop Mistaking Other Christian Activities For The Spreading Of The Gospel. 2 Timothy 2:15 “Rightly dividing the Word of Truth....”

Mark Dever serves as the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. A Duke graduate, Dr. Dever holds a M.Div. from GordonConwell Theological Seminary, a Th.M. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Ecclesiastical History from Cambridge University.

Defining evangelism correctly matters I remember as a little child hugging my father’s leg at a gas station only to realize it wasn’t his leg I was hugging. I was embarrassed! It was a case of mistaken identity. In the matter of evangelism, I’m concerned about a number of things that people take to be evangelism that aren’t. And this case of mistaken identity can have consequences more serious than mere embarrassment. Let me mention five things mistaken for evangelism.

Imposition Probably the most common objection to evangelism today is, “Isn’t it wrong to impose our beliefs on others?”

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Some people don’t practice evangelism because they feel they are imposing on others. And the way evangelism is often done, I can understand the confusion! But when you understand what the Bible presents as evangelism, it’s really not a matter of imposing your beliefs. It’s important to understand that the message you are sharing is not merely an opinion but a fact. That’s why sharing the gospel can’t be called an imposition, any more than a pilot can impose his belief on all his passengers that the runway is here and not there. Additionally, the truths of the gospel are not yours, in the sense that they uniquely pertain to you or your perspective or experience, or in the sense that you came up with them. When you evangelize, you are not merely saying, “This is how I like to think of God,” or “This is how I see it.” You’re presenting the Christian gospel. You didn’t invent it, and you have no authority to alter it.

Personal Testimony One of the classic testimonies was given by a blind man Jesus healed. When he was questioned after Jesus healed him, he responded, “Whether he [Jesus] is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:25). The man disregarded the menacing threats of those more honoured and respected than he in order to give this verbal witness to the power of God. It’s a wonderful, powerful testimony, but


it’s not evangelism. There is no gospel in it. The man didn’t even know who Jesus was. An account of a changed life is wonderful and inspiring thing, but it’s the gospel of Jesus Christ that explains what it’s all about and how it happened.

Social Action and Public Involvement Being involved in mercy ministries may help to commend the gospel, which is why Jesus taught, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Displaying God’s compassion and kindness by our actions is a good and appropriate thing for Christians to do. But such actions are not evangelism. They commend the gospel, but they share it with no one. To be evangelism, the gospel must be clearly communicated, whether in written or oral form. When our eyes fall from God to humanity, social ills replace sin, horizontal problems replace the fundamental vertical problem between us and God, winning elections eclipses winning souls.

The Results of Evangelism

mistakes in evangelism is to misinterpret the results of evangelism—the conversion of unbelievers—for evangelism itself, which is the simple telling of the gospel message. Who can deny that much modern evangelism has become emotionally manipulative, seeking simply to cause a momentary decision of the sinner’s will, yet neglecting the biblical idea that conversion is the result of the supernatural, gracious act of God toward the sinner? When we are involved in a program in which converts are quickly counted, decisions are more likely pressed, and evangelism is gauged by its immediately obvious effect, we are involved in undermining real evangelism and real churches. The Christian call to evangelism is a call not simply to persuade people to make decisions but rather to proclaim to them the good news of salvation in Christ, to call them to repentance, and to give God the glory for regeneration and conversion. We don’t fail in our evangelism if we faithfully tell the gospel to someone who is not converted; we fail only if we don’t faithfully tell the gospel at all. Evangelism itself isn’t converting people; it’s telling them that they need to be converted and telling them how they can be.

Finally, one of the most common and dangerous

Prayer: “Dear Jesus, thank you for Mark Dever. We ask you to bless this man and his ministry. I pray that everyone doing the evangelism course would be very clear about what evangelism is and isn’t, and about it being the priority, so that they enemy would not get a foothold to stop world evangelism. Holy Spirit, open our eyes to the truth about evangelism, and give us passion and zeal for your cause, that we might be set free to glorify you by going into all the world and proclaiming the gospel. Amen!”

Mark Dever Quote “If we would be more faithful in evangelism, we should fuel the flame of love toward God within us, and the flame of gratitude and of hope. A fire so inflamed by God will have no trouble igniting our tongue.” Mark Dever. The Gospel and Personal Evangelism. Crossway Books. 2007. p.27

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Day Thirty One Every Believer Evangelism Luke 14:23 “Go out into the highway and hedges and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Billy Sunday (1862-1935), was a professional baseball player from 1883 to 1891 for Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia teams. He was converted through the street preaching of Harry Monroe of the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. He left a $5,000 a year salary as a baseball player for $84 a month in a ministry position with the previously evangelistic YMCA. From 1893 to 1895 was associated with J. Wilbur Chapman. He was an evangelist from 1893 to 1935. It is estimated that over 300,000 people walked the “sawdust trail” to receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord through his ministry. He also taught that it was the responsibility of every believer to be active in personal evangelism. The following were Billy Sunday’s ‘rules’ for personal evangelism. 1. By personal evangelism is meant the leading of individuals one by one, to commit themselves to Jesus Christ as the Lord and Saviour. 2. Efficiency in this work does not necessarily demand an expert knowledge of the Bible nor of theology, nor skill and power in argument and discussion. 3. It does call for unshaken knowledge of what

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Billy Sunday outside the White House

4.

5. 6. 7.

8.

Jesus Christ has done for us, and deep - rooted purpose to share that knowledge with others. The obligation to do this work rests equally upon ever confessed follower of Christ. Failure here is disloyalty to the “Great Commission”. Don’t let the consciousness of your own unworthiness keep you from this work. Speak as a saved sinner. There can be no greater mistake in working for an individual soul for Christ than the fatal mistake of not making an honest endeavour. Do not be afraid of rebuffs, for it is seldom that one meets a rebuff when courteously, tactfully, and earnestly expressing an interest in another’s eternal welfare. Do not wait for some great opportunity to do this work, but remember that no opportunity is so slight that it may safely be passed.

Some Essentials Experiential knowledge that Jesus Christ is your personal Saviour. - 2 Timothy 1:2. • A personal conviction of the value of a human soul. • A keen sense of the seriousness of sin. • A full appreciation of the completeness of Christ’s salvation to him who accepts.


• • •

A waiting upon God for the infilling of His Spirit for service. A realization that your first obligation in life is the “KING’S BUSINESS.” A recognition of the fact that the only way to learn how to do personal evangelism is by doing it.

That SALVATION is an outward and not an inward look. - Isaiah. 45:22. That while it takes only a moment to RECEIVE Christ it takes an eternity to COMPREHEND Him. Philippians. 3:10-14. That FAITH without WORKS is dead. James. 2:17, Luke 22:32.

Things a Convert Should Know

Following Up Your Efforts

Impress on the individual the importance of jealously guarding the beginning of the new life. Matt 13:3-9, 19:23.

• •

That one’s safety rests in Christ and His work. - 1 Corinthians. 15:14. That one’s assurance rests in what God has said. - 1 John 5:13. That his PEACE depends on not grieving the Holy Spirit. - Ephesians. 4:30-32.

Continue, if possible, to sustain a helpful relation to him.

Application: I couldn’t help but notice Billy Sunday’s definition of evangelism - the winning of souls. Many of you would have seen this device straight away. How are we to reconcile this to the fact that the Lord used Billy to win 300,000 souls in mass evangelism? i.e. if this device was operative in his life, how was it that it didn’t stop him being very fruitful in evangelism? The short answer is that this device is designed to knock everyone without the gift off evangelism, not those with the gift i.e. Believing evangelism to be the winning of souls will not put a stage/mass evangelist off doing evangelism. Being an Ephesians 4:11-12 stage evangelist with the gift, they love being on stage, love giving altar calls and seeing people respond, and are not put off in the least when a percentage of the crowd doesn’t respond. The devil’s device of defining evangelism as the winning of souls doesn’t effect them. But what about the 98% of the Church who are not stage evangelists, or people with the Ephesians 4:11-12 gift? This device has been used by the devil to knock them out of evangelism. When you see session five in the DVD series, you’ll see why this is so! If Billy Sunday had been aware of the Biblical definition, and promoted this, that evangelism was the spread or proclamation of the gospel, irrespective of results, his drive to mobilise the Church in his day for personal evangelism would doubtless have been much more successful. This is one point I wanted to comment upon. Another is this: ‘A recognition of the fact that the only way to learn how to do personal evangelism is by doing it’. How insightful. Many pastors today believe in error that before their people can ‘do’ evangelism, they must be ready to do it. I remember one conversation with a pastor where he said ‘I want my people to be so filled with the Spirit that they will run out of the church to tell people about Jesus! So I am not training them for evangelism until I sense they are at this point.’ How tragically mistaken this pastor is. He is unwittingly putting the hand brake on the Great Commission in his church. He is unwittingly stopping his people from doing evangelism. This pastor too didn’t know what he didn’t know. The truth is, as Billy Sunday quite rightly noted, the only way to learn how to do personal Evangelism Daily Readings

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evangelism is by doing it. And becoming good at it takes time. How did you learn to ride a bicycle when you were young. You just started! Sure, you fell off many times, and you needed someone to help you, but eventually you ‘got it.’ It’s the same with personal evangelism. Jesus took three years to make the disciples good ‘fishers of men.’ And here’s the thing - when people do it (generally speaking, and after finding their feet with it) they come back into the church on fire. In other words, it’s not waiting in church for some special feeling - it’s going out of the church, doing some evangelism, and bringing the joy back into the church (Psalm 126:5-6). Notice too how realistic Billy is about the challenges of personal evangelism - that we can expect bumps and bruises on the way. Billy calls these ‘rebuffs’. Rebuffs will be minimal if we are sincere, gracious, loving and kind as we share the gospel. As we get out there and do it regularly, the Holy Spirit will teach us and show us how to get better and better. Here is a great truth - the more you do, the more you’ll want to do. Don’t expect to breakthrough in evangelism if you only go out once a week for 15 minutes. No athlete, no soldier, no farmer, (or any other of the metaphors the Bible uses to describe a Christian) will succeed with their endeavour with 15 minutes a week of input. Sure, you might start with this, but don’t live with this. Be committed to increasing each week the amount of time you spend in personal evangelism. God will honour your commitment. Watch what He will do in you and through you!

Billy Sunday Quote

“If you live wrong you can’t die right.”

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Day Thirty Two Power Evangelism Mark 16:17-18 “...and these signs will follow those who believe in my name they will cast out demons they will speak in other tongues and… will heal the sick.” The reading today focusses on an area of evangelism which has caused great discussion in Christian circles. That is, the place of signs and wonders in evangelism.

Introduction John Wimber was an American pastor/teacher in the 1980’s - 1990’s who held the view that the simple proclamation of the words of the gospel should always be accompanied by signs and wonders. Bill Johnson is another pastor who holds the same view, which was passed onto him from Wimber. Both Wimber and Johnson teach that evangelism is incomplete if signs and wonders have not accompanied the message. At 63, Wimber died of a brain hemorrhage. Wimber claimed that much of the west’s evangelism efforts were devoted to reaching the minds and hearts of people through message-centred communication, through rational debate or argument (what he termed ‘programmatic evangelism’). For Wimber, programmatic evangelism was not bad. It’s just that power evangelism was better. What characterises this form of evangelism is the expectation and encouragement of miraculous activity. Wimber claims that in power evangelism, resistance to the gospel is overcome by the demonstration of God’s power, and receptivity to Christ’s claims is usually very high once the receivers have personally experienced a sign or a wonder.

Having said this, Wimber went to great lenghts to point out that ‘I use programmatic evangelism myself, and encouraged others to use it.’ But, he said, evangelism is incomplete without a sign or wonders accompanying the delivery of the words of the gospel, the latter authenticating the word. Wimber and Johnson’s claim is that this is how the Apostles and the disciples evangelised and that we should carry on what they started.

What are we to make of this view? The following is an answer that I give in my book, chapter 15, page 438. I knew a minister who stopped using the tools we developed to proclaim the gospel (programmatic evangelism) because, he said, “…we aren’t seeing signs and wonders when we preach the gospel using your tools. This is a sign to us that we are preaching an incomplete gospel. Jesus said signs and wonders would follow the preaching of the gospel.” The leader then decreed that everyone in his church should stop using the tools. I asked him to write to me when he had found a replacement tool which delivered signs and wonders each time the gospel was proclaimed. That was eight years ago, and I still have not received a letter.

Give them both barrels! Just recently I received an email from someone who had watched a couple of the home group style DVD studies we have produced on the

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devil’s devices: “I think you’re a great guy and your teaching is spot on, but I also believe it is only half of the coin – like having a one-barrelled shotgun instead of a two-barrelled shotgun. Sure, I have not seen all the DVDs yet but it seems to me that your teaching concentrates on giving non-Christians the Word. When Jesus did it, He gave them both barrels: the Word and the power (miracles, signs and wonders). Aren’t we supposed to be doing at least what He did? Actually, aren’t we supposed to be doing even greater things? To have ‘signs following,’ I think, might mean that we have to be moving in the power of the Holy Spirit - not just moving in the Word. Have you ever seen an aeroplane in the sky or a ship at sea? There is that trail of ‘white stuff’ (their sign) when they are moving. If they are parked up (perhaps even with their engines running) there is no white stuff. I think that when we proclaim the gospel it will be a lot more effective if we have some ‘white stuff’ (signs) to show for it. As you can see, I have been thinking about this these past few days. Having said that, I don’t know how we are going to get to the point where we are doing the ‘white stuff’, the signs and wonders. I suppose to hunger and thirst for it wouldn’t be a bad starting point?” What are we to make of this? What is the truth about “signs and wonders” and their relationship to the proclamation of the gospel?

Signs and wonders every time? What does the Bible say…? It is true from the Biblical accounts that signs and wonders sometimes follow the proclamation of the gospel. But it is an error to expect them every time. Sometimes, for example, when Paul preached the gospel, instead of seeing signs and wonders he was thrown out of town (e.g. Acts 13:50). In John 10:41-42 we learn that the mighty ministry of John the Baptist was not accompanied by any miraculous sign. And in Acts 16:14, we read about Paul’s encounter with Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from Thyatira, who worshipped God and was open to Paul’s message. No miracles are mentioned in this instance, although shortly before, at Iconium, they had been in evidence. “So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable

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time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of His grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders” (Acts 14:3). Notice that it was the Lord who enabled them. While we cannot conjure up signs and wonders, we ought to earnestly ask God for them as we preach the gospel.

So, what’s it to be? One barrel or two? Sometimes the devil will suggest the message of the gospel needs signs and wonders following in order to be effective, as a car needs petrol. When you see the teaching of Jesus from Mark 4:26-29 on DVD study 12, you will be able to quickly dismiss this suggestion as error. What shall we conclude then? Will one barrel do the job, or are two necessary? The gospel alone is a sufficient work of grace for salvation, but signs and wonders are a highly desirable, added dimension of it.

What revivalist Jonathan Edwards thought… Jonathan Edwards, the great revivalist, preacher and academic, commented on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. For Edwards, God’s Word was more powerful for effecting salvation than signs and wonders. Of verse 31, he said: “The warnings of God’s Word are more fitted to obtain the ends of awakening sinners, and bringing them to repentance, than the rising of one from the dead to warn them.”1 Remember, it was through the preaching of Edward’s sermon ‘Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God’ that God sparked full blown revival. No signs and wonders accompanied the preaching of the gospel that day.

Keep proclaiming whether you see them or not… David Larsen, Professor and Chairman of Practical Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, said: “Signs and wonders are given or withheld according to the sovereignty of God. In special times there have indeed been breakthroughs of supernatural happenings to accredit Christian testimony but nothing in Scripture or church history would lead us to believe that such 1 Cited in Jonathan Edwards. The Works Of President Edwards. 4 Vols. New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1864, 4:330


are normative in evangelism.”

The power to save is in the words of the gospel “The power of evangelism is the power of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and the transforming power of the gospel” (Romans 1:16).2 Please don’t misunderstand me. When God shows His power through a sign or a wonder, the sight and experience will plough or water the soil of the heart of a non-believer like few other things. Oh that we would see signs and wonders every time the gospel is preached! But we need to remember several things. First, many people who saw Jesus perform miracles did not convert. Secondly, the Bible does tell us that as we go about preaching the gospel, signs and wonders will follow (Mark 16:19-20). But it does not promise they will always follow. I wonder how far Billy Graham would have got if he had decided to quit unless he saw a sign and a wonder everytime he preached? Imagine ceasing to pray if our prayers were not instantly answered. Thirdly, signs and wonders or not, we should not stop proclaiming. Finally, consider this: when people are “dead in their trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) and blinded by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), isn’t it a miracle when their eyes are opened by the Holy Spirit through the gospel?

Two introverts see signs and wonders following… I have a 30-year-old friend called Craig. He was an introverted person, scared of evangelising. I took him out and apprenticed him, and we went around his church neighbourhood from door to door. Several weeks later he emailed me this story. One day when he had been out giving the gospel, the Holy Spirit came upon him and he burst into tongues. He said that he had prayed for the gift for a long time but it had never come. Now it did, spontaneously and unannounced. He was so excited. Some time later he cast a demon out of a woman who started to talk to him with a man’s voice. Signs and wonders were beginning to follow the proclamation of the gospel for Craig. He 2 David L. Larsen. The Evangelism Mandate: Recovering The Centrality Of Gospel Preaching. Crossway Books, 1992, p.51

is now hooked on evangelism, and we made a video of his remarkable story. In chapter nine of my book ‘STRATEGIES FROM HEAVEN’ I mentioned a nurse called Adelle, a self-confessed introvert who ended up sharing the gospel with more than 1000 people in six months. Using the tools we’ve developed for proclaiming the gospel, she has also seen signs and wonders. One day, while she was out giving the gospel door to door, God gave her words of knowledge about the names of everyone in four houses in a row.

What should we conclude about the role of signs and wonders in evangelism? Signs and wonders, though they greatly assist evangelism, are not to be equated with it. Rather, they are God’s means of ‘ploughing’ and ‘watering’ the hearts of non-Christians. Evangelism is simply the proclamation of the gospel. The Lausanne Covenant on Evangelism sums it up succinctly: “We must reject both the scepticism which denies miracles and the presumption which demands them.”3

Final thoughts Unfortunately, because of the influence of this teaching, many Christians have unwittingly been put off evangelism. How so? So eager to see a sign or a wonder, they forget about the words of the gospel. i.e. the gospel message is not proclaimed. Others have come to equate signs and wonders with evangelism i.e. evangelism has been redefined as ‘a power encounter.’ Both outcomes are damaging the advance of the Great Commission. If we could hold firmly to the six step model taught in DVD 6 which shows how non-Christians are drawn to Christ (a model which welcomes and endorses signs and wonders), this confusion could be avoided.

3 Dr John Stott. Editor, Making Christ Known. Historic Mission Documents From The Lausanne Movement 1974 – 1989. Paternoster Press, 1996, p.11

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Prayer: “Lord, we long to see signs and wonders accompanying the gospel everywhere, and your Kingdom advancing rapidly. Lord, every time we proclaim the gospel, give us the faith to step out and seek a power encounter with the person we are speaking to when we feel prompted by the Spirit to do so. And if you don’t move in a visible way through our prayers, we’ll accept and believe that you will move powerfully over time through the gospel message, growing it in the heart and mind of the non-Christian to whom we deliver it! We stand on your word that it alone is called ‘the power of God for salvation.’ Amen.”

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Day Thirty Three How To Have Beautiful Feet Romans 10:13-15 “But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”’ Dr John Piper

How to be part of God’s plan What are the steps that we must take so that we know what we must do to be a part of God’s saving plan for ourselves and our family and friends and the nations without the gospel. When Paul says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news,” he is quoting Isaiah 52:7. The point is twofold.

Bringers of Good News Are Precious and Beautiful First, preachers of the gospel – bringers of God’s good news – are so precious that we see even their soiled and bloody feet as beautiful. Beautiful feet are not soft, manicured, painted, well-tanned feet. Beautiful feet are like the dirty, worn, wrinkled, leathery, scarred feet from many miles of trekking into remote places with good news that could not be heard any other way. So the first point of quoting Isaiah 52:7 is this: bringers of good news are precious people – people of whom the world is not worthy – beautiful for their worn out bodies in the service of King Jesus.

Paul Brand, the medical missionary to India, said that his missionary mother took all the mirrors out of her house when he told her at about age 70 she had aged; and for the last 20 years of her missionary life (into her nineties) she never had a mirror in the house in the mountains of India. When she died villages gathered from all through the mountains to bury a beautiful woman.

God Has Sent People with the Good News The other point of saying, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news,” is to show that God has indeed sent people with the good news. So let’s focus on the conditions that must be put in place whenever anyone is to be saved. There are five steps that Paul mentions. Let’s take them in reverse order from the way he mentions them in verses 14-15 and mention them in the order that they happen: 1. A preacher must be sent. 2. The sent preacher must preach the good news. 3. The preached good news must be heard. 4. The heard good news must be believed. 5. The belief must be the kind that calls on God for salvation. Effective messengers of the gospel are sent by Evangelism Daily Readings

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God. Speaking for Christ is not a merely human impulse. God blesses God-sent messengers of the gospel. But be careful here! Don’t say to yourself, “I am not sent, and so I will not speak.” Rather say, “Here I am, Lord, send me. Send me to an

un-reached people. Send me to the urban neighbourhoods of my city. Send me across the street in my perishing suburb. Send me across the office. Send me to the telephone today. Send me across this room when the service is over.”

Prayer: “Dear Jesus, you have given us feet not just to keep us upright and stable in the wind, nor as fillers for nice shoes, nor to act as paddles for swimming. You gave us feet for travel. You gave us example in your word of how your travelled many miles on foot to reach the lost. You used phrases and words like ‘go into all the world’, ‘send’ ‘(As the Father sent me, so I send you) ‘search’ (as in looking for lost sheep). Today Lord, as we go out to give the gospel to someone, or hand out a tract, we thank you for our feet that enable us to go. Make them more beautiful in your eyes day by day as we learn to use them for your glory! Amen.”

John Piper Quote “The wisdom of God devised a way for the love of God to deliver sinners from the wrath of God while not compromising the righteousness of God.”

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Day Thirty Four Can Those Who Have Never Heard The Gospel Be Saved? Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved”

Dr. Norman Geisler is the author or coauthor of some 70 books and hundreds of articles. He has taught theology, philosophy, and apologetics on the college or graduate level for 50 years. He has spoken or debated in some 26 countries on six continents. He has a B.A, M.A., Th.B., and Ph.D (in philosophy).

A Vindication of God’s Justice. Is it fair for God to send people to hell who have never heard the only Gospel by which they can be saved? This question is really several questions in one. They will be broken down and analyzed one by one.

Is there salvation apart from Christ? The biblical answer to this question is clear: All human beings are born in sin (Psalm. 51:5 KJV) and are “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3 KJV). For “… just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned [in Adam]” (Romans 5:12). Addressing explicitly those who have only general revelation, the apostle Paul declared, “For since the

creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20).

The lost are lost apart from knowing Christ Likewise, he adds, “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law” (Romans 2:12). Then, summing up his conclusion from the whole section, Paul pronounces, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22-23). Yes, those who have never heard remain lost apart from knowing about Christ.

Is there salvation apart from Christ? All orthodox Christians agree that there is no salvation apart from Christ’s redemptive work. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The apostle Paul added, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Further, the writer of Hebrews agreed, affirming Evangelism Daily Readings

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that “Christ… has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). And “this priest [Christ] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God… because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:12, 14). Literally, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Is It Fair to Condemn Those Who Have Not Heard? Yes, it is just to condemn those who have never received God’s special revelation. First, through general revelation they know about his “eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20). They are aware that he “made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them” (Acts 14:15). They are aware that God “has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons (Acts 14:17). Although they do not have the Law of Moses, “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law.... Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law [of Moses], since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts” (Romans 2:12-15).

deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

If any unbeliever truly sought God through the general revelation, God would provide the special revelation sufficient for salvation. After God led Peter to the Gentile Cornelius, Peter declared: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” (Acts 10:35). The writer of Hebrews tells us that those who seek, find. “He rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Many ways to get the gospel

Even though God has revealed himself to the lost in creation and in coscience, fallen humanity has universally rejected that light. Hence, God is not obligated to give them any more light, since they have turned from the light they have. In fact, although they have the truth, “the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Romans 1:18).

God has many ways at his disposal through which he can get the truth of the Gospel to lost souls. The normative way is through preachers of the Gospel (Romans 10:14-15), whether in person or on radio, TV, or some recording. On one occasion God will use an angel to preach the Gospel “to every nation, tribe, language and people” (Revelation 14:6). Many people have been given a Bible, read it, and been saved. Others have been saved through Gospel literature. We have no way of knowing whether God has conveyed special revelation through visions, dreams, and in other miraculous ways. The truth is that God is more willing that all be saved than we are. For “the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God’s justice demands that he condemns all sinners, but his love compels him to provide salvation for all who by his grace will believe. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Move towards the light

Is There a Second Chance?

Someone lost in the darkness of a dense jungle who sees one speck of light should go toward it. If that person turns away from the little light and becomes forever lost in darkness, there is only one person to blame. The Scriptures say, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their

A few Christian apologists and many cults believe that God will give a second chance after death to those who never heard the Gospel. Orthodox Christians reject this. The Bible declares that “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). The urgency with which Scripture speaks of making

Conscience and Creation

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one’s decision now in this life (Prov. 29:1; John 8:24; Hebrews 3:7-13; 2 Peter 3:9) is strong evidence that there is no second chance. The fact that people immediately go to either heaven or hell (Luke 16:19-31; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Revelation 19:20) indicates that a decision must be made in this life. Since God has so many ways to reveal himself to unbelievers before death, it is unnecessary that he do so after they die. Belief in a second chance undermines the missionary mandate. Why have the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), if people can be saved apart from receiving Christ in this life?

‘Second chance’ Scriptures dubious Interpretations of Scripture used to support second-chance salvation are, to say the least, highly disputed (for example, 1 Peter 3:18-19). Clear texts are unambiguous in teaching that hell awaits the unrepentant. There is no real evidence that God will give anyone a second chance to be saved after death.

Prayer: “Dear Jesus, thank you for Norman Geisler and his ministry and this excellent article. Prosper this man’s ministry and bless it. I pray for the Church, and for myself, regarding the issue of whether those who have never heard of you can be saved. I believe the lost really are lost without you and that no one can come to the Father except through you (John 14:6). I know some in your Church believe that people can be saved without ever hearing of you. Rather than enter into debate and waste time and effort and energy on the finer points of Christian doctrine which are unclear, let us do what your word clearly says to do, which is to go to the lost with the gospel (Mark 16:15). Lord, is it not true that since your Bible does not contradict itself, the verses that can be interpreted in more than one way (i.e. the verses which might support those who have never heard of Jesus being saved) must be understood in the light of those that cannot (i.e. John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; Acts 4:12; Acts 2:38; John 3:1-7 etc)? Let us therefore not be a people who sit back and relax, saying ‘God will do save people without us.’ God save us from this heartless attitude. Rather, let us be a soft hearted obedient people who are keen and eager to do your clearly revealed and unequivocal will and bring glory to your name. Amen.”

Norman Geisler Quote ““A skeptic once said to me, ‘I don’t believe the Bible because it has miracles.’ I said, ‘Name one.’ He said, ‘Turning water into wine. Do you believe that?’ I said, ‘Yeah, it happens all the time.’ He said, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘Well, rain goes through the grapevine up into the grape, and the grape turns into wine. All Jesus did was speed it up a little bit.”

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Day Thirty Five Readiness Ephesians 6:15. “Having shod your feet with the READINESS OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.” Dr John Piper

The Gospel of Peace Before we focus on the word “readiness” and its place in the armour of God, I want to say just a word about the gospel of peace. The gospel that we have for the world -for our lost dad or sister or neighbour or classmate or colleague or unreached people group - the gospel that we have is the good news that God purchased peace by the death of his Son and offers it to sinners who believe in Jesus.

The wrath of God is dealt with We have the good news that God’s omnipotent wrath against sinners has been taken away through the death of Jesus for sin. And everyone who believes is reconciled to him freely by grace. And in the place of enmity comes peace. And there is nothing sweeter in all the world than to be at peace with God.

Satan doesn’t want peace Sometimes commentators point out how strange it is that Paul should mention a gospel of peace right in the middle of a passage dealing with spiritual warfare and conflict and armour. But it isn’t strange is it? The aim of our warfare is that people would accept the terms of peace that God holds out, namely, faith in Jesus. And the only reason there is any conflict at all is because the

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power of sin and the powers of Satan are dead set against making peace with God. Look at Ephesians 2:13-18 to see Paul develop the gospel of peace for us. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility . . .and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off (gentiles!) and peace to those who were near (Jews!); for through him we have access in one Spirit to the Father.”

Two kinds of enemy overcome The good news of peace is that when Christ died and shed his blood for sin two kinds of enmity were overcome. The enmity between God and repentant sinners was brought to an end. And the enmity between races and factions in Christ was brought to an end. So Christ became our peace. That is the gospel of peace. So let’s think for a few minutes about this readiness as part of the whole armour of God. Ephesians 6: 11-12 say, “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending


against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Four things that we learn from those two verses: 1. From the cradle to the grave, life is war. Your soul, your mind, your body, your family, your career are fields of conflict. Until Satan is finally thrown into the lake of fire our peace with God will have to be a vigilant peace. Because Satan will certainly give us no peace if we are at peace with God. 2. The war we are in is not a war with flesh and blood but with supernatural evil powers. What amazes me about Paul’s words here is not what he affirms but what he denies. I’m not surprised to hear him say that we wrestle with evil angelic, demonic, supernatural powers. What surprises me is that he says (in v. 12) we do NOT wrestle with flesh and blood.

Paul looked to be fighting flesh and blood all the time I want to say to Paul, “You’ve been stoned and beaten and imprisoned and run out of town and shipwrecked. Your flesh has been torn and your blood has been spilt and that has hindered your ministry again and again. The flesh of others has torn your flesh and the blood of others has boiled against your blood. What do you mean you don’t wrestle against flesh and blood? It’s people with their hands and their stones and rods and chains that have cost you dearly and tested your faith almost to the limit.” I think Paul would answer. “You’re right. Flesh and blood is real and it can be very evil. But what I mean is this. Whenever someone’s flesh attacks me, or someone’s blood boils against me or my way is hindered by man, something else is also going on, something deeper, bigger, more terrible, more sinister, more destructive than meets the eye. I don’t mean that flesh and blood can’t hurt or hinder the cause of Christ. I mean that the prince of the power of the air is more dangerous than any of his subjects and that he must overcome in every instance of conflict, or the battle is lost.”

Consider Ephesians 2:1-2.

“And you he made alive when you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”

Defeat the power, not the person Sure, the sons of disobedience (in their flesh and blood reality) can oppose us in our spiritual warfare; but it’s more decisive to defeat the spirit that works in them and the prince of the power of the air that they follow, than simply to wrestle as though all you are dealing with is human nature. So the first thing we see in verses 11-12 is that life is war, and the second thing we see is that the conflict, if it is going to be successful will be fought with supernatural, demonic forces. If they are not engaged the victory is superficial. 3. The third thing we see is that there is danger of falling in this battle. Three times Paul tells us to take pains to stand, that is not to fall. We’ve just spent several weeks on this issue of perseverance in the book of Hebrews so we need not dwell on it here. 4. The fourth thing we see in these verses is that God has made provision for us so that we can stand and not fall. And that provision is armour. God is able to keep us from falling, Jude says, and the way he keeps us from falling is by fitting us for successful spiritual combat. So if your aim is to persevere in the Christian life and not be defeated by the wiles of the devil, then you must put on the armour described in these verses. This is how God means to keep us safe unto the day of salvation. That’s the context in which we read about having our feet shod with the readiness of the gospel of peace (verse 15). Notice that we are not shod with the gospel. The gospel is the word of God and the word of God is our sword according to verse 17. We are not shod with the gospel. What we are shod with is the READINESS of the gospel. Now what does that mean? Evangelism Daily Readings

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Readiness

you ought to answer every one.”

I think it means, “Let your feet be ready to move with the gospel.” Feet are for moving from one place to another. If you put on shoes of readiness, then the idea would seem to be readiness to do what feet are for, namely moving. And if the readiness is readiness of the gospel it probably means ready to move with the gospel - move with gospel power and for gospel purposes.

Here in a context much like the one in Ephesians is an exhortation to be alert to how you can be the salt of the earth, to answer unbelievers’ questions and to make the most of the time for the sake of Christ. This is what I think Paul means by the readiness of the gospel of peace. Being prepared and being alert and ready to talk about the gospel.

Feet are for spreading the gospel

One last confirmation: In 1 Peter 3:15 the very word “ready” is used in the same kind of exhortation.

Let me show you two or three reasons why I think this is the right interpretation. It’s almost certain that Paul has in mind here the words of Isaiah 52:7:

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”’ Here we have a picture of the feet of people how are running to bring good news and the good news is good news of peace. Surely this is where Paul got his imagery. And if so then the “readiness of the gospel of peace” is surely a readiness to move with the gospel, a readiness to tell the good news, and publish peace and say “God reigns!”

Being ready to share the gospel Here’s another reason I think this is what Paul has in mind, and this is really interesting. Notice in Ephesians 6 that the passage on spiritual warfare comes right after the passage on husbands and wives, children and parents, and masters and slaves. Well, if you turn to Colossians 3 near the end you see that the same three pairs are dealt with - wives and husbands (3:18-19), children and parents (3:20-21) and masters and slaves (3:224:1). But then instead of a paragraph on spiritual armour Paul calls for vigilant prayer (4:2-4) and look what he says in verses 5-6:

“Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious seasoned with salt, so that you may know how

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“Always be ready to make a defence to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” So, coming back to Ephesians 6:15 I have one last observation. The armour of God is given to us believers, to help us stand against the devil. It is introduced as defensive armour. Verse 13: “Take the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.” How to stay standing is the issue.

Attack is the best form of defence So what can we conclude from the fact that the shoes of verse 15 are the readiness to move with the gospel of peace. I conclude this. A ready offense is an essential part of a successful defence. And O how true this is! Giving the gospel away is one of the best ways of experiencing its power in your own life. The best way to taste the power of God for your own soul is to venture something on it. It’s the great old truth of the Lord himself when he said, “He who loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” The more ready we are to move with the gospel, the more life and power and joy and security we will know in the gospel. In giving we will receive. In dying we will live. And in telling the gospel we will hear it again with O so much more depth and power and joy.


How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, good news, proclaiming peace, announcing news of happiness: Our God reigns! Our God reigns!

Prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus, life is a battle and we all sense this. Thank you that you have not left us blind and ignorant as to how to fight the battles which come our way. Thank you for your armour and your strategies. Thank you for prayer. Thank you for your Holy Spirit. That you, Jesus, above all, that you have given us the gospel of peace, and feet with which to deliver it. Help us today O lord to be a people who would not only put on the whole armour, but also a people who would take the gospel to the world, reconciling people to you, and people to each other. Thank you for what John Piper said in this reading: A ready offense is an essential part of a successful defence. Giving the gospel away is one of the best ways of experiencing its power in your own life. The best way to taste the power of God for your own soul is to venture something on it. Jesus, may this be true of us in each of our lives. Amen.”

John Piper Quote

“ Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to have eternal significance. Want this! Don’t coast through life without a passion.”

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Day Thirty Six Join Hands Luke 10: 2 “He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field’” Dr John McArthur

Little boy lost in a wheat field A magazine once carried a series of pictures that depicted one of the saddest stories imaginable. The first picture was of a vast wheat field in Kansas; it was a farm in Western Kansas. From horizon to horizon, all you could see was the wheat waving in the wind. The second picture was of a mother in distress inside her farmhouse in the middle of that wheat field. She had a small boy who had somehow wandered away from the house into that wheat field. The little fellow was so small that he couldn’t be seen; she couldn’t find him. She had called for her husband, and the two of them had searched all day long for that little boy, and they finally decided that they should call the neighbours, who began to search frantically all over the wheat field with no success. They knew the boy was too little to see above the wheat and find his own way out, so the picture showed his mother in great distress. The third photo depicted all the people who had come to find the little boy. They gathered in the morning, joining their hands, and in a great, long line of humanity, swept from one end of that wheat field to the next. The last picture was a heartbreaker; it was a picture of the father standing over the body of his little son. They had finally found him, but he was dead. It was too late. A cold, cold night had claimed its victim. Underneath the final

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picture of a weeping father were these words, “Oh, God, if we had only joined hands sooner.”

Labouring together What a heart-searching story this is. Listen, people, Jesus said, as He looked out over the fields, “The field is white unto harvest, but the labourers are few.” There is a world of lost men, lost women, lost boys and girls, throughout the field of the world. They can’t find home, they can’t find the Father’s house, they can’t see above the wheat of the world. They are perishing in the night of sin, and when the cold morning dawns, it will be too late. I believe the Lord Jesus Christ, here in Luke 10:2, is saying to us, “Join hands. Let us labour together; sweep through the field of the world to find all of those who are desperately in need of our gospel message.”

The whole Church going to the whole world with the whole gospel I don’t think one or two can succeed with the task of reaching the whole world with the gospel. I don’t even think a handful can do it. I think the whole church has to join hands and be collective labour. Labourers are useless unless they labour.


We must take hands and sweep through the world, working in unity with what God has called us to do. This is the message that Jesus is giving us right here in Luke 10:2. We are salt and light to

reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and this is the vital message contained in our Lord’s words.

Prayer: “Lord, I know that to evangelise the world and win it for you is going to take a massive team effort. We need every step in the six step process of drawing a non-Christian to Christ to flourish. Jesus, I pray that all Christians around the world would hold hands together for one great purpose - to evangelise and win the world to you! Help each person in your Church to see they have a vital part to play. Show each one their special and unique talents and abilities. Lord help us today to ‘step up to the plate’ and be part of the team who not only abound in good works (ploughing and watering) but who sweep the wheat fields of the world searching for lost men and women to present them with the gospel, the word of life. Amen.”

John MacArthur Quote

“The true gospel is a call to self-denial. It is not a call to self-fulfillment.”

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Day Thirty Seven Being A Good Listener James 1:19 “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen...”

James 1:19

Anonymous Author

Sick mother, terror in childhood The story is told of Norma Jean. “Norma Jean Mortenson. Remember that name? Norma Jean’s mother, Mrs. Gladys Baker, was periodically committed to a mental institution and Norma Jean spent much of her childhood in foster homes. In one of those foster homes, when she was eight years old, one of the boarders raped her and gave her a nickel. He said, ‘Here, Honey. Take this and don’t ever tell anyone what I did to you.’ When little Norma Jean went to her foster mother to tell her what had happened she was beaten badly. She was told, ‘Our boarder pays good rent. Don’t you ever say anything bad about him!’ Norma Jean at the age of eight had learned what it was to be used and given a nickel and beaten for trying to express the hurt that was in her. “Norma Jean turned into a very pretty young girl and people began to notice. Boys whistled at her and she began to enjoy that, but she always wished they would notice she was a person toonot just a body-or a pretty face-but a person.

Hollywood “Then Norma Jean went to Hollywood and took a new name- Marilyn Monroe and the publicity

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people told her, ‘We are going to create a modern sex symbol out of you.’ And this was her reaction, ‘A symbol? Aren’t symbols things people hit together?’ They said, ‘Honey, it doesn’t matter, because we are going to make you the most smouldering sex symbol that ever hit the celluloid.’

I am a person, not a symbol “She was an overnight smash success, but she kept asking, ‘Did you also notice I am a person? Would you please notice?’ Then she was cast in the dumb blonde roles. “Everyone hated Marilyn Monroe. Everyone did. “She would keep her crews waiting two hours on the set. She was regarded as a selfish prima donna. What they didn’t know was that she was in her dressing room vomiting because she was so terrified. “She kept saying, ‘Will someone please notice I am a person. Please.’ They didn’t notice. They wouldn’t take her seriously.

Three marriages, but no one would listen She went through three marriages-always pleading, ‘Take me seriously as a person.’ Everyone kept saying, ‘But you are a sex symbol. You can’t be other than that.’ “Marilyn kept saying ‘I want to be a person. I


want to be a serious actress.’

Suicide “And so on that Saturday night, at the age of 35 when all beautiful women are supposed to be on the arm of a handsome escort, Marilyn Monroe took her own life. She killed herself. “When her maid found her body the next morning, she noticed the telephone was off the hook. It was dangling there beside her. Later investigation revealed that in the last moments of her life she had called a Hollywood actor and told him she had taken enough sleeping

pills to kill herself. “He answered with the famous line of Rhett Butler, which I now edit for church, ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t care!’ That was the last word she heard. She dropped the phone-left it dangling. “Claire Booth Luce in a very sensitive article asked, ‘What really killed Marilyn Monroe, love goddess who never found any love?’ She said she thought the dangling telephone was the symbol of Marilyn Monroe’s whole life. She died because she never got through to anyone who understood.”

Application: What a tragic account of a wasted life. When we go evangelising, sometimes we might not verbalise the gospel at all. We might sense the Holy Spirit telling us to stop and listen, to listen with our heart not just our ears. In the DVD series you have been watching, we talk a lot about the need to ‘plough’ and ‘water.’ When we listen to the heart and stories of the people we meet, and enter right into their world, this is ploughing and watering at its best. Practice listening today - you never know, we might just be talking to someone who all their life has been looking for someone who would listen and understand them. Best of all, after we have listened, they might invite us to share the gospel with them because we were loving enough to listen and try to understand.

Ernest Hemingway

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

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Day Thirty Eight True Christianity Is A Fight 1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith.” Bishop J.C Ryle

True Christianity! Let us mind that word “true.” There is a vast quantity of religion current in the world which is not true, genuine Christianity. It passes muster, it satisfies sleepy consciences; but it is not good money. It is not the authentic reality that called itself Christianity in the beginning. There are thousands of men and women who go to churches every Sunday and call themselves Christians. They make a “profession” of faith in Christ. Their names are in the baptismal register. They are reckoned Christians while they live. They are married with a Christian marriage service. They mean to be buried as Christians when they die. But you never see any “fight” about their religion! Of spiritual strife and exertion and conflict and self–denial and watching and warring they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfy man, and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable; but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible. It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded and His apostles preached. It is not the religion which produces real holiness. True Christianity is “a fight.”

Fight like a soldier The true Christian is called to be a soldier and must behave as such from the day of his conversion to the day of his death. He is not meant to

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live a life of religious ease, indolence and security. He must never imagine for a moment that he can sleep and doze along the way to heaven, like one travelling in an easy carriage. If he takes his standard of Christianity from the children of this world, he may be content with such notions, but he will find no countenance for them in the Word of God. If the Bible is the rule of his faith and practice, he will find his course laid down very plainly in this matter. He must “fight.” With whom is the Christian soldier meant to fight? Not with other Christians. Wretched indeed is that man’s idea of religion who fancies that it consists in perpetual controversy!

We are fighting the world, the flesh, and the devil No, indeed! The principal fight of the Christian is with the world, the flesh and the devil. These are his never– dying foes. These are the three chief enemies against whom he must wage war. Unless he gets the victory over these three, all other victories are useless and vain. If he had a nature like an angel, and were not a fallen creature, the warfare would not be so essential. But with a corrupt heart, a busy devil and an ensnaring world, he must either “fight” or be lost.


Fight the flesh He must fight the flesh. Even after conversion he carries within him a nature prone to evil and a heart weak and unstable as water. That heart will never be free from imperfection in this world, and it is a miserable delusion to expect it. To keep that heart from going astray, the Lord Jesus bids us, “Watch and pray.” The spirit may be ready, but the flesh is weak. There is need of a daily struggle and a daily wrestling in prayer. “I keep under my body,” cries St. Paul, “and bring it into subjection.” “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity.” “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” “Mortify . . . your members which are upon the earth” (Mark 14:38; 1 Corinthians 9:27; Romans 7:23, 24; Galatians 5:24; Col. 3:5).

Fight the world He must fight the world. The subtle influence of that mighty enemy must be daily resisted, and without a daily battle can never be overcome. The love of the world’s good things, the fear of the world’s laughter or blame, the secret desire to keep in with the world, the secret wish to do as others in the world do, and not to run into extremes—all these are spiritual foes which beset the Christian continually on his way to heaven and must be conquered. “The friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” “The world is crucified to me, and I unto the world.” “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world.” “Be not conformed to this world” (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15; Galatians 6:14; 1 John 5:4; Romans 12:2).

Fight the devil He must fight the devil. That old enemy of mankind is not dead. Ever since the Fall of Adam and Eve he has been “going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it,” and striving to compass one great end—the ruin of man’s soul. Never slumbering and never sleeping, he is

always going about as a lion seeking whom he may devour. An unseen enemy, he is always near us, about our path and about our bed, and spying out all our ways. A murderer and a liar from the beginning, he labours night and day to cast us down to hell. Sometimes by leading into superstition, sometimes by suggesting infidelity, sometimes by one kind of tactics and sometimes by another, he is always carrying on a campaign against our souls. “Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” This mighty adversary must be daily resisted if we wish to be saved. But “this kind goes not out” but by watching and praying and fighting and putting on the whole armour of God. The strong man armed will never be kept out of our hearts without a daily battle (Job 1:7; 1 Peter 5:8; John 8:44; Luke 22:31; Ephesians 6:11).

Resist making a little war Some men may think these statements too strong. You fancy that I am going too far and laying on the colours too thickly. You are secretly saying to yourself that men and women may surely get to heaven without all this trouble and warfare and fighting. Listen to me for a few minutes, and I will show you that I have something to say on God’s behalf. Remember the maxim of the wisest general that ever lived in England: “In time of war it is the worst mistake to underrate your enemy, and try to make a little war.” This Christian warfare is no light matter. What says the Scripture? “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” “Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.” “Strive to enter in at the strait gate.” “Labour . . . for [the] meat that endures unto everlasting life.” “Do not think that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword.” “He who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” “Watch you, stand fast in the faith, quit Evangelism Daily Readings

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you like men, be strong.” “War a good warfare; holding faith, and a good conscience” (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:3; Ephesians 6:11–13; Luke 13:24; John 6:27; Matthew 10:34; Luke 22:36; 1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Timothy 1:18, 19). Words such as these appear to me clear, plain and unmistakable. They all teach one and the same great lesson, if we are willing to receive it. That lesson is, that true Christianity is a struggle, a fight and a warfare. He who pretends to condemn “fighting” and teaches that we ought to sit still and “yield ourselves to God,” appears to me to misunderstand his Bible, and to make a great mistake. The believer is a soldier. There is no holiness without a warfare. Saved souls will always be found to have fought a fight.

There is no neutral ground It is a fight of absolute necessity. Let us not think that in this war we can remain neutral and sit still. Such a line of action may be possible in the strife of nations, but it is utterly impossible in that conflict which concerns the soul. The boasted policy of non–interference, the “masterly inactivity” which pleases so many statesmen, the plan of keeping quiet and letting things alone—all this will never do in the Christian warfare. Here at any rate no one can escape serving under the plea that he is “a man of peace.” To be at peace with the world, the flesh and the devil, is to be at enmity with God and in the broad way that leads to destruction. We have no choice or option. We must either fight or be lost.

No one is exempt All have by nature a heart full of pride, unbelief, sloth, worldliness and sin. All are living in a world beset with snares, traps and pitfalls for the soul. All have near them a busy, restless, malicious devil. All, from the queen in her palace down to the pauper in the workhouse, all must fight, if they would be saved.

There is no let up It admits of no breathing time, no armistice, no truce. On weekdays as well as on Sundays, in private as well as in public, at home by the family fireside as well as abroad, in little things, like

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management of tongue and temper, as well as in great ones, like the government of kingdoms, the Christian’s warfare must unceasingly go on. The foe we have to deal with keeps no holidays, never slumbers and never sleeps. So long as we have breath in our bodies, we must keep on our armour and remember we are on an enemy’s ground. “Even on the brink of Jordan,” said a dying saint, “I find Satan nibbling at my heels.” We must fight until we die.

Do you have ‘fight’ in your walk with God? The saddest symptom about many so–called Christians is the utter absence of anything like conflict and fight in their Christianity. They eat, they drink, they dress, they work, they amuse themselves, they get money, they spend money, they go through a scanty round of formal religious services once or twice every week. But of the great spiritual warfare—its watchings and strugglings, its agonies and anxieties, its battles and contests— of all this they appear to know nothing at all. Let us take care that this case is not our own. The worst state of soul is when the strong man armed keeps the house, and his goods are at peace, when he leads men and women captive at his will, and they make no resistance. The worst chains are those which are neither felt nor seen by the prisoner (Luke 11:21; 2 Timothy 2:26).

Fighting is a sign of true Christianity We may take comfort about our souls if we know anything of an inward fight and conflict. It is the invariable companion of genuine Christian holiness. It is not everything, I am well aware, but it is something. Do we find in our heart of hearts a spiritual struggle? Do we feel anything of the flesh lusting against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh, so that we cannot do the things we would? (Galatians 5:17.) Are we conscious of two principles within us, contending for the mastery? Do we feel anything of war in our inward man? Well, let us thank God for it! It is a good sign. I It is strongly probable evidence of the great work of sanctification. All true saints are soldiers. Anything is better than apathy, stagnation, deadness and indifference. We are in a better state than


many. Upward and onward Christian soldier!

Application: Take a moment or two to list the areas of warfare in your life at the moment. How are these three the devil, the world, and the flesh - attacking you? Your family? Your friends? Your finances? Your health? Your employment? Your plans and dreams in God? Pray into those areas and against those attacks. Remember though, the devil reserves perhaps his greatest energy for the Church to stop it doing evangelism, and for you, to stop you doing the same.

Prayer: “Jesus, help us today to review our lives in light of this reading today. If there is little fighting for your cause going on in our lives, help us to change this situation. Open our eyes to the battle for souls going on in the spiritual realm, and to our vital part in it. Open our eyes to what we can do, and the fight you want us to engage in. Give us decisive victory over the flesh, the world, and the devil. Lord, move me from being a passive sissy spectators, or a Sunday only Christians, to being true fighting soldier of Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit, give us new urgency, passion, and zeal in my walk with you. Amen.”

J.C Ryle Quote

“Those who confine God’s love exclusively to the elect appear to me to take a narrow and contracted view of God’s character and attributes....I have long come to the conclusion that men may be more systematic in their statements than the Bible, and may be led into grave error by idolatrous veneration of a system.” ”

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Day Thirty Nine Oh, The Sweet Work Of The Holy Spirit In Evangelism John 16:8 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”

Today’s reading is written by Andrew Bonar (1810-1892), biographer of Robert Murray M’Cheyne. A hymnwriter, he was known around the world as a saintly and energetic minister who preached and wrote prolifically. The desire behind the writing of all his books, tracts and articles was that souls might be brought to Jesus Christ.

Adoring the Holy Spirit and thanking Him Shall we not honour and bless and adore the Holy Spirit? Surely it might well be expected that our love, our adoring and grateful love, should go forth to Him to whom we owe so much; for every soul that has found the Saviour was brought to him by the Holy Spirit. Not one sinner, from Abel down to our day, accepted the atoning sacrifice till He opened their closed eyes to see their guilt, and the Saviour’s grace.

No one saved except by the Holy Spirit

infidel, outspoken and decided, who, within a few minutes of his death, held out his arm and asked a Christian neighbour to put his hand on his pulse that he might testify how calm and composed and fearless he was in the moment of dying. The truth is, all the world over, that such is the normal state of sinners; the world is in profound slumber and indifference as to sin. But from day to day the Holy Spirit goes forth ‘into all the earth’ (Revelation 5. 6) awaking slumberers and rescuing them from Satan, who goes ‘to and fro in the earth,’ casting men into this deep sleep, and thus deceiving the whole world.

The infinitely wonderful Spirit The kind, patient, long suffering love of the Spirit is infinitely wonderful. He works calmly, and (we may say) in self-hiding silence, willing to be unnoticed in His working. Are not calmness and silence the peculiar style of divinity?

‘In silence mighty things are wrought Each nightly star in silence burns, And every day in silence turns The axle of the earth.’

No sinner in the world cares to seek a Saviour till the Spirit awakens the conscience and guides him But now we come to notice some of the things to the one great Remedy for sin. I could tell of an

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which Christ spoke concerning Him who so deserves our love and praise, and whose it is to accomplish such amazing changes in the hearts and lives of men. We shall dwell on that summary of His work given in John 16. 7-11: ‘If I depart, I will send Him unto you.’ And John 16:8 ‘He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.’ Here is a brief statement of His work in bringing sinners out of their state of nature into the kingdom of God.

(1) ‘He will reprove the world of sin; because they believe not on Me.’ The word reprove is an old English word which has the same meaning as convince (see Job 6:25; Psalm 50: 21). The Spirit convinces, that is, He gives to the soul a sight and a sense of sin. The awakened sinner’s judgment-day may be said to be when he sees and feels his guilt, and looks for deliverance to the very Lord against whom he has sinned. He sees and feels that his greatest sin by far has been, not believing on Christ - neglecting Him, rejecting Him, letting Him stand at the door knocking in vain, for months and years. The sharpest arrow shot into his conscience is the sense of this sin. For now he sees that Christ was more deeply wounded by this sin than by all other sins.

The Holy Spirit reveals sin Oh, what an abyss of evil is revealed to the sinner in the hour when the Spirit convinces him, as Christ says, ‘of sin, because he believes not on Me!’ No wonder the 3000 souls (men, women and children) on the day of Pentecost so cried out in fear and anguish of heart, when the Spirit, silently, but with almighty power, showed this sin of unbelief, and charged it home on each, while Peter pointed to the crucified Son of God.

(2) ‘Of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more’ (v. 10). Carrying on conversion-work, the Spirit does not stop at conviction of sin, but shows the awakened soul how that tremendous guilt of unbelief and all other sin may be taken away. In other words,

He goes on to show where the sinner may find righteousness - may find all that will set him right with God against whom he has sinned.

The Holy Spirit reveals the righteousness of Christ Here also He works silently, but very powerfully. Go down to that river-side, and notice how Lydia is made to drop the filthy rags of devout self-righteousness while Paul is preaching Christ (Acts 16:14). Or, go to the way that leads to Gaza, and watch the scales fall from the eyes of that anxious Ethiopian, as he listens to Philip telling simply of the Lamb led to the slaughter (Acts 8: 32, 37). It is the Holy Spirit, and only He, who can persuade and enable a sinner to let go his rags and accept the best robe. It is only He who convinces a man that his righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, if he would cross the threshold and enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20).

(3) ‘Of judgment, because the Prince of this world is judged.’ When the Holy Spirit comes to the sinner in His saving operations, He completes His work by causing the awakened and justified soul clearly to see that Satan, ‘Prince of this World’ is judged, doomed, damned, though for a short time still allowed to go to and fro on the earth.

The Holy Spirit reveals Satan and his plans The sinner now clearly sees that to take the glory of the world is to accept a gift from Satan and own him as Lord over us. The glory of the world - earth’s grandeur, wealth, gaieties, pleasures, lusts, ungodly fashions, all belong to Satan, and he ‘gives them to whomsoever he will.’ But the Spirit teaches the awakened and justified sinner to shake himself loose from all that Satan thus offers as a bribe to retain his dominion over sinners. The man who delights in ‘the glory of the world’ as offered by Satan, is on Satan’s side, and must be ‘judged’ with him. Very soon, all that Evangelism Daily Readings

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‘fashion of the world’ will ‘pass away’ (1 Corinthians 7. 31), and ‘the lust there-of’ (1 John 2. 17), swept into the bottomless pit with ‘The Prince of this World’ (see Revelation 18. 14-24). And the time is at hand.

The Holy Spirit helps us consecrate ourselves to God And so the Holy Spirit separates us from the world lying in wickedness, and casts out of our hearts whatever is not of God. For now He Himself not only comes, but dwells in the soul, which He has ‘convinced of sin, and righteousness, and judgment.’

Souls, Souls, Souls, over and above duty! Let us do far more than we have done for lost souls! It is what a man does for Christ and souls, over and above mere duty, constrained not by law but by burning love - it is this that is blessed to the saving of souls. When the Spirit fills you thus, He has found a channel by which to flow out to others! When you cannot help sharing the gospel more than you are strictly called to do, it seems as if then, He had ‘come to you,’ and were on His way to the world around you.

Prayer: “Dear Jesus, thank you that’s it’s not all up to me or us to convert people. Thank you Holy Spirit that you are the one who does the convicting, convincing, converting, causing people to believe in the gospel. You are the One who operates with silent mighty power in the hearts of men and women. Thank you that you are the one who grows the seeds of the gospel we plant. Give us courage, O Lord, to plant the seed of the gospel everywhere, so that we give you seed to grow. Fill us all afresh each day with your Holy Spirit so that we might be zealous and eager to go, and full of grace, love and patience when we get there. Amen.”

Andrew Bonar Quote

“I see that unless I keep up short prayer every day throughout the whole day, at intervals, I lose the spirit of prayer. I would never lose sight, any hour of the Lamb in the midst of the throne, and if I have this sight I shall be able to pray.” ”

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Day Forty Take Up Your Cross And Follow After Me Matthew 10:38 ‘Take up your cross and follow after me....’ Basilea Schlink was a nun. She founded a ministry which emphasised doing without any earthly security and relying completely upon Him. Making God alone her help and refuge in every situation, she grew strong in faith, and thus was enabled later to lead our entire community along the same path. Basilea made a brave Christian stand during the Hitler regime. As national president of the Women’s Division of the German Student Christian Movement (193335), she refused to comply with Nazi policy, which would bar Jewish Christians from the meetings. During World War II she risked her life and career by speaking publicly on the unique destiny of God’s people, Israel. Summoned twice before the Gestapo for proclaiming the lordship of Jesus Christ, she was allowed to go free in spite of her uncompromising stand. I chose this reading because Basilea is a brave Christian, teaching others to be brave. Bravery, as you know, is a vital component of effective evangelism. We’re not going to be too good without it. So how does one acquire it? Please read on.

Bearing our Cross and being a disciple must go hand in hand How can these things be compatible: we want to be Christians, disciples of Jesus Christ, who bore the cross for the whole world and chose to do so voluntarily, and yet we reject our own cross? Jesus says, “He who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10: 38), and “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14: 27). One day Jesus will say to those who avoided their crosses, “I do not consider you to be My disciples!” Then the door to His kingdom will be closed.

Suffering the way to intimacy with Jesus If we bear our suffering by saying “Yes, Jesus” we will come to great glory one day above, and here on earth we will be led into an intimate fellowship of love with Jesus. If we want to be with Jesus and want our lives to end in the City of God, there is only one waythe way of the cross. Jesus is asking each of us personally “Will you choose My way of the cross?” He is beckoning to us in love, “Come, follow Me; take up your cross!” If we do not follow the call of Him who loves us more than anyone else, if we refuse to take up our cross and even rebel against it, we will have Evangelism Daily Readings

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to hear the Lord say to us as He did to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16: 23). For then the tempter has us in his grip. He will bring all those who do not want their crosses into the kingdom of hell. Then they will have to suffer much worse. Satan wants to use every means to deter us from going the way of the cross, because he does not want us to reach the kingdom of eternal joy. There our cross will change to joy, if we carry it for Jesus here. This is a decision which will have far-reaching consequences for all eternity.

Accepting suffering as a good soldier If we want to enter Jesus’ kingdom one day and inherit the crown of life, we have to follow the Apostle Paul’s advice, “Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2: 3). We should surrender ourselves to suffering, for instance, if God lays a cross upon us, if we have to suffer unjustly, if people hurt us without reason, scold us and treat us badly, it is then that we must follow in His footsteps. “When He was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judged justly” (I Peter 2: 23). If we want to choose the “ways in Christ” (I Corinthians 4: 17), we will suffer everything; persecuted and reviled, we will bless; suffering unjustly, we will be “refuse”, a doormat for all. Then we are on Jesus’ side. Then He will recognize us as His disciples and want to share His glory with us above, giving us thrones and crowns. Those who have suffered with Christ and have patiently borne various types of suffering and afflictions, such as bodily hardships, disappointments, loneliness, the death of dear ones and family troubles, will inherit eternal glory with Jesus (Romans 8: 17).

Bearing our cross is a choice So everything depends upon whether we really bear our crosses. But how can we get free when we are bound by fear of the cross? The first “must” is to recognize the reason for trying to avoid the cross! We need the insight of truth for our unredeemed, sinful nature. We need to repent of this sinful trait, which makes us guilty again and again. Whoever has recognized how contaminated he is with sin, and

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is really sorry about it and wants to be freed no matter what it costs, will willingly accept discipline and suffering of all sorts from God. For he tells himself soberly, “I need the crosses to purify and transfigure me into the image of Jesus and so reach the goal of heavenly glory.”

To take up our cross is to enter into God’s blessing But whoever does not take his sins and the eternal goal seriously will find that every type of suffering is too much for him. He will complain about it and accuse God and man instead of honestly admitting that he needs suffering and chastening, and lamenting about his own weaknesses and sins. So we need to ask for contrition over this blindness. Then our attitude towards the cross will change and we will see His blessing in it.

Suffering the road to personal transformation Simply by suffering in the flesh we stop sinning (I Peter 4: 1). God allows a cross to enter a sinful area of our lives-so that the sin may be put to death, in this way we become transformed more and more into Jesus’ image and one day will be able to see Him face to face. Through discipline we share His holiness (Hebrews 12: 10) and without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12: 14). For instance, the cross of losing earthly goods, if willingly accepted, has often freed people from their bondage to things of this world, making them free to live for Jesus and His kingdom. Or the cross of losing a beloved person, to whom we were bound, freed our soul to give Jesus undivided love and brought the greatest happiness into our hearts. The cross brings glory and deep joy even here on earth, because God the Father in His love cannot wait until eternity; He yearns to reward us here also.

Looking to the Father for victory The second “must” for becoming free from trying to avoid the cross is to look at the Father, whose heart is full of love for His child and who carefully considers how much we can bear and what will be best for us. He gives us the very cross that can bring us to glory. He hides a wonderful treasure in our cross. We are to discover it: wonderful fruit, transfiguration, victory, eternal


joy, oneness with Jesus. And we must tell ourselves again and again, “Because God is love, suffering is never the end of the story. God always has a way out of suffering; He always has comfort and aid, for He is my Father.” Faith in the Father’s love, which has given us this cross, will make difficult things easy and bitter things sweet. We look also to the Holy Spirit for strength and power. We cannot do this on our own.

Look to Jesus At the same time look at Jesus. He was the Cross bearer. Humbly bending beneath the heavy burden, He carried His cross lovingly to Calvary for us. He has gone on before us and levelled the ground for us so that we will not stumble. Now He is bearing our cross with us. He knows what it means to carry the cross, since He bore the sins and suffering of all mankind. He knows how to help and strengthen us. Should we not trust Jesus that we can bear it? Yes, if we bear our cross with Jesus, we will come closer to Him than ever before and experience His joy.

Renouncing mistrust So let us renounce our mistrust and stop thinking that God is not love and that He brings us suffering without comfort and aid. For such thoughts nourish our desire to avoid the cross and turn our cross into an unbearable burden. Then we will really become unhappy. The worst suffering is our own desire to avoid the cross. That is why we want to renounce this sin. In faith we want to praise the power of Jesus’ redemption and experience this power in our lives.

Teach me to love my cross as a precious gift from Your hand, which I will thank You for in eternity. Out of love for You, my Lord Jesus, I wish to follow You. Make me a true cross-bearer. Amen.

Prayer: “Dear Jesus, all of us, in the natural, want to avoid our crosses. I certainly do. Lord, when they come along, or if we are facing one right now, please fill us afresh with your Holy Spirit and grant us the grace that we might pick our cross and follow you. It’s only with your power and through your grace that we can do such things so we are at your mercy and cry out for your grace. Especially Lord, give us grace for evangelism, to reach lost men and women with the gospel. I know that many doing the evangelism course will be terrified and worried about approaching strangers, let alone talking to them. For my friends who are feeling like this, do a special work of grace Jesus. Give them the breakthrough they are looking for, for you glory and for the sake of fulfilling the Great Commission. Amen.”

Basilea Schlink Quote “In the darkest of nights cling to the assurance that God loves you, that He always has advice for you, a path that you can tread and a solution to your problem--and you will experience that which you believe. God never disappoints anyone who places his trust in Him.”

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Day Forty One Active And Passive Lordship Mark 16:15 “Go!”

Fred Markert is the International Director of YWAM Strategic Frontiers based in Colorado Springs -- one of the divisions of Youth With A Mission which focuses on planting churches that will disciple nations amongst the most desperately needy strategic Unreached People Groups in the 10/40 Window.

The active commands of Jesus The New Testament is full of God’s commands and they’re all active. Jesus said “follow Me and I will make you fishers of men ...” “go into all the world ...” “heal the sick...” “preach the gospel ...” “feed the hungry” “take up your cross...” The list goes on.

The passive command of Jesus I’ve only found one passive command in the entire New Testament. Right before Jesus ascended into heaven He commanded His disciples to “... wait for what the Father has promised.” What had the Father promised? The empowering of the Holy Spirit! What would be the result of that empowering? “...and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” The only passive command that Jesus ever gave the disciples was wait - but only so they could be prepared for, and catapulted into, world-changing action! In light of God’s action-oriented nature it’s not

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surprising that the book recording this event and its dramatic results is called the Acts of the Apostles!

Talk Is Cheap Even though God has revealed Himself to us as the Father of action, very few of us reflect that aspect of His nature. We can say all the right words, but it’s the way we live our lives every day that accurately measures our concept of - and commitment to - the active Lordship of Christ. I’ll never forget an incident that marked my life forever.

But, I don’t have time..

I had just finished preaching a message on missions at a large church in Chicago. Afterwards about 75 people who had been touched by the Lord gathered in front for more information - but one man waited around until everyone was gone before approaching me. When I discovered he was a doctor I challenged him to use his skills on a missions outreach for a week or two. He casually replied, “I’d really love to, but my practice keeps me so busy that I don’t have time.” Almost apologetically he added, “I really would do anything for the Lord if He ever asked me to.” I felt uneasy with his statement but I wasn’t quite sure why. Later, as I was trying to figure it out it hit me - he had a passive concept of the Lordship of Christ!


What Is Passive Lordship? Passive Lordship is best summed up by a statement I’ve heard from hundreds of sincere Christians: “My life, my time, my money, my house, my car, and everything I have is the Lord’s. Anytime He wants any of it, all He has to do is ask.” It sounds great, but it falls far short of the penetrating claims of Christ on all that we are and all that we possess. It implies that the Lord has not already clearly revealed that we’re to be using 100% of our time, talent, and treasure to accomplish the God-directed purposes of the Kingdom. It also implies that some of us are “off the hook” and can pursue our own lives until we’re interrupted by God. And it puts the entire responsibility on Him to intervene and redirect us “if” He ever wants anything.

Now is the time! But active Lordship says, “My time, talents, and treasure are already 100% Yours Lord - how do You want me to use them for Your glory?” Passive Lordship is future tense - always intending to serve or give, just not at this particular moment. But active Lordship is present tense - “Lord, show me how to use all You’ve entrusted to me today - for Your purposes.” Active Lordship imparts a strong sense of destiny, but passive Lordship is vague - “someday” I might do “something” for God. The Lord isn’t impressed with people who have good intentions of giving Him some of their spare time, or a few of their retirement years after the kids are grown and out of the house. He’s only impressed by people who, like Jesus will say, “I must be about my Father’s business” - people who will give Him first place in everything right now. When your doctor gives you a prescription you don’t wait around for him to phone you four times a day and say, “Take your pills now.” The directions are already on the bottle. But those living in passive Lordship expect God to repeatedly reissue His clearly revealed commands before they will take any steps of obedience.

Hearing the call

I haven’t had a call from God.” William Booth looked at him in disbelief and replied, “What? You say you’ve never had a call? You mean you haven’t heard The Call!”

The Most Serious Result

Besides the devastating toll passive Lordship takes on our lives personally, there’s another result that’s even worse. The most serious effect of passive Lordship is that the plans and desires of the Lord for winning the world to Christ are hindered. It’s far too easy for us to get comfortable with our lives and forget that we’re in massive guerrilla warfare - for the nations of the world and the eternal souls of men and women everywhere. We forget that every single one of us is called to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission as ministering soldiers of reconciliation - leading lost men to a loving Father. (2 Corinthians 5:18,20)

No one listening Imagine what kind of war would be waged if the commanding general was giving orders and no one was listening. What would it be like if every soldier was casually pursuing his own goals - instead of clearly understanding the objectives of his commander? The war would never be won. Our strategic forces would be scattered and focused in different directions, and our enemies would rule the land. For the most part, isn’t that a picture of the world we live in today? The forces of darkness are dominating billions of people - along with the major power structures of the world - and much of God’s army is wandering aimlessly around the countryside.

Winning the War We cannot afford the luxury of not knowing how our lives are to be lived in light of the Great Commission. We must fulfil our individual duties as Soldiers of the Cross - laying down our self-centered desires so we can fulfil our destiny unhindered for the sake of His Kingdom. One day we’ll stand before God to give an account for how we spent our time, talent, and treasure. Let’s commit ourselves to pursue His active Lordship in every area of our lives so we can be found “good and faithful servants” on that awesome day.

A young man approached William Booth, the on-fire founder of the Salvation Army, and said, “I’d really like to serve the Lord full-time, but Evangelism Daily Readings

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One Final Question The Bible tells us that the people who know their God will be mighty and do exploits. The Apostles never would have conquered the world if they hadn’t done the work of heroes and martyrs. We have the privilege of being in the oldest, most dynamic, and victorious army that’s ever marched

against the forces of darkness in the history of the universe! But God is not preparing an army for some future battle. His army is warring with the forces of darkness at this very moment! The only question is, “Are you part of it? Are you on Active Duty or in the Reserves passively waiting for a call?”

Prayer: “Dear Jesus, save us from being part of the group who are wandering aimlessly around the Church, waiting for instructions. Wake us up Lord to be active, to be eagerly looking to obey all your commands, where ever we are, at any time of the day or night. Save us from being people who do nothing more than get up, eat some breakfast, go to work, come home, have some dinner, watch some TV, and then go to bed - and then repeat the same routine each day for years on end. There has to more to life than this! There is more! Wake us up and get us going Lord. Amen.”

Fred Markert Quote ““Living on the edge is too conservative. You gotta go over the edge and hang on with our fingernails.””

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Day Forty Two

Woman To Woman Evangelism Matthew 28:7 “go tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.” Beryl Amos was a woman who pioneered an Australian wide movement to mobilise women to reach women with the gospel. She explains who she started: “Some years ago three women, representing the United Church Women of America, made a goodwill tour of the world, including Australia. Wherever they went they held meetings--conducting a Bible study, followed by a “buzz session.” This was something quite new to me, as it was also to the representatives of other churches. It set me thinking. I asked myself, “Why do we women hesitate to discuss God’s Word in public, or with our friends? Could it be that we are afraid of letting others know what our convictions are, or is it just a case of not knowing what we are talking about? We do not hesitate, for one moment, to talk about other things that interest us. As members of Churches of Christ we have been proud to quote the watchword “Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent we are silent.” Are there many of us who are really qualified, honestly, to make this statement today?” And those questions demanded an answer!

Some things are vital

whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:19-20) is still vital.

Our view of the Great Commission limited It is true that we have practised evangelism, but I’m afraid that too often we have only had a limited concept as our ideal. We have limited ourselves to human resources, instead of claiming the reserves of God. Too often we have put evangelism into a compact compartment in the Church, to be brought out periodically as a highlight event, with a special (and usually outstanding) speaker bearing the greater burden of the responsibility. The fact that there has been a real measure of success, from time to time, speaks highly of the diligence and faithfulness of these “specialists”, and we sincerely thank God for them. Nevertheless evangelism is not meant to be just a special event, but the natural outflow of our faith. The reason and passion of evangelism is that a wonderful change has come into our lives, in the love of God, through Jesus Christ, and we can find no rest until we tell the world what has happened. Evangelism is telling someone--one or many--about certain things about Jesus Christ.

The great command of Jesus Christ, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them The Church is the agent of in the name of Father, and of the Son, and of the evangelism Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things So, you see, the real meaning of evangelism is Evangelism Daily Readings

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something far greater than that which we have dreamed about. Instead of being a tool of the Church, the Church is the agent of evangelism. “We are part of the Church, and if we belong to Jesus Christ we are inescapably evangelists,” said Leighton Ford. As Daniel T. Niles has said, “Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.”

Who’s going with me? Edwin Orr was, some time ago, on vacation in Atlantic City when a hurricane blew up. Away out to sea a South American freighter was on a reef. A crowd gathered on shore and watched the distress signals going up. There was an old Scandinavian sailor in their midst. Holding up his gnarled hands he cried, “I’m going out there, who’s going with me?” Twelve volunteered, and they set out on the rough and hazardous trip, as the crowd on the shore prayed. Often the lifeboat was out of sight as the waves rose above it, and crashed down upon it. Then the crowd on the shore saw that the lifeboat had reached the wreck. The crew were taken off, and after a hazardous trip the little boat got back to land. The people gathered around and spontaneously joined in singing the doxology.

Jesus is standing on the shore Do you see Jesus Christ, standing on the shores of Eternity, looking out at our world that sin has

shipwrecked? He has decided to save that world. He points with hands, pierced with the Calvary nails, and says, “I’m going out there - who’s going with Me?” When we volunteer to go with Him-THAT’S EVANGELISM!! Are we women willing to enlist? We meet women, all around us, who are in a sadder plight than those shipwrecked sailors, so that brings me to the place where I want to mention the place of WOMEN IN EVANGELISM. In my husband’s library there are many books on evangelism; but not one of them specifically suggests that women, as women, have a contribution to make. None mention women as evangelists, or as taking the initiative in any evangelistic venture. Which makes it appear as if, in the past, we have not made the most of our resources; for I believe that women can play a vital part in evangelism, and especially in evangelism amongst women. It is interesting to note that it was to Mary that the Angel appeared, and told her that she was to bear the Messiah (Luke 1:30-33).The very first person to know of the Resurrection was a woman, and she was bidden to “go tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.” (Matthew 28:7). And I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she told others. In fact, I’d be surprised if she didn’t.

Prayer: “Dear Jesus, I pray for the women in our churches, that they would rise up like a mighty army and evangelise other women in their town, city, and country. I pray that women reading this devotion would be quickened by you, Holy Spirit, to start initiatives in their church, town, and city, which would target the evangelisation of other women. Lord, I believe some have already been dreaming and thinking, and pondering this very thing already. Lord, blow in the fires of the vision within them. Turn their visions in realities! Let them see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Don’t let them die until they have seen their deepest longings to be used by you turned into reality. Amen.”

Beryl Amos Quote “Our fathers were impressed,” says the report of the World Missionary Conference at Jerusalem “with the horror that men should die without Christ. We are also impressed with the horror that men should live without Him.” Are we?”’

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Day Forty Three Power Ploughing And Watering 1 Samuel 9:6. “Behold, there is in this city a man of God.”

F B Meyer1847 - 1929, was a Baptist pastor and evangelist in England, born in London. He began pastoring churches in 1870. In 1872 he pastored Priory Street Baptist Church in York. While he was there he met the American evangelist Dwight L. Moody, whom he introduced to other churches in England. The two preachers became lifelong friends. Meyer wrote over 40 books, including Christian biographies and reading commentaries on the Bible.

Letting our light shine There is a street in London, near St. Paul’s, which I never traverse without very peculiar feelings. It is Godliman Street. Evidently the name is a corruption of godly man. Did some saint of God once live here, whose life was so holy as to give a sweet savour to the very street in which he dwelt? Were the neighbours who knew him best, the most sure of his godliness? Would that our piety might leave its mark on our neighbourhoods, and the memory linger long after we have passed away! A generation or two ago in the Highlands, there were earnest and holy men who were known by the significant title of the men. No great religious

gathering was deemed complete without them. Their prayers and exhortations were accompanied by a special unction.

The Power of Godliness In such manner Samuel’s godliness was recognised far and wide. The fragrance of his character could not be concealed. And this gave men confidence in him. They said, “He is an honourable man; all that he says surely comes to pass.” How much credit redounds to godliness, when it is combined with trustworthiness and high credit amongst our fellows!

Seeking God to be Godly Let us seek to be God’s men and women. Let us live not only soberly and righteously, but godly, in this present world. Let us remember that God has set apart the godly for Himself. The godly are the godlike. They become so by cultivating the fellowship and friendship of God. Their faces become enlightened with his beauty; their words are weighty with his truth. After being for a little in their company, you detect the gravity, serenity, gentleness, beauty of holiness, which are the court manners of heaven.

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Application: Wow! Another powerful and challenging reading. We have learned from the DVD studies on evangelism that drawing people to Christ is a six step process: ploughing, sowing, watering, growing, harvesting and discipling. Ploughing prepares the heart of a person to make it ready to receive the seed of the gospel. Watering creates the conditions for the seed to grow. Our godliness is used by God to powerfully plough and water the soil of the heart of all the people we meet. I like the term F B Meyer uses here: ‘the fragrance of our character’. Our characters, either good or not so good, will either help or hinder the six step process. How do we become a godly person? How do we develop ‘a godly fragrance’ in our character? Here are some suggestions. You will doubtless think of others: 1. Be a person of the Word. Read it, study it, memorise it, meditate on it, feed on it, let God speak through it. 2. Be a person who develops a strong daily devotional life which includes disciplines like prayer, Bible reading, scripture memorisation, meditation, and fasting. 3. Learn to suffer well. When suffering comes into our lives, we ought to look for how it can lead us closer to Jesus and into a more intimate relationship with Him. 4. Be accountable to another person. Be radically transparant and open about issues, sins, and struggles. 5. Reserve our inner circle of friends for people who are more godly than us. Their godliness will rub off on us and we’ll end up being more fruitful for God as a result (Proverbs 12:29). 6. Lean on God and rely on God to do the inner changing. He is more than willing and able. Surrender. “Lord, help us develop fragrant characters for your purposes in evangelism!’

F.B Meyer Quote “Tears are the material out of which heaven weaves its brightest rainbow.”

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Day Forty Four Go In Faith - The Lord Is With You! John 4:35 “The fields are white for harvest...” James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China, and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM) (now OMF International) who served there for 51 years, bringing over 800 missionaries to the country and directly resulting in 18,000 Chinese converts to Christianity by the time he died at age 73. Taylor was born into a Christian home in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England, the son of “chemist” (pharmacist) and Methodist lay preacher James Taylor and his wife, Amelia (Hudson), but as a young man he moved away from the beliefs of his parents. At 17, upon reading an evangelistic tract pamphlet, he became a Christian, and in December of 1849, he committed himself to going to China as a missionary.In 1858, after working in a hospital for four years, he married the daughter of another missionary. He returned to England in 1860 and spent five years translating the New Testament into the Ningpo dialect. He returned to China in 1866 with sixteen other missionaries. He has been dubbed ‘the father of modern missions’. In this reading he tells of his leaving home to be a missionary in China.

By ship to China The time I so long looked forward to arrived - the

time that I was to leave England for China. After being set apart with many prayers for the ministry of GOD’s Word among the heathen Chinese, I left London for Liverpool; and on the 19th of September 1853 a little service was held in the stern cabin of the Dumfries, which had been secured for me by the Committee of the Chinese Evangelisation Society, under whose auspices I was going to China.

A mother’s anguish My beloved mother had come to see me off from Liverpool. Never shall I forget that day, nor how she went with me into the little cabin that was to be my home for nearly six long months. With a mother’s loving hand she smoothed the little bed. She sat by my side, and joined me in the last hymn that we should sing together before the long parting. We knelt down, and she prayed-the last mother’s prayer I was to hear before starting for China. Then notice was given that we must separate, and we had to say good-bye, never expecting to meet on earth again. For my sake she restrained her feelings as much as possible. We parted, and she went on shore, giving me her blessing. I stood alone on deck, and she followed the ship as we moved towards the dock gates. As we passed through the gates, and the separation really commenced, I shall never forget the cry of anguish wrung from that Evangelism Daily Readings

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mother’s heart. It went through me like a knife. I never knew so fully, until then, what GOD so loved the world meant. And I am quite sure that my precious mother learned more of the love of GOD to the perishing in that hour than in all her life before.

God’s heart is broken for the lost Oh, how it must grieve the heart of GOD when He sees His children indifferent to the needs of that wide world for which His beloved, His only begotten SON died!

Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; Forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; So shall the KING desire thy beauty: For He is thy LORD; and worship thou Him.

Six months of sailing Praise GOD, the number is increasing who are finding out the exceeding joys, the wondrous revelations of His mercies, vouchsafed to those who follow Him, and emptying themselves, leave all in obedience to His great commission. It was on 19th September 1853 that the Dumfries sailed for China; and not until 1st March, in the spring of the following year, did I arrive in Shanghai.

were within a stone’s-throw of the rocks. About this time, as the ship, which had refused to stay, was put round in the other direction, the Christian captain said to me, “We cannot live half an hour now: what of your call to labour for the LORD in China?” I had previously passed through a time of much conflict, but that was over, and it was a great joy to feel and to tell him that I would not for any consideration be in any other position; that I strongly expected to reach China; but that, if otherwise, at any rate the Master would say it was well that I was found seeking to obey His command.

Answered prayers! Within a few minutes the captain walked up to the compass and said to me, “The wind has freed two points; we shall be able to beat out of the bay.” And so we did. The bowsprit was sprung and the vessel seriously strained; but in a few days we got out to sea, and the necessary repairs were so thoroughly effected on board that our journey to China was in due time satisfactorily accomplished.

The frustrations of sai The voyage was a very tedious one. We lost a good deal of time on the equator from calms; and when we finally reached the Eastern Archipelago, were again detained from the same cause. Usually a breeze would spring up soon after sunset, and last until about dawn. The utmost use was made of it, but during the day we lay still with flapping sails, often drifting back and losing a good deal of the advantage we had gained during the night.

The voyage nearly aborted at the start Eaten by cannibals?! Our voyage had a rough beginning, but many had promised to remember us in constant prayer. No small comfort was this; for we had scarcely left the Mersey when a violent equinoctial gale caught us, and for twelve days we were beating backwards and forwards in the Irish Channel, unable to get out to sea. The gale steadily increased, and after almost a week we lay to for a time; but drifting on a lee coast, we were compelled again to make sail, and endeavoured to beat on to windward. The utmost efforts of the captain and crew, however, were unavailing; and Sunday night, 25th September, found us drifting into Carnarvon Bay, each tack becoming shorter, until at last we

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This happened notably on one occasion, when we were in dangerous proximity to the north of New Guinea. Saturday night had brought us to a point some thirty miles off the land; but during the Sunday morning service, which was held on deck, I could not fail to notice that the captain looked troubled, and frequently went over to the side of the ship. When the service was ended, I learnt from him the cause--a four-knot current was carrying us rapidly towards some sunken reefs, and we were already so near that it seemed improbable that we should get through the afternoon in safety. After dinner the long-boat was put out, and all


hands endeavoured, without success, to turn the ship’s head from the shore. As we drifted nearer we could plainly see the natives rushing about the sands and lighting fires every here and there. The captain’s horn-book informed him that these people were cannibals, so that our position was not a little alarming.

Rescued by the Lord - again! After standing together on the deck for some time in silence, the captain said to me, “Well, we have done everything that can be done; we can only await the result.” A thought occurred to me, and I replied, “No, there is one thing we have not done yet.” “What is it?” he queried. “Four of us on board are Christians,” I answered (the Swedish carpenter and our coloured steward, with the captain and myself); “let us each retire to his own cabin, and in agreed prayer ask the LORD to give us immediately a breeze. He can as easily send it now as at sunset.” The captain complied with this proposal. I went and spoke to the other two men, and after prayer with the carpenter we all four retired to wait upon GOD. I had a good but very brief season in prayer, and then felt so satisfied that our request was granted that I could not continue asking, and very soon went up again on deck.

Moving in faith

were so near the reef by this time that there was not a minute to lose. With a look of incredulity and contempt, he said with an oath that he would rather see a wind than hear of it! But while he was speaking I watched his eye, and followed it up to the royal (the topmost sail), and there, sure enough, the corner of the sail was beginning to tremble in the coming breeze. “Don’t you see the wind is coming? Look at the royal!” I exclaimed. “No, it is only a cat’spaw,” he rejoined (a mere puff of wind). “Cat’spaw or not,” I cried, “pray let down the mainsail, and let us have the benefit!”

Phew! Thank you Lord! This he was not slow to do. In another minute the heavy tread of the men on the deck brought up the captain from his cabin to see what was the matter; and he saw that the breeze had indeed come. In a few minutes we were ploughing our way at six or seven knots an hour through the water, and the multitude of naked savages whom we had seen on the beach had no wreckage that night. We were soon out of danger; and though the wind was sometimes unsteady, we did not altogether lose it until after passing the Pelew Islands. Thus GOD encouraged me, before landing on China’s shores, to bring every variety of need to Him in prayer, and to expect that He would honour the Name of the LORD JESUS, and give the help which each emergency required.

The first officer, a godless man, was in charge. I went over and asked him to let down the clews or corners of the mainsail, which had been drawn up in order to lessen the useless flapping of the sail against the rigging. He answered, “What would be the good of that?” I told him we had been asking a wind from GOD, that it was coming immediately, and we

Prayer: Wow! What a powerful reading. I felt the tears welling up at the beginning when I read of the cry of Hudson’s mum on the dock seeing him off to China. Any parent will identify with this. Then there is his discovery about trusting in God in all circumstances. What a great lesson to learn early. But what struck me more than anything was the sacrifice he made for God to help complete the Great Commission. This account made me reflect on my own life and ask ‘What stories would I have to tell of the sacrifices I have made to help complete the Great Commission? Would there be any? Several times on his journey to China, Hudson nearly lost his life. I ask myself ‘When have you nearly lost your life for the cause of the evangelisation of the world? Julian, if you have not yet given your very life for the cause, what sacrifices have you made? Of time? Of money? (C.T. Evangelism Daily Readings

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Studd gave away a fortune); Of resources? Of relationships? (some have forsaken marriage so they can be missionaries in dangerous places); Of career? (Others have given up good jobs in order to follow the call); Of security? (Others have left all the family and friends in order to reach the lost in foreign lands). Today, I would ask you the same questions. We know well of the sacrifice Jesus made to secure the evangelisation of the world - his very life. But what of Paul the Apostle. He too was beheaded in Rome for his faith. History is not clear about the date, but is was about 67 AD. Below is a biblical account of what Paul endured in order to evangelise of the world. 2 Corinthians 11: 23-27 “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked”. What will they say of my sacrifices for world evangelism at my funeral? What about yours? My prayer is that between now and then, we’ll make some sacrifices, for that is always how God’s purposes go forwards fastest - though the sacrifices of His people. Start with small sacrifices, and build up. But start today. Start right where you are. Ask the Holy Spirit for more faith to make bigger and bolder sacrifices for Him so that He can increasingly use your life to evangelise the world. This is written on Hudson’s grave stone:

Sacred to the memory of the Revelation J. Hudson Taylor, the revered founder of the China Inland Mission. Born May 21, 1832, Died June 3, 1905 “A MAN IN CHRIST” 2 Corinthians XII:2 This monument is erected by the missionaries of the China Inland Mission, as a mark of their heartfelt esteem and love.

Hudson Taylor Quote “Perhaps if there were more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things may be the true cause of our want of success”

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Day Forty Five The Adventure Of Evangelism Acts 4:29 ‘Grant that your servants speak the Word with boldness...’

James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)

Danger ahead A JOURNEY taken in the spring of 1855 with J. S. Burden of the Church Missionary Society (now the Bishop of Victoria, Hong-kong) was attended with some serious dangers. In the great mouth of the river Yang-tse, distant some thirty miles to the north of Shanghai, lies the group of islands of which Ts’ung-ming and Hai-men are the largest and most important; and farther up the river, where the estuary narrows away from the sea, is situated the influential city of T’ung-chau, close to Lang-shan, or the Wolf Mountains, famous as a resort for pilgrim devotees. We spent some time in evangelising on those islands, and then proceeded to Lang-shan, where we preached and gave books to thousands of the devotees who were attending an idolatrous festival. From thence we went on to T’ung-chau, and of our painful experiences there the following journal will tell.

Thursday, April 26th, 1855. After breakfast we commended ourselves to the care of our Heavenly FATHER, and sought His Blessing before proceeding to this great city. The day was dull and wet. We felt persuaded that Satan would not allow us to assail his kingdom, as

we were attempting to do, without raising serious opposition; but we were also fully assured that it was the will of GOD that we should preach CHRIST in this city, and distribute the Word of Truth among its people. We were sorry that we had but few books left for such an important place: the result, however, proved that this also was providential.

No stopping now Our native teachers did their best to persuade us not to go into the city; but we determined that, by GOD’S help, nothing should hinder us. We directed them, however, to remain in one of the boats; and if we did not return, to learn whatever they could respecting our fate, and make all possible haste to Shanghai with the information. We also arranged that the other boat should wait for us, even if we could not get back that night, so that we might not be detained for want of a boat in case of returning later. We then put our books into two bags, and with a servant who always accompanied us on these occasions, set off for the city, distant about seven miles. Walking was out of the question, from the state of the roads, so we availed ourselves of wheel-barrows, the only conveyance to be had in these parts. A wheel-barrow is cheaper than a sedan, only requiring one coolie; but is by no means an agreeable conveyance on rough, dirty roads.

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We lose our servant, but trust in Him We had not gone far before the servant requested permission to go back, as he was thoroughly frightened by reports concerning the native soldiery. Of course we at once consented, not wishing to involve another in trouble, and determined to carry the books ourselves, and look for physical as well as spiritual strength to Him who had promised to supply all our need.

More opposition At this point a respectable man came up, and earnestly warned us against proceeding, saying that if we did we should find to our sorrow what the T’ung-chau militia were like. We thanked him for his kindly counsel, but could not act upon it, as our hearts were fixed, whether it were to bonds, imprisonment, and death, or whether to distribute our Scriptures and tracts in safety, and return unhurt, we knew not; but we were determined, by the grace of GOD, not to leave T’ung-chau any longer without the Gospel, nor its teeming thousands to die in uncared-for ignorance of the Way of life.

Danger ‘yes’, but waiving ‘no’ After this my wheel-barrow man would proceed no farther, and I had to seek another, who was fortunately not difficult to find. As we went on, the ride in the mud and rain was anything but agreeable, and we could not help feeling the danger of our position, although wavering not for a moment. At intervals we encouraged one another with promises from the Scripture and verses of hymns. That verse--

“The perils of the sea, the perils of the land, Should not dishearten thee: thy LORD is nigh at hand. But should thy courage fail, when tried and sore oppressed, His promise shall avail, and set thy soul at rest.”

- seemed particularly appropriate to our circumstances, and was very comforting to me.

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Preaching in Chinese On our way we passed through one small town of about a thousand inhabitants; and here, in the Mandarin dialect, I preached JESUS to a good number of people. Never was I so happy in speaking of the love of GOD and the atonement of JESUS CHRIST. My own soul was richly blessed, and filled with joy and peace; and I was able to speak with unusual freedom and ease. And how rejoiced I was when, afterwards, I heard one of our hearers repeating to the newcomers, in his own local dialect, the truths upon which I had been dwelling! Oh, how thankful I felt to hear a Chinaman, of his own accord, telling his fellow-countrymen that GOD loved them; that they were sinners, but that JESUS died instead of them, and paid the penalty of their guilt. That one moment repaid me for all the trials we had passed through; and I felt that if the LORD should grant HIS HOLY SPIRIT to change the heart of that man, we had not come in vain.

Spreading the gospel We distributed a few Testaments and tracts, for the people were able to read, and we could not leave them without the Gospel. It was well that we did so, for when we reached T’ung-chau we found we had quite as many left as we had strength to carry.

Praying for protection Nearing the end of our journey, as we approached the western suburb of the city, the prayer of the early Christians, when persecution was commencing, came to my mind: “And now, LORD, behold their threatenings, and grant unto Thy servants that with all boldness they may speak Thy Word.” In this petition we most heartily united. Before entering the suburb we laid our plans, so as to act in concert, and told our wheel-barrow men where to await us, that they might not be involved in any trouble on our account. Then looking up to our Heavenly FATHER, we committed ourselves to His keeping, took our books, and set on for the city.


Black devils

Quiet submission to our captors

For some distance we walked along the principal street of the suburb leading to the West Gate unmolested, and were amused at the unusual title of Heh-kwei-tsi (black devils) which was applied to us. We wondered about it at the time, but afterwards found that it was our clothes, and not our skin, that gave rise to it. As we passed several of the soldiers, I remarked to Mr. Burdon that these were the men we had heard so much about, and that they seemed willing to receive us quietly enough. Long before we reached the gate, however, a tall powerful man, made tenfold fiercer by partial intoxication, let us know that all the militia were not so peaceably inclined, by seizing Mr. Burdon by the shoulders. My companion endeavoured to shake him off. I turned to see what was the matter, and at once we were surrounded by a dozen or more brutal men, who hurried us on to the city at a fearful pace.

As we were walking along Mr. Burdon tried to give away a few books that he was carrying, not knowing whether we might have another opportunity of doing so; but the fearful rage of the soldier, and the way he insisted on manacles being brought, which fortunately were not at hand, convinced us that in our present position we could do no good in attempting book-distribution. There was nothing to be done but quietly to submit, and go along with our captors.

To the magistrate it is! My bag now began to feel very heavy, and I could not change hands to relieve myself. I was soon in a profuse perspiration, and was scarcely able to keep pace with them. We demanded to be taken before the chief magistrate, but were told that they knew where to take us, and what to do with such persons as we were, with the most insulting epithets. The man who first seized Mr. Burdon soon afterwards left him for me, and became my principal tormentor; for I was neither so tall nor so strong as my friend, and was therefore less able to resist him. He all but knocked me down again and again, seized me by the hair, took hold of my collar so as to almost choke me, and grasped my arms and shoulders, making them black and blue. Had this treatment continued much longer, I must have fainted. All but exhausted, how refreshing was the remembrance of a verse quoted by my dear mother in one of my last home letters--

“To be absent from the body! to be present with the LORD! to be free from sin! And this is the end of the worst that man’s malice can ever bring upon us.”

Some wanted us killed Once or twice a quarrel arose as to how we should be dealt with; the more mild of our conductors saying that we ought to be taken to the magistrate’s office, but others wishing to kill us at once without appeal to any authority. Our minds were kept in perfect peace; and when thrown together on one of these occasions, we reminded each other that the Apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer in the cause of CHRIST. Having succeeded in getting my hand into my pocket, I produced a Chinese card (if the large red paper, bearing one’s name, may be so called), and after this was treated with more respect. I demanded it should be given to the chief official of the place, and that we should be led to his office. Before this we had been unable, say what we would, to persuade them that we were foreigners, although we were both in English attire.

Utterly exhausted Oh the long weary streets that we were dragged through! I thought they would never end; and seldom have I felt more thankful than when we stopped at a place where we were told a mandarin resided. Quite exhausted, bathed in perspiration, and with my tongue cleaving to the roof of my mouth, I leaned against the wall, and saw that Mr. Burdon was in much the same condition. I requested them to bring us chairs, but they told us to wait; and when I begged them to give us some tea, received only the same answer. Round the doorway a large crowd had gathered; and Mr. Burdon, collecting his remaining strength, preached CHRIST JESUS to them. Our cards and books had been taken in to the Evangelism Daily Readings

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mandarin, but he proved to be one of low rank, and after keeping us waiting for some time he referred us to his superiors in office.

We kept preaching the gospel Upon hearing this, and finding that it was their purpose to turn us out again into the crowded streets, we positively refused to move a single step, and insisted on chairs being brought. After some demur this was done; we seated ourselves in them, and were carried on. On the road we felt so glad of the rest which the chairs afforded us, and so thankful at having been able to preach JESUS in spite of Satan’s malice, that our joy was depicted on our countenances; and as we passed along we heard some say that we did not look like bad men, while others seemed to pity us. When we arrived at the magistrate’s office, I wondered where we were being taken; for though we passed through some great gates that looked like those of the city wall, we were still evidently within the city. A second pair of gates suggested the idea that it was a prison into which we were being carried; but when we came in sight of a large tablet, with the inscription “Ming chi fu mu” (the father and mother of the people), we felt that we had been conveyed to the right place; this being the title assumed by the mandarins.

God gave us favour Our cards were again sent in, and after a short delay we were taken into the presence of Ch’en Ta Lao-ie (the Great Venerable Father Ch’en), who, as it proved, had formerly been Tao-tai of Shanghai, and consequently knew the importance of treating foreigners with courtesy. Coming before him, some of the people fell on their knees and bowed down to the ground, and my conductor motioned for me to do the same, but without success. This mandarin, who seemed to be the highest authority of T’ung-chau, and wore an opaque blue button on his cap, came out to meet us, and treated us with every possible token of respect. He took us to an inner apartment, a more private room, but was followed by a large number of writers, runners, and other semi-officials. I related the object of our visit, and begged

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permission to give him copies of our books and tracts, for which he thanked me. As I handed him a copy of the New Testament with part of the Old (from Genesis to Ruth) and some tracts, I tried to explain a little about them, and also to give him a brief summary of our teachings. . . . He listened very attentively, as of course did all the others present. He then ordered some refreshments to be brought in, which were very welcome, and himself partook of them with us.

Permission to spread the gospel After a long stay, we asked permission to see something of the city, and to distribute the books we had brought, before our return. To this he kindly consented. We then mentioned that we had been most disrespectfully treated as we came in, but that we did not attach much importance to the fact, being aware that the soldiers knew no better. Not desiring, however, to have such an experience repeated, we requested him to give orders that we were not to be further molested. This also he promised to do, and with every possible token of respect accompanied us to the door of his official residence, sending several runners to see that we were respectfully treated. We distributed our books well and quickly, and left the city quite in state. It was amusing to us to see the way in which the runners made use of their tails. When the street was blocked by the crowd, they turned them into whips, and laid them about the people’s shoulders to right and left!

Thank you Jesus for a great day of evangelism! We had a little trouble in finding our wheel-barrows; but eventually succeeding, we paid off the chair coolies, mounted our humble vehicles, and returned to the river, accompanied for fully half the distance by an attendant from the magistrate’s office. Early in the evening we got back to the boats in safety, sincerely thankful to our Heavenly FATHER for His gracious protection and aid.


Application: Hudson and Mr Burdon were so fearless! Where did they get their courage and boldness from? I believe it comes from the Holy Spirit who dispenses a special measure of grace to those who do evangelism! It is a general principal that I have learned over 20 years of doing evangelism - the more regularly a person engages in evangelism, the greater there love for evangelism becomes. As you read this reading today, you can see this principal in action over and over. Every time they proclaimed the gospel somewhere, great joy entered their souls, and they couldn’t wait to do some more, in spite of the dangers. In doing evangelism, they had found a rich source of living water. And in the midst of their joy, they seemed to worry less and less about the dangers. Today in the Church, so many are trembling with fear at the very thought of doing evangelism, and I can fully understand why - these are the people who rarely venture out to do it. If they do venture out into the real world, and have a bad experience, they quickly retreat, vowing never to try it again. This is exactly where God wants every believer to be stuck - inside a church, frightened, and making negative vows. Hudson Taylor and Mr Burdon, on the other hand, seemed to relish trouble and danger. Make no mistake - God won’t empower our evangelism until we begin to do it - to step out - and then His enabling is released. Try and you will see. What an adventure Hudson and Mr Burdon had that day. What stories they had to tell. What joy filled their hearts. What fun they had. Decide today to start going on some adventures with God in evangelism. Don’t be content with a mundane, boring Christian life. He delights to work through us and with us to make our lives full and rich. Mark 8:35 says ‘Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life will lose it, but he who hates his life for me and the gospel will find it”. Let’s make our adventures in evangelism begin today. Take some risks, step out, and never look back.

Hudson Taylor Quote

“Envied by some, despised by many, hated by others, often blamed for things I never heard of or had nothing to do with... often sick in body as well as perplexed in mind and embarrassed by circumstances-had not the Lord been specially gracious to me, had not my mind been sustained by the conviction that the work is His and that He is with me in what it is no empty figure to call “The think of the conflict,” I must have fainted or broken down. But the battles is the Lord’s, and He will conquer. We may fail-do fail continually-but He never fails. Still, I need your prayers more than ever. ”

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Day Forty Six Children And Evangelism Mark 10:14 “When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’”

D. L. Moody (1837 – 1899 ) may well have been the greatest evangelist of all time outside of Paul and Jesus. In a 40 year period he won a million souls, founded three Christian schools, launched a great Christian publishing business, established a world-renowned Christian conference centre, and inspired literally thousands of preachers to win souls and conduct revivals.

The Spirit of Jesus doesn’t give up I remember, when on the North Side, I tried to reach a family time and again and failed. One night in the meeting, I noticed one of the little boys of that family. He hadn’t come for any good, however; he was sticking pins in the backs of the other boys. I thought if I could get hold of him it would do good.

him, and patted him on the head, and said I was glad to see him, and hoped he would come again. He hung his head and went away. The next night, however, he came back, and he behaved better than he did the previous night. He came two or three after, and then asked us to pray for him that he might become a Christian.

The Spirit of Jesus looks for a way That was a happy night for me. He became a Christian, and a good one. One night I saw him weeping. I wondered if his old temper had got hold of him again, and when he got up I wondered what he was going to say. “I wish you would pray for my mother,” he said. When the meeting was over I went to him, and asked, “Have you ever spoken to your mother, or tried to pray with her?” “Well, you know, Mr. Moody,” he replied, “I never had an opportunity; she don’t believe, and won’t hear me.” “Now,” I said, “I want you to talk to your mother to-night.” For years I had been trying to reach her and couldn’t do it.

The Spirit of Jesus notices people God uses the love of a child and encourages them So I urged him to talk to her that night, and I I used always to go to the door and shake hands with the boys, and when I got to the door and saw this little boy coming out, I shook hands with

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said, “I will pray for you both.” When he got to the sitting-room in his house he found some people there, and he sat waiting for an opportunity,


when his mother said it was time for him to go to bed. He went to the door undecided. He took a step, stopped, and turned around, and hesitated for a minute, then ran to his mother and threw his arms around her neck, and buried his face in her bosom. “What is the matter?” she asked. She thought he was sick. Between his sobs he told his mother how for five weeks he had wanted to be a Christian; how he had stopped swearing; how he was trying to be obedient to her, and how happy he would be if she would be a Christian, and then went off to bed.

A child’s prayers for his mother She sat for a few minutes, but couldn’t stand it, and went up to his room. When she got to the door she heard him weeping, and praying, “O God, convert my dear mother.” She came down again, but couldn’t sleep that night.

Moody to come over and see her. He called at my place of business (I was in business then), and I went over as quiet as I could. I found her sitting in a rocking-chair weeping. “Mr. Moody,” she said, “I want to become a Christian.” “What has brought that change over you? I thought you didn’t believe in it.” Then she told me how her boy had come to her, and how she hadn’t slept any all night, and how her sin rose up before her like a dark mountain. The next Sunday that boy came and led that mother into the Sabbath-school, and she became a Christian worker. O little children, if you find Christ, tell it to your fathers and mothers. Throw your arms around their necks and lead them to Jesus.

Answered prayer! Next day she told the boy to go and ask Mr.

Application: Notice the heart of D.L. Moody and every true Christian. The Spirit of Jesus is active in them in multiple ways. First, they have a burden to see people saved (‘..I tried to reach a family). He took the initiative to arrange meetings. This would have involved organisation, advertising, and effort. At the end of a day’s work, this would have been extra tiring and hard. But the cause of Jesus was worth the trouble to Moody. Moody preached the gospel. Moody did everything he could to reach this mother and her little boy who were his neighbours. Notice too how Moody watered the seed of the gospel in the heart of the little boy - even though he was naughty in Moody’s meeting, Moody remained kind, encouraging, and friendly (‘I shook hands with him, and patted him on the head, and said I was glad to see him, and hoped he would come again’). In this way he ‘watered’ the seed of the gospel he had sown in his meeting. Notice too, Moody was persistent. He relentlessly proclaimed the gospel to this family (‘I tried to reach a family time and again and failed’) but saw no success.

What are the other lessons here? First, evangelism is not about proclaiming the gospel once to everyone in our cities/schools/towns/ neighbourhoods, folding our arms, shutting up shop, and saying ‘Ahh...now the job is done, I can put my feet up, relax, and take it easy.’ God forbid. It’s about relentlessly proclaiming, saturating society with the gospel message. Notice how Moody ploughed and watered the gospel with kindness, encouragement, friendship, prayer, and good works. The little boy needed, like all of us, Evangelism Daily Readings

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someone to notice him. Moody was wise enough and loving enough to see this and to see past his naughty behaviour. Isn’t it just the height of grace when someone sees past our weaknesses to the good in us! This surely is how Jesus sees us. Second, evangelism is about patience (‘For years I had been trying to reach her and couldn’t do it’). Moody didn’t see success straight away. Yet he did not waiver from the task of proclaiming. Seeds take time to grow. The Holy Spirit works at His own pace, and we need to wait for His perfect timing. Many Christian give up on proclaiming when they don’t see an immediate result. This is not God’s way. Perseverance is a key character quality of a victorious fruitful Christian. Third, Moody tried to get the boy to tell the gospel to the boys mother (‘“Have you ever spoken to your mother, or tried to pray with her?”). The mother wouldn’t come to the meeting to hear the gospel, so Moody was wise. He would use her own son to do the evangelism. If we can’t get the gospel to certain people personally, we need to seek God for alternative strategies. Fourth, notice how important prayer was to Moody. All the way through this account, it was obvious prayer and proclamation were linked together inseparably. What a lesson to learn for all those engaged in evangelism. Carry a notebook in our back pocket and write the names of the people down to whom you have given the gospel. As a church, post the names (first name and first letter of surname) of people who have heard the gospel in your neighbourhood around the walls of your church and go to prayer for them. Cover the walls! Re-create the wailing wall in Jerusalem inside your church. Put your prayer warriors and intercessors to work. Pray the lost in your city into your church. Fifth, notice Moody was had a full time job (‘I was in business at the time’). He wasn’t a ‘full time evangelist’ when this incident took place. Many people wish to be used by God and be ‘full time.’ They wait for ‘the day.’ Moody was a full time evangelist in this current job! Every day was ‘the day.’ And because of this, God promoted him, and increasingly used him for greater and greater things. Wherever we are, in whatever job we are doing, we are ambassadors of Jesus, and so ought to be sharing the gospel, as He would have done. We are all ‘full time’ wherever we are planted.

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Day Forty Seven Lord, Soften Our Hearts To The Reality Of Eternal Things John 7:3 ‘That they might know Jesus Christ’ James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) Hudson Taylor was also a medical doctor. Whilst in China, he himself became very ill and had to return to England. Once recovered, he was in great demand as a speaker. He used this time to recruit more missionaries for the China cause!

Back in London RETURNING to London when sufficiently recovered (from sickness) to resume my studies, the busy life of hospital and lecture-hall was resumed; often relieved by happy Sundays of fellowship with Christian friends, especially in London or Tottenham. Opportunities for service are to be found in every sphere, and mine was no exception. I shall only mention one case now that gave me great encouragement in seeking conversion even when it seemed apparently hopeless.

Salvation by the Holy Spirit alone GOD had given me the joy of winning souls before, but not in surroundings of such special difficulty. With GOD all things are possible, and no conversion ever takes place save by the almighty power of the HOLY GHOST. The great need, therefore, of every Christian worker is to know GOD. Indeed, this is the purpose for which

He has given us eternal life, as our SAVIOUR Himself says, in the oft misquoted verse, John xvii. 3: “This is [the object of] life eternal, [not to know but] that they might know Thee the only true GOD, and JESUS CHRIST, whom Thou hast sent.” I was now to prove the willingness of GOD to answer prayer for spiritual blessing under most unpromising circumstances, and thus to gain an increased acquaintance with the prayer-answering GOD as One “mighty to save.”

Thinking of the state of men’s souls at all times A short time before leaving for China, it became my duty daily to dress the foot of a patient suffering from senile gangrene. The disease commenced, as usual, insidiously, and the patient had little idea that he was a doomed man, and probably had not long to live. I was not the first to attend to him, but when the case was transferred to me, I naturally became very anxious about his soul. The family with whom he lived were Christians, and from them I learned that he was an avowed atheist, and very antagonistic to anything religious. They had, without asking his consent, invited a Scripture reader to visit him, but in great passion he had ordered him from the room. The vicar of the district had also called, hoping Evangelism Daily Readings

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to help him; but he had spit in his face, and refused to allow him to speak to him. His passionate temper was described to me as very violent, and altogether the case seemed to be as hopeless as could well be imagined.

Ploughing comes before sowing Upon first commencing to attend him I prayed much about it; but for two or three days said nothing to him of a religious nature. By special care in dressing his diseased limb I was able considerably to lessen his sufferings, and he soon began to manifest grateful appreciation of my services. One day, with a trembling heart, I took advantage of his warm acknowledgments to tell him what was the spring of my action, and to speak of his own solemn position and need of GOD’s mercy through CHRIST. It was evidently only by a powerful effort of self-restraint that he kept his lips closed. He turned over in bed with his back to me, and uttered no word.

More ploughing through prayer I could not get the poor man out of my mind, and very often through each day I pleaded with GOD, by His SPIRIT, to save him before He took him in death. After dressing the wound and relieving his pain, I never failed to say a few words to him, which I hoped the LORD would bless. He always turned his back to me, looking annoyed, but never spoke a word in reply. After continuing this for some time, my heart sank. It seemed to me that I was not only doing no good, but perhaps really hardening him and increasing his guilt. One day, after dressing his limb and washing my hands, instead of returning to the bedside to speak to him, I went to the door, and stood hesitating for a few moments with the thought in my mind, “Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone.” I looked at the man and saw his surprise, as it was the first time since speaking to him that I had attempted to leave without going up to his bedside to say a few words for my MASTER.

The seed of the gospel is planted I could bear it no longer. Bursting into tears, I

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crossed the room and said, “My friend, whether you will hear or whether you will forbear, I must deliver my soul,” and went on to speak very earnestly to him, telling him with many tears how much I wished that he would let me pray with him. To my unspeakable joy he did not turn away, but replied, “If it will be a relief to you, do.”I need scarcely say that I fell on my knees and poured out my whole soul to GOD on his behalf. I believe the LORD then and there wrought a change in his soul.

Harvest time! He was never afterwards unwilling to be spoken to and prayed with, and within a few days he definitely accepted CHRIST as his SAVIOUR. Oh the joy it was to me to see that dear man rejoicing in hope of the glory of GOD! He told me that for forty years he had never darkened the door of church or chapel, and that then--forty years ago--he had only entered a place of worship to be married, and could not be persuaded to go inside when his wife was buried. Now, thank GOD, his sin-stained soul, I had every reason to believe, was washed, was sanctified, was justified, in the Name of the LORD JESUS CHRIST and in the SPIRIT of our GOD.

Speak the Word whether men seem keen or not Oftentimes, when in my early work in China circumstances rendered me almost hopeless of success, I have thought of this man’s conversion, and have been encouraged to persevere in speaking the Word, whether men would hear or whether they would forbear. The now happy sufferer lived for some time after this change, and was never tired of bearing testimony to the grace of GOD. Though his condition was most distressing, the alteration in his character and behaviour made the previously painful duty of attending him one of real pleasure. I have often thought since, in connection with this case and the work of GOD generally, of the words, “He that goeth forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6). Perhaps if there were more of that intense


distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we

are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts, and our own feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things, may be the true cause of our want of success.

Application: By now we will all be familiar with ‘the six steps to drawing a non-Christian to Christ’ (i.e. ploughing, sowing, watering, growing, harvesting, and discpleship). The reading today is a perfect illustration of the outworking of this six step paradigm. The man with gangrene was initially not open to God, an avowed atheist. So what did Hudson do about this? He spent time ploughing the man’s heart with good works (tenderly dressing his wounds for three days), praying for him, and exercising wisdom - he didn’t proclaim the gospel to him initially (i.e. sow the gospel). Then, after a few days, when he sensed the time was right, he began to speak to him about Christ. Notice how he did this at first - he spoke about his own need of Christ. This avoids the person listening feeling like they are being lectured. Then, Hudson reports, he gave an appropriate word each time he visited the man. He gave him the gospel. He sowed the incorruptible seed into the man’s heart. He then continued to water that seed through prayer, and other ‘words’. God began to grow that seed. We know this because in the end, the man was gloriously saved. Notice too Hudson’s view of the authority under which he was working - he was clear in his mind that he was working for the MASTER. All of us who are evangelising must recognise that our authority and power comes from our MASTER, and that success depends on Him not us. Also, and equally important, with this idea of Jesus being his master, Hudson was a man under authority carrying out the MASTER’S commands. Oh how much more progress we would make in evangelising the world if we would all remember that we are servants of a MASTER who has given us clear instructions. Yet so often we just simply disobey our MASTER. When we do this, we are not ‘under authority’ but flouters of it. We are rebel servants ‘doing our own thing’. Then comes the climax - Hudson was so in touch with eternal realities that he fell on his knees and wept for the man’s soul. In all my time as an evangelist I have never done this. Today, and each day from now on, let’s begin to pray that the Holy Spirit would give us a revelation of ‘the solemn reality of eternal things’ that our hearts might be broken for the lost world and that lost sinners might see our brokenness and come running to Jesus for forgiveness. But there is two more nuggets of gold here - Hudson exhorts his readers to persevere with the Word! So often if we don’t get a good response the first time we share the gospel, we give up and move onto other things. Resist this temptation. It’s the Word which is the power of God for salvation. Keep wielding it! Second, he had souls on his mind all the time. He wasn’t just dressing a man’s wound - he was ploughing, gettting ready to sow the seed of the gospel. Imagine if we all went about our work each day with this fantastic attitude. The Great Commission would be completed in no time!

Hudson Taylor Quote “ Many Christians estimate difficulty in the light of their own resources, and thus they attempt very little and they always fail. All giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and presence to be with them.”

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Day Forty Eight Preparing The Inner Man For Evangelism Luke 9:22-26 “Unless a man picks up his cross and follows after me daily...”

In the reading today, Hudson Taylor writes about this how he prepared himself for his evangelistic mission.

Denial for the sake of the gospel HAVING now the twofold object in view of accustoming myself to endure hardness, and of economising in order to be able more largely to assist those amongst whom I spent a good deal of time labouring in the Gospel, I soon found that I could live upon very much less than I had previously thought possible. Butter, milk, and other such luxuries I soon ceased to use; and I found that by living mainly on oatmeal and rice, with occasional variations, a very small sum was sufficient for my needs. In this way I had more than two-thirds of my income available for other purposes; and my experience was that the less I spent on myself and the more I gave away, the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become. Unspeakable joy all the day long, and every day, was my happy experience. GOD, even my GOD, was a living, bright Reality; and all I had to do was joyful service.

Training to depend on God alone It was to me a very grave matter, however, to contemplate going out to China, far away from all

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human aid, there to depend upon the living GOD alone for protection, supplies, and help of every kind.

God is faithful, even if we are not I felt that one’s spiritual muscles required strengthening for such an undertaking. There was no doubt that if faith did not fail, GOD would not fail; but, then, what if one’s faith should prove insufficient? I had not at that time learned that even “if we believe not, He abideth faithful, He cannot deny Himself”; and it was consequently a very serious question to my mind, not whether He was faithful, but whether I had strong enough faith to warrant my embarking in the enterprise set before me. I thought to myself, “When I to China, I will not be able to rely on any one for anything; my only reliance will be on GOD. How important, therefore, to learn before leaving England to move man, through GOD, by prayer alone.”

Learning how to lean on God At Hull my kind employer, always busily occupied, wished me to remind him whenever my salary became due. This I determined not to do directly, but to ask that GOD would bring the fact to his recollection, and thus encourage me by answering prayer. At one time, as the day drew near for the payment of a quarter’s salary, I was as usual much in prayer about it. The time arrived, but my kind


friend made no allusion to the matter. I continued praying, and days passed on, but he did not remember, until at length, on settling up my weekly accounts one Saturday night, I found myself possessed of only a single coin--one half-crown piece. Still I had hitherto had no lack, and I continued in prayer.

Always ready and willing and active to give the gospel That Sunday was a very happy one. As usual my heart was full and brimming over with blessing. After attending church in the morning, my afternoons and evenings were filled with going out and giving the gospel, in the various lodginghouses I was accustomed to visit in the lowest part of the town. At such times it almost seemed to me as if heaven were begun below, and that all that could be looked for was an enlargement of one’s capacity for joy, not a truer filling than I possessed. After concluding my last service about ten o’clock that night, a poor man asked me to go and pray with his wife, saying that she was dying. I readily agreed, and on the way to his house asked him why he had not sent for the priest, as his accent told me he was an Irishman. He had done so, he said, but the priest refused to come without a payment of eighteen pence, which the man did not possess, as the family was starving.

The testing of the Lord Immediately it occurred to my mind that all the money I had in the world was the solitary halfcrown, and that it was in one coin; moreover, that while the basin of water gruel I usually took for supper was awaiting me, and there was sufficient in the house for breakfast in the morning, I certainly had nothing for dinner on the coming day. Somehow or other there was at once a stoppage in the flow of joy in my heart; but instead of reproving myself I began to reprove the poor man, telling him that it was very wrong to have allowed matters to get into such a state as he described, and that he ought to have applied to the relieving officer. His answer was that he had done so, and was told to come at eleven o’clock the next morning, but that he feared that his wife might not live through the night.

“Ah,” thought I, “if only I had two shillings and a sixpence instead of this half-crown, how gladly would I give these poor people one shilling of it!” But to part with the half-crown was far from my thoughts. I little dreamed that the real truth of the matter simply was that I could trust in GOD plus oneand-sixpence, but was not yet prepared to trust Him only, without any money at all in my pocket.

Pushing through fear The man led me to his house, and I followed him with some degree of nervousness. I had found myself in this neighbourhood before, and at my last visit had been very roughly handled, while my tracts were torn to pieces, and I received such a warning not to come again that I felt more than a little concerned. Still, it was the path of duty, and I followed on. Up a miserable flight of stairs, into a wretched room, he led me; and oh what a sight there presented itself to our eyes!

Wretched unbelief Four or five poor children stood about, their sunken cheeks and temples all telling unmistakably the story of slow starvation; and lying on a wretched pallet was a poor exhausted mother, with a tiny infant thirty-six hours old, moaning rather than crying at her side, for it too seemed spent and failing. “Ah!” thought I, “if I had two shillings and a sixpence instead of half-a-crown, how gladly should they have one-and-sixpence of it!” But still a wretched unbelief prevented me from obeying the impulse to relieve their distress at the cost of all I possessed.

Hyprocrite! It will scarcely seem strange that I was unable to say much to comfort these poor people. I needed comfort myself. I began to tell them, however, that they must not be cast down, that though their circumstances were very distressing, there was a kind and loving FATHER in heaven; but something within me said, “You hypocrite! telling these unconverted people about a kind and loving FATHER in heaven, and not prepared yourself to trust Him without half-a-crown!” I was nearly choked. How gladly would I have compromised with conscience if I had had a florin and a Evangelism Daily Readings

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sixpence! I would have given the florin thankfully and kept the rest; but I was not yet prepared to trust in GOD alone, without the sixpence.

God speaks through conscience To talk was impossible under these circumstances; yet, strange to say, I thought I should have no difficulty in praying. Prayer was a delightful occupation to me in those days; time thus spent never seemed wearisome, and I knew nothing of lack of words. I seemed to think that all I should have to do would be to kneel down and engage in prayer, and that relief would come to them and to myself together. “You asked me to come and pray with your wife,” I said to the man, “let us pray.” And I knelt down. But scarcely had I opened my lips with “Our FATHER who art in heaven” than conscience said within, “Dare you mock GOD? Dare you kneel down and call Him FATHER with that half-crown in your pocket?” Such a time of conflict came upon me then as I have never experienced before or since. How I got through that form of prayer I know not, and whether the words uttered were connected or disconnected I cannot tell; but I arose from my knees in great distress of mind.

The Holy Spirit speaks through Scripture The poor father turned to me and said, “You see what a terrible state we are in, sir; if you can help us, for GOD’S sake do!” Just then the word flashed into my mind, “Give to him that asketh of thee,” and in the word of a KING there is power. I put my hand into my pocket, and slowly drawing forth the half-crown, gave it to the man, telling him that it might seem a small matter for me to relieve them, seeing that I was comparatively well off, but that in parting with that coin I was giving him my all; what I had been trying to tell him was indeed true--GOD really was a FATHER, and might be trusted.

Relief through obedience The joy all came back in full flood-tide to my heart; I could say anything and feel it then, and the hindrance to blessing was gone--gone, I trust, for ever. Not only was the poor woman’s life

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saved, but I realised that my life was saved too! It might have been a wreck--would have been a wreck probably, as a Christian life--had not grace at that time conquered, and the striving of GOD’S SPIRIT been obeyed.

Sweet peace and joy I well remember how that night, as I went home to my lodgings, my heart was as light as my pocket. The lonely, deserted streets resounded with a hymn of praise which I could not restrain. When I took my basin of gruel before retiring, I would not have exchanged it for a prince’s feast. I reminded the LORD as I knelt at my bedside of His own Word, that he who giveth to the poor lendeth to the LORD: I asked Him not to let my loan be a long one, or I should have no dinner next day; and with peace within and peace without, I spent a happy, restful night.

The next morning Next morning for breakfast my plate of porridge remained, and before it was consumed the postman’s knock was heard at the door. I was not in the habit of receiving letters on Monday, as my parents and most of my friends refrained from posting on Saturday; so that I was somewhat surprised when the landlady came in holding a letter or packet in her wet hand covered by her apron. I looked at the letter, but could not make out the handwriting. It was either a strange hand or a feigned one, and the postmark was blurred. Where it came from I could not tell. On opening the envelope I found nothing written within; but inside a sheet of blank paper was folded a pair of kid gloves, from which, as I opened them in astonishment, half-a-sovereign fell to the ground. “Praise the LORD!” I exclaimed; “400 per cent for twelve hours investment; that is good interest. How glad the merchants of Hull would be if they could lend their money at such a rate!”

The lesson learned I cannot tell you how often my mind has recurred to this incident, or all the help it has been to me in circumstances of difficulty in after-life. If we are faithful to GOD in little things, we shall gain experience and strength that will be helpful to us in


the more serious trials of life.

Application: There are so many lessons in this reading and doubtless, you have found many as you read the account as well. Here are three which struck me. First, Hudson Taylor’s life was marked by risk taking. Here he is, not even left for China, and he is taking risks. This whole incident with the family and the dying mother came into view because he had made a decision to go out evangelising. He would not have had this story to tell if he had not been out evangelising. He said he spent his Sunday afternoons and evenings giving the gospel to strangers. Most of us today are relaxing and resting and treating ourselves to all kinds of lovely things on a Sunday but here is a man who is quite different from the crowd. He is about God’s work. It is no wonder God used him in such a wonderful way in China and elsewhere. He paid the price to be useful to God. He was training himself to be useful. How about you and me? Are we ‘cruising’ and ‘going with the crowd’ in our lives? Or are we coming out from the crowd, and ‘in training’? The interesting thing is that there is no program in the church put on for this kind of training - the training Hudson set himself was self initiated. The Holy Spirit was his coach and mentor. But notice the results! He was the happiest man in town, giving away money, gospel tracts, books, time; moving in faith, learning to trust God. And it seemed the more he gave the happier he became. Great men and woman don’t wait for God to train them. They initiate the training by putting themselves in situations where they need God to come through. The second lesson I learned here is that the Lord is continually growing and stretching us. Hudson had never given ‘everything’ so his bank account was completely empty. He naturally wanted to keep a little in reserve. I could completely identify with this. We love safety. But this is not God’s way. He is working all our lives to release us from self reliance and walking by sight, to total God reliance and walking by faith. How has God been growing and stretching you lately? When we are spending our Sunday afternoons and evenings doing evangelism, even up as late as 10pm at night, we’ll know we are on the same training program as the great Hudson Taylor! Third, notice how God spoke to Hudson through this reading - by bringing scriptures to his mind. Hudson must therefore have been a person who read the Bible a lot and even memorised scripture. For a long while in my Christian life I memorised scripture, and then I became lazy and dropped it. Only recently, I have picked up this vital habit again. It makes a big difference. I would encourage you to do the same so that the Holy Spirit can used what you have memorised to speak to you clearly and loudly like he did with Hudson.

Hudson Taylor Quote “ Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him.”

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Day Forty Nine

The Wrath Of God And Evangelism Ephesians 2:3 “We are all children of wrath...”

In the reading today, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes about the wrath of God, a subject all through the Bible, but rarely discussed or preached about today. The wrath of God is inseparable from the love of God. Indeed, love is meaningless without it. Everyone doing evangelism must understand this.

All are under the wrath of God The apostle puts it like this. He says that “we were all by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). The apostle says two things: that we are all under the wrath of God; and secondly that we are all under the wrath of God by nature.

The wrath of God helps us understand the love of God The apostle’s whole argument is that we can never understand the love of God until we understand this doctrine of God’s wrath. It is the way in which we measure the love of God.

Why did Jesus come? As Christians we believe that the Son of God came into this world, that He laid aside the insignia of His eternal glory, was born as a babe in Bethlehem, and endured all that He endured, because that was essential for our salvation. But the question is “Why was it essential to our salvation? Why did all that have to take place before we could be saved?”

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I defy anyone to answer that question adequately without bringing in this doctrine of the judgment of God and of the wrath of God. This is still more true when you look at the great doctrine of the cross and the death of our blessed Lord and Saviour. Why did Christ die? Why had He to die? If we say that we are saved by His blood, why are we saved by His blood? Why was it essential that He should die on that cross and be buried and rise again before we could be saved? There is only one adequate answer to these questions, and that is this doctrine of the wrath of God. The death of our Lord upon the cross is not absolutely necessary unless this doctrine is true. So, you see, it is a vital matter for us to consider.

Evangelism and the wrath of God This doctrine is essential from the standpoint of a true evangelism. Why is it that people do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Why is it that people are not Christians and not members of the Christian Church? Why does the Lord Jesus Christ not come into their calculations at all? In the last analysis there is only one answer to


that question: they do not believe in Him because they have never seen any need of Him. And they have never seen any need of Him because they have never realised that they are sinners. And they have never realised that they are sinners because they have never realised the truth about the holiness of God and the justice and the righteousness of God; they have never known anything about God as the judge eternal and about the wrath of God against the sin of man. So you see this doctrine is essential in evangelism. If we really believe in salvation and in our absolute need of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must start with this doctrine- the doctrine of God’s wrath.

All are born under the wrath of God Now let us look at the scripture in Ephesians 2:3. The first thing the apostle says is that all who are born into this world are under the wrath of God. Here we come face to face with this tremendous doctrine which I know full well is not only unpopular at the present time but is even hated and detested. People can scarcely control themselves as they speak about it. The whole modern idea has been for a number of years, that God is a God of love and that we must think of God only in terms of love.

Wrong ideas about God rampant To talk about the wrath of God, we are told, is utterly incompatible with any idea of God as a God of love. The way in which it is put is like this - “The wrath of God stems from the ancient idea of God as a sort of tribal God. There are still certain Christians who believe in that God of the Old Testament, who was nothing but a tribal God. The gods of mythology were all of that type and of that kind; they displayed their anger and their wrath; but, of course, we know now from the New Testament and from Jesus that this is quite wrong and quite false. We no longer believe in the God of the Old Testament, we believe in the God of the New Testament, in the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

You are familiar with the argument. Indeed, some go even further, and say that it is only during the past century that we really have become sufficiently enlightened to understand these matters, and that, until the beginning of this present century, people still believed in the wrath of God, and, therefore, had a completely false concept of God. I remember reading a very learned book in which the author stated that this idea of the wrath of God was nothing but a kind of projection into the character of God of the notion of the typical Victorian father, the stern repressive father who kept his children down and disciplined them severely and punished them. His suggestion was that people just carried that idea over and projected it right into God Himself. But that, he held, was nothing but a false bit of psychology from which we have by now delivered ourselves, and we now know that the idea of wrath in a God of love is something that is self-contradictory.

Understanding the term ‘wrath’ Is there any answer to such contentions? Let me dispose of one preliminary misunderstanding. There are some people who completely misinterpret the very term wrath. They think of wrath instinctively as some uncontrolled manifestation of anger. They cannot think of it apart from the idea of somebody trembling in a rage and pale with passion, who has lost self-control and is speaking in a violent manner and doing violent things. Now that is quite a false and wrong idea of the meaning of wrath. Sinful man, it is true, does sometimes manifest his wrath in this way, but all that does not enter at all into the term as used of God in the Bible.

Wrath is nothing but a manifestation of indignation based upon justice. Indeed, we can go further and assert that the wrath of God, according to the scriptural teaching, is nothing but the other side of the love of God. It is the inevitable corollary of the rejection of the love of God. God is a God of love, but God is also and equally a God of justice and of Evangelism Daily Readings

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righteousness; and if God’s love is spurned and rejected there remains nothing but the justice and the righteousness and the wrath of God.

Justice and wrath are inseparable Now let us demonstrate the contention that this is something which is taught everywhere in the Scripture. In the Old Testament it is to be found at the very beginning. When man fell in the garden of Eden, God visited and spoke to him and pronounced judgment upon him. He drove him out of the garden, and there at the eastern gate of the garden He placed the cherubim and the flaming sword. What is the meaning of the flaming sword? It means just this very thing; it is the sword of God’s justice, it is God’s sword of wrath and of punishment, punishing man for his sin and making it impossible for him to come back and eat of the tree of life and live for ever. There, at the very beginning, is a manifestation of God’s righteous judgment and His wrath upon sin. It is to be found running right through the Old Testament: in the story of the flood, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and in the various punishments of the children of Israel, whether as a nation or as individuals.

For the sake of justice, God has to punish law breaking The Old Testament is full of this. God has given His law and He has pronounced that if men break it He will punish them - that is His wrath. And when they have done so He has punished them. He has punished individuals, He has punished the nation, even His own chosen people. He punished them, He poured His wrath upon them by raising up the Chaldean army which came and sacked Jerusalem and carried away the people as captives into Babylon. That was a manifestation of the wrath and the righteous judgment of God. It is everywhere in the Old Testament. You really cannot believe the Old Testament unless you accept this doctrine of the wrath of God.

Wrath in the New Testament When you come to the New Testament, in spite of all that modern critics would have us believe,

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the doctrine is again present everywhere. The first preacher in the New Testament is John the Baptist. What did he say? He said, “Flee from the wrath to come”; “Repent and be baptised every one of you, flee from the wrath to come”.

John the Baptist and wrath The Pharisees came to be baptised of John, and he looked at them and said, “Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” It was his great message. Indeed it was the message of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. But, and most surprising of all, we find it in the verse that is generally quoted as the supreme statement of God as a God of love - John 3: 16, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son”. Why did He do so? The answer is “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. The alternative to everlasting life is perishing. And it is John 3: 16 that teaches it. But the thirty - sixth verse of that third chapter of John is still more plain, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him”. In other words, all men are under the wrath of God, and unless we believe on the Son of God the wrath of God abides upon us. What can be more plain or explicit?

There it is in the Gospel of John the apostle of love.

The apostle Paul teaches the same truth equally clearly. In Romans 1: 18, we read: “For the wrath of God is manifested [is already revealed] from heaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”.

The wrath of the lamb And if you go right on to the Book of Revelation you will find it there in a most remarkable phrase. It is a phrase about the “wrath of the Lamb”. It seems quite contradictory, quite paradoxical. You think of a lamb in terms of innocence, harmlessness. And yet there is this pregnant phrase, “the wrath of the Lamb”. It is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the whole world who is to judge the world in righteousness. So it is quite clear that the idea that love and wrath are incompatible is a complete


denial of the plain teaching of the Scriptures. Indeed I would go so far as to say that unless we start with this idea of the wrath of God against sin we cannot possibly understand the compassion of God, we cannot understand the love of God. It is only as I realise God’s wrath against sin that I realise the full significance of His providing a way of salvation from it. If I do not understand this I do not understand that, and my talk about the love of God is mere loose sentimentality which is indeed a denial of the great biblical doctrine of the love of God.

God’s wrath an expression of his hate for sin The apostle’s teaching, then, is that until we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we are under the wrath of God. And the wrath of God is an expression of God’s hatred of sin, an expression of God’s punishment of sin. It is a clear statement to this effect, that if we die in our sins we go on to eternal punishment. That is the teaching of Scripture. The wrath of God against sin manifests itself finally in hell, where men and women remain outside the life of God in misery and wretchedness, slaves to their own lusts and desires, selfish and self-centred. The apostle’s teaching is that that is the position of all who are not Christians. They are under the wrath of God in this life, they will remain under the wrath of God in the next life. That is the position of the sinner, according to Scripture.

We have finite, sinful understanding If you object to the idea you are objecting to the Scriptures, you are setting up some philosophic idea of your own contrary to their plain teaching. You are not arguing with me, you are arguing with the Scriptures. You are arguing with these holy apostles, you are arguing with the Son of God Himself. If you believe that the Bible is divinely inspired, then you must not say, “But I don’t understand”. You are not asked to understand. I do not understand it, I do not pretend to understand it. But I start from this basis, that my mind is not only finite but is, furthermore, sinful, and that I cannot possibly understand fully the nature of God and the justice and the holiness of God.

If we are going to base everything on our understanding, then we might as well give up at this point. For the Bible tell us that “the natural man” and “the natural mind” cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God (see I Corinthians 2). It was the desire to understand that led to the Fall. Intellectual pride and arrogance is the first and the last sin.

The business of preaching is not to ask people to understand; the commission of the preacher is to proclaim the message .

And the message is that all are under the wrath of God until they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. But indeed we must go even one step further.

By birth under the wrath of God That brings us to the second matter. The apostle says that we are all in that condition “by nature”. What does this by nature mean? It means “by birth”. We were all by our very birth the children of wrath. You notice that the apostle does not say that we “become” the children of wrath because of our nature; he says we “were”. In other words the apostle, in line with the whole of the Bible, does not teach that we are born into this world in a state of innocence or in a state of neutrality, and that then, because we sin, we become sinners and thereby come under the wrath of God. That is not what he says: he says the exact opposite. He says that we are born into this world under the wrath of God; from the moment of our birth, because of the sin of Adam, we are already under the wrath of God by birth.

Lean not on our own understanding Let us be careful therefore. There is nothing more tragic than the way in which Christian people bring the relics of their philosophies and their own understanding into the Christian faith. Many who claim to believe the Bible, and who regard it as authoritative, reject it at this point because they do not like the doctrine, or because they cannot reconcile certain matters. But the reconciliation is here before us. Though we were Evangelism Daily Readings

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dead in trespasses and sins, hateful and hating one another, polluted by sin, sinful in practice, living in trespasses and sins and under the wrath of God, and absolutely helpless and hopeless, the very God against whom we have sinned, the very God whom we have offended, has Himself provided the way of deliverance for us. He does so in the Person of His own dearly beloved Son, whom He did not spare even from the suffering and the agony and the shame of Calvary and that cruel death. He has offered us, and provides for us, the way of complete deliverance and reconciliation to Himself in spite of the fact that our sin in Adam

and our own sins, and our own sinful state deserve nothing but His eternal wrath. That is the love of God! That is the “love so amazing, so divine”! God has done that for us, who deserve nothing but eternal wrath, which we could never have done for ourselves. May God in His grace enable us to receive these things so that we may go on to consider the next verse with its glorious “but”. Though all we have been considering was true of us, “God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ”. Blessed be the name of God!

Prayer: “Lord, we ask you to give all of us a revelation of your wrath, as much as we can bear. We ask you to do this that we might be able to understand your love better, what you did on the cross, and the gravity of our own sin. We ask you to do this that we might be more zealous to evangelise. Lord, if we fully understand your wrath, I know we will have a greater compassion for the lost, seeking to win them for you at any cost. We ask you to do this for your glory. Amen.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones Quote “The main trouble with the Christian Church today is that she is too much like a clinic, too much like a hospital; that is why the great world is going to hell outside! Look at the great campaign, look at it objectively, look at it from God’s standpoint. Forget yourself and your temporary troubles and ills for the moment; fight in the army. It is not a clinic you need; you must realize that we are in a barracks, and that we are involved in a mighty campaign.[The Great Commission]”

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Day Fifty We Need More Evangelists In The Church Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” John R. Rice (1895-1980) was a Baptist evangelist and pastor and the founding editor of The Sword of the Lord, an influential fundamentalist newspaper in America. He was mightily used around the world to unite churches for the purpose of evangelism. Rice believed that the mission of churches was “not to take care of Christians” but to “evangelise the world.”

Evangelists come before teachers and pastors God has given to the church men and women for different purposes. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). After apostles and prophets, and before pastors and teachers in importance, God gave evangelists. There are some who would like to do without evangelists, some who would scorn them, curb them, berate them. But all such sin against God and sin against His holy Word. He has set the work of an evangelist in the body of Christ. These evangelists are not only called to give a gospel message to the unsaved, but, according to the Scripture they are “for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry,” to the end that the body shall make increase (Ephesians 4:12-16).

A sick Church without evangelists The Church is a sick Church when it does not have evangelists. People will not be taught personal soul-winning as they should be and edified and built up for the ministry God requires of every Christian without the work of Spirit-filled, full-time called and anointed evangelists. The churches will lose the revival flavour God intended them to have if they do not have evangelists. It is true that some pastors will win souls, but they will be fewer and fewer as we have fewer evangelists to set the pace. Without evangelists we may not expect the great revivals God wants us to have. All the efforts to put evangelists into a minor place, to rob them of influence, circumscribe their preaching, and keep them out of the churches is working against God’s harvest, working against great revivals.

Pastors can’t do it alone In a city known to me, good pastors got together to have a “revival campaign.” But so there would be no hard preaching against sin, no issue raised about movies, dances, lodges and other worldliness, they asked a good pastor to lead in the “revival campaign.” He preached good sermons. But he did not take the time for preparation of Christians, preaching against sin, getting them to pray and win souls, as Moody and Torrey and Billy Sunday and other blessed evangelists have always done. He simply preached sermons. They were good, sound Evangelism Daily Readings

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sermons on the blood of Christ. But not many unsaved attended the services. There was a notable lack of real conviction, and pastors were disappointed because there was no genuine revival. There are a lot of good preachers, sound preachers, devoted preachers who are not evangelists. They are not called to be evangelists, not anointed to be evangelists.

Don’t change God’s plan It would be as foolish to set out to change the

whole plan of Christian churches and say that we would do away with the local congregations called churches and the office of a pastor, as it is to try to do away with the office of an evangelist. The evangelist is named before the pastor, has a more important role in carrying out the Great Commission. It is sin, it is rebellion against the New Testament plan, it is substituting human wisdom for the divine order when we try to get along without full-time, anointed, dedicated, Spirit-filled evangelists.

Prayer: “Lord, we pray today for the evangelists in the Church around the world. We pray for those who are active already that they would be used by you to truly equip the saints for the work of ministry. We pray especially for those who are sitting in church, dormant, depressed, and marginalised. We pray that you by the power of the Holy Spirit would blow on the embers of their gifting and fan them into flame. We pray for leaders in churches to recognise and honour the evangelists in their midst, and that they would use them in their churches for your glory. We pray they’d be valued as you value them. You gave them as a gift to your Church. So, Lord, today, we accept them as gifts, and ask you to give us wisdom as to how to best utilise them in our churches. Amen.”

John Rice Quote “Not till I die or not till Jesus comes, will I ever be eased of this burden, these tears, this toil to save souls.”

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Day Fifty One

Social Action And Evangelism 1 John 3:17-18 it says:“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” The reading today is written by a university student called Karina. The photo at right is not Karina. I wanted to hide her identity because I am going to ask you to critique her reading below about evangelism. By now, being seven weeks or so into the ESI Evangelism Discipleship course, we ought to be as sharp as razors when it comes to reading about evangelism. We need to be such people if we are going to go on after this course and be part of the solution which is to re-fire the Great Commission. In the next four readings, I have selected articles written by various people about evangelism. Each one, to one degree or another, is pregnant with the devil’s devices. In each reading, can you spot his devices at work? When you come across these articles, or sermons, or whatever in real life which are unwittingly propagating the devices, can we take action by speaking/ writing to the person concerned about what they have written? It was Edmond Burke who said “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Social Action and Evangelism Social action is a key part to evangelism, but you have to weigh the balance between social action and evangelism. Social action standing alone, is NOT evangelism.

Evangelism questions During class a week or so ago a fellow student called Chris made the above statement, or words to that effect. Previous to this statement in class the question in my mind was ‘Is evangelism purely the presentation of the full gospel message’? And if so ‘where does social action and practical outworking of Christianity along with relationship evangelism come into play?’ Obviously evangelism is not just the presentation of the gospel.

The mission of Jesus Jesus came to earth to save the world, but the Jesus I read about in my bible came and DID things for people. He healed the sick, forgave the sinners, raised dead people to life again. Jesus met people’s ‘felt needs’, to use someone else’s term, before he met their spiritual needs. So are we as a church and as individual Christians doing likewise? I think it comes down to the fact that we need to minister to the whole person, not just the spirit part of a person.

What the Bible says In 1 John 3:17-18 it says:“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or Evangelism Daily Readings

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tongue but with actions and in truth.” The Love spoken about here is an active thing. It is not just some nice feeling we are to have for people. We are to show and demonstrate that love for people.

Evangelism more than just preaching In the New Testament when it is talking about love and the love of God it is not just a feeling; it is an action word. We are to DO something to show God’s love to people. Not just preach the word to them.

In reading ‘The Weight of Evangelism and Social Action’ by Erin Johnson I came across this quote “The words explain the deeds, and the deeds validate the words.” This really resonated with me. This is what Jesus came and did. He not only preached with his words, but also backed them up with practical expressions of God’s love and compassion on humanity. Evangelism is not only preaching the full gospel message, it is DOING something about it as well, though we must be careful not to swing to much towards social action. Striking the balance is KEY.

Comment:

Karina’s heart is definitely in the right place. She wants to proclaim the gospel, and she wants to do good works. This is awesome. At least she is thinking about the issues! However, at what point is Karina becoming confused about the relationship between social action and evangelism? What is the relationship? How would ‘The six steps to drawing a non-Christian to Christ’ paradigm have helped Karina? Good works are not evangelism, or even part of evangelism. However, they are intimately and vitally connected to evangelism. This six step paradigm you saw in DVD 6 shows how this is so. All the way through this article, truth and error are mixed together. She is confused, and by writing about it, she may well be confusing others. This, of course, is exactly what the devil wants. Confusion is a hallmark of darkness (1 Corinthians 14:33). The Bible, on the other hand, calls us to join in with the work of Jesus and destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8 says “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Ephesians 4:27 exhorts us to give no place to the devil. These verses are calls to action. There is no neutral ground here. We can’t be passive observers. Why would it be tragic to adopt a ‘I can’t be bothered’ attitude to the devil and his devices? If you were to write to her, commenting on this reading, what would you say? In what ways could you commend her? How is her advice in this reading undermining Biblical evangelism? When you complete this course, how are you going to be part of the solution to help mobilise people around the world for evangelism? If you come across people communicating like this in magazines, articles, sermons or whatever, what actions will you take? Discuss this reading in your group if you get time.

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Day Fifty Two The Mother Who Blogs Teenagers - Letting Your Light Shine Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine...” This reading was written by an mature older mother to teenagers via a blog. She is genuinely trying to give them ‘good advice’ about evangelism. As with the previous reading, I want you to critique what she is saying in light of the Biblical truth you have learnt in this course so far. The photo is not of the real Linda. Psalm 126:5-6, New International Version:

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

Evangelism! Sometimes just the very word seems to bring fear into our hearts. How can we evangelize those around us without seeming to be weird? As a Christian teen, that was exactly the way I felt, and perhaps you do as well.

Bible College Experience In Bible college we had to pass out tracts at the airport and go door-to-door telling people about the Lord. That was never, to say the least, my comfort zone. I suppose I cared too much about

what others thought, but I do not think that was the only problem. I have tried several jobs in sales, and though I did very well, I hated it. I just did not like forcing people to buy my product.

We are the most powerful evangelism tools I am not opposed to handing out tracts and going door-to-door sharing Christ, but I do not believe that is the only way to share Christ with those around us. I would even venture to say, that it is not the most effective way, either. Evangelism simply means sharing Christ. But, how do we do that? I believe the most effective types of evangelism are those done in natural everyday settings. How do our friends and acquaintances perceive us? We have the most powerful evangelistic tool of all: ourselves! As we live more and more like Christ, those around us will see the evidence, and many will ask why we are different. That is the best opening for sharing Christ! Is it necessary that we share Christ? We will not win our salvation by sharing Christ, but sharing Christ through our lives should be a natural outcome of growing in the Lord. And, the rewards, as shown in Psalm 126, are many. Evangelism Daily Readings

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He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves (those who have come to Christ) with us. What a wonderful promise! God Bless You, Linda

Let us, too, go out weeping (that means we care about the lost around us), carrying the seed of the Gospel to sow around us. Then, we too, will

Comment: Linda has a heart to reach her friends and neighbours. Fantastic. She’s been to Bible College. Fantastic. Best of all, she is encouraging others through her blog to evangelise. Wow, God bless you Linda! She is doing more than 98% of the Church with respect to evangelism. However, like the previous reading, there is truth and error mixed in this reading, which makes the error hard to detect. Again, this is how the devil wants it. Let’s examine this reading more closely. First, the six step paradigm we outlined in DVD 6 would really help Linda differentiate between ploughing and watering activities and evangelism. Her confusion would be cleaned up immediately. Then, through her blog, she wouldn’t be confusing others. Her emphasis on being a great person so that people ask questions is right and proper. Jesus did exhort us all to “let our lights shine” (Matthew 5:16). The example of our life is a powerful ploughing and watering tool in the hands of God to draw people to Himself. There can be no mistake about this. But in an of itself, the example of our life is not evangelism. Linda’s experience of sharing the gospel by going door to door and giving out tracts at the airport sounds negative and advertises this kind of evangelism in a poor light. Her report is like one of the 10 spies who went up into Canaan and came back with a negative report (Numbers 13). Yet what she did going door to door and at the airport is evangelism! When you see study 12 in this DVD series, you’ll be amazed at the teaching of Jesus in Mark 4:26-29. If Linda knew about this teaching, and understood it, she would be rejoicing about what she did door to door and at the airport. And here’s the thing - she’d be encouraging others to do the same. Keep in mind in this whole course - the devil’s intention is to stop evangelism. Can you see how this Linda’s advice is subtly (and completely unwittingly) helping him?

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Day Fifty Three Are You An Evangelist? Galatians 6:9 “Don’t become weary in doing good..” This reading was written by a significant pastor and author. Let’s call him Bill. As with the previous two days readings, I want you to critique what he is saying in light of the Biblical truth you have learnt in this course so far. The photo is not of the pastor who wrote this article.

But God “convinced” him to take the job. He would provide whatever was needed for the task at hand. Moses just needed to understand that Jehovah wasn’t requesting that he go back to save the children of Israel. He was commanding him to go.

The Great Commission

Commanded by Jesus

A former tax-collector, a political activist, and a few fisherman — eleven common Hebrew men. Having no organization and no resources but their faith in the promises of Jesus Christ, these first-century citizens of Palestine were charged by our Lord to do the impossible — go evangelize the world. What an awesome task — what an awesome responsibility! But each one of the eleven, with the later addition of two more, served their Master nobly, fulfilling his command and dedicating their lives, and the lives of their families, to bringing the gospel of Christ to the nations.

Similarly, we need to understand that the Lord didn’t just ask that we help him in saving others, he commands it. If you’ve been saved from your sins, it is expected that you will help the Saviour find others to save. It is expected that you will be an evangelist. The term “evangelist” is an anglicized form of the Greek euanglistes, from eu (“well”) and aggelos (“messenger”). It refers to one who proclaims the good message, a gospel herald. Often, the term is used in the New Testament in a restricted sense — equivalent to a gospel preacher, a minister (cf. Acts 21:8; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:5). In this sense, a woman cannot serve as an evangelist (1 Corinthians 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:12).

From them to us And the charge now comes down through the centuries to us. We must evangelize the world. We must not allow our friends and loved ones, nor strangers afar, to pass from this world without hearing the good news — that Jesus will save them from their sins.

So, are you an evangelist? Moses didn’t want to do it. He couldn’t imagine himself being God’s spokesman before Pharoah.

The evangelist But in a general use of the term, any person, male or female, who brings the gospel to others through various means, is an evangelist. And every Christian should be involved, in some way, in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through evangelism.

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The Reward of Evangelism Within twenty-four hours, he knew he would be dead. What would you do during your last day? Jesus took the time — valuable, precious minutes — to wash the dirty feet of his disciples. Why did he do that? To impress upon them the fact that “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

Christian service

Christianity is a religion immersed with service and sacrifice — from our King, down to the most humble member. We serve, because he serves us. We are commanded to serve our brethren in Christ, and even our enemies. When we render our sacrifices of service, we help others find their God and their way home. Perhaps the most ironic thing about the type of service demanded by the religion of Christ is that by serving others, we find our own greatest fulfillment. You will never be more contented than when you help someone else improve his station in life or, more importantly, improve his relationship with the Creator.

Serving people through evangelism That is why the best thing you can ever do is to serve others by being evangelistic. By being a messenger for Christ, you will receive the ultimate reward — the satisfaction of knowing that you were able to help Jesus find a lost soul. Christ promises great rewards for those who serve in this way. His recognition and praise should motivate us to want to become his evangelists.

How To Be an Evangelist You may not be able to fulfil the role of a preacher, or teacher, or elder, or deacon. But in the general sense, you can be an evangelist. Here’s how.

Go About Doing Good With great attention Cornelius listened as Peter told him about Jesus, the man from Nazareth who went about doing good (Acts 10:38). With Christ as our example, one of the best ways you can begin to be an evangelist is to go about your

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day-to-day activities looking for good things to do. Paul summed it up this way: “And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:9-10). For years, the Boy Scouts were known for their habit of performing a daily “Good Deed.” The young scout was encouraged to “begin straight away with a daily Good Deed; nothing spectacular, but just something which otherwise he would probably not do” (Reynolds). What a wonderful, practical implementation of this principle for the Christian evangelist, not just daily, but, as the Paul noted, at every opportunity. There can be no better compliment than to have it said of you, “He is always going about doing good.”

Good deeds your first tool of evangelism Good deeds are your first tool of evangelism. They open the door. They let someone know that you care. Master the example of Christ (Acts 10:38), and you’ll be well on your way to being a first-rate evangelist.

Talking to Friends Do you have friends or family members who are in need of salvation? Many times, it’s difficult to talk to someone about their spiritual condition. Here’s a formula you may find helpful. Instead of trying to “win an argument,” try just letting them know that you’ve been praying for them about the state of their soul. Or that you’ve been thinking about them — that you’re worried. With a genuine sense of care, they cannot help but want to reassure you that they’re all right. Perhaps, at that point, you can set up a Bible study “just to make sure.” Wouldn’t it make you feel better if they allowed you the time just to present the gospel to them? Or, if they would promise you they would read something and consider it. Perhaps it would be helpful to focus on expressing concern, asking for a fair hearing, and providing them the opportunity to hear the gospel.


Whether through the preacher, a tract, an article, or a tape, you have fulfilled your loving responsibility to bring them the message of Christ.

Helping Evangelistic Works The Phillipian Christians were so eager to help Paul fulfil the Saviour’s plea. Paul responded: “I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:3-6).

The size of the task Generally speaking, most of us have somewhat limited spheres of influence. We have our families, those with whom we worship, our friends at work, neighbours we live near, and acquaintances we run into from time-to-time. But there are a lot more people out there — about 6 billion. We cannot go individually to every person in the world. We are limited by the demands of living, the responsibility of family, and our geographic location. We can, however, cooperate and help others expand the borders of the kingdom. Collectively, we can reach far more people than we can individually.

The sacrifice of being a missionary Many congregations support missionaries to spread the gospel to far away places. These dedicated people do not receive the praise and gratitude they deserve in this life (the Lord knows, though). They often sacrifice comfort and convenience in order to carry the gospel to those distant lands. And, too often, their safety is in jeopardy as well. The missionary is a noble servant, indeed.

If you can’t personally evangelise, help some one else do it You can do no better service than to help someone else teach the gospel. Through the combined efforts of Christians, thousands upon thousands of souls have been saved in this manner — souls

that were doomed and would not have been rescued had good Christians not supported a mission work. Take for example this work, the Christian Courier web site. In the past three months, there were over 108,000 visitors who viewed more than 250,000 documents designed to enhance their faith. Contacts were made in 73 different countries. While each article may bear an author’s name, what is not seen are the dozens of helpers we have who regularly supported this work — the churches, both small and large; the kind, elderly lady who sends $10 each month to help — though she’s never used a computer, nor seen a web site; the dozens of others who sacrifice so that the Master’s message is carried around the globe. Without these supporters, this web site would not exist. They are the unknown workers at the Christian Courier, but the Lord knows “the fruit that increaseth to their account.”

You are an evangelist if you help someone else do it You may not have the ability to make the sacrifice to go, but you can surely do as the Philippians did. Be an evangelist — support a faithful mission work.

Encouraging Your Church Leaders Your local ministers, elders, and deacons need your encouragement. It may not look like it, but it’s true. Consider your local minister — so much is expected from him. He must lead the congregation in the study of God’s word. Whether the message encourages, rebukes, or instructs us, it is a demanding job that requires skill and dedication. The preacher is expected to visit the sick, the elderly, and the weak. He waits at the bed beside those who soon will meet their Maker. He often labours under criticism — sometimes valid, sometimes not. Frequently he sacrifices his personal “family-time” for the interests of the church.

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Be an evangelist by encouraging your pastor! Your church leaders labour similarly — because they love the church of Christ. You can be an evangelist by being an encourager of those who have dedicated their lives to the work of evangelism in your local congregation. Your partnership — through support, kind words, and thoughtful gratitude — mean so much.

“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20). The Lord is depending on you. You can do it. Be an evangelist!

Comment:

Bill’s article is Bibilically ‘right on’ in the first page or so, as he defines evangelism as a verbal message. Then slowly but surely, his pattern of thought derails, and he begins to talk about evangelism as ‘going about doing good.’ As the article progresses, he flicks between evangelism being good deeds, to evangelism being a message, to evangelism being supporting a missionary, or encouraging a pastor or minister. It’s obvious he is not sure what evangelism is, so he is covering all his bases. The net result is that people listening to his sermon will go away not sure about what evangelism is either. They might even (tragically) only remember that ‘your best tool in evangelism is your good deeds.’ The devil, of course, relishes this thought. Furthermore, Bill perpetuates confusion when he states that everyone is an evangelist. We know this is not true. In the DVD series we have been watching, we tried to differentiate between an evangeliser (someone without the Ephesians 4:11-12 gift) who spreads or proclaims the gospel, and an evangelist (someone with the gift of evangelism) who spreads or proclaims the gospel. The reason we make this distinction is two fold. First, many people opt out of evangelism because they say they don’t have the gift. We answer this by saying ‘Yes, you don’t have the gift, but you have the responsibility to evangelise. The person with the gift is called by God to help you do this.’ Second, some people opt out of evangelism because they see great men of God like Billy Graham on stage, thinking they can never be like him and do what he does. We answer that he is an evangelist with the gift, who proclaims the gospel on stage. ‘But you’ we say ‘can evangelise among your friends, neighbours, and family by spreading or proclaiming the gopsel to them. You don’t need the gift to do this. You don’t have to be on stage to give the gospel to people.’ Hearing this is usually a great relief to people, because they hate speaking in public. Later in the article, Bill points outs the value and worth of helping and supporting others who are evangelising. This is all good. Evangelists need a lot of support, finance, and prayer. But then Bill goes too far. He goes on to say that we can evangelise by proxy. By supporting an evangelist, we are some how evangelising as well! This a device of the devil that I write about in my book (Device 7, page 42). Can you see how this device sounds right, but it’s actually error? It’s truth and error mixed together, so we don’t detect the error. The truth is we are only ever evangelising when we do it personally. Second, we have all been personally commanded by Jesus to do it. The devil’s intention with this device, as ever, is to reduce the number of people actually evangelising. Evangelism is hard work. Most of us would relish the idea that we could personally be obeying the command of Jesus to evangelise by paying someone else to do it!? Bill finishes his message by defining evangelism in yet another way - when you encourage and support your pastor or minister you are evangelising. Can you see how confusion reigns in Bill’s message? How all the boundaries are blurred? How truth and error are mixed? The devil’s goal, of course, is to reduce the number of people actually doing evangelism. Sadly, I think this article would have unwittingly helped his cause. Again, the six step paradigm we presented in study 6 would have cleaned up the confusion quickly, along with the distinction between the words, works, and effects of the gospel.

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Day Fifty Four Jesus The Genie? Psalm 126:5-6, New International Version:“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.”

Two aspects of evangelism This is one of the verses of scripture I have memorised because it so beautifully captures the spirit of true evangelism. There are two great aspects of evangelism which I will draw out here: the work of evangelism and the reward of evangelism. Today I will focus on the work. Tomorrow the rewards.

The woman at the well When Jesus led the woman at the well to Himself in John 4:7-38, He said the most remarkable thing to the disciples in verse 38: ‘I sent you to reap what you did not labour for; others have laboured and you have entered into their labour.’ The Greek word for labour means to grow weary, tired, exhausted (with toil or burdens or grief) to labour with wearisome effort, to toil in bodily labour.

gospel. They planted the seed. I am entering into the fruit of their ploughing and sowing labours.’

Humility Wow! Even the King of the Universe shows his utter humility by giving honour where honour is due. We would think that if God is the evangelist, absolutely no one else would need to be involved. Not so. Jesus is quick to give the credit to the ploughers and sowers who went before Him. I want us to get this today. What’s the lesson? The person who shares the gospel and who is crowned with eminent success has no cause for boasting over others, any more than the man who reaps a field of grain should boast over the men who ploughed,sowed, and watered it. The labour of all is equally necessary, and the labour of all would be useless if GOD did not give the increase.

Evangelism is work What’s the second lesson? Evangelism is work. Look to the top of this page again and see what the word ‘labour’ means in the original.

Someone else did the work What Jesus is saying to the disciples is ‘Hey guys, I just led this woman to faith in Me. But you know what? Someone else actually did all the hard work to which enabled this to happen. Before I came along, the Old Testament prophets, and the Jewish teachers ploughed the soil of her heart with the Word. Then along came John the Baptist the evangelist who proclaimed the

Arm chair Christianity? So much of what goes on in the Church today is about God blessing me, my life, my career, my family, my finances, my health, my future, my whatever. It’s arm chair Christianity. Where has the idea gone that when we were saved we signed up to be a disciple of Jesus? In Evangelism Daily Readings

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signing up, didn’t we agree to serve Him and His purposes on the earth? Didn’t Jesus say ‘the servant (that’s us) is not above his Master (that’s Jesus)? How has it all be reversed in much of today’s Church where Jesus is now serving us and our purposes?

cross. We are dying to self. These are all things which will draw us nearer to Jesus and into an increasing sense of His presence - not at the time but eventually, as the Psalm says.

Is Jesus our genie?

Psalm 51:17 says ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.’ What’s a broken spirit? Its the horse which has relinquished to its rider complete uncontested control. For a Christian, it’s reaching the point of giving God uncontested control of our lives, even for the 15 minutes or so it takes to give the gospel to someone. Sometimes it might take weeks, or months, or even years for a Christian to be ‘broken in’ to establishing the habit of evangelism in their lives. Old Adam hates to die! I was working with a church in Sydney, and one of the pastors was reading my book where I say the same thing. ‘A whole year. It that how long it might take to be broken in to doing evangelism?! Not for me then!’ she squealed. She wasn’t prepared the pay the price to enter into brokenness of evangelism and so will never experience the ‘songs of joy.’ How sad.

For many of us, He has shifted from being our King and Master and we His servants, to us being King and He our servant. For many of us he has simply become our genie. The dictionary defines ‘genie’ like this:

In Arabian folklore, a magical spirit that has supernatural powers and will obey the commands of the person who summons it.

Sacrifice and suffering The God we serve is the God of the Bible, not a made up one. The God of the Bible is not a genie. He is Lord. And when we became Christians, we called Him by this name. So how come over time, for so many of us, there has been a gradual role reversal? He has made it clear that the path to life and life in all its fullness for a disciple, the road to intimacy with the Holy Spirit and Jesus, is the way of sacrifice and suffering. Being a disciple means going to work, not for our salvation, but as an act of adoration to thank Him for our salvation. The Apostle Paul poured his life out, he says, like a drink offering. This is what ‘take up your cross’ means. It’s a narrow way (Matthew 7:14). Taking up crosses is not popular today.

Jesus and Paul our example. Evangelism was at the heart of the life of Jesus and Paul. They showed that the path to achieving the evangelising of the world is cobbled with the stones of suffering, sacrifice, hard work and self denial. When we leave our office or room, or house, or school each day to go out of our way to give the gospel to someone, and it feels like it is costing us something, like precious time or money, or our reputation, and we feel pain; or it’s a major inconvenience, this is a wonderful thing. We are sowing in tears. We are picking up our

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Evangelism and brokenness

My own experience Nearly every time I leave my house or room each day to give the gospel to someone, I feel some measure of pain, some days more, some days less. Some days excruciating because I am so busy and don’t want to leave what I am doing! Give the gospel to people is nearly always an inconvenience. Yet, when I return, it’s invariably the best thing that happened that day! This is the great paradox of evangelism. It’s painful to do it, but the end result is wonderful! Think on the words of Jesus: “Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” What’s the cross symbolic of? Brokenness. To go through brokenness for the sake of furthering the evangelisation of the earth is the most wonderful thing to Him.


Jesus broken for our breakthrough Through being broken, Jesus achieved breakthrough for us. Remember, He said ‘This is my body, broken for you’ (1 Corinthians 11:24). Through your willingness to enter into brokenness, God will bring breakthrough for many people who hear or read the gospel through your hard work. Your brokenness will be their breakthrough. Make no mistake about it - the foundation for successfully evangelising the world has always been and will always be pain and suffering and work. I am asking you today to reject the idea that Jesus is your personal genie. It’s a lie. When we

make Him Lord, and serve Him, and His purposes, life takes on whole new meaning and purpose, something the genie can never give. His promises are empty. Tomorrow, I am going to talk about the rewards and the joy of evangelism.

Prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus, evangelism is tough work. It’s risky, humbling, and dangerous. Yet, you commanded us to do it. Thank you that the rewards are proportionate to the risks, dangers, and humblings! Fill us with gratitude for what you have done for us that we might rush out each day to eagerly tell someone the Good News! And above all, guard our hearts and minds against being subtly taught that you are a genie. You are not. We know that. Today we affirm afresh that you are Lord of our lives. Lord, the brokenness is a terrible thing but a sweet thing. Lord, we ask you to do what ever it takes to break us (in a tender loving way, as I know you will) for your purposes. We can’t do this for ourselves. Only you can do this for us. We want to be used by you, and more useful to you, and more fruitful, and we know that this can never happen outside of sacrifice, suffering, and self denial, three things we naturally run from. So Lord, please do the work you need to do in us. We open ourselves today to your working. Amen.”

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Day Fifty Five The Rewards Of Evangelism Psalm 126:5-6, New International Version:“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” Yesterday we looked at the work and labour of evangelism. Today the rewards. There are many verses of Scripture which allude to the rewards of doing evangelism. Today I am going to deal with just one - Mark 8:35 “For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall save it.”

The mystery of the reward of doing evangelism I have found this to be so true in my own life. Going out to give the gospel each day is in a sense ‘losing one’s life’ for the sake of the gospel. It’s a sacrifice. It hurts. But many times I come back from evangelising feeling like I have won the major lottery prize. All my problems and troubles feel like they have diminished or even gone away. My head is clear, and I feel light and free and exhilarated. I don’t quite know what exactly has happened which gives me this feeling. All I know is something fantastic in my spirit has happened! And it’s not just because I have the gift of evangelism, and am moving in my area of gifting. I have spoken with many Christians in many countries who don’t have the gift and they testify to the experiences I describe here.

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A universal experience? Ask any person who is doing evangelism regularly, and they will tell you the same thing. What’s so mind blowing about this is that it seems to be a universal experience.

‘Regularly’ a carefully chosen word Notice I chose the word ‘regularly’ carefully. To get to the point of experiencing this joy takes time, courage, and commitment. I have met countless Christians who have had one or two bad experiences, and have dropped evangelism as a consequence. ‘Never again!’ they cry. The best in any field or endeavour, whether art, or sport, or music, or...well anything, will tell you they had many trying experiences in the early days and training was gruelling. They too wanted to give up many times. But because they persevered, they are now the best in the world. Their joy is inexpressible. They are ‘reaping with songs of joy.’

Christians are wired to do evangelism. God, it seems, has ‘wired’ Christians to do evangelism. Doing evangelism brings a strong sense of the presence of God into a believer’s life. This being so, it’s tragic to see such a vast majority of the Church missing out on this aspect of Christian life. They are like the believers of whom Jeremiah spoke: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13).


Many have gone to ‘things’ other than evangelism to satisfy their hungry souls. Many have gone to broken cisterns that cannot hold water i.e. doing things which bring only a temporary shallow high like shopping, or holidays, or going to movies and parties, or making money. There is nothing wrong with these things, of course, but in terms of attracting a strong sense of the presence of God, they usually give a pitiful return compared to doing evangelism. By doing evangelism, the Holy Spirit leads us to an endless supply of living water.

Other things usher in the sense of the presence of God Now I know that worship in church, or doing good works, or being used by God in some way, or having a personal encounter with God through reading His word or prayer etc- all these things can usher in a sense of His presence, but nothing, in my experience, attracts the sense of God presence more than doing evangelism. I am not surprised at this discovery, since evangelism is the priority of God. And being the priority, it attracts His keen attention. It brings Him most pleasure when He sees a believer doing it. John 14:21 affirms this great truth: “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:21). When we obey His commands, the promise of God is that we’ll be loved by the Father and Jesus, and Jesus will show Himself to us!

Evangelism and the glory of God I also believe that attracting this strong sense of the presence of God into our lives has to do with evangelism glorifying Jesus. Doing evangelism is one of the most powerful and potent ways of glorifying God. (Please see page 570 onwards is my book ‘Evangelism: Strategies from Heaven in the War for Souls’ for further discussion on this).

Putting a smile on the face of Jesus As far as rewards go, it doesn’t get any better than

this. What can be better than putting a great big smile on the face of Jesus, the maker of heaven and earth and attracting a rich sense of His presence into our lives? Please don’t misunderstand me here. Sometimes I go out and come back and feel flat and ho hum about what happened. Sometimes I have returned discouraged and down because the person I spoke to was hard hearted, or argumentative, or mocking, or just disinterested. Jesus taught about this in the Parable of the Seed and the soils, so I live with this and accept it (Luke 8:4-21). These negative experiences don’t knock me around like they used to. But as I learnt to do evangelism and got better at it, tutored by the Holy Spirit, the number of negative experiences have decreased, and the positive have increased. I come from a completely non-Christian background. When I was saved at 22, I didn’t know anything about the Bible, or God’s commands or anything. If the Holy Spirit can teach me how to evangelise, He can surely teach you! Many of your are starting with years of Christian experience as a foundation. It took Jesus three years to train the disciples how to evangelise, so expect a learning curve. So the first reward for those doing evangelism is to experience a strong sense of the pleasure of Jesus and the Father over our lives. The second is to know deep in our hearts we are glorifying God. These experiences and this knowledge is what brought ‘songs of joy’ to the sower of the sower of seed in Psalm 126:5-6.

Making the Bible live and relevant. But there is a third reward I want to mention before I finish. It’s the reward of seeing ourselves in the Bible and relating. Giving that people are doing evangelism all the way through the New Testament, when we are doing evangelism ourselves, we identify with them. And when we do this, the Bible becomes much more interesting and relevant. Think of family photo albums. As we peruse those of our own family, who, generally speaking, are we most interested in seeing? Ourselves! The more photos of us, the more interesting the album is! So when we see ourselves regularly in Evangelism Daily Readings

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the Bible, we enjoy reading the Bible more, which in turn leads to a richer deeper walk with God. As it is written, “Man does not live by bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus, thank you that you reward those who persevere in evangelism. Thank you for the sense of your presence ushered in when we do evangelism, which is the most beautiful experience in the world. Raise up more and more people, I pray, who will persevere in evangelism, and find breakthrough in this critical area of Christian life. Do it for your glory Lord, Amen.”

Application: If you have experienced the sense of the presence of God in your life so far, you’ll know what I am talking about in this reading. But here’s the thing - if you haven’t yet experienced the sense of the presence which doing evangelism can usher in, then for you the best is yet to come! Determine today to commit to the long haul (i.e. a life time of evangelism). If you do this, you are certain to experience breakthrough, and you’ll look back on this reading one day and say ‘He was SO right! I have found what he said to be true in my own life! Thank God I didn’t go through life NOT discovering this rich and deep source of life in Christ.”

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Day Fifty Six How Do We Work for Justice and Not Undermine Evangelism? Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization opened on Saturday, October 16, 2010, and concluded on Monday, October 25. The event, convening 4,000 evangelical leaders from 200 countries, addressed issues including poverty, HIV/AIDS, consumerism, and child sex trafficking. No doubt these and many other issues crying for justice in a broken world affect evangelistic efforts. But already, some observers wonder whether the evangelical bird (to borrow John Stott’s analogy popularized through Lausanne) is tilting toward the justice wing and away from the evangelism wing. So how do Christians work for justice in the world and not undermine the centrality of evangelism? Don Carson responds.

(1) By doing evangelism. I know numerous groups that claim to be engaging in “holistic” ministry because they are helping the poor in Chicago or because they are digging wells in the Sahel, even though few if any of the workers have taken the time to explain to anyone who Jesus is and what he has done to reconcile us to God. They are not proclaiming the gospel.

Their ministry isn’t holistic; it’s halfistic, or quarteristic.

(2) By being careful not to malign believers of an earlier generation. The popular buzz is that evangelicals before this generation focused all their energies on proclamation and little or nothing on deeds of mercy. Doubtless one can find sad examples of such reductionism, but the sweeping condescension toward our evangelical forbears is neither true nor kind. To take but one example: The mission SIM has emphasized evangelism, church planting, and building indigenous churches for a century— yet without talking volubly of holistic ministry it built, and still operates, many of the best hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa.

(3) By learning, with careful study of Scripture, just what the gospel is, becoming passionately excited about this gospel, and then distinguishing between the gospel and its entailments [i.e. effects of the gospel]. Evangelism Daily Readings

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The gospel is the good news of what God has done, especially in Christ Jesus, especially in his cross and resurrection. Because the the gospel is news, it must be proclaimed. But because it is powerful, it not only reconciles us to God, but transforms us, and that necessarily shapes our behavior, priorities, values, relationships with people, and much more. These are not optional extras for the extremely sanctified, but entailments [i.e. effects] of the gospel. To preach moral duty without the underlying power of the gospel is moralism that is both pathetic and powerless. To preach a watered-down gospel as that which tips us into the kingdom, to be followed by discipleship and deeds of mercy, is an anemic shadow of the robust gospel of the Bible. To preach the gospel and social justice as equivalent demands is to misunderstand how the

Bible hangs together.

(4) By truly loving people in Jesus’ name—our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all people, especially those of the household of faith. That necessarily includes the alleviation of suffering, both temporal and eternal. Christians interested in alleviating only eternal suffering implicitly deny the place of love here and now. Christians who by their failure to proclaim the gospel while they treat AIDS victims in their suffering here and now show themselves not really to believe all that the Bible says about fleeing the wrath to come. In the end, it is a practical atheism and a failure in love.

Prayer: “Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for Don and his ministry. Thank you for his positive influence. Thank you that he so strongly and clearly defines evangelism, distinguishing this from good works. Thank you that he is exhorting all those involved in justice type ministries to proclaim the gospel, whilst at the same time exhorting those involved in evangelism ministries to engage in justice. Lord, keep the two together. Help the church to never separate these two. Amen.”

Don Carson Quote “People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”

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Day Fifty Seven Fifty Years Later 1 Chronicles 28:20b “The LORD God, my God, will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.” Norman Richards, retired missionary to Africa, vividly remembers the first time he tried to witness to anyone. He was graduating from high school, and he felt a burden to tell a classmate named Bill about Christ. Bill listened without making a commitment, but Norman felt a weight lifted off his heart. The two men didn’t see each other again until their fiftieth high school reunion a half-century later. “Norman,” said Bill, coming up to him and recognizing him, “I’m so glad to see you. For some reason, we lost touch and I never told you that shortly after you talked with me, I took

your words to heart and accepted Christ as my personal Saviour. I got married, and my wife and I have been serving the Lord ever since. We’ve been workers in the church for five decades. I’m glad I’ve been able to tell you this after all these years.” Don’t fail to share Christ as the Spirit prompts you; and don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Our labour in the Lord is not in vain. We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Prayer: “Dear Jesus, thank you for this encouraging story today. Thank you that you touched the seed of the gospel which Norman planted and you grew it. Thank you that you are so faithful to your word, and to the promises in the Bible. I pray that we might continue to sow the seed of the gospel, knowing what you will water our efforts by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that our lives might bear much fruit for your glory. Amen.”

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Day Fifty Eight How Charles Spurgeon Was Converted Isaiah 45:22 “Look unto Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other” Lex Loizides and his wife Jo and family live in Cape Town, South Africa. Lex is a popular speaker at conferences and evangelistic missions and has a passion and ability to bring people to Christ and equip the local church. He is a gifted evangelist and an elder of the multi-racial Jubilee Community Church. In this reading, he chronicles how Charles Spurgeon was saved.

Spurgeon most thrilled by evangelism ‘Even if I were utterly selfish, and had no care for anything but my own happiness, I would choose, if I might, under God, to be a soul-winner, for never did I know perfect, overflowing, unutterable happiness of the purest and most ennobling order, till I first heard of one who had sought and found a Saviour through my means. I recollect the thrill of joy which went through me!’ This quote of Spurgeon gives us a clue as to why he was able to build the world’s largest evangelical church of the 19th century.

Prior to conversion Before he was converted Spurgeon himself went from church to church in order to hear the gospel message. He was open, he was hungry for God and knew that he was not right with God.

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Many churches not preaching the gospel He visited several evangelical churches in his search for the Christian message. The churches he visited were all Bible-believing, faithful, worshipping communities. But, sadly, while they celebrated their own security in Christ, and while they were focussing well on the needs of the believers, in Spurgeon’s own description of his search, there was nothing for him – no actual direct gospel message that was intended to connect with someone searching for Christ.

Lessons from Spurgeon’s experience How often do we hear gospel messages spoken in Churches on a Sunday morning and a strong call for a decision issued? We ought to do it often! Their may be another Spurgeon sitting in the back row waiting for an invitation.

The day of his conversion Finally, one morning, hindered by the snow, Spurgeon found his way to a ‘Primitive Methodist’ meeting. The pastor didn’t arrive. So, unprepared, a deacon stood up and preached the gospel! He preached directly to the non-believer, ‘Look unto Me and be saved, all the earth!’ The deacon said you couldn’t work for this, you must just


look! Everyone can look, a child can look, the most educated, the least educated – all can look to Christ and be saved!’

Spurgeon gave his life to Christ.

Spurgeon confronted

From then on, as we know, he determined to build a church that was evangelistically relevant – every Sunday as well as in its other ministries! His church majored on evangelism. He deliberately spoke to the outsider, the guest, the non-Christian in all his messages. And what became the Metropolitan Tabernacle grew to 5000 and he was instrumental in training and sending 200 church planting leaders across the world.

Then he turned directly to Spurgeon and said, ‘Have you looked to Jesus, young man?’ Spurgeon was struck to the heart. At that moment he recalls: “I sat there, afraid to look upward, lest I should be utterly cut off, and lest His fierce wrath should consume me.” When the preacher gave the call for salvation,

What you major on will grow

Application: This account of Spurgeon’s conversion is a graphic reminder of the power of the Holy Spirit. God powerfully anointed the message Spurgeon heard. Spurgeon was convicted to the core, and saved. But here’s the thing - it is easy to see the ‘six steps to drawing a non-church person to Christ’ in action as we observe Spurgeon’s spiritual journey. First, someone somewhere, probably in prayer, had Spurgeon in their sights. I was talking with someone the other day about this very thing. We were talking about the different ways God ploughs the hearts of non-Christians to receive the seed of the gospel. We know, for example, that God is continually ploughing through conscience and creation. We know too that everyone in this world is right now being prayed for my someone somewhere. Maybe not by name, but they are being prayed for. How so? There are many 24 hour global prayer initiatives in operation, some small, some large. In the mix of their prayers are prayers for the salvation of the lost around the world. So just because someone doesn’t have a another family member or a faithful Christian grandparent praying for them, doesn’t mean no one is praying for them! God’s Spirit, as in Genesis (Genesis 1:2), is hovering over the earth, responding to the prayers of His people, ploughing the hearts of non-Christians, getting them ready to hear the gospel. In Spurgeon’s case, the deacon in the little church was the faithful believing servant who decided to sow the seed of the precious gospel. The Holy Spirit in an instant watered it, and grew it. The deacon put out the invitation for salvation. He risked an altar call. God used him to harvest Spurgeon into the Kingdom. Spurgeon went on to be discipled as a new believer, and the rest is history. He progressed, as you know, to be used by God to plough, sow, water, harvest, and disciple millions around the globe. Spurgeon’s life and ministry is still bearing fruit today. So, be encouraged, you never know what God is going to do through the gospel you spread or proclaim. And know too, that those you are giving the gospel to are being prayed for by someone somewhere around the globe, and the Holy Spirit is continually ploughing and watering through conscience and creation. With all this preparation going on, isn’t it tragic that the Church in the West has largely stopped sowing the gospel? Just think for a moment of the frustration God must be feeling. If you were a farmer, and your job on the farm was to plough the ground and get it ready for planting, but the planter of seed never arrived, so you kept on ploughing, in expectation that he might come, how would you feel? What if your waiting was not weeks or months, or years, but decades.Praise God for you! You are part of a new generation of sowers who the Holy Spirit is using to bring about a great reversal. Evangelism Daily Readings

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Day Fifty Nine The Power Of Spiritual Disciplines And How They Help Evangelism 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” I have been a Christian for thirty years. Like all of us, I have been through seasons in my spiritual life. There have been seasons of tremendous joy, life, vitality, and purpose, where the sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit is rich and wonderful. Jesus is speaking clearly and loudly, and everything seems to be going my way. The pages of the Bible burst into flame as I read them. Jesus is everything , nothing else on earth matters, and being a Christian is a phenomenal reality. But then there have been times of barrenness, where God seems silent, my reading of the Bible boring and lifeless. Even my prayer life seemed to lack power and purpose and meaning. Going to church became a bit routine and dull as well. Cynicism and scepticism were

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lurking around. I even wondered whether Christianity was real, and not made up! These are two extremes, and at any moment in time, all of us live somewhere between the two. Today I want to tell something of my own journey and how engaging in Spiritual Disciplines helped me enormously.

In the early days For nearly a decade, I used to rise at 4 am each day. First, I’d spend an hour in prayer. I would walk about the school field which was next door to where I lived. I would spend time giving thanks for everything I could think of, especially Jesus and all His different attributes. I would thank Him that He was my creator, redemeemer, saviour etc. I would spend time teasing out details with respect to each attribute. For example, as creator, I would thank him for the birds and I would think about and name as many birds as I could. Then I would go onto the animals, and insects and all kinds of things. It was amazing how the Holy Spirit used to guide me and what He would bring to my mind to give thanks for. In fact, my of my prayer time would be mostly giving thanks. Sure, I would pray for people and situations but mostly it was thanks. I would always spend time thinking, and listening - just communing with God and meditating. It was in these times that He would speak and put ideas and plans into my mind.


Bible study After my prayer time, I would come home and study the Bible for an hour. I would study one book at a time, and take notes. The notes came from commentaries I was reading so as to understand what the Bible was saying. I would always make sure I read at least one chapter of the Bible each morning, and to make sure I didn’t day dream or drift off course when I was reading, I used to summarise what I had read in my own words, as though I was telling someone else what the chapter was about.

Exercise After an hour of Bible study, I would go to the gym for an hour and a half. The first three and a half hours of the day were dedicated to building my inner man in God. And do you know what, for all those years, life was pretty much onward and upward. Sure, negative things happened in my life (like traffic fines, relationship challenges with people, bills to pay, money to find etc) but overall I felt protected, empowered, and victorious. I was on top of life and I knew it. I knew it was God.

Decline I am not sure exactly what happened, but I ever a period of a few years, I began cut back on these disciplines and eventually stopped them. As I look back, maybe I listening to some teaching that was ‘off’ and got involved with ‘friends’ who were not helpful. Whatever the cause, I remember thinking, ‘why do I have to jump through all these hoops in order to have a relationship with God?’

The battle ground is the mind Before I knew it, doubt and discouragement were more prevalent and life started to go not so well for me. I had lost my spiritual power and direction. My fruitfulness as a Christian went into decline. I had moved from being a giving, contributing

Christian (God was working through me to bless literally thousands of people in His Church) to a consumer Christian (going to Church faithfully each Sunday, giving some money each week, singing some songs, listening to the sermon, and partaking in whatever else is served up). It was at this time that God spoke to me about ‘my decade of self discipline’. Slowly but surely I re-fired my old routines. It was excruciatingly hard to get going again. And do you know what? The life and power and protection and victory of God returned. And what have discovered through all this?

Lessons learned I have discovered that if we want to be abundantly fruitful in this life, we can’t get away without a strong devotional life. Spiritual Disciplines are incredibly important.

So what are ‘spiritual disciplines?’ Spiritual disciplines are things we do to grow spiritually (Colossians 2:20-23 and 1 Timothy 4:7,8). The way to spiritual maturity is through discipline. God uses three primary agents to bring change in the believer: people (Proverbs 27:12), circumstances (Romans 8:28) and spiritual disciplines. The word translated discipline in the New Testament is a Greek word gumnasia from which we get the English word gymnasium and gymnastics. The spiritual disciplines can be thought of as spiritual exercises.

What is ‘maturity’? Spiritual maturity is not primarily concerned with outward performance - it concerns who we are. When we substitute activity for communion with God, we live our spiritual lives on the surface. The primary method that God has given for the nurturing of the spiritual life is discipline. A disciple by definition is a disciplined person. Communion with God is not going to just happen - it is not spontaneous. Discipline is required if we are going to go deeper with God and have fellowship with Him. The practise of spiritual disciplines have always been regarded as a vital part of faith Evangelism Daily Readings

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development. By definition, a spiritual discipline is the intentional practise of some aspect of the Christian life (such as prayer or reading Scripture) in a regular and habitual manner. Practising spiritual disciplines is like learning to play the guitar: drudgery during the early stage, but in the long run the effort is worthwhile.

Benefits of spiritual disciplines The benefits of spiritual disciplines: (1) They Help us Develop Intimacy with God the goal of the disciplines is not salvation - we are saved by faith in Christ (Romans 10:9-10) but as we practise them, we are helped in our walk with Jesus and develop intimacy with God. (2) They Help us Become like Christ - they also shape us into godly people (1 Timothy 4:7). We need them because we are weak, enslaved to ingrained habits, and cannot live a Christlike life on our own. As we live under the discipline of God we are able to overcome these weaknesses and habits. (3) They Help us Receive the Grace of God in a sense the spiritual disciplines are a means of grace - they put us in the path of God’s grace. Various books describe and help people to apply the spiritual disciplines, such as: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People by Keith Drury; Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster; Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney; The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard; and Disciplines of the Holy Spirit by Dr. Siang-Yan Tan. Different writers suggest ways in which to categorise the disciplines:

Different categories of disciplines Keith Drury divides the disciplines as follows: (1) Inner Personal Disciplines: grudges - releasing old hurts; thought life - overcoming impure thoughts; humility - putting off pride; ambitions - abandoning selfish ambition. (2) Interpersonal Disciplines: restitution - making things right; restoration - restoring a fallen Christian; honesty speaking absolute truth; peacemaking - mending broken relationships. Richard Foster divides the disciplines in this way: (1) Inward Disciplines: meditation; prayer; fasting, study. (2) Outward Disciplines:

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simplicity; solitude; submission, service. (3) Corporate Disciplines: confession; worship; guidance, celebration. Dallas Willard suggests that the spiritual disciplines can be grouped into two categories: (1) Disciplines of Abstinence (things you do without): solitude, silence, fasting, simplicity, chastity, secrecy and sacrifice. (2) Disciplines of Engagement (things you do): study, worship, celebration, service, prayer, fellowship, confession and submission. Author Donald Whitney gives the following suggestions:

Step1: Managing your time This is probably the first step that needs to be tackled when starting a disciplined life. Time is a precious gift that can be used wisely or wasted. Using time wisely is a discipline that needs to be learned. It is probably easier to use time wisely when you think of how short time is. Think about what you do and how you spend your time. Start with setting aside a half an hour a day that is just for God. Once you have a routine you will find that each day you are spending a few more minutes, merely because it’s the time you enjoy, the time you learn and the times when you are most encouraged.

Step 2: Learning about Spiritual Disciplines Some of the disciplines outlined in Donald Whitney’s book ‘Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life’include: Bible Intake: involves making an effort to hear; read and study the word on a daily basis. Prayer: is learned, applied and answered. Worship: is a response, focus and a discipline done in truth and spirit. Meditation: is a mental focus on God’s Word. Serving: is expected and is a gift. Stewardship: involves using your time and money wisely. Journaling: is important for self-evaluation and understanding and to assist you in remembering what you have studied. Learning: is a discipline and is essential. Perseverance: outlines the role of fellowship; the


Holy Spirit and Christian living.

Step 3: The Role of Fellowship vs. Socializing Fellowship involves the sharing of spiritual life. Often fellowship is regarded, treated and substituted by the act of socializing. Socializing is sharing earthly and human life and therefore should be clearly distinguished from fellowship. Fellowship allows the individual to be encouraged and to grow spiritually by modelling, talking, testifying.

Spiritual disciplines definitely help with evangelism. Apart from fuelling our desire to do evangelism, they help us discipline ourselves to actually do evangelism on a regular basis. Last thing - be accountable to someone else for our disciplines. Having another person spur you on is a big help. Go for it!

Summary Application: What I noticed was that every single author writing about Spiritual Disciplines never mentions evangelism as a discipline. This indicates how deeply and widely the devices of the devil have been sown into the Christian Church. So, where does one start? Like Donald Whitney says, start by setting a small portion of each day aside to grow with God. Go into a room or some place where you can be completely un-distracted by anything or anyone. Don’t leave the room or place until your time is up! You can download a Spiritual Disciplines sheet off my web site www.esisite.com/resources Over time, gradually increase the time. Go or quality not quantity. If you keep it up, you’ll be amazed how the life and power of God will be begin to flow through you in new and wonderful ways! You’ll move from being a consumer Christian to being a contributing one! And here’s the thing - I found that my desire to reach the lost world with the gospel is directly proportional to my commitment to developing my relationship with Jesus through my Spiritual Disciplines.

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Day Sixty How England Was Revived In The 18th Century Bishop J.C Ryle Romans 1:16 “The gospel is the power of God for salvation�

Great change took place in England That a great change for the better came over England during the 18th century is a fact that I suppose no well informed person would ever attempt to deny. You might as well attempt to deny that there was a Protestant Reformation in the days of Luther, a Long Parliament in the time of Cromwell, or a French Republic at the end of the 18th century. There was a vast change for the better. Both in religion and in morality, the country gradually went through a complete revolution. This is a great fact that even the irreligious cannot deny, however they may attempt to explain it. But by what means was this great change effected? To whom are we indebted for the immense improvement in religion and morality that undoubtedly came over the land?

Who or what was responsible for the change? Who, in a word, were the instruments whom God employed in bringing about the great English reformation of the 18th century? The government of the country can lay no claim to the credit for the change.

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Morality cannot be called into being by laws and statutes. People have never yet been made religious by acts of government. In fact, the parliaments and administrations of the 18th century did as little for religion and morality as any that ever existed in England. Nor did the change come from the Church of England as a body. The leaders of that venerable institution were utterly unequal to the times. Left to herself, the Church of England would probably have died of pride and inactivity. Nor did the change come from the independent churches of the dissenters. Content with their recently won freedoms, that worthy body of men seemed to rest upon their oars. In the general enjoyment of their new rights of conscience, they forgot the vital principles of their forefathers as well as their own duties and responsibilities. Who, then, were the reformers of the 18th century? To whom are we indebted, under God, for the change that took place?

God used ordinary people The men who wrought deliverance at this period were a few individuals, most of them clergymen of the Established Church, men whose hearts God touched about the same time in various parts of the country.


They were not wealthy or highly connected. They had neither money to buy adherents nor family influence to command attention and respect. They were not put forward by any church, party, society, or institution. They were simply men whom God stirred up and brought out to do His work without previous concert, scheme, or plan.

Evangelism was primary They did Christ’s work in the old apostolic way by becoming the evangelists of their day. They taught one set of truths. They taught them in the same way, with fire, reality, and earnestness. They taught them in the same spirit, always loving, compassionate, and like Paul, even weeping, but always bold, unflinching, and not fearing the face of man. They did not wait for sinners to come to them, but rather they sought sinners. Instead of sitting idle until sinners offered to repent, they assaulted the high places of ungodliness like men storming a breach, giving sinners no rest so long as they held to their sins.

They were branded as fanatics The movement of these gallant evangelists shook England from one end to another. From the beginning, people in high places made it known that they despised them. The educated class sneered at them as fanatics. The humorists made jokes and invented sarcastic names for them. The Church of England shut her doors on them, and even the dissenters turned the cold shoulder on them. The ignorant mob persecuted them. But the movement of these few evangelists went on and made itself felt in every part of the land.

God was working through them powerfully Many were aroused and awakened to think about religion. Many were shamed out of their sins. Many became frightened at their own ungodliness. Many were converted. Many who declared their dislike of the movement were secretly provoked to imitation. The little sapling became a strong tree; the little creek became a deep, broad stream; and the little

spark became a steady, burning flame. A candle was lighted of which we are now enjoying the benefit. The feeling of all classes in the land about religion and morality gradually assumed a totally different complexion. And all this, under God, was effected by a few unpatronized, unpaid adventurers! When God takes a work in hand, nothing can stop it. When God is for us, none can be against us.

The Sword of Preaching the Gospel The instrumentality by which the spiritual reformers of the 18th century carried on their operations was of the simplest description. It was neither more nor less than the old apostolic weapon of preaching the gospel. The sword that Paul wielded with such mighty effect when he assaulted the strongholds of heathenism 1,800 years ago was the same sword by which they won their victories. To say, as some have done, that they neglected education and schools is totally incorrect. Wherever they gathered congregations, they cared for the children. To say, as others have done, that they neglected the sacraments is simply false. Those who make these assertions only expose their entire ignorance of the religious history of that period. But beyond a doubt, preaching the gospel was their favourite weapon.

They wisely went back to first principles and took up apostolic plans. They held, with Paul, that a minister’s first work is to preach the gospel.

They preached the gospel everywhere. If the pulpit of a parish church was open to them, they gladly availed themselves of it. If it could not be obtained, they were equally ready to preach in a barn. No place was too unworthy for them. In the field or by the roadside, on the village grass or in a marketplace, in lanes or in alleys, in cellars or in attics, on a tub or on a table, on a bench or on a horse block, wherever hearers could be gathered, the spiritual reformers of the 18th century were ready to speak to them about their souls. They were instant in season and out of season in doing Christ’s work, and crossed sea and land in carrying forward their Father’s business. Now, all this was a new thing. Can we wonder that it Evangelism Daily Readings

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produced a great effect?

They Preached the Gospel Simply They rightly concluded that the very first goal to be aimed at in a gospel sermon is to be understood. They saw clearly that thousands of able and well composed sermons are utterly useless because they are above the heads of the hearers. They strove to come down to the level of the people and to speak what the poor could understand. To attain this, they were not ashamed to sacrifice their reputations as learned men. They willingly used illustrations and anecdotes in abundance and, like Jesus their Master, borrowed lessons from every object in nature. They carried out the maxim of Augustine, “A wooden key is not so beautiful as a golden one, but if it can open the door when the golden one cannot, it is far more useful.”

‘Simplicity’ was the order of the day They revived the style of sermons in which Luther and Latimer were so eminently successful. In short, they saw the truth of what the great German Reformer meant when he said, “No one can be a good preacher of the gospel to the people who is not willing to preach in a manner that seems childish and vulgar to some.” Now, all this again was quite new in their age.

The preached directly They preached fervently and directly. They cast aside that dull, cold, lifeless mode of delivery that had long made sermons boring. They proclaimed the words of faith with faith, and the story of life with life. They spoke with fiery zeal, like men who were thoroughly persuaded that what they said was true and that it was of the utmost importance to your eternal interest to hear it. They spoke like men who had a message from God for you, who felt that they must deliver it, and that they must have your attention while they delivered it. They threw heart, soul, and feeling into their sermons, and they sent their hearers home convinced that the preacher was sincere and wished

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them well. They believed that you must speak from the heart if you wish to speak to the heart, and that there must be unmistakable faith and conviction within the pulpit if there is to be faith and conviction among the pews. All this was a thing that had become almost obsolete. Can we wonder that it took people by storm and produced an immense effect?

The Substance of their Gospel Preaching But what was the substance and subject matter of the preaching that produced such wonderful effect in the 18th century? I will not insult my readers’ common sense by only saying that it was simple, earnest, fervent, real, genial, brave, lifelike, and so forth. I would have it understood that it was eminently doctrinal and distinct. The strongholds of that century’s sins would never have been cast down by mere earnestness and negative teaching. The trumpets that blew down the walls of Jericho were trumpets that gave no uncertain sound. The English evangelists of the 18th century were not men of an uncertain creed. But what was it they proclaimed? A little information on this point may be useful.

For one thing, the spiritual reformers of the 18th century taught constantly the sufficiency and supremacy of Holy Scripture.

They lived in and under the authority of Scripture The Bible, whole and unmutilated, was their sole rule of faith and practice. They accepted all its statements without question or dispute. They knew nothing of any part of Scripture being uninspired. They never flinched from asserting that there can be no error in the Word of God, and that when we cannot understand or reconcile some part of its contents, the fault is in the interpreter and not in the text. In all their preaching they were eminently men of one book. To that book they were content to pin their faith, and by it to stand or fall. This was one grand characteristic of their preaching. They honoured,


loved, and reverenced the Bible.

Human nature totally corrupt Furthermore, the reformers of the 18th century constantly taught the total corruption of human nature. They knew nothing of the modern notion that Christ is in every man, and that all possess something good within that they have only to stir up and use in order to be saved.

They told it as it was They never flattered men and women in this fashion. They told them plainly that they were spiritually dead and must be made alive again, that they were guilty, lost, helpless, hopeless, and in imminent danger of eternal ruin. Strange as it may seem to some, their first step toward making men good was to show them that they were utterly bad, and their primary argument in persuading men to do something for their souls was to convince them that they could do nothing at all.

Jesus died as our substitute Furthermore, the reformers of the 18th century taught constantly that Christ’s death upon the cross was the only satisfaction for man’s sin, and that Christ died as our substitute, the just for the unjust. This, in fact, was the cardinal point in almost all their sermons. They never taught the modern doctrine that Christ’s death was only a great example of self-sacrifice. They saw in it something far greater and deeper than that--they saw in it the payment of man’s mighty debt to God. They loved Christ’s person, they rejoiced in Christ’s promises, and they urged men to walk after Christ’s example. But the one subject concerning Christ that they delighted to dwell on above all others was the atoning blood that Christ shed for us on the cross.

Justification by faith central Furthermore, the reformers of the 18th century constantly taught the great doctrine of justification by faith. They told men that faith was the one thing needful in order to obtain an interest in Christ’s work for their souls. They declared that before we believe, we are

spiritually dead and have no interest in Christ, but that the moment we do believe, we live and are entitled to all Christ’s benefits. Justification by virtue of church membership-justification without believing or trusting--were notions to which they gave no merit. Everything if you will believe, and nothing if you do not believe: this was the very marrow of their preaching.

Heart conversion by the Holy Spirit essential Furthermore, the reformers of the 18th century constantly taught the universal necessity of heart conversion and new creation by the Holy Spirit. They proclaimed everywhere to the crowds whom they addressed, “You must be born again.” Sonship to God by baptism or while continuing to do the will of the devil they never admitted. The regeneration they preached was no dormant, motionless thing. It was something that could be seen, discerned, and known by its effects.

Personal holiness and saving faith Furthermore, the reformers of the 18th century taught constantly the inseparable connection between true faith and personal holiness. They never allowed for a moment that any church membership or religious profession was the least proof of a man being a true Christian if he lived an ungodly life. A true Christian, they maintained, must always be known by his fruits, and these fruits must be plainly manifest and unmistakable in all aspects of life. “No fruits, no grace” was the constant tenor of their preaching.

God hated sin but loved sinners Finally, the reformers of the 18th century constantly taught as doctrines equally true God’s eternal hatred against sin and God’s love toward sinners. They knew nothing of a heaven where the holy and unholy are both able to find admission. With respect to heaven and hell, they used the utmost plainness of speech. They never shrank from declaring in plain terms the certainty of God’s judgment and wrath to come if men persisted in impenitence and Evangelism Daily Readings

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unbelief, and yet they never ceased to magnify the riches of God’s kindness and compassion, and to entreat all sinners to repent and turn to God before it was too late. Such were the main gospel truths that the English evangelists of those times were constantly preaching. These were the principal doctrines they were always proclaiming, whether in town or in the country, whether in church or in the open air, whether among the rich or among the poor. These were the doctrines by which they turned England upside down, made farmers weep

until their dirty faces were streamed with tears, arrested the attention of peers and philosophers, stormed the strongholds of Satan, plucked thousands like brands from the burning, and altered the character of the age. Call them simple and elementary doctrines, if you will. Say, if you please, that you see nothing grand, striking, new, or peculiar about this list of truths. But the fact is undeniable that God blessed these truths to the reformation of England. What God has blessed, man ought never to despise.

Prayer “Thank you Jesus for this revival. Thank you that in this account there are rich lessons for us today. Holy Spirit we thank you that it was you working through the simple gospel which turned England upside down. Thank you that you honoured you word to grow the seed of the gospel, and that you used and blessed the efforts of ordinary people. Lord, we pray for our own generation, that we would see this revival in our day. Lord, if we relentlessly sow, and water, would you grant us revival? Lord, raise up an army of sowers of the gospel, including me, that our nation, and indeed the nations of the world, would be covered with supernatural seed! We pray that not one person in this nation would die not hearing and understanding the gospel. Amen.”

J.C Ryle Quote “Christianity is a religion built upon facts. Let us never lose sight of this. The first preachers did not go up and down the world, proclaiming an elaborate, artificial system of abstruse doctrines and deep principles. They made it their first business to tell men great plain facts. They went about telling a sin-laden world, that the Son of God had come down to earth, and lived for us, died for us, and risen again. The Gospel, at its first publication, was far more simple than many make it now. It was neither more nor less than the history of Christ.”

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Day Sixty One Satan’s Devices 2 Corinthians 2:11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” George Whitefield (December 16, 1714 – September 29, 1770) was an Anglica Protestant minister who helped spread the Great Awakening in the Kingdom of Great Britain and, especially, in the British North American colonies. A leading evangelist and preacher of the era, he was one of the founders of Methodism in America. He became perhaps the best-known preacher in Britain and America in the 18th century. As he travelled through all of the American colonies and drew great crowds and media coverage, he was one of the most widely recognized public figures in colonial America.

Satan the adversary The word Satan, in its original signification, meant an adversary; and is generally accepted to point out to us the chief of the devils, who, for striving to be as God, was cast down from heaven, and is now permitted, “with the rest of his spiritual wickednesses in high places, to walk up and down, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Where he is mentioned in the Bible We hear of him immediately after the creation, when in the shape of a serpent, he lay in wait to

deceive our first parents. He is called Satan, in the book of Job, where we are told, that “when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan also came amongst them.”(Job 2:1). In the New Testament he goes under different names: sometimes he is called the evil One, because he is evil in himself, and tempts us to evil. Sometimes, “the Prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) and “the Spirit that now rules in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6) because he resides chiefly in the air and through the whole world. All that are not born of God are said to be ruled by him.

He is the Enemy of God and of Evangelism He is an enemy to God and goodness. He is a hater of all truth. Why else did he slander God in paradise? Why did he tell Eve, “You shall not surely die?”(Genesis 3:4). And why did he promise to give all the kingdoms of the world, and the glories of them, to Jesus Christ, if he would fall down and worship him? (Matthew 4:9). He is full of malice, envy, and revenge. For what other motives could induce him to molest innocent man in paradise? And why is he still so restless in his attempts to destroy us, who have done him no wrong?

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He has great power He is a being of great power, as appears in his being able to act on the imagination of our blessed Lord, so as to represent to him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glories of them, in a moment of time (Luke 4:7). As also in carrying his sacred body through the air up to a pinnacle of the temple (Matthew 4:5); and his driving a herd of swine so furiously into the deep (Matthew 8:31). Nay, so great is his might, that, I doubt not, was God to let him use his full strength, but he could turn the earth upside down, or pull the sun from its orb.

His Attacks on the Purposes of God are Subtle But what he is most remarkable for is his subtlety. For not having power given him from above, to take us by force, he is obliged to wait for opportunities to betray us, and to catch us by guile. He, therefore, made use of the serpent, which was subtle above all the beasts of the field, in order to tempt our first parents (Genesis 3:5). Accordingly he is said, in the New Testament, “To lie in wait to deceive.” (Ephesians 4:4). When the Apostle says “We are not ignorant of his devices” he is implying that we are more in danger of being seduced by his policy, than overtaken by his power.

Expect Temptation, Walk in Victory Dear brethren, we must expect to be tempted by him, in some degree or other, all our lives long. For this life being a continual warfare, we must never expect to have rest from our spiritual adversary the devil, or to say, our combat with him is finished, ‘till, with our blessed master, we bow down our heads, and give up the ghost.’ In the mean while, let me exhort my young fellow-soldiers, who, like myself, are but just entering the field, and for whose sake this was written, not to be discouraged at the fiery trial wherewith they must be tried, if they would be found faithful servants of Jesus Christ. You see, my dearly beloved brethren, our way through the wilderness of this world to the heavenly Canaan, is beset with thorns, and that there are sons of Anak to be grappled with, before you can possess the promised land.

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But let not these, like the false spies, discourage you from going up to fight the Lord’s battles. Say with Caleb and Joshua, “We will go up, for we are able to conquer them!” Jesus Christ, that great captain of our salvation, has in our stead, and as our representative, baffled the grand enemy of mankind, and we have nothing to do, but manfully to fight under his banner, and to go on from conquering to conquer. Our glory does not consist in being exempted from, but in enduring temptations. “Blessed is the man, (says the apostle) that endures temptation;”: and again, “Brethren, count it all joy, when you fall into diverse temptations:” And in that perfect form our blessed Lord has prescribed to us, we are taught to pray, not so much to be delivered from all temptation, as “from the evil” of it.

The Victory is Ours in Christ Jesus! Whilst we are on this side of eternity, it must needs be that temptations come; and, no doubt, “Satan has desired to have all of us, to sift us as wheat.” But who should we fear? For he that is for us, is by far more powerful, than all that are against us. Jesus Christ, our great High-priest, is exalted to the right hand of God, and there sits to make intercession for us, that our faith fail not. Since then Christ is praying, whom should we fear? And since he has promised to make us more than conquerors, of whom should we be afraid? No, though a host of devils are set in array against us, let us not be afraid; though there should rise up the hottest persecution against us, yet let us put our trust in God. What is Satan and the rest of his apostate spirits if put in competition with the Almighty? They are as weak as the meanest worms. God has reserved chains for them on the great day of judgement. What if they do come out against us, like so many great Goliaths? We can go forth as the stripling David, in the name and strength of the Lord of hosts! We can say ‘O Satan, where is thy power? O fallen spirits, where is your victory?

Put on the whole Armour of God


Once more therefore, and to conclude; let us be strong, and very courageous, and let us put on the whole armour of God, that we may be able to stand against the fiery darts of the wicked one. Let us have our loins girded about with truth; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation; “praying always with all manner of supplication.” Above all things, “Let us take the sword of

the spirit, which is the word of God,” and “the shield of faith,” looking always to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now sat down at the right hand of God. Amen!

Prayer ‘Dear Jesus, help us to be people who can see through the subtlety of the enemies attacks on evangelism. Your word says in 1 Peter 5:8 says the devil is like a roaring lion, prowling around seeking whom he may devour. Lord, save us from being devoured. Open our eyes. Let us see clearly what is is that is stopping us from obeying you in evangelism. Holy Spirit, you said you came to give us power for witness so today we ask you to fill us afresh that we might do your will today in evangelism, with joy, your empowering, and gladness. Amen”

Whitefield Quote “If your souls were not immortal, and you in danger of losing them, I would not thus speak unto you; but the love of your souls constrains me to speak: methinks this would constrain me to speak unto you forever.”

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Day Sixty Two

Causes of a Dozing Church ‘Why are you sleeping?’ he asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation’. (Luke 22:45-46) Todays devotion is written by A.W. Tozer (April 21, 1897 - May 12, 1963). He was an American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor, Bible conference speaker, and spiritual mentor. For his work, he received two honorary doctorate degrees. What is the present condition of the evangelical church? The bulk of Christians are asleep. I do not mean that the bulk of Christians who come to evangelical churches are not converted, because if I meant that I would say they were dead and never had been born again. But I say they are asleep.

Morally Asleep but Mentally Alert It is possible to be morally asleep yet mentally, intellectually, physically and theologically alert. The present condition is that we are asleep. These sleeping Christians do two things that God must grieve over. One is that they control church affairs. We are democratic, and if we do not like a pastor we give him the bounce or pray that he will get another call. Then when the time comes we vote in whom we want and vote out whom we do not want. Church people control church affairs because they are intellectually, mentally and physically awake, but

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they may be morally and spiritually asleep. That is, they are so far down in the rut that they do not see up. Many people who are asleep control church affairs. It gets into whole conferences. Representatives will meet at the expense of the local church people. They will read minutes and pass resolutions, but they are asleep. You know they are asleep by the way they talk as soon as the benediction is pronounced and they have adjourned. You know they are asleep by their conduct, the things they are interested in or lack interest in, yet they control church affairs.

New Christians have No Positive Role Models The second thing sleeping Christians do is set the standards for new Christians. When you bring in a newly converted Christian, he or she automatically takes on the coloration, general mood and temperature of the solemn seats around him or her. Pretty soon he or she is where they are, and once again there are no good examples of the Christian life.


Application:

Tozer makes some telling points here. It has been rightly said that ‘leadership is the problem, and leadership is the solution’ with respect to churches, particularly with respect to evangelism. The issue of leadership in a church and its relationship to evangelism is so critical, I dedicate 5 chapters to it in my book E:SFH. You see, it’s like this: if the leader is dead to personal evangelism, the whole church will be dead to it as well. Thankfully, the opposite is true! In my book I report on the research findings of a study completed of America’s top 100 evangelistic churches. Asked what one factor most influenced the church becoming evangelistic, the researchers were clear: the pastor was modelling personal evangelism. The leader’s contribution to the Great Commission is directly proportional to the extend to which they model evangelism before their people. Tragically, many leaders are just as Tozer suggests -morally asleep yet mentally, intellectually, physically and theologically alert. They are preoccupied with church affairs, with programs, and with everything else except the main thing with is to evangelism the world. How do so many leaders get like this? Where did it start? Sadly, many got like this at the Bible Colleges and Seminaries from which they graduated. Most seminaries do not teach evangelism at all. If it is taught, it’s a peripheral subject, taken only as an ‘option’ for those who are interested! These ‘leaders’ then graduate and lead churches. What chance to the poor people under them have?

Prayer: “Lord, today we pray for the Bible Colleges and Seminaries around the world which are training future generations of ministers. We pray for their boards, for their staff, for their principals, that they would receive from you a revelation about the priority of evangelism. That they would become active in evangelism themselves. That they would be burdened to see all their graduates able and zealous not only to do evangelism themselves, but to equip others to do the same. We pray that not one person in these institutions would graduate not being able to share the gospel clearly with a stranger. We pray that evangelism would become a core subject in every course taught in every Bible college and seminary around the world. Bring it back to its rightful place at the top of the agenda in every seminar and college. You, Lord, are the one who can soften and change hearts. Only you can do a miracle like this. We ask you to do this by your mighty power, and for your glory. Amen.”

Tozer Quote

“To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men.”

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Day Sixty Three

The Untold Story Of Pearl Harbor

Romans 10:13-14 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Joseph DeShezer was a WWII prisoner of war in Japan for forty long months, thirtyfour of them in solitary confinement. He was a member of General Jimmy Doolittle’s squadron on the first raid over Japan on April 18th, 1942. In this devotion he tells his story and how he discovered the transforming power of the gospel.

A Prisoner of War in Japan My heart was filled with bitter hatred for the people of Japan. When our plane ran out of gas, and the members of the crew of my plane had to parachute down into Japanese-held territory in China and were captured by the enemy, the bitterness of my heart against my captors seemed more than I could bear. Taken to Tokyo with the survivors of another of our planes, we were imprisoned and beaten, halfstarved, and denied by solitary confinement even the comfort of association with one another, these terrible tortures taking place at Tokyo, Shanghai, Nanking and Peiping. Three of my buddies, Dean Hallmark, Fill Farrow and Harold Spatz, were executed by a firing squad about six months after our capture, and fourteen months later another of them, Bob Meder [a strong Christian], died of slow starvation. My hatred for the Japanese people nearly drove me crazy.

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Filled with Hatred It was soon after Meder’s death that I began to ponder the cause of such hatred between members of the human race. I wondered what it was that made the Japanese hate the Americans, and what made me hate the Japanese. My thoughts turned toward what I had heard about Christianity changing hatred between human beings into real brotherly love, and I was gripped with a strange longing to examine the Christian’s Bible to see if I could find the secret. I begged my captors to get a Bible for me. At last, in the month of May, 1944, a guard brought the Book, but told me I could have it for only three weeks. I eagerly began to read its pages. Chapter after chapter gripped my heart. In due time I came to the books of the prophets, and found that their every writing seemed focused on a divine Redeemer from sin, one who was to be sent from heaven to be born in the form of a human babe. Their writings so fascinated me that I read them again and again until I had earnestly studied them through six times. Then I went on into the New Testament, and there read of the birth of Jesus Christ, the one who actually fulfilled the very


prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah and the other Old Testament writers. My heart rejoiced as I found confirmed in Acts 10:43: “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His Name, whosoever believeth on Him shall receive remission of sins.” After I had carefully read this book of the Acts, I continued on into the study of the epistle Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome.

Christ the Answer! On June 8th, 1944, the words in Romans 10:9 stood out boldly before my eyes: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” In that very moment God gave me grace to confess my sins to Him, and He forgave me all my sins and saved me for Jesus’ sake, even as I later found that His Word again promises so clearly in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” How my heart rejoiced in my newness of spiritual life, even though my body was suffering so terribly from the physical beatings and lack of food. But suddenly I discovered that God had given me new spiritual eyes, and that when I looked at the Japanese officers and guards who had starved and beaten me and my companions so cruelly, I found my bitter hatred for them changed to loving pity. I realized that these Japanese did not know anything about my Saviour and that if Christ is not in a heart, it is natural to be cruel. I read in my Bible that while those who crucified Jesus on the cross had beaten Him and spit upon Him before He was nailed to the cross, He tenderly prayed in His moment of excruciating suffering, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

I could Forgive the Torturers! And now from the depths of my heart, I too prayed for God to forgive my torturers, and I determined by the aid of Christ to do my best to acquaint the Japanese people with the message of salvation that they might become as other believing Christians. With His love controlling my heart, the 13th chapter of First Corinthians took on a living meaning: “Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth

not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth.” A year passed by, and during that year, the memories of the weeks I had been permitted to spend with my Bible grew sweeter and sweeter day as I was sitting in my solitary confinement cell in Peiping, I became very sick. My heart was paining me, even as Meder had told me his was paining him just before he died of starvation. I slid down onto my knees and began to pray. The guards rushed in and began to punish me, but I kept right on praying. Finally they let me alone. God in that hour revealed unto me how to endure suffering.

Freedom From Prison! At last freedom came. On August 20th, 1945, American parachutists dropped onto the prison grounds and released us from our cells. We were flown back to the United States and placed in hospitals where we slowly regained our physical strength. I completed my training in a Christian College. God clearly commanded me: “Go, teach the Japanese people the way of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ.” I am now in Japan as a missionary, with the one single purpose to lead me - to make Christ known! I am sending this testimony to people everywhere, with the earnest prayer that a great host of people may confess Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.”

Epilogue

DeShazer served faithfully in Japan. Mitsuo Fuchida, the Japanese lead pilot on the Pearl Harbor attack on American ships, also survived the war. As he was arriving at Tokyo, he accepted a gospel tract given to him by a Christian standing near. Reading it, he realized that forgiveness was lacking in his own religion. He became a Christian and eventually met DeShazer. Fuchida soon became an evangelist himself, and travelled all over the world!

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Application: For me, the key point in this account was the death of his friend Meder. This propelled DeShezer into thinking about eternal things: ‘...I began to ponder the cause of such hatred.’ His pain was a catalyst for breakthrough. All around us in the world, people are suffering from sin and its consequences. Pain is one way God ‘ploughs’ the hearts of non-Christians (and Christians!) to prepare them for an encounter with Himself. So as you go into the sin weary world with the gospel, either verbalising it or giving out a tract, just remember that God’s ploughing instruments are not just prayer, or good works, or conscience, or creation, or the shining example of a Christian - God is also using the pain people are suffering to open them to receive the seed of the gospel. And given there is just so much pain in the world, the Holy Spirit is doing a lot of ploughing! And which of us could not rejoice when we learned the Japanese airman was saved through a random person given them a tract. What a massive encouragement to all those who are faithfully sowing gospel tracts.

Prayer: “Lord, we ask you to open our eyes to see the pain and suffering of the people we meet in this world. We ask you to minister to their pain, but we ask you also God to use it to bring them to a personal encounter with yourself. Don’t let their pain we wasted. We pray that you would use their pain to bring them into relationship with you. We thank you too Lord, for the encouragement of hearing in this story how you again used a tract to save someone. Lord, save someone today through the tracts I have given away. Be pleased to use them, to grow them, and to make them bear fruit we pray. Amen.”

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Day Sixty Four

Martyrdom Of Polycarp Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”. Today’s devotion is the real life account of a figure in history called Polycarp (he died about 155AD). At 86 he was burnt alive for not bowing to Ceasar as God . A disciple of John the Apostle, and a leading figure in the Church, his courage and boldness in the face of persecution and difficulty will hopefully challenge and inspire us to greater heights of courage and tenacity in evangelism. He makes all our fears and excuses about why we can’t do evangelism sound lame to the extreme! Just to set the scene, Polycarp lived at a time when the Christian Church was exploding with growth within the Roman Empire. The Roman emperors demanded that all those in the empire bow down to Caesar as God. Many Christians wouldn’t do this. Those that didn’t bow down were punished by death. Hence, there was widespread persecution of the Christian Church. It was common for Christians to used for sport. Some were taken to the arena where great crowds (up to 60,000) gathered to watch them being eaten alive by lions or burnt alive. Polycarp and the Christians of his day were particularly unpopular for another reason: they were turning people away for other gods. It was well known that Polycarp would not acknowledge Caesar as Lord, so an arrest warrant was issued for him. The account you are about to read was written by eye witnesses.

His Prophetic Dream Three days before he was apprehended, as he was praying at night, he fell asleep, and saw in a dream the pillow take fire under his head, and presently consumed. Waking thereupon, he forthwith related the vision to those about him, and prophesied that he should be burnt alive for Christ’s sake. The pursuers having arrived late in the day found him gone to bed in the top room of the house.

His Arrest Hearing that they were come, he came down, and spoke to them with a cheerful and pleasant countenance: so that they were wonder-struck, who, having never known the man before, now beheld his venerable age and the gravity and composure of his manner, and wondered why they should be so earnest for the apprehension of so old a man. He immediately ordered a table be laid for them, and exhorted them to eat heartily, and begged them to allow him one hour to pray without molestation; which being granted, he rose and began to pray, and was so full of the grace of God, that they who were present and heard his prayers were astonished, and many now felt sorry that so venerable and godly a man should be put to death. Evangelism Daily Readings

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Cast out of the Chariot When the meal was finished, they set him upon an ass, and conducted him into the city, the day being that of the great Sabbath. And the Irenarch Herod, accompanied by his father Nicetes (both riding in a chariot), met him, and taking him up into the chariot, they seated themselves beside him, and endeavoured to persuade him, saying, “What harm is there in saying, Lord Caesar, and in sacrificing, with the other ceremonies observed on such occasions, and so make sure of safety?” But he at first gave them no answer; and when they continued to urge him, he said, “I shall not do as you advise me.” So they, having no hope of persuading him, began to speak bitter words unto him, and cast him with violence out of the chariot, insomuch that, in getting down from the carriage, he dislocated his leg [by the fall]. But without being disturbed, and as if suffering nothing, he went eagerly forward with all haste, and was conducted to the stadium, where the tumult was so great, that there was no possibility of being heard.

Before the Tribunal When he was brought to the tribunal, there was a great tumult as soon as it was generally understood that Polycarp was apprehended. The proconsul asked him, if he were Polycarp. When he assented, the former counseled him to deny Christ, saying, ‘Consider thyself, and have pity on thy own great age;’ and many other suchlike speeches which they are wont to make.

His Defence The proconsul then urged him, saying, “Swear and I will release thee; deny Christ. Say ‘Away with the Atheists’” (i.e. The Romans considered Christians to be atheists because they did not believe Caesar to be God). But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to heaven, said, “Away with the Atheists.” Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, “Swear, and I will set thee at liberty! Reproach Christ!” Polycarp declared,

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‘Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King, Who hath saved me?’ The proconsul again urged him, ‘Swear by the fortune of Caesar.’ Polycarp replied, ‘Since you still vainly strive to make me swear by the fortune of Caesar, as you express it, affecting ignorance of my real character, hear me frankly declaring what I am - I am a Christian - and if you desire to learn the Christian doctrine, assign me a day, and you shall hear.’ Hereupon the proconsul said, ‘I have wild beasts; and I will expose you to them, unless you repent.’ ‘Call for them,’ replied Poplycarp. ‘I will tame thee with fire,’ said the proconsul, ‘since you despise the wild beasts, unless you repent’. Then said Polycarp, ‘You threaten me with fire, which burns for an hour, and is soon extinguished; but the fire of the future judgment, and of eternal punishment reserved for the ungodly, you are ignorant of. But why do you delay? Do whatever you please’.

In the Arena The proconsul sent the herald to proclaim thrice in the middle of the Stadium, ‘Polycarp hath professed himself a Christian!’ Which words were no sooner spoken, but the whole multitude, both of Gentiles and Jews, dwelling at Smyrna, with outrageous fury shouted aloud, ‘This is the doctor of Asia, the father of the Christians, and the subverter of our gods, who hath taught many not to sacrifice nor adore.’

Call for the Lions! They now called on Philip the asiarch, to let loose a lion against Polycarp. But he refused, alleging that he had closed his exhibition. They then unanimously shouted, that he should be burnt alive. For his vision must needs be accomplished - the vision which he had when he was praying, and saw his pillow burnt. The people immediately gathered wood and other dry matter from the workshops and baths. When they were about to fastened him to the stake with nails, he said, ‘Leave me as I am; for he who gives me strength to sustain the fire, will enable me also,


without your securing me with nails, to remain without flinching in the pile.’ Upon which they bound him without nailing him. So he said thus: - ‘O Father, I bless thee that thou hast counted me worthy to receive my portion among the martyrs.’

The Fire is Lit! As soon as he had uttered the word ‘Amen,’ the officers lighted the fire. The flame, forming the appearance of an arch, as the sail of a vessel filled with wind, surrounded, as with a wall, the body of the martyr; which was in the midst, not as burning flesh, but as gold and silver refining in the furnace. We received also in our nostrils such a fragrance as proceeds from frankincense or some other precious perfume. At length the wicked people, observing that his body could not be consumed with fire, ordered the confecter to approach, and to plunge his sword into his body. Upon this such a quantity of blood gushed out, that the fire was extinguished.

Salutations This, then, is the account of the blessed Polycarp, who, being the twelfth that was martyred in Smyrna (reckoning those also of Philadelphia), yet occupies a place of his own in the memory of all men, insomuch that he is everywhere spoken of by the heathen themselves. He was not merely an illustrious teacher, but also a pre-eminent martyr, whose martyrdom all desire to imitate, as having been altogether consistent with the Gospel of Christ. For, having through patience overcome the unjust governor, and thus acquired the crown of immortality, he now, with the apostles and all the righteous[in heaven], rejoicingly glorifies God, even the Father, and blesses our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of our souls, the Governor of our bodies, and the Shepherd of the Church throughout the world.

Application: What I want us to see grasp here is gravity and enormity of our Christian heritage. The early Christians suffered horrendous persecution for the cause of furthering the gospel. Yes, they evangelised the known world but the cost was significant. In one sense, the task of evangelising the world is handed on from one generation to the next, as a baton is passed from one runner to the next in a relay race. From Polycarp to now, the baton has been passed on. So how is our generation doing? What kind of a race are we running? What stories of sacrifice and suffering would we have to tell the next generation to whom we will be passing the baton? Will they look back on our generation, as we look back on the Early Church, and exclaim ‘Wow! What an amazing, sacrificial, totally committed bunch of Christians they were! Just look what they went through to evangelise the world!’ Or will they pray not to be like us? Will there be investigations into why our generation dropped the baton? What will they say about your life? About mine? One day, at judgement, all of us will have to give an account. ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (NASB) 2 Corinthians. 5:10

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What to do?

There are many practical things we can do to help further the cause of the evangelisation of the world. Here are just some. 1. Invest financially in evangelism. Let’s give to our churches evangelism budget, this ministry, and other ministries which are directly and exclusively involved in evangelism. Too often, because of ignorance about what evangelism really is, we give to good works initiatives but not to evangelism. 2. Be sacrificial. If evangelising the world doesn’t cost us something, either time, or effort, or inconvenience, or money, then we are not running a good race. On the dash board of a spiritual car, a red light has just come on. We need to make some adjustments! 3. Develop a discipled devotion life so you maintain your fire and focus. Here are some things NOT to do: 1. Let’s avoid getting into debt to such a level that we don’t have time to evangelise. 2. Let’s make sure we have in our inner circle of friends some people who are passionate evangelism. They will inspire us to go forwards. 3. Let’s not allow our lives to be so busy and complicated that we don’t have time to evangelise. If we are Christians, let’s give the best of our time and life to Jesus’ cause. If we are too busy to evangelise, we are too busy.

Polycarp Quote “You threaten fire that burns for an hour and is over. But the judgment on the ungodly is forever.”

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Day Sixty Five

How To Overcome Sin J. I. Packer is Board of Governors Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia In this devotion, Professor J.I. Packer tells how he was able to over come known sin. In short, he found the secret when he read a book by Puritan leader John Owen. The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries activist movement within the Church of England. Discontent with the COE, they worked towards religious, moral and societal reform. They called it the Victorious Spirit- filled life. You got into it, they said, by total surrender to Jesus Christ (they assumed no one does this at conversion), and then looking to him whenever you felt sinful impulses stirring. He would then by his Spirit douse the desire, and quiet peace and joyful satisfaction would be your portion once again. As described by the gifted preachers under whom I sat, it sounded wonderful. But I could not make it work. I was a new convert in my late teens. I had kept Christ at bay for too long and was trying to make up for lost time. Like any other introverted adolescent, I was a loner, my emotional life was all over the place, and I was essentially a mixed-up kid. I heard the formula as a way of transcending my less-than-satisfying inner state and laboured to follow the instructions, but the mad, bad urges still raged and the quiet peace did not come.

Failure to conquer sin with self effort What was wrong? I concluded that my surrender could not have been total and scoured

my inside to find what more I could consecrate. Harry Iron— side, sometime preacher at Moody Church in Chicago, drove himself into a nervous breakdown doing this, and I might well have gone the same way. But I chanced upon a treatise, a set of sermons stitched together by the Puritan John Owen (1663), pontifically titled Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers. And here was Gods chemo for my cancered soul.

The Puritan Secret Reaching across three centuries, Owen showed me my heart as no one had ever done before. Sin, he told me, is a blind, anti-God, egocentric energy in the fallen human spiritual system, ever fomenting self-centered and self- deceiving desires, ambitions, purposes, plans, attitudes, and behaviors. Now that I was a regenerate believer, born again, a new creation in Christ, sin that formerly dominated me had been dethroned but was not yet destroyed. It was marauding within me all the time, bringing back sinful desires that I hoped I had seen the last of, and twisting my new desires for God and godliness out of shape so that they became pride-perverted too. Lifelong conflict with the besetting sins that besetting sin generates was what I must expect.

Owen’s Answer What to do? Here was Owen’s answer, in essence: Have the holiness of God clear in your Evangelism Daily Readings

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mind. Remember that sin desensitizes you to itself. Watch for it, prepare to recognize it, and search it out within you by disciplined, Biblebased, Spirit-led self- examination. Focus on the living Christ and his love for you on the cross. Pray, asking for strength to say “no” to sin’s suggestions and to fortify yourself against bad habits by forming good ones contrary to them. And ask Christ to kill the sinful urge you are fighting, as the theophanic angel in C. S. Lewis’s Great Divorce tells the man with the lizard to do. Does it work? Yes. Sixty years on, I can testify to that. What was wrong with the Victorious Life teachers? They glossed over sin and so did not tell me half of what I needed to know.

Does Owen’s book minister to others as it ministered to me? Yes. From prison just recently came the following: “I found this book… near a toilet on the floor.… Immediately after I finished reading Owen’s Mortification of Sin. I got on my knees on the floor of my cell and begged for Jesus to come into my miserable life and redeem me… and for the first time in my entire life I meant every single word that I professed .… Thank you, Jesus!” Owen is one of the dead who still speak.

Prayer:

“Lord, today, we know that what J.I Packer is writing here is true. Sin and the sin nature are powerful forces marauding within us. We need your help Lord. That’s an under statement. Lord, please give us today a revelation of your holiness . Sensitise us to sin. Help us to watch for it, and prepare us to recognize it, and search it out within us by discipline Bible-based, Spirit-led self- examination. Lord, help us to focus on your, the living Christ and your love , and what you did for us on the cross. Today, we ask you for strength to say “no” to sin’s suggestions and to fortify ourselves against bad habits . We ask you to help us form good ones contrary to them. We ask you to particularly show us if any sin is dulling our desire to engage in evangelism. Jesus, please kill the sinful urge we are fighting. We can’t do this without you. Amen.” “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should what pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according the to will of God.”—Romans 8:26,27.

J.I Packer Quote “Our business is to present the Christian faith clothed in modern terms, not to propagate modern thought clothed in Christian terms... Confusion here is fatal.”

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Day Sixty Six How God Gave One Man A Passion For Evangelism Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the Kingdom must first be preached in all the world and then the end shall come.” Albert Benjamin Simpson (1843 – 1919) (A.B. Simpson) was a Canadian preacher, theologian, author, and founder of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), an evangelical Protestant denomination with an emphasis on global evangelism.

Shakey beginnings Simpson was a frail, sensitive boy who had been brought up in the full rigour of a strict Church devoid of joy or humour. These early influences produced a young man who feared God and wanted to appease Him. At fourteen, Simpson made his first conscious step towards God, but, as he admits, it came more out of duty than conviction. His intense devotion to his high school studies led to a nervous breakdown at seventeen. Personal despair broke only after a chance encounter with a book entitled Marshall’s Gospel Mystery of Sanctification. Here he read: “The first good work you will ever perform is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.... The moment you do this, you will pass into eternal life, you will be justified from all your sins, and receive a new heart and all the gracious preparations of the Holy Spirit.”

He responded immediately to this invitation and experienced the conviction to reinforce the sense of commitment he had always had to the gospel ministry. In giving his life to Christ and claiming Christ’s forgiveness and salvation, he did not find immediate release, but became nonetheless convinced that his salvation was sure. He regained his physical health soon after. In January, 1861, to confirm and solemnize his conversion, Simpson wrote a formal agreement covenanting his life to God. He went to theological college, graduated, and pastored several churches over a 10 year period or more. During this time he did not receive his passion for evangelism or for souls.

Experiencing the in-filling of the Holy Spirit A series of crises precipitated the growth of Simpson’s concern for the evangelization of the world. The first of these occurred in 1874 (at 31), in conjunction with an evangelistic campaign. He was one of the chief organizers, and, impressed by its success, sought the spiritual power and infilling of the Holy Spirit to sustain him in his expanding ministry. Simpson called this experience a major turning point in his life. The zeal for evangelism that resulted from this experience led Simpson to invite other churches to join together each winter for evangelism and Evangelism Daily Readings

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revival. Although some declined his offer, he and his congregation took on the task of sponsoring public Sunday evening meetings. Simpson became so preoccupied with evangelization that it came to replace “the proper work of the ministry” in his mind. No longer content to be secure in a comfortable church of social equals, he sought to mobilize the whole church for evangelization. He became burdened with the thought that thousands right in his own city needed to hear the message of salvation and of life in Christ. In 1880, when he was 37, he received his missionary vision. His first response was to go to China, but this proved impractical. More practical was his decision to advance the cause of missions by informing the Christian public of the need for and progress of world evangelization. He chose the illustrated periodical as his medium because of its growing popularity. Also at this time, he received a call to pastor a church in New York. He thought this would be the place from which to launch his evangelism dreams.

Divine Healing After a little more than a year of very active ministry in New York, Simpson became ill and had to interrupt his pastoral duties. In 1881, he heard Dr. Charles Cullis speak regarding divine healing. It was at this meeting that he experienced a remarkable healing of his heart. The next day, Simpson was able to climb a 3,000 foot mountain, and successfully pray for his daughter Margaret’s healing from diphtheriathe very disease which had earlier killed his son Melville.

Criticism and blessing Word spread fast in 1881 of these healings. He was besieged by many with pleas for help. By others, he was vilified and ridiculed as another quack miracle worker. Despite such criticism, Simpson received strong support from medical doctors like Dr. Jenny Trout, the first female doctor & surgeon in Canada, Dr. Robert Glover from Toronto, and

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Dr. Lilian Yeomans, a Canadian-born surgeon in Michigan. He also received much encouragement from well-known Canadian Anglican priests like Dr. Henry Wilson, & Dr. W.S. Rainford. Simpson started Friday-afternoon healing & holiness meetings, which quickly became New York’s largest attended spiritual weekday meeting, with 500-1,000 in attendance. In November of 1881, he resigned his pastorate against the best advice of his church officers, his colleagues and his wife. His experience in New York had convinced him that established churches did not provide the kind of structure needed to launch an evangelistic work of the sort he had in mind. Having given up his pastor’s salary, house, and social position, Simpson set to work by faith evangelizing the masses. His concern for world evangelism flourished, and so did his ministry.

The motivation behind his preaching? Simpson stressed that world evangelization would not only make ready a people for the King’s return, but could in fact speed His coming. From Matthew 24:14 he argued passionately that Christ is ready and waiting to return as soon as the Church has fulfilled its obligation: “We know that our missionary work is not in vain, but in addition to the blessing it is to bring to the souls we lead to Christ; best of all, it is to bring Christ Himself back again. It puts in our hands the key to the bridal chamber and the lever that will hasten His return”.

The key to his success? From 1881 onwards, he continued to rely on the “foolishness of preaching which could give men and women the chance for salvation and preaching which would hasten Christ’s return to earth. “Our work is to tell the simple story of His life, death and resurrection, and to preach the Gospel in its purity.”

What was the purpose of the Church? He defined the primary goal of the Church to be evangelization:


“Every Christian owes it as a debt of common honesty that he shall give at least to one of the present generation of Christ-less men and women one chance for eternal life.”

Before he died in 1919, many of his dreams had been realised. It was said of him that he was “an unsung Canadian hero who has had a remarkable lasting impact on millions throughout the world. He believed that world evangelization begins A man of vision, he once said that people “must with personal evangelism, each Christian active always dream dreams before they blaze new trails and see visions before they are strong to do in his own sphere of influence. exploits.”

Application: I would like us today to note the points in Simpson’s life where he met with God in a powerful way. In all these points of meeting, God was preparing him to be progressively more fruitful. At 17 he had a mental breakdown. Many people struggle to recover from such things, but through God’s strength and empowering, he did recover. In fact, later on, his breakdown would have heightened his passion to include physical healing in his ministry. He would have looked out on those crowds to whom he was speaking knowing there were some who had been (or still were) in the depths of despair as he had been at 17, but that God could heal. Being able to empathise with others is a powerful thing. What’s the lesson? If we let Him, God will work all things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). The next point of meeting with God in his life was when he saw how powerful it was to be filled with the Spirit and he wanted this experience for himself. What’s the lesson for us here? We should be seeking God with all our hearts and travailing in prayer to see the Holy Spirit move in power in our churches and in us so that people watching will want the in-filling of the Spirit for themselves. If they have never seen this, then will likely not know such an experience exists. How tragic. When Simpson was filled with the Spirit, he received his passion for evangelism. Could it be that one reason so few are passionate about evangelism in our churches is that they are not filled with the Spirit? Then Simpson’s ministry went to a whole new level when he and his daughter experienced divine healing! Nothing sets a person on fire for God more than experiencing a miracle personally. Then came all the critics who wanted to knock the healing power of God working through him. Yet Simpson pushed through and went to new levels of fruitfulness. When you as an individual or as a church start to step out in evangelism, your critics WILL surface. Put them to the sword in the Spirit, and keep moving forwards! This is what Simpson did and God continued to expand his ministry. What’s most interesting to me is that after a life time of service in the Lord’s work, he still attributes his success to preaching the simple gospel. And, to my utter delight, he voices what the scholars and theologians affirm - that the evangelisation of the earth is the priority of the Church.

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What do to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Pray for God to use whatever hurts and disappointments you have had in your life so far for God to use them for His glory and service. Pray for the in-filling of the Holy Spirit to empower you for evangelism. Pray for your church that you would see and experience greater and greater manifestations of the work of the Holy Spirit in your midst. Gird yourself up and build yourself up in God so that when your critics come you’ll be able to handle them in Godly loving way. In so doing, they won’t be able to put you off doing evangelism. Take the opportunity to pray for people for divine healing. After all the Bible says ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel...and signs and wonders WILL follow” (Mark 16:15-18).

A.B Simpson Quote “Perils as well as privileges attend the higher Christian life. The nearer we come to God, the thicker the hosts of darkness in heavenly places.”

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Day Sixty Seven

William Carey - The Father Of Modern Missions Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” I wanted this reading to follow immediately after the previous to contrast the state of the Church now with the depth, commitment, and dedication of William Carey. Church, let’s raise our sites!

The greatness of Carey Shoemaker by trade, but scholar, linguist and missionary by God’s training,” William Carey (1761-1834) was one of God’s giants in the history of evangelism! One of his biographers, F. Dealville Walker, wrote of Carey: “He, with a few contemporaries, was almost single handed in conquering the prevailing indifference and hostility to missionary effort; Carey developed a plan for missions, and printed his amazing “Enquiry.” He influenced timid and hesitating men to take steps to the evangelizing of the world.” Another wrote of him, “Taking his life as a whole, it is not too much to say that he was the greatest and most versatile Christian missionary sent out in modern times.”

How Carey was motivated for missions “My attention to missions was first awakened after I was at Moulton, by reading the Last Voyage of Captain Cook” said Carey. To many, Cook’s

Journal was a thrilling story of adventure, but to Carey it was a revelation of human need!

A genius with languages He then began to read every book that had any bearing on the subject. (This, along with his language study — for at twenty-one years of age Carey had mastered Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Italian, and was turning to Dutch and French. One well called his shoemaker’s cottage “Carey’s College,” for as he cobbled shoes along with his preaching he never sat at his bench without some kind of a book before him).

His call The more he read and studied, the more convinced he was “the peoples of the world need Christ.” He read, he made notes, he made a great leather globe of the world and, one day, in the quietness of his cobbler’s shop — not in some enthusiastic missionary conference — Carey heard the call: “If it be the duty of all men to believe the Gospel ... then it be the duty of those who are entrusted with the Gospel to endeavor to make it known among all nations.” And Carey sobbed out, “Here am I; send me!” To surrender was one thing — to get to the field was quite another problem. There were no missionary societies and there was no real missionary interest. When Carey propounded this subject Evangelism Daily Readings

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for discussion at a ministers’ meeting. Carey challenged the ministers to reject the idea that the commission was only for the Apostles. He appealed to them to send missionaries to preach the gospel to the lost. Dr. Ryland shouted at Carey: “Young man, sit down: when God pleases to covert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.” Andrew Fuller added his feelings as resembling the unbelieving captain of Israel, who said, “If the Lord should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be!” But Carey persisted.

Carey was determined and resolute He later said of his ministry, “I can plod!” And he was a man who “always resolutely determined never to give up on any point or particle of anything on which his mind was set until he had arrived at a clear knowledge of his subject.” Thus Carey wrote his famed “Enquiry Into the Obligations of the Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathen.” In this masterpiece on missions Carey answered arguments, surveyed the history of missions from apostolic times, surveyed the entire known world as to countries, size, population and religions, and dealt with the practical application of how to reach the world for Christ! And he prayed. And he pled. And he plodded. And he persisted. And he preached — especially his epoch-producing message, “EXPECT GREAT THINGS FROM GOD. ATTEMPT GREAT THINGS FOR GOD.”

To India It was in 1793 that Carey went to India. At first his wife was reluctant to go — so Carey set off to go nevertheless, but after two returns from the docks to persuade her again, Dorothy and his children accompanied him.

They arrived with a Dr. Thomas at the mouth of the Hooghly in India in November, 1793. There were years of discouragement (no Indian convert for seven years), debt, disease, deterioration of his wife’s mind, death, but by the grace of God — and by the power of the Word — Carey continued and conquered for Christ! During the first year in Calcutta, the missionaries sought means to support themselves and a place to establish their mission. They also began to learn the Bengali language to communicate with the natives. A friend of Thomas owned two indigo factories and needed managers, so Carey moved with his family north to Midnapore.

His wife’s insanity During the six years that Carey managed the indigo plant, he completed the first revision of his Bengali New Testament and began formulating the principles upon which his missionary community would be formed, including communal living, financial self-reliance, and the training of indigenous ministers. His son Peter died of dysentery, causing Dorothy to suffer a nervous breakdown from which she never recovered. When he died at 73 (1834), he had seen the Scriptures translated and printed into forty languages. He had been a college professor, and had founded a college at Serampore. He had seen India open its doors to missionaries. He had seen the edict passed prohibiting sati (burning widows on the funeral pyres of their dead husbands), and he had seen converts for Christ. On his deathbed Carey called out to a missionary friend, “Dr. Duff! You have been speaking about Dr. Carey; when I am gone, say nothing about Dr. Carey — speak about Dr. Carey’s God.” That charge was symbolic of Carey, considered by many to be a “unique figure, towering above both contemporaries and successors” in the ministry of missions and evangelism.

Prayer: “Lord, thank you for William Carey’s courage, commitment, and sacrifice. Thank you that through his efforts, millions have heard the gospel in India. Do it again through us Lord. Work the same miracle in our lives and send us wherever you want. Amen.”

Carey Quote “We have only to keep the end in view, and have our hearts thoroughly engaged in the pursuit of it, and means will not be very difficult.”

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Day Sixty Eight Awaking Sinners From Their Sleep! “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Ephesians 5:14. Charles Wesley (1707 - 1778). Charles Wesley was an English leader of the Methodist movement, the younger brother of John Wesley. Despite their closeness, Charles and his brother John did not always agree on questions relating to their beliefs. In particular, Charles was strongly opposed to the idea of a breach with the Church of England into which they had been ordained. The reading today is an extract from a sermon preached by Charles on Sunday april 4, 1742, before the university of Oxford. It was said of the Wesley brothers ‘when the Wesleys were born-again, England was born-again.’ The revival that began among Wesley’s Methodists preceded an awakening that swept through all England.

Who are ‘the sleepers’? By sleep is signified the natural state of man; that deep sleep of the soul, into which the sin of Adam has cast all who spring from his loins. That supineness, indolence, and stupidity, that insensibility of his real condition, which is how every man comes into the world, and continues till the voice of God awakes him.

He lives in deep darkness The state of his nature is a state of utter darkness; a state where “darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people.” The poor unawakened sinner, however much knowledge he may have as to other things, has no knowledge of himself. He knows not that he is a fallen spirit, whose only business in the present world, is to recover from his fall, to regain that image of God in which he was created. He doesn’t see his need for change, for “birth from above.” Full of all diseases as he is, he fancies himself in perfect health. Fast bound in misery, he dreams that he is at liberty. He says, “Peace! Peace!” while the devil, as “a strong, man armed,” is in full possession of his soul.

Hell is moving towards him He sleeps on still and takes his rest, though hell is moving from beneath to meet him. A fire is kindled around him, yet he doesn’t know it. He is one who never regarded the warning voice of God, “to flee from the wrath to come;” one that never yet saw he was in danger of hellfire, or cried out in the earnestness of his soul, “What must I do to be saved?” According to the scriptural account, he is one who justifies himself; one that labours to Evangelism Daily Readings

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establish his own righteousness, as the ground of his acceptance with God. Meanwhile, this wretched self-deceiver thanks God, that he is “not as other men are; adulterers, unjust, extortioners.” He say’s to himself ‘I have done no wrong to any man.’ He even “fasts twice in a week!” He uses all the means of grace, is constant at church and sacrament, and “gives tithes of all that he has.” He even does all the good that he can! Yet he knows nothing of Christianity!

He is an abomination to God He is an abomination in the sight of God, and an heir of every woe which the Son of God, yesterday, to-day, and for ever, denounces against “scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.” He has “made clean the outside of the cup and the platter,” but within is full of all filthiness. Our Lord fitly compares him to a “painted sepulchre,” which “appears beautiful without;” but, nevertheless, is “full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” The bones indeed are no longer dry; the sinews and flesh are come upon them, and the skin covers them above: but there is no breath in them, no Spirit of the living God. And, “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

He is dead in trespasses and sins

This sleeper is dead to God and “dead in trespasses and sins.” For, “to be carnally minded is death “ Before any dead soul can live, he must “hear” (or hearkens to) “the voice of the Son of God. ” He is made be awakened to his lost estate, and receive the sentence of death in himself. He must know himself to be “dead while he lives!” Dead to God, and all the things of God; having no more power to perform the actions of a living Christian, than a dead body to perform the functions of a living man. And all the more, this dead man has not even the senses to discern spiritual good and evil. “Having eyes, he sees not; he has ears, and hears not.” In vain is the name of Jesus “like ointment poured forth, and all his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia.” The soul that is asleep in death has no

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perception of any objects of this kind. His heart is “past feeling” and he understands none of these things.

A child of the devil Oh I pray this he might convince you, you poor unawakened sinner, by his demonstration and power, that you are a child of the devil! O that, as I prophesy, there might now be “a noise and a shaking;” and may “the bones come together, bone to his bone!” Then “come from the four winds, O Breath! and breathe on these slain, that they may live!” Sinners, do not harden your hearts, and resist the Holy Ghost, who even now is come to convince you of sin, “because you believe not on the name of the only begotten Son of God.” O God, “in the midst of wrath, remember mercy!” Be glorified in our reformation, not in our destruction! Let us “hear the rod, and him that appointed it!” Now that Thy “judgements are abroad in the earth,” let the inhabitants of the world “learn righteousness!” My brethren, it is high time for us to awake out of sleep before the “great trumpet of the Lord be blown,” and our land become a field of blood. O may we speedily see the things that make for our peace, before they are hid from our eyes! “Turn us, O good Lord, and let your anger cease from us. O Lord, look down from heaven, behold and visit this vine” and cause us to know “the time of our visitation.” “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy name! O deliver us, and be merciful to our sins, for Thy name’s sake! And so we will not go back from Thee. O let us live, and we shall call upon Thy name. Turn us again, O Lord God of Hosts! Show the light of Thy countenance, and we shall be whole.”


Application:

Doesn’t it strike you that the content and the tenor of this preaching is so utterly different from what it is heard in much of the Church today? It’s very blunt and ‘straight up.’ In much of today’s Church, such preaching would be viewed by Christians as politically incorrect and offensive, and would doubtless attract scorn. But is this because our relationship with God compared with the Wesleys is shallow? Does our criticism reflect our lack of depth and true understanding? I tend to think so. You see, this preaching was the stuff God worked through to usher in a revival. Could it be that their perspective and powerful preaching sprang from lives which were more deeply dedicated and consecrated to God than ours?

What do to: 1.

Pray that the Holy Spirit would open our eyes see what we are not seeing, to see what we are missing, to see what we are lacking that He would be pleased to work through us in our evangelism efforts as He worked through the Wesleys.

Charles Wesley Quote “God buries His workmen but carries on His work.”

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Day Sixty Nine

Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God

“Their foot shall slide in due time.” Deuteronomy 32:35 We need only look to the great awakenings of past centuries to see that the Church of today has fallen from great heights. The men and women who led these great awakenings were ordinary. They were intelligent, but they carried none of the distinguishing marks that accompany those who are capable of changing a nation. There is no money or fame here – no power or prestige. In fact, the greatest characteristic of these Christians was that they were consumed with a passionate love for Jesus Christ. They were humble and they who loved the holiness of God. They were jealous of God’s glory and refused to compromise with those who would lower the standard of His holiness. One such man was Jonathan Edwards (17031758). Although little honour is given to him in most history classes, historians will testify that Jonathan Edwards’ life had such an impact on the American colonies. Out of the unity of the Spirit that was the Great Awakening came Independence and Freedom. America was transformed by this Great Awakening which began in the ministry of one man – Jonathan Edwards. Today’s reading is an extract from one of this sermons ‘Sinners in the hands of an angry God.’ It was through this sermon that God sparked a revival in America. This sermon was so pointed in its portrayal of

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the horrendous evil in the hearts of men compared to the virtue which is God, that his listeners became suddenly aware of the uncertainty of life and their own sinfulness. There was a marked intrusion from the heavenlies into their midst. Edwards delivered this sermon in Enfield, Connecticut, a town about 30 miles south of Northampton, on Sunday, July 8, 1741. We are told that Edwards read his sermon in a level voice with his sermon book in his left hand, and in spite of his calm “there was such a breathing of distress, and weeping, that the preacher was obliged to speak to the people and desire silence, that he might be heard.” In terms of being used by the Holy Spirit, this sermon would have to be one of the most powerful ever recorded in history. This is the longest reading in the set, so take your time. It’s long. It might take two or three sittings to get though. Allow time for meditation. In this verse (Deuteronomy 32:35) is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, who were God’s visible people, and who lived under the means of grace; but who, notwithstanding all God’s wonderful works towards them, remained (as vers 28.) void of counsel, having no understanding in them. Under all the


cultivations of heaven, they brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit; as in the two verses next preceding the text. The expression I have chosen for my text, their foot shall slide in due time, seems to imply the following things, relating to the punishment and destruction to which these wicked Israelites were exposed. That they were always exposed to destruction; as one that stands or walks in slippery places is always exposed to fall. This is implied in the manner of their destruction coming upon them, being represented by their foot sliding. The same is expressed, Psalm 72:18. “Surely thou did set them in slippery places; you caste them down into destruction.”

God’s appointed time for destruction That the reason why they are not fallen already and do not fall now is only that God’s appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide. God will not hold them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction; as he that stands on such slippery declining ground, on the edge of a pit, he cannot stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost.

God can do anything He wants whenever He wants The observation from the words that I would now insist upon is this: “There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.” By the mere pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty. God does not lack any power to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men’s hands cannot be strong when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it.

God’s enemies are mere worms under His foot Sometimes an earthly prince meets with a great deal of difficulty to subdue a rebel, who has found means to fortify himself, and has made himself strong by the numbers of his followers. But it is not so with God. There is no fortress that is any defence from the power of God. Though hand join in hand, and vast multitudes of God’s enemies combine and associate themselves, they are easily broken in pieces. They are as great heaps of light chaff before the whirlwind; or large quantities of dry stubble before devouring flames. We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we see crawling on the earth; so it is easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that any thing hangs by: thus easy is it for God, when he pleases, to cast his enemies down to hell. What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down?

God is perfectly just in His judgements God’s enemies deserve to be cast into hell. Divine justice never stands in the way. It makes no objection against God’s using his power at any moment to destroy them. On the contrary, justice calls aloud for an infinite punishment of their sins. Divine justice says of the tree that brings forth such grapes of Sodom, “Cut it down, why encumber the ground with it?” Luke 13:7. The sword of divine justice is every moment brandished over their heads, and it is nothing but the hand of arbitrary mercy, and God’s mere will, that holds it back. Wicked men are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell. They do not only justly deserve to be cast down there, but the sentence of the law of God, that eternal and immutable rule of righteousness that God has fixed between him and mankind, is gone out against them, and stands against them; so that they are bound over already to hell. John 3:18. “He who does not believe is condemned already.” So that every unconverted man properly belongs to hell. It is the place that justice, and God’s Evangelism Daily Readings

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word, and the sentence of his unchangeable law assign to him.

God is more angry with sinners on earth than sinners already in hell The unconverted are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God, that is expressed in the torments of hell. And the reason why they do not go down to hell at each moment, is not because God, in whose power they are, is not then very angry with them; as he is with many miserable creatures now tormented in hell, who there feel and bear the fierceness of his wrath. No, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth: yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell.

God preparation for the wicked It is not because God is unmindful of their wickedness, and does not resent it, that he does not let loose his hand and cut them off. God is not altogether such an one as themselves, though they may imagine him to be so. The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow. The glittering sword is whet, and held over them, and the pit has opened its mouth under them.

The devil is ready and waiting for the wicked The devil stands ready to fall upon them, and seize them as his own, at what moment God shall permit him. They belong to him; he has their souls in his possession, and under his dominion. The scripture represents them as his goods (Luke 11:21). The devils watch them; they are ever by them at their right hand; they stand waiting for them, like greedy hungry lions that see their prey, and expect to have it, but are for the present kept back. If God should withdraw his hand, by which they are restrained, they would in one moment fly upon their poor souls. The old serpent is

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gaping for them; hell opens its mouth wide to receive them; and if God should permit it, they would be hastily swallowed up and lost.

The wickedness of the human heart There are in the souls of wicked men hellish principles reigning. There is laid in the very nature of carnal men, a foundation for the torments of hell. These corrupt principles are seeds of hell fire. These principles are active and powerful, exceeding violent in their nature, and if it were not for the restraining hand of God upon them, they would soon break out into flame. The souls of the wicked are in scripture compared to the troubled sea (Isaiah: 57:20). For the present, God restrains their wickedness by his mighty power, as he does the raging waves of the troubled sea, saying, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.� But if God should withdraw that restraining power, it would soon carry all before it. Sin is the ruin and misery of the soul; it is destructive in its nature; and if God should leave it without restraint, there would need nothing else to make the soul perfectly miserable. The corruption of the heart of man is immoderate and boundless in its fury; and while wicked me live here, it is like fire pent up by God’s restraints, whereas if it were let loose, it would set on fire the course of nature; and as the heart is now a sink of sin, so if sin was not restrained, it would immediately turn the soul into a fiery oven, or a furnace of fire and brimstone. Wicked men cannot see death at hand. He thinks he is now in health. He does not think that he will go out of the world by an accident. He thinks that he is in no visible danger in any respect in his circumstances.

The blindness of the wicked The manifold and continual experience of the world in all ages is that a man is at any moment on the brink of eternity, and that the next step will be into another world. To the wicked the unseen unthought of ways and means of persons going suddenly out of the world are innumerable and inconceivable. Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell on a


rotten covering, and there are innumerable places in this covering so weak that they will not bear their weight, and these places are not seen. The arrows of death fly unseen at noon-day; the sharpest sight cannot discern them. God has so many different unsearchable ways of taking wicked men out of the world and sending them to hell. All the means that there are of sinners going out of the world, are so in God’s hands, and so universally and absolutely subject to his power and determination.

The Wicked have no Security Natural men’s prudence and care to preserve their own lives do not secure them a moment. All wicked men’s pains which they use to escape hell, while they continue to reject Christ, and so remain wicked men, do not secure them from hell one moment. Almost every natural man that hears of hell, flatters himself that he shall escape it; he depends upon himself for his own security; he flatters himself in what he has done, in what he is now doing, or what he intends to do. Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters himself that he contrives well for himself, and that his schemes will not fail. They hear indeed that there are but few saved, and that the greater part of men that have died heretofore are gone to hell; but each one imagines that he lays out matters better for his own escape than others have done. He does not intend to come to that place of torment; he says within himself, that he intends to take effectual care, and to order matters so for himself as not to fail.

The delusion of the wicked But the foolish children of men miserably delude themselves in their own schemes, and in confidence in their own strength and wisdom. They trust to nothing but a shadow. The greater part of those who have lived before them under the same means of grace, and are now dead, are undoubtedly gone to hell. They are in hell now not because they were not as wise as those who are now alive. It was not because they did not lay out matters as well for

themselves to secure their own escape. If we could speak with them, and inquire of them, one by one, whether they expected, when alive, and when they used to hear about hell, ever to be the subjects of misery, we doubtless, should hear one and another reply: “No, I never intended to come here: I had laid out matters otherwise in my mind; I thought I should contrive well for myself. I thought my scheme good. I intended to take effectual care; but it came upon me unexpectedly. I did not look for it at that time, and in that manner; it came as a thief. Death outwitted me: God’s wrath was too quick for me. Oh, my cursed foolishness! I was flattering myself, and pleasing myself with vain dreams of what I would do hereafter; and when I was saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction came upon me.”

Jesus is not obligated to save anyone God has laid himself under no obligation, by any promise to keep any natural man out of hell one moment. God certainly has made no promises either of eternal life, or of any deliverance or preservation from hell, except that which are contained in the covenant of grace [in the Bible], the promises that are given in Christ, in whom all the promises are ‘yes’ and ‘amen.’ But the wicked have no interest in the promises of the covenant . Until he believes in Christ, God is under no manner of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction.

God holds all natural men over the pit of hell So thus it is that natural men are held in the hand of God, over the pit of hell. They have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it. God is dreadfully provoked and his anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of his wrath in hell. Having done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger, neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold them up one moment.

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The devil waits for the lost to come to him

go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf.

The devil is waiting for them. Hell is gaping for them. The flames gather and flash about them, and would desire to lay hold on them, and swallow them up. The fire of their fallen natural desires is pent up in their own hearts and is struggling to break out. They have no interest in any Mediator, there are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In short, they have no refuge, nothing to take hold of. All that preserves them every moment is the mere arbitrary will, and uncovenanted, unobliged forbearance of an incensed God.

Kept from falling into hell by a spider’s web

Application I am speaking of this awful subject for the purpose of awakening unconverted persons in this congregation. This that you have heard is the case of every one of you that are out of Christ. That world of misery, of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you. Under you is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God. There is hell’s wide gaping mouth open, and you have nothing to stand upon, nor any thing to take hold of it. There is nothing between you and hell but the air. It is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up. You are probably not aware of this. Yes, you find yourself today kept out of hell, but you do not see the hand of God in it. You look at other things: the state of your health, and how you care for yourself, and the means you use for your own preservation. But indeed these things are nothing. If God should withdraw his hand, they would no more keep you from falling than the thin air to hold up a person that is suspended in it.

The heavy weight of a sinner’s sin Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell. If God should let you

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Then your healthy constitution, and all your own care for yourself and your prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a falling rock. Were it not for the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment.

Sinners are a burden to God’s creation For you are a burden to it. The creation groans with you. Creation is unwillingly putting up with you. The sun does not willingly shine upon you to give you light to serve sin and Satan. The earth does not willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts. Nor is it willingly a stage for your wickedness to be acted upon. The air does not willingly serve you for breath to maintain the flame of life in your vital organs, while you spend your life in the service of God’s enemies.

Only God’s good pleasure save you from hell And the world would spew you out, were it not for the sovereign hand of him who has hope for you. There are the black clouds of God’s wrath now hanging directly over your heads, full of the dreadful storm, and big with thunder. Were it not for the restraining hand of God, it would immediately burst forth upon you. The sovereign pleasure of God, for the present, stays his rough wind. Otherwise it would come with fury, and your destruction would come like a whirlwind, and you would be like the chaff of the summer threshing floor.

God’s wrath is like a damn The wrath of God is like great waters that are


dammed for the present. They increase more and more, and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given. It is true that judgment against your evil works has not been executed yet. The floods of God’s vengeance have been withheld. Your guilt in the mean time is constantly increasing, and you are every day treasuring up more wrath. The waters are constantly rising, and waxing more and more mighty. Again I say, there is nothing but the mere pleasure of God that holds the waters back. Truly, they are unwilling to be stopped, and press hard to go forward. If God should only withdraw his hand from the flood-gate, it would immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of God, would rush forth with inconceivable fury, and would come upon you with omnipotent power. And hear this - if your strength were ten thousand times greater than it is, yes, ten thousand times greater than the strength of the stoutest, sturdiest devil in hell, it would be nothing to withstand or endure it.

God’s wrath is like a bow The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood. Thus all of you that have never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls, all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the hands of an angry God. However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction. However un-convinced you may now be of the truth of what you hear, by and by you will be fully convinced of it. Those that are in hell now, see that it was so with

them. For destruction came suddenly upon most of them when they expected nothing of it, and while they were saying, “Peace” and “Safety.” Now they see that those things on which they depended for peace and safety, were nothing but thin air and empty shadows.

Loathsome insects held over the fire The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire. He abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked by you. His wrath towards you burns like fire. He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire. He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight. You are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.

Sinners provoke the wrath of God You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince. Yet, it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell last night. It is only his hands which held you out of last night, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell. O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in! It is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every Evangelism Daily Readings

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moment to singe it, and burn it asunder. Yet you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.

God’s wrath compared with that of earthly kings And consider here more particularly, whose wrath it is - it is the wrath of the infinite God. If it were only the wrath of man, though it were of the most potent prince, it would be comparatively little to be regarded. The wrath of kings is very much dreaded, especially of absolute monarchs, who have the possessions and lives of their subjects wholly in their power, to be disposed of at their mere will. (Proverbs 20:2. “The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: Whoever provokes him to anger, sins against his own soul.” The subject that very much enrages an arbitrary prince, is liable to suffer the most extreme torments that human art can invent, or human power can inflict. But the greatest earthly potentates in their greatest majesty and strength, and when clothed in their greatest terrors, are but feeble, despicable worms of the dust, in comparison of the great and almighty Creator and King of heaven and earth. It is but little that they can do, when most enraged, and when they have exerted the utmost of their fury. All the kings of the earth, before God, are as grasshoppers. They are nothing, and less than nothing. Both their love and their hatred is to be despised. The wrath of the great King of kings, is as much more terrible than theirs, as his majesty is greater. (Luke 12:4,5 “And I say unto you, my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that, have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: fear him, which after he has killed, has power to cast into hell: yes, I say unto you, Fear him.”

God’s wrath unique in its ferocity It is the fierceness of His wrath that you are exposed to. We often read of the fury of God - as in

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Isaiah 59:18. “According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay fury to his adversaries.” Look to at Isaiah 66:15: “For behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.” And in many other places. Look also in Revelation 19:15: “The wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” The words are exceeding terrible. If it had only been said, “the wrath of God,” the words would have implied that which is infinitely dreadful: but it is “the fierceness and wrath of God.” The fury of God! The fierceness of Jehovah! Oh, how dreadful that must be! Who can utter or conceive what such expressions carry in them! But it is also “the fierceness and wrath of almighty God.” As though there would be a very great manifestation of his almighty power in what the fierceness of his wrath should inflict, as though omnipotence should be as it were enraged, and exerted, as men are wont to exert their strength in the fierceness of their wrath. Oh! then, what will be the consequence! What will become of the poor worms that shall suffer it! Whose hands can be strong? And whose heart can endure? To what a dreadful, inexpressible, inconceivable depth of misery must the poor creature be sunk who shall be the subject of this!

God’s wrath is without pity Consider this, you that are here present, that yet remain in an unregenerate state. That God will execute the fierceness of his anger implies that he will inflict wrath without any pity. When God beholds the ineffable extremity of your case, and sees your torment to be so vastly disproportionate to your strength, and sees how your poor soul is crushed, and sinks down, as it were, into an infinite gloom, he will have no compassion upon you. He will not forbear the executions of his wrath, or in the least lighten his hand. There shall be no moderation or mercy, nor will God then at all stay his rough wind. He will have no regard to your welfare, nor be at all careful lest you should suffer too much in any other sense, than only that you shall not suffer beyond what strict justice requires. Nothing shall be withheld, because it is so hard for you to bear. For does not Ezekiel 8:18 say


“Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity; and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet I will not hear them.”

Today is the day of salvation Now God stands ready to pity you. This is a day of mercy. You may cry now with some encouragement of obtaining mercy. But when once the day of mercy is past, your most lamentable and dolorous cries and shrieks will be in vain. You will be wholly lost and thrown away of God, as to any regard to your welfare. God will have no other use to put you to, but to suffer misery. You shall continue so for you will be a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction. There will be no other use of this vessel, but to be filled full of wrath.

Once dead, there is not turning back How awful are the words of Isaiah. 63:3 which are the words of the great God: “I will tread them in mine anger, and will trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.” It is perhaps impossible to conceive of words that carry in them greater manifestations of these three things: contempt, and hatred, and fierceness of indignation. If you cry to God to pity you, he will be so far from pitying you in your doleful case, or showing you the least regard or favour, that instead of that, he will only tread you under foot. And though he will know that you cannot bear the weight of omnipotence treading upon you, yet he will not regard that, but he will crush you under his feet without mercy. He will crush out your blood, and make it fly, and it shall be sprinkled on his garments, so as to stain all his raiment. He will not only hate you, but he will hold you in the utmost contempt. No place shall be thought fit for you, but under his feet to be trodden down as the mire of the streets.

The love and wrath of God exhibited. The misery you are exposed to is that which God will inflict to that end, that he might show what that wrath of Jehovah is. God has had it on his heart to show to angels and men, both how excellent his love is, and also how terrible his wrath is. Sometimes earthly kings have a mind to show how terrible their wrath is, by the extreme punishments they would execute on those that would provoke them. Nebuchadnezzar, that mighty and haughty monarch of the Chaldean empire, was willing to show his wrath when enraged with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Accordingly he gave orders that the burning fiery furnace should be heated seven times hotter than it was before. Doubtless, it was raised to the utmost degree of fierceness that human art could raise it. Our great God is also willing to show his wrath, and magnify his awful majesty and mighty power in the extreme sufferings of his enemies. For does not Romans 9:22 say: “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction?” And seeing this is his design, and what he has determined, even to show how terrible the unrestrained wrath, the fury and fierceness of Jehovah is, he will do it to effect. There will be something accomplished and brought to pass that will be dreadful with a witness.

God will call his universe to witness his righteous judgement When the great and angry God has risen up and executed his awful vengeance on the poor sinner, and the wretch is actually suffering the infinite weight and power of his indignation, then will God call upon the whole universe to behold that awful majesty and mighty power that is to be seen in it. Look at Isaiah 33:12-14: “And the people shall be as the burnings of lime, as thorns cut up shall they be burnt in the fire. Hear ye that are far off, what I have done; and ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has Evangelism Daily Readings

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surprised the hypocrites...”

The awful spectacle Thus it will be with you that are in an unconverted state, if you continue in it. The infinite might, and majesty, and terribleness of the omnipotent God shall be magnified upon you, in the ineffable strength of your torments. You shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. And when you shall be in this state of suffering, the glorious inhabitants of heaven shall go forth and look on the awful spectacle, that they may see what the wrath and fierceness of the Almighty is. And when they have seen it, they will fall down and adore that great power and majesty. See Isaiah 66:23,24: “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, says the Lord. And they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me, for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment.

Eternal suffering is eternal suffering But you must suffer it for all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long for ever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul. And you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance. Oh, who can express what the state of a soul is in such circumstances! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble, faint representation of it. It is inexpressible and inconceivable. How dreadful is the state of those that are daily and hourly in the danger of this great wrath and infinite misery!

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Edwards addresses his congregation directly But this is the dismal case of every soul in this congregation that has not been born again, however moral and strict, sober and religious, they may otherwise be. Oh that you would consider it, whether you be young or old! There is reason to think, that there are many in this congregation now hearing this discourse, that will actually be the subjects of this very misery to all eternity. We know not who they are, or in what seats they sit, or what thoughts they now have. It may be they are now at ease, and hear all these things without much disturbance, and are now flattering themselves that they are not the persons, promising themselves that they shall escape. If we knew that there was one person, and but one, in the whole congregation, that was to be the subject of this misery, what an awful thing would it be to think of! If we knew who it was, what an awful sight would it be to see such a person! How might all the rest of the congregation lift up a lamentable and bitter cry over him! But, alas! Instead of one, how many is it likely will remember this discourse in hell? And it would be a wonder, if some that are now present should not be in hell in a very short time, even before this year is out. And it would be no wonder if some persons, that now sit here, in some seats of this meeting-house, in health, quiet and secure, should be there before tomorrow morning. Those of you who continue in an unconverted condition, that shall keep out of hell longest, will be there in a little time! Your damnation does not slumber. It will come swiftly, and, in all probability, very suddenly upon many of you. It has happened to many in this way. Their case is past all hope. They are crying in extreme misery and perfect despair. But here you are in the land of the living and in the house of God, and have an opportunity to obtain salvation. What would not those poor damned hopeless souls give for one day’s opportunity such as you now enjoy!


Jesus offers mercy now! And now you have an extraordinary opportunity. Today Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners. Many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God. Many are daily coming from the east, west, north and south. Many that were very recently in the same miserable condition that you are in, are now in a happy state, with their hearts filled with love to him who has loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and rejoicing in hope of the glory of God. How awful is it to be left behind at such a day!

Don’t be left behind! How awful will it be to see so many others feasting, while you are pining and perishing! To see so many rejoicing and singing for joy of heart, while you have cause to mourn for sorrow of heart, and howl for vexation of spirit! How can you rest one moment in such a condition? Are not your souls as precious as the souls of the people at Suffield, where they are flocking from day to day to Christ?

You must be born again! There are many here who have lived long in the world, and you are ready this day to be born again! You have need to consider yourselves, and awake thoroughly out of sleep. You cannot bear the fierceness and wrath of the infinite God. And you, young men, and young women, will you neglect this precious season which you now enjoy, when so many others of your age are renouncing all youthful vanities, and flocking to Christ? You especially have now an extraordinary opportunity. But if you neglect it, it will soon be with you as with those persons who spent all the precious days of youth in sin, and are now come to such a dreadful pass in blindness and hardness. And you, children, who are unconverted, do not you know that you are going down to hell, to bear the dreadful wrath of that God, who is now angry with you every day and every night? Will you be content to be the children of the devil, when so many other children in the land

are converted, and are become the holy and happy children of the King of kings? Now let every one that is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the pit of hell, whether they be old men and women, or middle aged, or young people, or little children, now hearken to the loud calls of God’s word and providence. This is the acceptable year of the Lord, a day of such great favour to some. Yet this day will doubtless be a day of as remarkable vengeance to others. Men’s hearts harden, and their guilt increases apace at such a day as this, if they neglect their souls. There is great danger of such persons being given up to hardness of heart and blindness of mind.

This is the day of harvest! God seems now to be hastily gathering in his elect in all parts of the land. And probably the greater part of adult persons that ever shall be saved, will be brought in now in a little time, and that it will be as it was on the great out-pouring of the Spirit upon the Jews in the apostles’ days. The elect will obtain eternal life, and the rest will be blinded. If this should be the case with you, you will eternally curse this day, and will curse the day that ever you was born, to see such a season of the pouring out of God’s Spirit, and will wish that you had died and gone to hell before you had seen it.

Call for decision! Now undoubtedly it is, as it was in the days of John the Baptist, the axe is in an extraordinary manner laid at the root of the trees, that every tree which brings not forth good fruit, may be hewn down and cast into the fire. Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over a great part of this congregation. Let every one fly out of Sodom: “Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed.”

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Application:

In much of today’s Church, to even talk about hell is a ‘no go,’ let alone to talk about the wrath and judgement of God. Even then, if these things are mentioned, they are usually glossed over quickly. This sermon of Edwards would be unacceptable today in most circles. Not only does he mention judgement, hell and the wrath of God towards sinner all the way through, but he labours them. The whole sermon centres of the depravity of man, and how we are objects of God’s wrath and distaste. The word ‘love’ is mentioned only 3 times in 9 pages. But here is the thing - he supports everything he says from Scripture. Yes, he embellishes scripture in some places (i.e. “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire....”). In spite of this, or even because of this, the Holy Spirit chose to ‘make alive’ this sermon in a remarkable way. An eyewitness described an audience so moved by the sermon that people moaned, shrieked, and cried out for salvation while Edwards was speaking. Apparently the reaction was so strong that Edwards was unable to finish the sermon. Would the Holy Spirit have anointed the sermon so remarkably if what Edwards was saying was not pleasing to Him? I doubt it. Would the Holy Spirit have done this if what Edwards was saying was not entirely scriptural? Again, I doubt it. Are people any different today than they were in Edward’s day? Answer: no. Is the Holy Spirit any different from what He was in Edward’s day? Answer: no. So why do we find this sermon so abhorrent? So unusual compared to most sermons today? Who has moved? We, or God? Was Edwards ‘seeing’ things in the Spirit that we are just not seeing today because we don’t have the intimacy Edwards had with God? What’s really interesting is that Edwards was also famous for this prayer life, his love for the Word, and his thirst for intimacy with God. One commentator wrote of him: “From his youth, Edwards spent much time in secret with God seeking His Presence. He would often walk alone in the fields or the mountains praying to God with a deep affection. He spent much time reading and meditating on the Song of Solomon until he had a deep understanding of God’s sweetness and light. He experienced God’s presence as a sudden intrusion from “the other world” upon his natural senses. Edwards was used in a great way because he sought to be intimate with the actual Presence of God.” He was therefore not a man out of touch with reality. The truth is, he knew too much.

Prayer: “Lord, this man was used by God in a mighty way, and we want to be used similarly. Lord, give us the grace, power and desire to seek you and relationship with you like Edwards did. Help us to put away our TV’s, hobbies, sports - whatever - if these are just distractions and taking away precious time, and draining our desire to be with you and to serve you. Lord, we desire to REALLY connect with you. Give us a revelation of hell, and final judgement that not only would our passion and zeal to reach the lost explode, but that we might love you more, knowing what you have saved us from by dying on the cross. Use us Lord, and work in us and through us, as you did with your servant Jonathan Edwards. Amen.”

Jonathan Edwards Quote “The way to Heaven is ascending; we must be content to travel uphill, though it be hard and tiresome, and contrary to the natural bias of our flesh.”

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Evangelism Daily Readings


Day Seventy

Evangelism: Are We To Go To Strangers, Or Only To People We Already Know? Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” Believe it or not, there is now a widespread belief in the Church in the West that we are not to evangelise strangers i.e. go to people with whom we have no relationship and present the gospel to them. The reading today analyses this debate. At Evangelism Strategies International, we believe we are to reach all people with the gospel. We could divide ‘all’ into two groups. a) people we know and with whom we have a relationship. b) Strangers - people we don’t know and with whom we have no relationship.

Evangelising people we know We believe that there are Christians who are developing a friendship or relationship with a non-Christian person - a neighbour, a work colleague, and school friend, a family member etc. There comes a time in these relationships when the Holy Spirit prompts them to ‘share the gospel’. The time will be different in each situation, but the time will come. Sadly, most Christians ‘choke’ at this point because they don’t know quite what to say. If they do know, they are not quite sure how to say it. Either way, they usually end up saying nothing for fear of failing or ‘mucking it up’. Accordingly, we want to equip people so that when ‘the time’ comes, they can share the gospel graciously, lovingly, clearly, confidently and uncompromisingly. In short, they can glorify the Lord by ‘..holding forth the Word of Truth’

(Philippians 2:16) and proclaiming the gospel (Mark 16:15). But we don’t stop there. We must also go to people we don’t know. There are five reasons why this is so.

First, Jesus commanded it. It Mark 16:15, the command from Jesus was the evangelise all the world. This is what the word ‘all’ means in this verse. So to be obedient to Jesus is to go to people we know and people we don’t know with the gospel.

Second, there is a Biblical precedent: Jesus and the disciples evangelised strangers. Jesus taught the disciples to evangelise strangers and commanded His men to go to them. We too are Jesus’ disciples. This being so, we are not above Him - ‘The servant is not above His teacher’ (Matthew 10: 24). The command that applied to the original disciples is binding on us as well.

Thirdly, it’s impossible to complete the Great Commission without going to strangers. There is a good reason Jesus used the word ‘all’ in Mark 16:15. The disciples were a mustard seed of men. To have any hope of fulfilling

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the command of Jesus to reach the whole world with the gospel they knew they had to go to ‘all’ people. They made no distinction between people they knew and people they didn’t know. It would have been inconceivable to have only given the gospel to people they knew. Nothing has changed today. The Church today is a mustard seed compared with the vast population of the word who have never heard the gospel. To evangelise all means we must go to all.

Fourthly, to not go to strangers is to deny a large proportion of the population the opportunity of knowing Jesus. If we only go to people with whom we have a relationship, we strike other serious theological problems. Why should those in the world who do not know a Christian be excluded from a knowledge of the gospel and eternal life? Did Jesus die for all, or only those who have a Christian friend or family member? You know the answers.

Finally, the statistical facts highlight the need to go to strangers. Consider the following. In most western countries, the Christian population is 5-20% of the general population. Let’s say Christians are 20% of the general population in America. To evangelise the entire nation with the gospel every one of these Christians must reach an average of 4 people each with the gospel. The research shows some alarming facts which negate this possibility: Many Christians do not have any non-Christian friends. The fact is, as Christians age, many lose their non-Christian friends, choosing instead to spend their time with other Christians. The research also shows that of the people who do have non-Christian friends, only 2% ever proclaim the gospel. Herein lies the problem - everyone in the Church is presuming everyone else is evangelising the world but in reality very few are doing it. Programs like Alpha are proving effective, but in light of the vast proportion of the population who have never heard the gospel (yes, even in

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Western countries), through such programs we are reaching a mere drop in the ocean of the unevangelised world. We should not be duped into thinking ‘because Alpha (or any other program) is working, we are succeeding with the Great Commission.’ Alpha ought to be in the mix, but it alone will never meet the challenge of evangelising the whole world. Mobilising all Christians for personal evangelism was God’s original plan and remains today the best approach for succeeding with the Great Commission.

Conclusion? If we only reach those we already know with the gospel, we will soon run out of people to evangelise, and the Great Commission will falter. Tragically, the statistics show this has already happened. As Dr John Stott at the Lausanne Conference (1974) on Evangelism put it, ‘The command of Jesus in the Great Commission was for the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.’ How can this possibly happen unless the whole Church is discipled in evangelism? This is precisely why evangelists were given to the Church, as detailed in Ephesians 4:11-15. They are a gift from God to the Church to equip it to proclaim the gospel. So yes, ESI teaches how to reach everyone, because this is clearly what Jesus intended and commanded. If we only evangelise those with whom we have a relationship, we are limiting the Great Commission, limiting God’s love, and living in disobedience to Jesus’ command. Proclaiming the gospel to people we already know will require a different approach to reaching people we don’t know, so we teach both approaches. Both approaches require grace, love, skill, humility and sensitivity - the five great marks of Biblical evangelism. For further reading, see Julian Batchelor’s book ‘Evangelism: Strategies from Heaven in the War for Souls’ chapter 21 and ‘Seven reasons why the term ‘friendship evangelism’ is hindering world evangelism.’


Application: Don’t buy into the argument that we are only to go to people we know with the gospel. It’s not a Biblical one. I also believe that behind this argument are other issues. First, for some it’s a reaction to seeing evangelism to strangers done very badly. For others, they have tried giving the gospel to strangers and had a bad experience. Either way, these people have had a bad emotional experience. Either way, they have been put off evangelising strangers and are now preaching against it. What’s the solution? We ought never to live out of our emotions. They are too unreliable, fickle, and deceitful. To succeed with the great commission, we ought to live out of our Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus in us is willing to suffer, and to overcome hurt and disappointment. It gives us stability, resolution, steadiness, power, and an ability to overcome. Could it be that for some behind the drive to not evangelise strangers is cowardice? Could it be that behind the proponents of the idea that we only ought to evangelise people we know is a fear of rejection and ridicule? Could it be that we are not prepared to pick up our cross daily and count the cost? Could it be we don’t have the courage to take the gospel to strangers ourselves, so preach against it using shaky and untenable Biblical arguments? There is good reason to ask these questions. The Bible teaches that everyone who is born again, or born from above, is in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). And those in-dwelt by the Spirit are not given over to fear: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. So where does fear come from? You know the answer. The way to break this fear off such a life is through prayer and leaning on God. Then it is to go and do evangelism to strangers and keep going at it until the fear has all gone. The best way to breakthrough in evangelism is to do evangelism.

What do to

1. If you are a person who I am talking about in the ‘Application’ section above, please go and find a Christian who has broken through with taking the gospel to strangers, and ask them to coach you. Don’t live in the valley of defeat and excuses. Living in such places doesn’t glorify God, help you the sufferer, or evangelise the world. Worse still, and like the spies who went up into the promised land, by not going to strangers with the gospel, you are unwittingly spreading a bad report among believers with your non evangelistic lifestyle and attitudes. So, determine to not sit there one moment longer. Set you face like flint, and go for it! Be determined to break through. God is with you.

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Day Seventy One

Why Don’t Christians Evangelise? Church Survey Reveals Ignorance To Blame “Add to Your Faith Knowledge” (2 Peter 1:511). The reading today is written by a creation scientist Gary Bates, CEO of Creation Ministries International. He argues that weak, Biblically ignorant Christians will not evangelise because they have nothing to say. They have nothing to say because they have lost confidence in the authority of Scripture. By ‘the authority of Scripture’ we mean our justification for putting our trust in the Bible with respect to its claims and attitudes about matters such as faith and conduct, as well as various sorts of historical and scientific facts. The backdrop to his article is a Religious Knowledge Survey carried out in America.

Shocking Biblical ignorance Can you name the four Gospels in order? If you can, you’re doing better than the over-half of Americans who can’t—only 45% of the participants in the Pew Forum’s U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey could. They surveyed Protestant and Catholic Christians, Mormons, Jews, and atheists/agnostics to measure rudimentary religious knowledge among those groups. This included rudimentary questions about Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, and Eastern religions. The average Christian respondent to the survey answered 16 out of 32 questions correctly,

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including 6 out of 12 questions pertaining to Christianity. White evangelicals were the most knowledgeable group, answering 7.3 questions correctly, but still not measuring up to the Mormons, who could answer 7.9 questions. For instance, only ¼ of white evangelicals knew that Protestants uniquely teach that salvation is by faith alone (somewhat of a mistake—the actual teaching is by grace through faith—Ephesians 2:8–9). The good news is that the media hype about this survey is somewhat overblown—no group really scored very well on this survey. The bad news is that religious knowledge in general, including knowledge of one’s own religion, is abysmal. This includes ignorance of some very basic teachings, and as such, it is obviously a major contributor to the decline of Christianity as the dominant or prevailing world view that it once was in most Western countries. This is simply because as a church—as individuals—we are not addressing the questions that the culture is asking. If one asks street evangelists, for example, what are the major reasons people reject the Christian


faith, most will advise that in the ensuing conversations that follow, it ultimately can be boiled down to doubts about the authority of Scripture. In short, most people don’t believe the Bible to be authoritative; they believe that it contains errors.

What is the church supposed to do for its people? This indicates that among other things, the church simply isn’t teaching its members basic knowledge about the Bible and Christian doctrine. Forget about complicated topics such as the Trinity as three hypostases, one ousia; most can’t even articulate very understanding of communion and soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). The average church goer may well be completely ignorant of people like Job and even Abraham and Moses who should be Sunday School staples. This is more clear evidence that the entertainment-driven programs of many churches are clearly not producing people who can articulate even the most basic tenets of their faith, or who know the Bible.

What is ‘church’ for? Some churches try to fill pews with people who are simply seeking a spiritual experience to fill the God-shaped void in their lives. But this is not the function of the church. The Great Commission commands us to make disciples of others, who then go out and proclaim the gospel to the unsaved. Evangelism is the responsibility of the individual believer, while the function of the church is to feed believers and equip them to go out and evangelise. How can this occur when many denominations have capitulated, compromised and don’t even accept Genesis as real history? Church becomes merely a club or something that someone does on the weekend to make one feel good about oneself. That is certainly the case when one considers the intellectual vacuum left by the seeker-sensitive and emergent church ‘isms’—as even some of the seeker-sensitive church leaders have now realized.

Biblical ignorance leads to evangelism inactivity. When people don’t know about their faith, this means that they don’t share their faith, and they are much less confident when it comes to defending it. Can a person even properly be called a believer if there is this much ignorance about what the content of that belief is supposed to be? A person is much more likely to compromise if they are ignorant of important information about their faith. Conversely, when one is confident about what one believes, then one is more likely to be motivated to share it with others. Is it any surprise then that Christians who truly believe the world was created are often recognized as being more outspoken and confident, and more knowledgeable about Scripture in general. After training in apologetics (apologetics is the branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of the Bible) they are no longer hoodwinked by a secular world view that presents evolution as commonly understood ‘science.’ Thus they also are more motivated to learn about the Bible, since they believe its history right from the beginning. In turn they are more able and motivated to share the gospel i.e. evangelise.

When the authority of the Bible is doubted, evangelism decreases The attacks on the Bible today probably come from no greater area than the area of secular science, which leaves many in the pews confused about what parts of the Bible to believe. This demonstrates how foundational the creation/evolution issue is to what people believe. It could be correctly described as the ‘issues of all issues’ facing the church if it is to correctly communicate the reliability of God’s Word and proclaim the gospel. If the first book of the Bible cannot be trusted then naturally one cannot be confident where the truth actually begins in Scripture.

“Just believe!” not enough While the church has not always had answers to the evolutionary juggernaut that has challenged Evangelism Daily Readings

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the authority of the Bible, there is no longer any excuse for Christians not to be able to defend their faith in this vital area. Today we have more information and evidence to support the Bible’s history than in any time. But so many in the church are not aware that these answers exist, or they do not understand the importance of the information for creation. Can you see then that the church is actually committing intellectual suicide by not providing answers and saying, effectively, “Just believe”? This is not an adequate response to a society where ‘science’ is viewed as having the ultimate answers to—well—everything!

So what’s the answer? Christians, first and foremost, need to learn the foundational truths about their faith. This includes a basic knowledge of the contents of the Bible and how the Bible’s teachings have been systematized into a framework of doctrine by various branches of the Christian faith over history. We also need a greater emphasis on the Bible as something worth learning about—people aren’t motivated to study something that is increasingly viewed as a religious alternative to Grimm’s Fairy Tales. While not the only factor, increasingly down playing the function and status of Scripture as the Word of God logically means that fewer people will be interested in studying it, or proclaiming it.

Churches must return to teaching Biblical basics and apologetics. This survey, however, actually reveals opportunities. The ‘spiritual’ ignorance about faith was not limited to Christians. The non-Christians surveyed were virtually completely ignorant of Biblical truths. Christianity has the answers because it is the correct and true history of the universe. If the church could simply embark on teaching and equipping believers with the basic information they need to defend their faith, then, once again, Christianity could become the great force it once was in shaping Western thought and social structure. As criminology professor Dr Mike Adams

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says: “If Christianity dies in America it will not be for a lack of evidence of its truthfulness. It will be for a lack of dissemination of the evidence of its truthfulness.” Equipping, teaching and evangelism must go together so that we can go out and make disciples of others. When hearts change, we’ll see lives change, and if enough change, then we will see society change. When one views the Bible as an absolutely reliable and trustworthy account of how God has intervened throughout history to bring about His plan of salvation, and a collection of timeless teachings for His people, then studying it, sharing it with others, and defending it suddenly takes on a new importance.


Application: If I was a pastor of a church, I would take this reading seriously. Once the authority of Scripture has been eroded from the mind of a Christian, personal opinion becomes the authority, and chaos will reign. Sadly today, in many churches, there is no systematic teaching of the Bible. There are no night classes for people to undertake surveys of the Old and New Testaments. There are no theology or apologetics classes, not even ‘on-line.’ Furthermore, other surveys show that many Christians don’t read their Bibles between church services, let alone study them, so what hope is there of reaching the world with the gospel? How can we proclaim a gospel we know little about? And what little we do know, we are not sure about? Add to these sad truths the 84 devices of the devil discussed in my book, and it is easy to see why only 2% of Christians today engage in evangelism. If this reading today is true, we’ve become an abysmal, Biblically ignorant, timid, impotent bunch of people. It need not be so. One of the wonderful things about the Bible is that almost instantly we begin to study it and take it seriously, under the leadership of gifted teachers, and inspired by the Spirit, our fire and passion for God can be re-kindled into a blazing furnace. Through the Word and the Spirit, even the coldest, hardest heart can be make alive again! We are living in times similar to the time of King Josiah in 2 Chronicles. What did King Josiah use to start the revival in his day? In 2 Chronicles 34:14 we read: “…Now when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the LORD given by Moses…” What Josiah used to start the revival in the nation was the Word of God. God wants to start a revival in your heart today the same way!

What do to: 1. Determine today to read and study your Bible each day. If you have a computer, search for great discipleship web sites which can help you understand the Bible and apologetics better. 2. If you are a leader of a church, set up classes for your people and put into action what I have suggested above. If you are not a leader, email this reading to your leader. If no action is taken by them, find a church that will help you grow and flourish as a Christian. Don’t tolerate being an ignorant, timid, impotent Christian one moment longer. Take responsibility.

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Day Seventy Two

The Relationship Between Evangelism And Social Responsibility ‘Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth’ Ephesians 6.14 The Lausanne Movement, attended by several thousand delegates, met in 1982 to discuss and debate issues to do with the evangelisation of the world. The reading today is written by Dr John Stott. He was chairman of a committee which was responsible for producing a paper on the relationship between evangelism and social action. Dr Stott’s committee comprised 50 evangelical leaders from as many countries. The following paper is a summary of their conclusions.

Poverty appalling We are appalled to know that about 800 million people, or one-fifth of the human race, are destitute, lacking the basic necessities for survival, and that thousands of them die of starvation every day. Many more millions are without adequate shelter and clothing, without clean water and health care, without opportunities for education and employment, and are condemned to eke out a miserable existence without the possibility of self-improvement for themselves or their families. They can only be described as “oppressed” by the gross economic inequality from which they suffer and the diverse economic systems which cause and perpetuate it. All these are rooted in the profound sinfulness of humankind, and they demand from the people of God a radical response of compassion. Only

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the gospel can change human hearts, and no influence makes people more human than the gospel does. Yet we cannot stop with verbal proclamation. In addition to worldwide evangelization, the people of God should become deeply involved in relief, aid, development and the quest for justice and peace. We express penitence both for our neglect and for having sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with man is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty. For both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our love for our neighbour and our obedience to Jesus Christ. It appears to us that evangelism and social concern have been intimately related to one another throughout the history of the church, although the relationship has been expressed in a variety of ways. Christian people have often engaged in both activities quite unselfconsciously, without feeling


any need to define what they were doing or why. So the problem of their relationship, which led to the convening of this Consultation, is comparatively new, and for historical reasons is of particular importance to evangelical Christians. The Great Awakening in North America, the Pietistic Movement in Germany, and the Evangelical Revival under the Wesleys in Britain, which all took place in the early part of the l8th century, proved a great stimulus to philanthropy as well as evangelism. The next generation of British evangelicals founded missionary societies and gave conspicuous service in public life, notably Wilberforce in the abolition of the slave trade and of slavery itself, and Shaftesbury in the improvement of conditions in the factories.

Man cannot build Utopia on earth But at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the so-called “social gospel” was developed by theological liberals. Some of them confused the kingdom of God with Christian civilization in general, and with social democracy in particular, and they went on to imagine that by their social programmes they could build God’s kingdom on earth. It seems to have been in over-reaction to this grave distortion of the gospel that many evangelicals became suspicious of social involvement. And now that evangelicals are recovering a social conscience and rediscovering our evangelical social heritage, it is understandable that some of our brothers and sisters are looking askance at us and suspecting us of relapsing into the old heresy of the social gospel. But the responsible social action which the biblical gospel lays upon us, and the liberal “social gospel” which was a perversion of the true gospel, are two quite different things. As we said in the Lausanne Covenant, “we . . . reject as a proud self-confident dream the notion that man can ever build a utopia on earth” (Paragraph 15).

We ought to minister to the whole person Another cause of the divorce of evangelism and social responsibility is the dichotomy which has often developed in our thinking. We tend to set over against one another in an unhealthy way soul

and body, the individual and society, redemption and creation, grace and nature, heaven and earth, justification and justice, faith and works. The Bible certainly distinguishes between these, but it also relates them to each other, and it instructs us to hold each pair in a dynamic and creative tension. It is as wrong to disengage them, as in “dualism”, as it is to confuse them, as in “monism”. It was for this reason that the Lausanne Covenant, speaking of evangelism and socio-political involvement, affirmed that they “are both part of our Christian duty” (Paragraph 5).

Evangelism and social action don’t always have to go together In wanting to affirm that evangelism and social responsibility belong to each other, we are not meaning that neither can ever exist in independence of the other. The Good Samaritan, for example, if we may characterize him as a Christian, could not have been blamed for tending the wounds of the brigands’ victim and failing to preach to him. Nor is Philip to be blamed for preaching the gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch in his chariot and failing to enquire into his social needs. There are still occasions when it is legitimate to concentrate on one or the other of these two Christian duties. It is not wrong to hold an evangelistic crusade without an accompanying programme of social service. Nor is it wrong to feed the hungry in a time of famine without first preaching to them, for, to quote an African proverb, “an empty belly has no ears”. It was similar in the days of Moses. He brought the Israelites in Egypt the Good News of their liberation, “but they did not listen to him, because of their broken spirit and their cruel bondage” (Exod. 6:9).So, what is the relationship between social action and evangelism?

First, social action is a consequence of evangelism. That is, evangelism is the means by which God brings people to new birth, and their new life manifests itself in the service of others. Paul wrote that “faith works through love” (Galatians 5:6), James that “I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18), and John that God’s Evangelism Daily Readings

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love within us will overflow in serving our needy brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16-18). As Robert E. Speer wrote about the Gospel in 1900: “wherever it goes, it plants in the hearts of men forces that produce new lives; it plants in communities of men forces that create new social combinations. “ We have heard of evangelists in our own day who, during their missions or crusades, actively encourage Christians (including new converts) to become involved in programmes to meet specific local, human needs. This effectively highlights the serving dimension of Christian conversion and commitment.

Social action one of the aims of evangelism We can go further than this, however. Social action is more than the consequence of evangelism; it is also one of its principal aims. For Christ gave himself for us not only “to redeem us from all iniquity” but also “to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds” (Tit. 2:14). Similarly, through the gospel we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2: 10). Good works cannot save, but they are an indispensable evidence of salvation (James 2:14-26).

Secondly, social action prepares the way for evangelism. It can break down prejudice and suspicion, open closed doors, and gain a hearing for the Gospel. Jesus himself sometimes performed works of mercy before proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom. In more recent times, we were reminded, the construction of dams by the Basel missionaries in Northern Ghana opened a way for the gospel, and much missionary medical, agricultural, nutritional and educational work has had a similar effect. To add a contemporary Western example, a recent crusade in an American city was preceded and accompanied by a “Love in Action” programme, with the evangelist’s encouragement. Several “social uplift” groups cooperated and were able to extend their ministries to the inner city poor. As a result, we were told, a number of

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people came under the sound of the gospel who would not otherwise have come to the crusade.

The challenge of taking people on from their felt need to their deeper need Further, by seeking to serve people, it is possible to move from their “felt needs” to an awareness their deeper need concerning their relationship with God. As one participant put it, “if we turn a blind eye to the suffering, the social oppression, the alienation and loneliness of people, let us not be surprised if they turn a deaf ear to our message of eternal salvation.” On the other hand, there is the problem of only addressing people’s felt needs and not moving onto address there deeper need by proclaiming the gospel.

The danger of ‘rice’ Christians Then there is the danger of making “rice Christians”, that is, of securing converts only because of the physical benefits we offer. But we have to take this risk, so long as we retain our own integrity and serve people out of genuine love and not with an ulterior motive. Then our actions will be “not bribes but bridges—bridges of love to the world and to the Saviour through the proclamation of the gospel.”

Thirdly, social action is evangelism’s partner They are like the two blades of a pair of scissors or the two wings of a bird. This partnership is clearly seen in the public ministry of Jesus, who not only preached the gospel but fed the hungry and healed the sick. In his ministry, kerygma (proclamation) and diakonia (service) went hand in hand. His words explained his works, and his works dramatized his words. Both were expressions of his compassion for people, and both should be of ours. Both also issue from the lordship of Jesus, for he sends us out into the world both to preach and to serve. Indeed, so close is this link between proclaiming and serving, that they actually overlap. This is not to say that they should be identified with each other, for evangelism is not social responsibility,


nor is social responsibility evangelism. Yet, each involves the other.

Evangelism takes primacy over social action The Lausanne Covenant affirms that “in the church’s mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary” (Paragraph 6). Although some of us have felt uncomfortable about this phrase, lest by it we should be breaking the partnership, yet we are able to endorse and explain it in two ways, in addition to the particular situations and callings already mentioned. First, evangelism has a certain logical priority. We are not referring to an invariable temporal priority, because in some situations a social ministry will take precedence, but to a logical one. The very fact of Christian social responsibility presupposes socially responsible Christians, and it can only be by evangelism and discipling that they have become such. If social activity is a consequence and aim of evangelism (as we have asserted), then evangelism must precede it. In addition, social progress is being hindered in some countries by the prevailing religious culture; only evangelism can change this.

Seldom if ever should we have to choose between satisfying physical hunger and spiritual hunger, or between healing bodies and saving souls, since an authentic love for our neighbour will lead us to serve him or her as a whole person. Nevertheless, if we must choose, then we have to say that the supreme and ultimate need of all humankind is the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and that therefore a person’s eternal, spiritual salvation is of greater importance than his or her temporal and material well-being (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). As the Thailand Statement expressed it, “of all the tragic needs of human beings none is greater than their alienation from their Creator and the terrible reality of eternal death for those who refuse to repent and believe.” Yet this fact must not make us indifferent to the degradations of human poverty and oppression. The choice, we believe, is largely conceptual. In practice, as in the public ministry of Jesus, the two are inseparable, at least in open societies. Rather than competing with each other, they mutually support and strengthen each other in an upward spiral of increased concern for both.

Non-Christians can ‘do’ social action but only Christians ‘do’ evangelism Evangelism relates to people’s eternal destiny, and in bringing them Good News of salvation, Christians are doing what nobody else can do.

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Application: Wow! What an interesting paper! I want to make two points here. Firstly, don’t think for a moment that you personally have to perform a good work for someone before you can share the gospel with them. This is lie from the devil. Why? You never know who has been ‘ploughing’ the soil of their hearts before you came along with the gospel message. We ought to always presume someone somewhere has been tilling the soil of the heart of the person you are about to talk to. Remember, as the very least, there are prayer ministries all over the world praying 24/7 for the salvation of the lost. The second point I would make is that even evangelists are not exempt from doing good works and engaging in social action. Where ever I can, if I can’t plant the seed of the gospel, I will plough or water with good works, or kindness, or generosity, or whatever. In doing so, I am preparing the way for someone else somewhere to plant the seed of the gospel. Truly, the mission of the Church ought to focus on an endless and determined commitment to the perpetual cycle of social action and evangelism. Don’t let the two drift apart in your life and the life of those in your church!

What do to: 1. Do an audit on your own life? How are you going with social action? Evangelism? If one or both are weak, what do you intend to do about it? 2. Do an audit on your church. How is it going with social action? Evangelism? Have the two become separated? If so, what do you intend to do about it? What definite action are you going to take? 3. I suggest setting up a Daily Discipline sheet (you can download a free one from my web site www.esisite.com/resources) so you can monitor day by day how you are going with social action and evangelism. Be accountable to someone else in your group or church. Think of novel ways in which you can be involved in social action in some way in your day to day life. e.g. you could buy lunch for someone at your work or school. You could help you neighbour next door out in a practical way of some kind. You could hang the washing of a room mate out! The possibilities are endless. 4. Try and connect what you do with Christ so that the people who are the recipient of your social action don’t think your are just a random nice guy being helpful. Remember, even atheists can abound in good works. We want to deflect the glory to Jesus where ever possible.

John Stott Quote “The Gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales.”

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Day Seventy Three

The Importance Of Prayer In Evangelism “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).

against powers and the spiritual forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). That is where the real batMatt Slick is President and Founder of the tle is, in the spiritual realm. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. You need prayer. Prayer is one of God’s orSalvation belongs to the Lord dained means for you to do spiritual warfare, and Prayer is essential in the Christian’s life. With- sharing the Gospel is definitely spiritual warfare. out it your evangelism will be far less effective and you will be far more vulnerable to the enemy. Pray influences God When you evangelise, you need the blessing and Another reason to pray is that you can actualsupport of the Lord. You need to be in fellowship ly influence God with your prayers. If you are with Him. Prayer makes this all possible. doubtful then look at 2 Kings 20:1-7. King Hezekiah was told by the prophet Amoz that he should When you evangelise you plant the seeds of the set his house in order because he was surely goGospel, but it is God who causes the growth (1 ing to die (v. 1). Corinthians 3:6-7). In prayer you ask God to give Hezekiah prayed earnestly (v. 2,3). The Lord that growth. heard his prayers and said, “I have heard your In prayer you ask God to convict the unrepen- prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal tant of their sin and by that awaken in them the you. On the third day you shall go up to the house need for salvation. In prayer you, “...let your re- of the LORD. And I will add fifteen years to your quests be made known to God,” (Phil. 4:6). Think life,” (v. 5). back to your own conversion. Were there people Hezekiah’s prayer made a difference. That is praying and requesting your salvation? why you, as a Christian, can be an effective evangeliser, because you have influence with God and Our battle is not against flesh because you can ask God to save. Prayer is a vital and blood part of evangelism. Jesus prayed frequently (Matthew 14:23; 26:36; Mark 6:46; Luke 5:16; John 17). Paul prayed (Romans 1:9; Ephesians 1:16). Stephen prayed (Acts 7:55-60). You must pray. God wants you to pray to Him and have fellowship with Him (John 1:1-4). Why? One reason is that our battle is not against flesh and blood but

What should you pray for? Pray for more people to evangelise. Jesus specifically asked you to pray to the Father and ask Him to send workers into the field (Matthew 9:37-38). What is the field? It is the world of sinners. Who are the workers? They are people like you. Evangelism Daily Readings

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Jesus wants people to find salvation and enjoy eternal fellowship with Him. He wants you to proclaim the Gospel. He has given the command “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...” (Matthew 28:19). Your witness for God may or may not be verbal. You could be handing out tracts. But either way, you need to pray and ask God to give you strength, love, and insight.

Pray for compassion. Pray for compassion for the lost. Compassion is a necessary element in witnessing. It motivates you to speak, to teach, and to pray for others to come into the kingdom of God. Compassion helps you to cry over the lost and to come to God in humble request for their salvation. Paul said, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation,” (Romans 10:1).

Pray for the desire to evangelise. Pray this regularly and watch the Lord change you and give you a desire to reach out and tell people about Jesus. God will grant your prayers and joy will fill your heart as you fulfill the command of God by witnessing.

Pray for boldness. Pray for the courage to step out in faith and speak up when needed. Many Christians are timid because speaking a word for the sake of the Lord can be risky and frightening. Boldness gives you the courage to risk ridicule and to endure the scorn. Ask God for it. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,” (2 Timothy 1:7-8).

Pray to the Lord to bind Satan and his angels. There is a hierarchy of demons seeking to hinder your witness and steal the seeds of the Gospel that you plant. You cannot fight spirits with reason or flesh and blood, but you can ask the Lord to fight. With prayer you can assault the camp of the enemy and weaken his false kingdom.

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Prayer is a mighty tool, a powerful tool. You need it if you are going to witness.

Pray for your needs. Do you have a close walk with God? Do you need a deeper fellowship with Him? Do you have sins you need to confess and forsake? If so, then pray. Enjoy your privilege of coming to the Creator of the universe who meets your every need. He loves you. He wants to hear from you and He wants you to make your needs known to Him. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God,” (Phil. 4:6).

Hindrances to prayer Prayer is important for many reasons, especially for evangelism. But prayer can be hindered. So that your prayers and evangelism might be as affective as possible, a discussion of the hindrances of prayer is necessary. Do any of the following apply to you?

Sin hinders prayer. “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear,” (Psalm 66:18). We all sin, but do you have unconfessed and unrepented sin in your life? If so, confess your sin, repent from it as you are commanded in Acts 17:30, and continue in evangelism and prayer.

Selfishness hinders prayer. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). Examine yourself. Make sure your prayers are not motivated by selfish desires. If you find that selfishness is a factor then confess it and repent.

Doubt hinders prayer. “But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind,” (James 1:6). We all doubt. We all fail. But when you doubt be reminded of the man who said to Jesus, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). He believed and yet doubted and Jesus granted his request.


Remember that God has given a measure of faith to every man (Romans 12:3). Trust God, even when you have doubts. It does not matter necessarily how much faith you have as much as who your faith is in. Put what faith you have in Jesus. Trust Him. Watch Him be faithful to you.

Pride hinders prayer. Jesus spoke of the Pharisee and the tax-gatherer who both were praying. The Pharisee boasted about himself while the tax-gatherer asked for mercy from God. Jesus said in Luke 18:14 regarding the tax-gatherer, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.” Jesus shows us that pride is sin and that it hinders prayer (James 4:6). Have the same attitude that Jesus had in heaven in His full glory as He had on Earth as a man. He was humble. If you are prideful, confess it as sin, repent, and continue in humility.

A poor husband and wife relationship hinders prayer. This may seem a little out of place here, but it isn’t. A proper relationship with your spouse is very important. If there are problems because of selfishness, pride, argument, anger, unforgiveness, or any of the other multitudinous obstacles that can

develop in marriage, then your prayers will be hindered. How are you doing with your mate? Are you evangelising while there is anger between you two? In Matthew 5:23-24 Jesus said, “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” Are you reconciled to your wife or husband (for that matter, anyone you know with whom there is strife) before you offer sacrifices of evangelism and prayer to the Lord? If not, then be reconciled, so your prayers won’t be hindered. 1 Peter. 3:7 says, “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that you prayers may not be hindered.”

Prayer is a privilege Prayer is a privilege. It is a powerful tool. Without it you will be a foolish worker in the fields of the dead. Pray and ask the Lord of the harvest to raise the dead to life. Bend your knees in fellowship with your Lord. Let Him wash you in His presence and fill you with the Holy Spirit. Prayer is where you meet Him. Prayer is where you are shaped. Pray.

Application: This is a great devotion from Matt on prayer, with so many great insights. However, don’t think that for minute you have to be perfect before you can to be used by God in evangelism. The whole thrust of the teaching of Jesus in Mark 4:26-29 is that the Holy Spirit will grow the seed of the gospel just because he has promised to do so! And that the seed of the gospel has ‘inherent power’. Success in evangelism doesn’t depend on us. Don’t let the devil get in and tell you ‘You’re not good enough’ or ‘God want us you because such and such is not right in your life.’ Remember the Greek word in that parable? Automate! It’s a promise from God to automatically grown the seed of the gospel you sow.

What do to: 1. Let’s pray to Jesus to help us remove the hindrances to prayer. Even though God promises to grow the seeds we sow, let’s do all within our power to play our part in the process of drawing the unchurched to Him by being clean vessels, fit for the Master’s use. 2. How about starting a prayer diary, noting down the people you share the gospel with and the date and then pray for those people regularly.

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Day Seventy Four God’s Tens “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7 Michael Wells, an internationally acclaimed Christian counsellor, is President and Founder of Abiding Life Ministries.

Christian sub cultures Christian subcultures exercise a tremendous influence on their adherents, defining for them what true spirituality is. Memorising scripture, not watching television, attending every church service, never taking an alcoholic drink, not dancing or playing cards, having emotional displays of revelations, or even staying calm in the midst of a great moving of the Spirit are some traits of spiritual people as defined in certain circles. Once while travelling in Africa I attended two churches that were founded by the same American teacher, who has a very distinctive preaching style. To my amazement, both pastors, having been trained by this man, walked, talked, held their Bibles, and used phrases in the same way as their teacher. For the, his outward behaviour had become the mark of true spirituality. They were no striving to imitate him, and should they fail in their actions, they believed they would have failed to being spiritual. As they demonstrated this behaviour to their congregations, the younger believers must have thought that this is how a true man of God walks,

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talks, and holds his Bible. At this point, their subculture is exercising more power over them than the Scriptures. The subculture is determining behaviour, rather than the Bible determining behaviour. This is not the only way our Christian subculture can negatively effect us. Our subculture can also skew our priorities.

True definitions of Spirituality Where have your priorities in the Christian life come from? Your definitions of successful spirituality? From others? From your church subculture? From you own experiences? The important thing is that they agree with God’s, for you may be stopped in your journey to His presence because of false ideas and perception concerning your life in Christ.

Priorities in the Christian life Our Christian subculture can help you develop priorities that may not be God’s priorities. If I order priorities from one to ten, what I consider a ten may merely be a one to God and vice versa. There exists, then the possibility of going through life working on what I feel are tens and missing God’s true tens.

Let God define our tens Let God define for each of us what is a ten. Too often we fall short, thinking God’s tens are buildings, baptisms, budgets, patching up a relationship, examining every area of our lives, and getting others to admit the wrong they have done to us. Are these really God’s tens?

God’s tens Recently, after attending a program professing


to spur participants on toward spirituality, I returned home perplexed at how difficult it can be to living as a Christian. I decided to search the scriptures to discover how many of the tens presented at the conference were actually God’s tens. I thought, rather than looking at all we are to do (in the conference), I would focus on a more serious topic: the things we are never to neglect.

I found five things in the Bible that are never to be neglected (God’s tens): prayer and sharing the gospel, Acts 6:2-4; our spiritual gifts, 1 Timothy 4:14; so great a salvation, Hebrews 2:3; and doing good and sharing, Hebrews 13:16. To my amazement, not one of God’s priorities was featured during the program that claimed to teach how to be a dynamic, successful Christian.

Application: I remember talking with a Bible College lecturer whose Ph.D thesis was on the AOG movement in Australia. His research led him to archives of Christian magazines published by the AOG churches at the turn of last century. A widespread belief at the time was that picture theatres were the home of the devil, and that sin flourished in dark environments! This is Christian subculture at its best (or worst) however we want to view it. How much of what we believe today is really not Christianity at all, but has come from our Christian subculture? It was pleasing to see even a Christian counsellor, not usually renown for plugging evangelism, promoting the same. Thank you Michael. I think this reinforces yet again that evangelism really is objectively and Scripturally the priority of the Church.

What do to: 1. Let’s take Michael’s advice. Each of us ought to decide for ourselves what is a ten. But in doing so, let’s let scripture guide our judgement, and not Christian subculture. 2. If evangelism is one of God’s ‘10’s’ then how are you and I going to bring it back to the top of God’s agenda in our local church? In our own lives?

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Day Seventy Five Apologetics Is Not Evangelism “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you...” 1 Peter 3:15-17 Today’s reading is a commentary on a book by Mark Dever. (for biographic details, see day 29).

Apologetics becoming more popular than evangelism From my (very limited) vantage point, many churches around the world seem to be cultivating a growing interest in apologetics (that is, defending the faith and answering objections). In a multi faith culture that grows ever diverse, it’s important for the church to formulate answers to the challenges. This is commendable and biblical (1 Peter 3:15). But along with this new emphasis on apologetics runs a concurrent temptation for churches to confuse evangelism and apologetics, to confuse defending and proclaiming. Examples of this are not hard to find. In an interview with Christianity Today, Brian McLaren blurs traditional evangelism and apologetics to the point where they are really indistinguishable. I think this reflects a broader confusion.

Don’t blur the distinction This blurring of lines and even an apologeticsfor-evangelism replacement is especially dangerous because it relocates the ultimate goal of the Gospel. In apologetics we seek the intellectual

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assent of others by overcoming their questions and engaging their obstacles. But the goal of evagelism is to proclaim the gospel. So I was especially encouraged by these comments in Mark Dever’s new book, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism (Crossway: 2007): “… practicing apologetics is a good thing, but it’s not evangelism. Answering questions and defending parts of the good news may often be a part of conversations Christians have with nonChristians, and while that may have been part of our own reading or thinking or talking as we came to Christ, such activity is not evangelism … By far the greatest danger in apologetics is being distracted from the main message. Evangelism is not defending the virgin birth or defending the historicity of the resurrection” (pp. 77-78). And with this shift from evangelism to apologetics comes a subversive shift in agenda. Dever writes, “Apologetics is defending the faith, answering the questions others have about Christianity. It is responding to the agenda that others set. Evangelism, however, is following Christ’s agenda, the news about him. Evangelism is the positive act of telling the good news about Jesus Christ and the way of salvation through him” (p. 78). This is a great point to stop for personal reflection. Is the ultimate goal of my evangelism aimed towards mere agreement? Or am I lovingly and gently calling sinners to see sin as personal sin, and see wrath as wrath directed towards them? Am I calling for repentance, encouraging “godly grief,” seeking repentance from “dead works,”


and a clinging to the Cross (Acts 26:20; 2 Cor. 7:10; Heb. 6:1)? In short, is my speaking to a non-Christian defending or proclaiming?

When I am defending, I am engaging in aplogetics. When I am proclaiming, I am evangelising. Let’s not get the two mixed up. They are not the same.

Prayer: “Lord, I pray today that we would be able to be strong in apologetics, being able to defend the truth, but also strong in evangelism, being able to proclaim it. Keep, us, O Lord, from not blurring the distinction between the two. Amen.”

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Day Seventy Six When ‘Tolerance’ Works Against Evangelism “Matthew 22:39 ...And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Dr Donald Carson (born December 21, 1946) is a Canadian-born evangelical theologian, professor of New Testament, and author of ever 40 books.

Definition of ‘tolerance’ has changed Twenty five years ago ‘tolerance’ was understood to be a virtue that operated something like this: If I hold strong views on any particular subject I am nevertheless judged to be ‘tolerant’ if I think that your views are bad, immoral, improper, even disgusting, wicked or stupid, but still insist you have the right to defend them. In other words, a ‘tolerant’ person puts up with somebody else’s views and insists they have the right to hold them even while – in the vigorous arena of debate – we might disagree fundamentally on who is right or who is wrong. Such a person is a ‘tolerant’ person. But nowadays, that is not what ‘tolerance’ means. Now ‘tolerance’ means that you don’t hold that anybody is right or wrong. Everybody is equally right or wrong. Nobody is more right than another person. If you don’t hold that then you are ‘intolerant.’ Now that is a huge shift … Under this new definition of ‘tolerance’ I don’t even know what ‘tolerance’ means because in the old view of ‘tolerance’ you had to disagree

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with someone before you could actually tolerate them. How do you say ‘Oh, yes, you are entirely right – I tolerate you?’ … This new ‘tolerance’ actually becomes extremely intolerant of anybody who does not buy into this view of ‘tolerance’ because if you actually come right out and say that some view is wrong or silly or foolish or indefensible or even questionable, then you are judged to be ‘intolerant.’ Thus, in the name of this newfangled tolerance it turns out, at profoundly deep levels, to be the most intolerant thing of all!”

American University tries to curb evangelism In order to curb proselytizing, Georgetown University recently instituted the following policy: “While zeal for spreading the good news of the Gospel is a most worthy Christian virtue, there is increasing agreement among Christians today that proselytism, defined as any effort to influence people in ways that depersonalizes or deprives them of their inherent value as persons or the use of any coercive techniques or manipulative appeals which bypass a person’s critical faculties or play on psychological weakness, is unworthy of Christian life. Physical coercion, moral constraint, or psychological pressure and inducements for conversion which exploit other people’s needs, weaknesses, and lack of education are not to be practiced by representatives of affiliated ministries.” This statement is open to broad interpretation.


Can you mention God’s eternal judgment, or would this be considered “coercive” or “manipulative”? Will talk of personal sinfulness violate a person’s “inherent value”? If arguments were based on Scripture as the revealed Word of God would this be to “bypass a person’s critical faculties”? At its core the gospel is an answer to our greatest needs, our sin, our weaknesses, our ignorance and calls us to repent (say we are wrong) and turn from our current ways. I wonder what a public reading of Revelation 3:17 would get you? “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” Would this get you arrested or kicked off the Georgetown campus?

When ‘tolerance’ becomes totalitarianism If I were pursuing a PhD, it would be a study in contemporary trends in so-called religious tolerance. Interesting shifts are taking place in our country. For example, in former days religious tolerance was about lovingly tolerating other people despite an intolerance towards their ideas. This tolerance leads to civil discussions and an opportunity for Christians to love their neighbor and also be repulsed by their neighbor’s false understanding of the gospel. Tolerance is now taking a new form. Religious tolerance is no longer a tolerance of persons we disagree with, but rather a debate on what opinions will be tolerated publicly. This is a significant shift because religious tolerance is quickly becoming religious intolerance if we don’t believe what the policy holders approve. This is totalitarianism. This reading is no endorsement of bone-headed

evangelism that has no humility, that puts down its audience, that yells all day at the wrath to come without mentioning the Son who bore this wrath so sinners can come to their loving eternal Father. What I am saying is that these groups cause reactions in policy that — when mixed with the new religious ‘tolerance’ of opinions — will impact the work of the humblest evangelist in a negative way. Nothing must get in the way of evangelism, even if ‘the thing’ is called ‘tolerance.’

New ‘tolerance’ very intolerant of rivals “In a relatively free and open society, the best forms of tolerance are those that are open to and tolerant of people, even when there are strong disagreements with their ideas. This robust toleration for people, if not always for their ideas, engenders a measure of civility in public discourse while still fostering spirited debate over the relative merits of this or that idea. Today, however, tolerance in many Western societies increasingly focuses on ideas, not on people. The result of adopting this new brand of tolerance is less discussion of the merits of competing ideas — and less civility. There is less discussion because toleration of diverse ideas demands that we avoid criticizing the opinions of others… Exclusiveness is the one religious idea that cannot be tolerated. Correspondingly, proselytism is a dirty word. One cannot fail to observe a crushing irony: the gospel of relativistic tolerance is perhaps the most ‘evangelistic’ movement in Western culture at the moment, demanding assent and brooking no rivals.”1 [I invite you to watch a great 5 minute YouTube clip of Don Carson speaking on the subject of ‘tolerance’ http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v= 9PVJlnvVeSM]

Prayer: “Lord, we stand with you and your commands today to go into all the world and proclaim your gospel. We know the spirit of this age would have us keep quiet, or water down the gospel, all in the name of this new kind of tolerance. Lord, by your grace, we are going to keep proclaiming the gospel lovingly and graciously, to all people everywhere. In doing this we will undoubtedly incur criticism for being ‘intolerant and bigoted.’ Never the less, we are committed to evangelising this world and won’t be put off. We ask you to give us the grace to make this stand. In Jesus name, Amen.” Evangelism Daily Readings

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Day Seventy Seven Does Preaching About ‘Hell’ Move People Towards The Point Of Conversion Or Not? Matthew 10:28 “ And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Today’s reading is an extract from my book ‘Evangelism: Strategies from Heaven in the War for Souls’ page 462

Talk of hell has become repugnant Increasingly Church leaders are not talking about hell, nor do they encourage people to use evangelistic tools which do so. Bible teacher and academic R.C. Sproul said “There’s probably no concept in theology more repugnant to modern America than the idea of divine wrath.”1 Yet I have seen over and over how the Holy Spirit uses the fear of hell to draw people to Christ, the deliverer. And when they are drawn to Christ, they discover He is the Saviour. When they discover the treasure that He is, they want to follow Him. All this happens through the Holy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit works through the Law, which is likened to a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24), He likewise uses a fear of hell. 1 Cited in Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort. The Way Of The Master. How To Share Your Faith Simply, Effectively, And Biblically - The Way Jesus Did. Tyndale Press, 2003, pp.77-78

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How will the Holy Spirit convict non-Christians of judgment (John 16:8) and of the fear of the Lord if we don’t warn them about hell in our gospel messages? Dr John Piper summarises the argument nicely: “You can scare people towards heaven, but you can’t scare them into it.”2 To put it another way, fear of hell starts the ball rolling, but it doesn’t score the goal.

Jesus and hell It is impossible to truly evangelise without talking about hell. If Jesus spoke about hell 33 times, how can we ignore it? We can’t talk about Christ bearing our sins without talking about the justice of God, and we can’t talk about the justice of God without mentioning hell any more than a judge can avoid talking about the consequences of crime with a guilty criminal. So, it would be fair to say that if we don’t mention hell in our gospel presentations, we have not proclaimed the whole gospel.

The gospel, hell and research findings Research supports the inclusion of hell in our gospel messages. For example, L.E. Maxwell, Bible teacher and former principal of Canada’s Prairie Bible Institute, researched how students came to the knowledge of salvation. Some were moved by fear and others by love. Of the 2507 students surveyed, nearly 65 percent were moved by fear and only 6 percent were 2 Dr John Piper. Let The Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy Of God In Missions. IVP, 2003, p.211


moved by love. The remaining 29 percent came with another motive or couldn’t remember why they had come.3 The late F.B. Meyer, famous theologian and prolific author, was another who studied what motivated people to come to Christ. He questioned 400 Christian workers, and found “an overwhelming number” said that it was because of some message about the terror of the Lord. Meyer then said, “This is interesting and astonishing, especially in these days when we are rebuked often for not preaching more on the love of God!”

Don’t repeat Bill Bright’s mistake More than a billion copies of the tract The Four Spiritual Laws have been distributed in all the major languages of the world. It was written by Dr Bill Bright, of Campus Crusade for Christ; and has become the model for modern gospel presentation. Before Bright died, he researched a book entitled Heaven and Hell, in which he notes that in 42 months of public ministry, there were 33 recorded instances of Jesus speaking about hell. “No doubt He warned of hell thousands of times. The Bible refers to hell a total of 167 times. 3 Cited in Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort. The Way Of The Master. How To Share Your Faith Simply, Effectively, And Biblically - The Way Jesus Did. Tyndale Press, 2003, p.76

I wonder with what frequency this eternal subject is found in today’s pulpits. I confess I have failed in my ministry to declare the reality of hell as often as I have the love of God and the benefits of a personal relationship with Christ. But Jesus spent more of His time warning His listeners of the impending judgment of hell than speaking of the joys of heaven. I have never felt the need to focus on telling people about hell. However, as a result of a steady decline in moral and spiritual vitality in today’s culture, and a growing indifference to the after life, I have come to realise the need for a greater discussion of hell. I have thus come to see that silence, or even benign neglect of these subjects, is disobedience on my part. To be silent on the eternal destination of souls is like a sentry failing to warn his fellow soldiers of an impending attack.”4

4 ibid, p.78.

Prayer: “Lord, over and over in your Word you warned people about hell. It seemed so important to you to tell people about it. We ask you to give us the grace and courage to go against the spirit of the age which hesitates to preach about this place. Give us a revelation of hell Lord, that when we talk of it we might do so with compassion, mercy, tenderness and earnestness, fully believing and convinced of its existence. Let this revelation drive us out into the world with in evangelism. In our presentations of the gospel, help us to give it the same emphasis you did, no more and no less. We thank you that you went to the Cross, and died a cruel death there, making it possible for us to be saved from the terror of hell. You paid our sin debt in fell that day. We love you Lord Jesus, Amen. ”

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Day Seventy Eight Atheist Reluctantly Promotes Evangelism Romans 1:16. “The gospel is the power of God for salvation...” Matthew Parris, former advisor the Margaret Thatcher, British journalist, is a self-confessed atheist, but he writes with extraordinary candor and insight about the role of evangelism in social transformation in Africa in a Times article, December 27, 2008. Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it’s Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump Aid helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean. I went to see this work.

The Effects of the Gospel It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I’ve been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I’ve been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Evangelism makes the difference Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and

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international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity [via evangelism] changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

Good works are great, but... I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It’s a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.

Salvation matters But this doesn’t fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing. First, then, the observation. We had friends who were missionaries, and as a child I stayed often with them; I also stayed, alone with my little brother, in a traditional rural African village. In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith


appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world - a directness in their dealings with others - that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall. At 24, travelling by land across the continent reinforced this impression. From Algiers to Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, then right through the Congo to Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, four student friends and I drove our old Land Rover to Nairobi. We slept under the stars, so it was important as we reached the more populated and lawless parts of the sub-Sahara that every day we find somewhere safe by nightfall. Often near a mission.

God works through the words of the gospel to change lives Whenever we entered a territory worked by missionaries, we had to acknowledge that something changed in the faces of the people we passed and spoke to: something in their eyes, the way they approached you direct, man-to-man, without looking down or away. They had not become more deferential towards strangers - in some ways less so - but more open. This time in Malawi it was the same. I met no missionaries. You do not encounter missionaries in the lobbies of expensive hotels discussing development strategy documents, as you do with the big NGOs. But instead I noticed that a handful of the most impressive African members of the Pump Aid team (largely from Zimbabwe) were, privately, strong Christians. “Privately” because the charity is entirely secular and I never heard any of its team so much as mention religion while working in the villages. But I picked up the Christian references in our conversations. One, I saw, was studying a devotional textbook in the car. One, on Sunday, went off to church at dawn for a two-hour service. It would suit me to believe that their honesty, diligence and optimism in their work was unconnected with personal faith. Their work was secular, but surely affected by what they were. What they were was, in turn, influenced by a conception of man’s place in the Universe that Christianity had taught. There’s long been a fashion among Western

academic sociologists for placing tribal value systems within a ring fence, beyond critiques founded in our own culture: “theirs” and therefore best for “them”; authentic and of intrinsically equal worth to ours. I don’t follow this. I observe that tribal belief is no more peaceable than ours; and that it suppresses individuality. People think collectively; first in terms of the community, extended family and tribe. This rural-traditional mindset feeds into the “big man” and gangster politics of the African city: the exaggerated respect for a swaggering leader, and the (literal) inability to understand the whole idea of loyal opposition. Anxiety - fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, of a tribal hierarchy, of quite everyday things - strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won’t take the initiative, won’t take things into their own hands or on their own shoulders. How can I, as someone with a foot in both camps, explain? When the philosophical tourist moves from one world view to another he finds at the very moment of passing into the new - that he loses the language to describe the landscape to the old. But let me try an example: the answer given by Sir Edmund Hillary to the question: Why climb the mountain? “Because it’s there,” he said. To the rural African mind, this is an explanation of why one would not climb the mountain. It’s... well, there. Just there. Why interfere? Nothing to be done about it, or with it. Hillary’s further explanation - that nobody else had climbed it - would stand as a second reason for passivity.

God works through the words of the gospel to liberate Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I’ve just described. Evangelism Daily Readings

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It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates. Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21stcentury global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the know how that accompanies what we call

development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted.

And I’m afraid it has to be supplanted by another. Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.

Prayer: “Lord, we thank you for Matthew, the way he writes, his honesty, and his observations. We pray for him, that you would break through in his life, in an even more powerful way. Thank you that the soil of his heart has been ‘ploughed’ through what he has observed in Africa. We now pray for people to plant the seed of the gospel in this man, that he would hear it clearly and understand it, and that he would be saved. Bring people across his path to do this Lord, please. Lord, we especially thank you for all the missionaries in Africa who have been so faithful and so diligent in their call, and that you have used them in a such a mighty way. Let them all get to read this article as an encouragement. Thank you, Holy Spirit, that you honoured the gospel as it was preached in Africa, and through it you worked miracle transformation in the hearts of many thousands of Africans. Thank you that Matthew could see your light shining out of them. God, you are amazing! Amen. ”

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Day Seventy Nine

Factors Which Create An Evangelistic Church 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism. He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

2. Excellence Leaders of effective evangelistic churches engendered excellence in everything they did in church. This attitude created an atmosphere of excitement, which in turn encouraged church members to invite their friends.

3. Enthusiasm

They believed pastors must have a passion and enthusiasm for the unsaved, and that the senior pastor was the inspirer, exhorter and encourager of personal evangelism, leading the staff by example. Today’s reading is from Julian’s book, Rainer said later, “In the churches that are Strategies from Heaven in the War for Souls, reaching the unchurched, you will find a leader page 368 who has a passion for reaching the lost. You will find someone whose heart breaks at the thought In 2001, Thom S. Rainer and a team of asso- of anyone going to hell.”1 ciates interviewed more than 100 pastors of effective evangelistic churches as part of a large Modelling it is powerful… research project. They asked the pastors, “What factors create an effective evangelistic church?” New Testament scholar T.B Kilpatrick went so Their responses revealed four key strategies to far as to say the primary duty of ministers was evangelism “within the sphere in which they have help us win the battle for souls: been placed as ministers of the Word.” 1. Theology He said any ministers who genuinely sought the highest good of their congregations would themThey believed Jesus Christ was the only way of selves do the work of an evangelist “as faithfully salvation and that anyone outside of Christ was 1 Dr Thom S. Rainer, Dean of the Billy Graham School of eternally lost. Missions. Evangelism And Church Growth. Zondervan,

He also leads Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005.

2001, p.158

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and efficiently as though no other evangelism agency were ever to be employed.”2 Mark Conner is a modern-day mega-church pastor who has grasped the importance of modelling personal evangelism before his flock. As senior pastor of the 5000-strong Waverley Christian Fellowship in Melbourne, Australia, he is passionate about urging other pastors to make a priority of modelling evangelism: “As a leader, I had to embrace heaven’s priority in my own life first. Only after modelling this personally could I then help our congregation change its values by becoming an evangelistic community…If I wanted our church to grow in our love for lost people then the growth needed to start with me.”3

4. Accountability. “If there was a single characteristic that separated the pastors of effective churches from other pastors,” wrote Thom Rainer after concluding his research, “it was the issue of personal accountability in personal evangelism.”4 He went on to give the example of Leslie M, the pastor of a fast-growing, non-denominational church in Pennsylvania. Leslie emphasised how important it was to him to be accountable in evangelism: “We have staff meetings every Monday morning. Before we even have prayer, all ministers share about their witnessing the previous week. We do this before praying, because if a minister has not shared his or her faith during the week, he or she has the opportunity to repent in prayer in front of the rest of us.”5

It is imperative to attempt to mobilise everyone Nearly 80 percent of the church leaders interviewed in the study said it was imperative congregation members be mobilised to share the gospel. This was because statistics showed that 75 percent of the formerly unchurched had someone share Christ with them prior to making a 2 T.B. Kilpatrick. New Testament Evangelism. Hodder and Stoughton, 1911, pp.161-162 3 Dr Bronwyn Hughes and Dr John Bellamy (Editors). A Passion For Evangelism. Turning Vision Into Action. Open Book Publishers, 2004, p.157 4 Dr Thom S. Rainer, Evangelism and Church Growth. Zondervan, 2001, p.162 5 ibid, p.163

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commitment. A non-denominational leader from Michigan commented to researchers, “I used to beat up the people pretty badly from the pulpit. Then God convicted me we would never reach the unchurched unless I myself was obedient to the Great Commission. It seems like we reach people for Christ when I’m obedient, and the church is dead when I’m disobedient.”6 The conclusion to Rainer’s research was a list of seven suggestions for pastors and leaders. Take special note – these too are some of the higher level battle strategies. Your success in the war for souls will be proportionate to the number of these strategies you implement in your situation. Leaders: • Lead by example in personal evangelism. • Be clear in your theology of the lost: only Jesus can save, hell is a real place, and all those outside of Christ are eternally damned. •  Be passionate and enthusiastic about evangelism. • Be accountable in personal evangelism. • Make your staff accountable in personal evangelism. • Arrange for the people in your church to be trained how to proclaim and spread the gospel. • Arrange for the people in your church to be accountable in personal evangelism.

Be accountable or fail Pastor Mark Conner writes on the power of combining accountability, leadership modelling, and ongoing training in evangelism: “Completing a training course doesn’t guarantee life change, as it is easy for people to absorb information without it affecting how they live. In a church context, however, where the principles of the training are being modelled and taught consistently and where there is accountability and follow up within a small group environment, the chances of training translating into behavioural change are enhanced considerably.”7 6 ibid, p.167 7 Dr Bronwyn Hughes and Dr John Bellamy (Editors), A Passion for Evangelism. Turning Vision into Action. Open Book Publishers, 2004, p.159 13 Before you venture further with this book, take a break from what I am saying, go to appendix three, and read a stunning commentary on leaders and the influence they have on evangelism by Dr Roger Greenway entitled The Pastor Evangelist.


The devil’s priority: leaders of leaders Only leaders can ensure this happens in a local church, which is why they are at the top of the devil’s hit list.

Satan knows the power of example. If he can stop Christian leaders from doing personal evangelism, he will have torpedoed the evangelism in that leader’s church or institution.13

Prayer: “Lord, thank you for this research for the insights about how to create an evangelistic church. I pray today especially for leaders of leaders - heads of denominations, principals and staff at Bible Colleges, that they would model personal evangelism. And not just so that students and leaders under them would pick up personal evangelism, but because it’s the right thing to do. It’s living in obedience to you, Lord Jesus. It’s demonstrating obedience. I pray for parents. They too are leaders of children and that as they model evangelism in their families their children would begin to move in obedience to the Great Commission as well. I pray especially for church leaders right around the world, that they would being to model personal evangelism and that as they do, their congregations would begin to obey as well. Thank you Lord that you are our template when it comes to setting the example - you modelled evangelism before the disciples, and the disciples modelled the evangelistic lifestyle before the believers in the Early Church. Thank you for acts 5:41-42 which shows how this was so and shows it so clearly. Lord, do these things for your glory and the honour of your name. Amen. ”

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Day Eighty Counting The Cost Of Evangelising The World John 12:24 “Unless a grain of what falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Today’s reading is about David Livingstone (1813 – 1873) who was a Scottish Congregationalist pioneer medical missionary with the London Missionary Society and explorer in Africa. This is one of the longest readings in the series but it’s worth the read! It one of the most inspiring accounts of missionary courage ever written. It’s about love, commitment, tenacity, sacrifice, suffering, and unshakable trust in Jesus. My prayer is that this reading would inspire each of us to great heights in evangelism and to a greater commitment to the Great Commission.

What shall I do with my life? A young Scotsman had come to hear an address by a celebrated missionary. Following his conversion several years earlier, the young man had begun to grapple with the question, “What shall I do with my life?” The Great Commission had come to have a singular hold upon his mind. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:18-20). “All authority is given unto me.” The same power

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is available! “Go and evangelize all nations.” The same program is operative!“Lo, I am with you.” The same Presence is assured!

How God used 20 words Livingstone had completed his medical education, involving two years of study in Glasgow, and was ready for some high call to which he could give his utmost. His eyes were fastened upon the speaker, Robert Moffatt, with his flowing white beard and his vehement concern for Africa’s perishing millions. The depths of his soul rose up to meet the challenge of the missionary, especially that contained in one sentence of twenty words. Those twenty words are historic, used of God to write an amazing history. The twenty words used by Robert Moffatt that epochal day were these: “I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been.” The picture embodied in these stupendous words captivated his entire being and fired his soul with a passion which only death could quench. He would go to Africa! He would be a forerunner for Christ in the Dark Continent! He would search out the thousand villages, and other thousands, where no missionary had ever been. After hearing Robert Moffatt, young


Livingstone’s mind was haunted by the vision of teeming villages without the saving Gospel. Two commands and a promise stood out in bold relief, as if Christ were speaking directly to him: “Go! -- as a trail-blazer, a missionary, a pioneer! Evangelize! -- proclaim the gospel! And lo, I am with you! -- hence you will never be alone and you will have nothing to fear!” “That is a promise I can rely upon,” said Livingstone, “for it is the word of a Gentleman of honor.”

Final hours with his parents Livingstone’s parents were devout Christians and entered heartily into his missionary plan. As they talked together that last evening about the things of Christ and His kingdom, they agreed that the time would come when people of wealth and station would support missionaries instead of hounds and horses for the chase. According to the family custom, they were up at five the next morning. David read a Scripture selection and led in family prayer. The Scripture he selected was one which tells of the Divine overshadowing and of the presence of an Unseen Friend in every circumstance and on every trail: “The Lord is thy keeper ... the Lord shall preserve thee from all evil ... The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore” (Psalm 121:5,7-8).

Setting sail to Africa A few days later he stood on the deck of an ocean steamer with the open Bible in his hands and a far-away look in his eyes. He was dreaming of adding an entire continent to the domain of Christ! Whatever the cost, he would find a path to the heart of Africa so that he, or his successors, might draw Africa up close to the yearning heart of God! He was not only a dreamer of noble dreams. He was also a person of practical sagacity. Often during the long voyage he could be seen standing near the captain of the vessel asking questions and learning how to find exactly where the ship was on the pathless ocean, making observations of the moon and the stars by means of certain instruments. “I shall need this knowledge,” he said, “to guide me across the pathless deserts and jungles of Africa.”

The Missionary’s Trail in the Desert Landing at Algoa, he built a house and began to study the language. After six months of diligent application, he could converse or preach the gospel freely in the Bakwena language. A year after his arrival in Africa, he wrote to his father: “The work of God goes on here notwithstanding all our infirmities. Souls are being gathered continually. Twenty-four were added to the church last month.” Upon his return from a preaching tour, he found that his people had been killed, captured, or driven away by fierce natives of another tribe. So he traveled north a two weeks’ journey and here he built another house. As he traveled among the villages, his ox-cart was frequently besieged by crowds of sick, suffering folk, begging the great white doctor to heal them. At night he would sit among the people around the village fire listening to tales of the mighty exploits of ancient heroes. Then he would stand and tell the story of the greatest Hero of all ages, the story of Jesus coming from heaven to earth to die on the Cross. The wonder of Christ’s atonement was much in his thinking and in his preaching. The first song he translated into the native language was, “There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood.” One night, while defending the natives against an attack by a wild beast, he broke his finger. Seeing the blood flowing from the injured finger, the people exclaimed: “You saved our lives by wounding yourself. Henceforth our hearts are yours.” Telling of the incident in a letter, Livingstone remarked: “I wished that they had felt gratitude for the blood that was shed for their precious souls by Him who was wounded for their transgressions, and had given their hearts to Him.”

The famous lion attack Soon after this, Livingstone had his famous encounter with the lion. Lions were numerous in this locality, and the villagers were terrified because, as they said, “The lion, the lord of the Evangelism Daily Readings

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night, kills our cattle and sheep even in the daytime.” Livingstone knew that if he could kill one of the lions, the others would flee. So, taking his gun and telling the people to bring their spears, he led the villagers on a lion hunt in which he almost lost his life. Seeing an enormous lion behind a bush, he aimed and fired both barrels. While he was reloading, the lion suddenly sprang toward him. He says of this attack: “The lion caught me by the shoulder and we both came to the ground together. Growling horribly, he shook me as a terrier dog does a rat.” Seeing several natives approaching to attack him, the lion sprang upon two of them, biting one in the thigh and the other in the shoulder. But at that moment the bullets the great beast had received took effect and he fell dead. Livingstone had eleven tooth marks as permanent scars and the bone at the top of his left arm was crunched into splinters. The imperfect setting of this bone produced a stiff arm and caused much suffering the rest of his life.

Bachelorhood comes to an end While recuperating at Kuruman he loved and married Moffat’s oldest daughter, Mary. Another missionary came to Mabotsa, so David and Mary he built his third house. One day the chief, Sechele, called all his people together and listened to the white man’s message. “This is wonderful,” exclaimed the chief. “But my forefathers were living at the same time yours were. How is it that they never heard of the love of God and of Jesus the Saviour? Why did they all pass away into deep darkness?” The chief’s words still sound out an indictment

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against the Christian church, which even now is trifling with our Lord’s command to evangelize all nations. No less than three-fourths of mankind are now passing out into the terrible darkness of which Sechele spoke so sadly.

A whole village converts The chief became a very zealous convert and, with his encouragement, the whole village began to attend the Mission school. But soon the Livingstones had to move again, because the water supply failed. The day after Livingstone had announced that he was moving to Kolobeng, he noticed the people rushing about as busy as ants. They had decided to go to Kolobeng, too, for they felt that they could not live without their white friend, who healed their diseases, taught them to read, and told them of a wonderful Saviour.

Combining the Words and Works of the gospel He taught the people the value of irrigation and helped them in many ways, but what he enjoyed most, he says, was “to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, for it always warms my own heart and is the great means which God employs for the regeneration of our ruined world.” For several years there was so little rain that the land became very parched and even the river dried up. They must move again! But where? Livingstone wanted to go to the country of the Makololos, a numerous and famous race hundreds of miles to the north, but he would have to cross the Kalahari desert, a feat which Sechele said was impossible for a white man. However, Livingstone crossed it, discovered beautiful Lake Nagami, August 1, 1849, and returned for his family.

Losing a child The Queen of the Wagon dreaded the prospect of crossing the desert with three children, but she did not complain. On the way they were startled at times to see


one or two of the oxen suddenly drop out of sight, having fallen into a pit dug and covered over by the desert people to catch game for food. They came to a part of the desert where for three days they did not see a sign of life of any kind -- man, bird, or insect. Their reserve water supply was exhausted and nowhere could they find even a spring. For four terrible days they were absolutely without water, the children moaning and crying with the burning thirst. Weakened by these ordeals, the children became very ill, as did also Mrs. Livingstone; thus, they were compelled to return to Kolobeng, where one of the children died.

The wife and children must go home Livingstone now had to make a great and difficult decision. He loved his family dearly, but he felt that it would be cruelly wrong to risk further the lives of his children in the desert regions; moreover, he believed that God was calling him to explore the great unknown recesses of Central Africa. So with a very sad heart he took the family on the long journey to Cape Town and sent them to England. As he started back on the long, lonely trail far to the north, his sorrow was eased by the hope of completing his explorations in two or three years and of finding a suitable site for a mission where he could settle with his family. He did not know the many long years of separation that lay ahead.

The Missionary’s Trail of Many Waters In turning definitely to the work of exploration, Livingstone was not motivated either by a mere love of adventure or a trader’s greed for gain. He had a four-fold object: (1) It was his purpose to find water and suitable locations for evangelism work. The vast area in which he had formerly been working was almost

devoid of water and quite unpromising from the missionary standpoint. One day a native who had traveled extensively said: “Far away to the north there is a country full of rivers and of large trees.” If that were true, it meant that the unknown areas of Central Africa were inhabited by millions of people for whom Christ died. What a great missionary challenge would thus be brought to light. (2) It was his object to discover the true nature of Central Africa. At that time the people of England and America believed that Africa was made up largely of one vast desert, stretching all the way from the Kalahari desert in the south to the Sahara desert on the Mediterranean. Livingstone hoped to show -- and did -- that this view was quite erroneous and that Central Africa was a vast country full of rivers, rich in vegetation, and teeming with people. Moreover, he knew that three great rivers -- the Nile, the Congo and the Zambesi -- emptied their waters into three separate oceans, and he was lured on by the hope of discovering their sources and thereby opening up a continent to civilization, commerce, and Christianity. (3) He wanted to find a trail, preferably by water, for communication and trade from the heart of the continent to both the east and west coasts. (4) He was eager to expose the horrors of the slave trade and to promote means by which to heal what he termed “this open sore of the world.” With these high goals in view, he set out upon the trail of many waters, declaring: “I will open a path into the interior or perish.” Although Sekeletu, the chief of the Makololos, knew that the trip to the coast was long, difficult, and full of perils, he sent twenty-seven of his bravest men to bear the luggage and help “Nyaka” the doctor. These men set out on this hazardous and tremendous pathfinding simply out of love for the Jesus, for he had no money with which to pay for such an expedition. His luggage included some spare clothes, a case of medicines, his Bible, a magic-lantern, a small tent, and some instruments for telling latitude and longitude.

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They had many harrowing adventures, but finally, after journeying for more than six months by canoe, ox-back and on foot, through forests and flooded rivers, in peril from wild beasts and savage men, for 1500 miles of jungles which no white man had ever traversed before, Livingstone and his men came to Loanda on the west coast. He had suffered thirty-one attacks of intermittent fever, had been assailed by huge swarms of fierce mosquitoes, and was reduced to “a bag of bones.” Yet he staggered on. “Cannot the love of Christ,” he asked, “carry the missionary where the slave trade carries the trader?” He was not a missionary part of the time and something else the rest of the time. He was a missionary all the time, whatever the means he was using, whether healing, evangelising, or exploring. “The end of the geographical feat is only the beginning of the missionary enterprise,” is an oft-quoted saying of his. His ultimate objective was always to honor his Lord. “I am a missionary, heart and soul,” he insisted. “God had an only Son and He was a Missionary. I am a poor imitation, but in this service I hope to live and in it I wish to die.” His soul was mastered by the logic of love! “God loved a lost world and gave His only Son to be a missionary. I love a lost world and I am a missionary, heart and soul. In this service I hope to live and in it I wish to die.”

The ship of death At Loanda, Livingstone found a British vessel. The captain said: “You are ill and worn out after these fourteen years of arduous travel. Come with us to England and rest -- and see your family again.” It was a most inviting prospect, but he could not desert his Makololo companions who had repeatedly hazarded their lives for him and who, without him, would surely be captured and sold as slaves. And is it not significant that the ship was never heard of again, never reached England?

A world without end So, after a rest, and having secured some beautiful costumes and other presents for his black men, he turned his face again toward the interior.

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After perilous escapes from crocodiles, hippopotami, and the javelins of hostile savages, Livingstone and his men reached Linyanti, the home of the Makololo, though the missionary himself was nearly deaf from rheumatic fever and almost blind in consequence of being hit on the eye by a branch in the thick forest. He was amused to overhear one of his men boasting: “We went on and on till we had finished the whole world.” Another, remembering the impression created by the sight of the limitless blue ocean, said: “We kept on marching, believing that what the ancients had told us was true, that the world had no end; but all at once the world said to us, ‘I am finished! There is no more of me!’”

All for the sake of the glory of the Name Chief Sekeletu was proud of having helped Livingstone. He now sent 120 of his men with him as he set out down the Zambesi River toward the east coast. They came to a forest where lived the tsetse fly so deadly to horses and oxen, and, despite a torrential downpour of rain, they took the animals through at night when the tsetse fly sleeps. One day Livingstone saw five columns of vapor rising far ahead and heard the sound of distant booming. “It is Sounding Smoke,” said the Makololo. Livingstone was the first white man who ever saw “Sounding Smoke,” a magnificent spectacle twice as large as Niagara Falls. He named it Victoria Falls. Another day a herd of buffalo came charging at him and he escaped by climbing an anthill twenty feet high. Several times each day he got thoroughly soaked crossing streams and marshy places. His bed was a pile of grass. His food often consisted of bird seed, manioc roots, and meal. Even these were often unobtainable and, for days at a time, he knew the gnawing of hunger. On reaching the coast, he found satisfactory work for his men and sailed away to England to see his wife and children again, after a separation of five years. The loneliness of those years and the gladness of meeting are embodied in the


following lines written by Mrs. Livingstone: A hundred thousand welcomes! How my heart is gushing o’er With the love and joy and wonder Thus to see your face once more. And there’s nothing but the gladness And the love within my heart, And the hope so sweet and certain That again we’ll never part. You’ll never part me, darling, There’s a promise in your eye; I may tend you while I’m living, You may watch me when I die; And if death but kindly lead me To the blessed Home on high, What a hundred thousand welcomes Will await you in the sky! While at home he wrote his first book, “Missionary Travels,” made numerous addresses and was the recipient of many honors. His father had passed away, but it was undiluted joy to be with his mother and family again.

Back to Africa The happy months sped by, and he again set his face toward the far-off trail, accompanied by Mrs. Livingstone and their youngest son. By the time they reached Cape Town, Mrs. Livingstone’s health was so bad she went first to Kuruman to see her parents, then back to Scotland, while he continued his explorations. He was rewarded by the discovery of beautiful Lake Nyassa, September 18, 1859. One day he shot two enormous pythons and saw a herd of elephants which, by actual count, numbered eight hundred. Frequently as they churned along some stream in the launch which Livingstone brought with him from England, savages, lurking in the bush and taking him to be one of the hated slave traders, shot poisoned arrows which struck uncomfortably near.

The Missionary’s Trail of Anguish Livingstone went down to the Zambesi with

much joy, knowing that at last Mrs. Livingstone was coming to be with him and to make for him a home. But just a few weeks later, at Shupanga, she was smitten low with fever and, despite his utmost care, passed away. Long years ago the Master had promised, “You will never be lonely or forsaken, for I am with you!” “This is the promise of a Gentleman of sacred honor,” said Livingstone; “He will keep His word.” Had the promise been broken? Was he now forsaken?

Love for his wife He was tempted to think so as he knelt beside that sad and lonely grave under the baobab tree in the African wilderness. The brave man who had endured so many hardships and faced death so many times, now wept like a child. “Oh, Mary, my Mary, I loved you when I married you, and the longer I lived with you, the more I loved you! Now I am left alone and forsaken in the world.” Alone? Forsaken? Ah, no! As he knelt in prayer, he remembered the word of Him who promised to be with him on every shore and in every experience. “Leave me not! Forsake me not!” cried the broken hearted man. And, in answer, he heard the whisper of his Unfailing Companion, “Lo, I am with you,” and felt around him the tender embrace of the Everlasting Arms.

The Missionary on the Trail of Savage Customs In the course of his extensive travels, Livingstone came in contact with many strange, and often hideous, customs. While passing through the country of the Baenda-Pezi, or Go-Nakeds, the people appeared quite unashamed in full dress which usually consisted of nothing more than some red juice smeared over the body and a long tobacco pipe suspended from the mouth. Among the Bakaa, a child who cut the upper front teeth before the lower was always put to death. Among the Maravi the women were in the habit of piercing the Evangelism Daily Readings

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upper lip and gradually enlarging the orifice until they could insert a shell. The distended upper lip gave them a very unsightly appearance and caused them to be known to others as “the duck-billed women,” though among their own people they were considered especially beautiful. In one tribe they enhanced their beauty by filing their teeth, while the Batoka tribes accomplished the same result by knocking out their upper front teeth at the age of twelve, the result being that the lower teeth grew very long and bent outwards at the ends, thereby causing the lower lip to protrude in a very uncouth manner. Various methods of salutation were in vogue among the different tribes. Some would pick up a handful of sand or ashes and rub it on their arms and chest. Others would drum their ribs with their elbows. The people of the Batonga tribe greeted Livingstone by lying on their backs on the ground, rolling from one side to the other, and beating their sides with their hands. Livingstone often heard the heart-rending death wails in connection with funerals. When the natives of Angola and certain other areas turned their eyes toward the future world, their superstitious beliefs almost drove them frantic. They fancied themselves to be the helpless victims of the fickle and malicious dispositions of disembodied spirits. Hence they were constantly seeking to appease the spirits of the departed. Moreover, they believed that death was caused only by witchcraft and could be averted by the use of charms. Among the Barotse and other races, whenever a chief died, a number of his servants were slaughtered to provide attendants in the other world. In Angola, a funeral was the occasion of dancing, feasting, and debauchery. The great ambition of the natives was to give their friends an expensive funeral with emphasis on food and drinks. When, on such an occasion, Doctor Livingstone said to a black man, “why are you intoxicated?” this was the answer, “My mother is dead and I am celebrating.”

Skulls on poles Among the Batokas, the chiefs vied with each

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other in exhibiting human skulls as trophies of valor, as American Indians exhibited the scalps of their enemies. On one occasion Livingstone saw fifty-four skulls dangling from poles around a chief’s house.

Souls of a chief enters a lion In one section lions were exceedingly numerous because the people made no attempt to kill them. This was due to the common belief that the souls of their chiefs entered the bodies of these great beasts. They even believed that a chief had the power to metamorphose himself into a lion, kill anyone he considered his enemy and then return to the human form. Consequently, whenever these people saw a lion, they commenced clapping their hands by way of salutation and of expressing good will.

The curse of witch doctors In Cassenge and certain other districts, thousands perished every year because of the poison-ordeal. If misfortune befell some of the people of a village, perhaps through sickness or lack of success in a hunting expedition, it was believed that someone was practicing witchcraft on them, and the witch doctor was called to “smell out” the guilty party. Having done this by means of his incantations, he gave the accused person a glass of poison to drink. If the person died, which almost in variably happened, he was clearly guilty! Often one person would directly accuse another of using witchcraft to cause harm. Whether directly accused or “smelled out” by the witch doctor, the accused person was ready or even eager to drink the poison, believing that the ordeal would vindicate his or her innocence. Livingstone made no attempt to gloss over the horrors of heathenism. Yet he recognized that these people, however degraded, were among those for whom Christ died, and he unweariedly pointed them to the Lamb of God. He says: “The more intimately I become acquainted with barbarians, the more disgusting does heathenism become. It is lamentable to see those who might be children of God, dwelling in peace and love, so utterly the children of the devil. Oh, Almighty God, help! help! and leave not this wretched people to the slave-dealer and Satan.


Help them to look to Christ and live.”

The Missionary on the Trail of the Slave Trade After the death of Mrs. Livingstone at Shupanga, Livingston realized that he was fast nearing the end of his own trail, and dedicated his remaining time and energies to the high task of opposing the traffic in human lives believing that thereby he would be rendering the largest possible service to Africa and to the cause of Christ. He states in his Journal: “I will place no value on anything I possess or anything I may do, except in relation to the Kingdom of Christ.”

Back to England In 1864 he went to England for his second and last visit, to seek consolation among his children and to arouse the people of Britain to the recognition of their Christian obligation toward the Dark Continent. He was in the homeland one year. He should have rested and built up his strength, but instead spent most of his time interviewing Gladstone and other notables, delivering speeches exposing the iniquitous slave trade, and writing a book, The Zambesi and Its Tributaries, full of pathetic stories of Africans being captured by Arab and Portuguese slave traders and driven in chains to be sold in the slave market, though probably five out of every six of them would perish on the way from floggings, starvation, and broken-heartedness.

The horrors of the slave trade Returning to Africa, he walked down to the Zanzibar slave market where he saw three hundred Africans up for sale and three hundred others being brought into town. He could hardly foresee, that, not many years after his death and largely through his influence, not only would the slave traffic be abolished, but a beautiful church would be erected on the very site of the Zanzibar slave market. He started now on his last trail. Every day, when traveling in his launch, he saw corpses floating by in the water. Every morning the paddles had to be cleared of dead bodies caught by the floats during the night. Most of the journey

was made on foot and, said Livingstone: “Wherever we walk, human skeletons are seen in every direction. This region, which only 18 months ago was a well-peopled valley of villages and gardens, is now a desert literally strewn with human bones.”

Livingstone to the rescue One day he came suddenly upon a long line of men, women, and children, chained to one another, with cruel slave-sticks fastened around the necks of the men. Slave drivers, carrying muskets, swaggered along beating the captives with whips to make them go faster. Just then the slave traders spied Livingstone and fled pell-mell into the forest. With great rejoicing, he cut the bonds of the women and children, then sawed off the chains and the slave-sticks from the men. These people, of whom there were eighty-four, freed first from physical slavery and later from the slavery of sin through faith in Christ, became the firstfruits of a great harvest in this section of Africa.

His medical box stolen As he traveled deeper into the interior, many hardships befell him. The slave-traders had burned hundreds of villages and it was almost impossible to obtain food. “I took up my belt three holes to relieve hunger,” he wrote in his Journal. Worst of all, one of his men ran off with his precious medicine box. Now he had no quinine with which to fight the ever recurring fever. “This loss,” he says, “is like the sentence of death.” Ill with fever and half-starved, he staggered along the trail till he saw the blue waters of Lake Tanganyika, then on till he discovered Lake Moero and, many months later, Lake Bangweola. Awful sores appeared on his feet. He suffered terribly from dysentery and other ailments causing much loss of blood. All his companions deserted him but three. Finally he reached Ujiji, only “a ruckle of bones,” to find that all his provisions and goods had been stolen. He felt himself to be the man who was robbed and left helpless on the Jericho Road, but he did not know that the Good Samaritan was close at hand. Evangelism Daily Readings

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God sends a rescue party One of his men rushed up shouting, “A white man is coming! Look!” Down the village path walked a white man at the head of a caravan of African followers with the flag of the United States unfurled over their heads. It was Henry M. Stanley, happy to find Livingstone at last. Livingstone was very happy, too. This was the first white man he had seen in five years. Moreover, Stanley brought a quantity of wholesome food for him and letters from his children in England. “How do you come to be in this remote place?” inquired Livingstone. Then Stanley told how, exactly two years before, he had been summoned by James Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald, who said: “Stanley, it is reported that David Livingstone is dead. I do not believe it. He is far away in Central Africa, lost, ill and stranded. I want you to go and find Livingstone, and give him any help he needs. Never mind the cost. Go and find Livingstone, and bring him back to the civilized world.” Such was the commission given by one man to another. And what is our commission, O Christians? In tones of imperious tenderness, our living Lord is saying to us, as He said to Carey and Judson and Livingstone: “Go and find lost men. The cities and plains, the continents and islands, are full of lost people for whom I died. Never mind the cost. Never mind the difficulties. Go and find lost souls and bring them to Me.” At tremendous cost and after encountering almost insuperable difficulties, Stanley carried out his commission. What are we doing with ours? For four months the two men lived together, talked, and traveled. “You have brought me new life,” Livingstone repeated again and again; “you are my Good Samaritan.” Stanley tried to persuade Livingstone to accompany him to England and see his children. “I must finish my task,” he replied. And with sad hearts and misty eyes, the two great travelers grasped hands and said, “Farewell.” Livingstone was never seen by a white man again.

A man of character Stanley was tremendously impressed with Livingstone’s character. This is his estimate:

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“For four months I lived with him in the same house or in the same boat or in the same tent, and I never found a fault in him. His gentleness never forsakes him. No harassing anxieties, distraction of mind, long separation from home and kindred, can make him complain. He thinks all will come out right at last; he has such faith in the goodness of Providence.” Right at last! He had staked everything on the promise, “Lo, I am with you,” knowing that this would take care of everything. Will “all come out right at last?” We shall see. Turning his face toward the hinterland, he set out again on the sad slave trail. On his 59th birthday he made this entry in his Journal: “March 19th, birthday. My Jesus, my King, my Life, my All; I again dedicate my whole self to Thee. Accept me and grant, O gracious Father, that ere this year is gone, I may finish my task. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen, so let it be. David Livingstone.” Not long after this he sent a letter to the New York Herald, seeking to secure American help in stamping out the slave trade. He closed his letter with these words which are now to be found on his memorial tablet in Westminster Abbey: “All I can add in my loneliness is, may Heaven’s richest blessing come down on every one, American, English, or Turk, who will help to heal this open sore of the world.” Although Livingstone was not successful in his desire to locate the source of the Nile, he deserves to rank as one of the world’s greatest explorers. He traveled 29,000 miles in Africa, discovered Victoria Falls and four important lakes (Ngami, Nyassa, Moero, and Bangweola) besides several rivers, and added to the known portion of the world about a million square miles of territory. Yet these accomplishments in themselves were only secondary in his estimation. His all-encompassing objective was to open a way for the heralds of redemption and to apply the Gospel to the


task of abolishing the slave trade in the name of Him who said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel ... to preach deliverance to the captives ... and to set at liberty them that are bruised.”

The race is finished! Livingston became so weak and suffered such agonies of pain, he had to be carried in a stretcher by his remaining black men. At length they came to Chitambo’s village, a little hut was quickly built, a rough cot prepared, and early the next morning, May 4, 1873, they found him dead. Two of his servants, Susi and Chumah took charge of affairs and displayed a devotion which has seldom, if ever, been equaled. His Journal, papers and instruments were carefully packed in watertight boxes. The heart of the missionary was buried in the land to which he had given all his heart, while the body, after being embalmed by native methods, was taken on the long march to the coast and then sent to England. April 18, 1874, accompanied by Henry M. Stanley, his wife’s aged father, Robert Moffatt, and a great concourse of people, the remains were taken to their final resting place in Westminster Abbey. Thus was accorded to David Livingstone the highest honor which his native land could bestow.

The Holy Spirit his companion As a young man, Livingstone saw a vision of “the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been” and heard a Voice saying: “Go! Preach the Gospel and explore the unknown continent. Make disciples and open a way for the Gospel.” It seemed an impossible assignment, until the Voice added: “You will never be alone and you have nothing to fear. Lo, I am with you all the way.” Did the promise hold good? Did the Presence ever fail him? He was on the bank of the Zambesi River, surrounded by fierce and infuriated savages who threatened

to kill him. At any moment spears might come hurtling through the darkness, or perhaps the attack would come at dawn. Opening his tin box and taking out his Bible, he read a precious passage. Let the story be told in his own words as found in his Journal: “January 14, 1856. See, O Lord, how the heathen rise up against me, as they did to Thy Son. I commit my way unto Thee. ‘A guilty, weak, and helpless worm, on Thy kind arms I fall.’ Oh Jesus, leave me not, forsake me not!” The Journal contains another entry written that night: “Evening. Felt much turmoil of spirit in view of having all my plans for the welfare of this great region knocked on the head by savages tomorrow. But I read that Jesus came and said, ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations -- and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ It is the word of a Gentleman of the most sacred and strictest honor, so there’s an end of it. I shall take observations for latitude and longitude tonight, though they may be the last. I feel quite calm now, thank God.” The words, “Lo, I am with you” are underlined in his Journal, because they were first inscribed and underlined in his heart. Later, while on his first visit to the homeland, he was the recipient of the degree of Doctor of Laws at the University of Glasgow and stood before the convocation audience to speak. His body showed all too clearly the evidences of exposure, of privations, and of more than thirty attacks of tropical fever. His left arm, crushed under the lion’s teeth, hung stiffly at his side. The great assembly was awed to silence and melted to tears as he related his experiences and then announced his impending return to Africa. “But I return,” he said, “without misgiving and with gladness of heart. For would you like me to tell you what supported me through all the years of exile among people whose attitude toward me was always uncertain and often hostile? It was this: Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world! On those words I staked everything and they never failed! I was never left alone.” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were not alone in the fiery furnace! Daniel was not alone in Evangelism Daily Readings

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the den of lions! Livingstone was not alone when surrounded by infuriated savages! David Livingstone staked everything on the Master’s promise. Did it ever fail? Livingston is sitting in his little hut on the bank of a stream, far away in the interior. He is greatly dejected in spirit. His strength has been sapped by many attacks of fever and he wonders if he has much longer to live. His heart bleeds as he sees the depravity of the people around him -- forever fighting, plundering, and killing; capturing and selling each other into slavery; and committing such atrocities he is tempted to wonder if the light of the gospel will ever dawn in their wretched souls. He shudders as he remembers how, just a few hours earlier, the savages had seized two men, and, before his very eyes, had hewn them to pieces with their axes. It seems more than probable that he will be a victim of savage ferocity or cut off by some tropical disease. Something like a moan escapes his lips as he murmurs, “If I only had someone to talk to! Someone who understands! Someone who cares!” Taking his Bible, he reads several favorite passages, then kneels -- that being the posture he always assumed in prayer, whether praying in private or with the natives. “Good and gracious Jesus,” he prays, “Thou art ever near. Thou knowest my yearnings after these people. Thou art my comfort and my keeper. Stay with me, Lord, till my work is done.” Thus accompanied and thus reassured, he continues his labors. “I am immortal,” he declares, “till my work is accomplished. And though I see few results, future missionaries will see conversions follow every sermon. May they not forget the pioneers who worked in the thick gloom with few rays to cheer, except such as flow from faith in the precious promises of God’s Word.” Did the promise and the Presence ever fail him? At last, weary from long travels, weakened by manifold deprivations, almost famished for lack of food, and broken by disease, David Livingstone lay on a rude cot in Chitambo’s village. One of the black men was keeping watch. Hearing the sound of approaching feet very early in the morning, he inquired, “Whom do you seek and what do you want?”

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The spokesman replied, “We are seeking the great White Doctor. We have come to urge him to go with us to our village to take away the pain from our sick. May we talk with him?” Peering into the hut the watcher saw the white man on his knees by the cot. Turning to the delegation he said, “You’ll have to wait a while. The White Doctor is ill. Besides, he is praying to his God and must not be disturbed.” After a while several weary men appeared from the jungle with the message, “Our chief has sent us a long journey to ask the White Missionary to go again to our tribe to tell us more about Jesus who died for us black people.” After peering into the hut, the watcher said, “The White Missionary is praying beside his cot. Let us not disturb him now.”

Livingstone died praying on this knees Just at dawn another delegation arrived to report, “We are friends of the White Missionary. Hearing of his illness we have come to see him and to offer our assistance to the one who has helped us in so many ways.” Looking again into the hut and seeing his master still on his knees, the watcher in alarm called for Susi and Chumah. Entering, they found Livingston on his knees, but his soul had departed. His Lord had promised, “Lo, I am with you all the way, even unto the end.” Did the promise fail him at last? Remember, he died on his knees! Was his Lord’s presence with him even unto the end? He died in the act of prayer! His last words were praying words. He was not alone! He was talking to Somebody! As he entered the valley of shadows and took the road across the river, David Livingstone was holding sweet converse with the One who was his Unfailing Companion on every shore, in every solitude, and on every trail!


Prayer: “Lord, is there any better example of a life well spent? Jesus, please give us the courage to obey you like Livingston did, right from the time he heard the sermon through which you spoke to him. Let us have that same eager heart to obey. Lord, we marvel at what you did through this man’s life - the sacrifices he made, the love he lost, the death of his wife and child, the wild animal and mosquito attacks, the wild savages who constantly sought his life. Lord, we could see how you sustained him through all this, how your grace was sufficient. Do it again through us Lord, do it again. Shock out of our excuses and reason’s why you wouldn’t use us. We open ourselves up this day to be used by you afresh. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Livingston Quote “If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.”

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Day Eighty One

A Promise Of Revival

(Amos 9:13, KJV) “Behold, the days is coming, says the Lord, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.�

Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon

Stimulus for Christian exertion I will endeavour to explain my text as a promise of revival, as a lesson of doctrine, and as a stimulus for Christian exertion. According to the metaphor used, there is a promise of a surprising ingathering. The harvest is to be so great that, before the reapers can have fully gathered it in, the ploughman shall begin to plough for the next crop. Because of the abundant fertility, one season shall run into another. For the church, this means we shall see the most abundant ingathering of souls.

The gospel is the tool God will use We read of such marvellous revivals a hundred years ago, but we have since seen a season of lethargy and soul-poverty among the saints. Now I believe God is about to send times of surprising fertility to His church. In these modern times, if one sinner is converted, we rejoice with surprise. However, where we have seen one converted, we may yet see hundreds. Where the Word of God, the gospel, has been powerful to hundreds, it shall be blessed to thousands, and even nations shall be converted to Christ.

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The life is in the seed There is no reason why we should not see all that God has given to us multiplied a hundredfold. There is sufficient life in the seed of the Lord to produce a far more plentiful crop than any we have yet gathered. God the Holy Ghost is not limited in His power. I believe that our harvest will be so heavy that while we are taking in the harvest, it will be time to sow the gospel again.

Do not be content to see no souls being saved We never can be contented with going on as the churches have been for many years. Even if God sends revival, it will not exonerate us from the awful guilt of having been idle. Let all be saved who live now, but what about those who have been damned while we have been sleeping? Who shall answer for the blood of those men who have been swept into eternity while we have been going on in our religious fashion, content to go along the path of propriety, and walk around the path of dull routine, but never weeping for sinners, never agonizing for souls?


Sudden revival The promise also seems to convey the idea of amazing rapidity in the work. Notice how quickly the crops succeed each other. This is a rapidity that is contrary to the course of nature, but it is quite consistent with grace. Indeed, there is a tendency to imagine that conversion must be a slow work. However, here is a promise that one of the signs of revival will be the marvellous growth in grace of those who are converted.

God controls the state of the soil From the text, we also learn that God is the absolute monarch of the hearts of men. God does not say here “If men are willing . . .”, but He gives an absolute promise of blessing. He basically says, “I have the key of men’s hearts. I am master of the soil--however hard and rocky it may be, I can break it. I can make it fruitful.”

Free will of man and divine sovereignty fettered. When God promises to bless His church and to save sinners, He does not add, “If the sinners are willing to be saved.” Man has a free will, and God does not violate it, but free will is sweetly bound with fetters of divine enabling.

All year round faithfulness The duty of the church is not to be measured by her success.

sow the seed of the gospel, and if the birds of the air devour it, we have done what we were commanded to do. The duty is accepted even though the birds devour the seed. We may expect to see a blessed result, but even if it does not come, we must not cease from duty.

Being ready! I sometimes fear that the wind will blow on us, and we will have our sails down. Up with the canvas now. Let every effort be used. Let us be earnest coworkers with Him. It is yours today to bring down the rain even though it is God’s to send the clouds. Now, you Elijahs, pray it down! Go to your knees, believers. You can bring it down, only you. “Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10). Will you lose the opportunity, Christians? Will you lose for lack of effort? If so, the church is a completely cowardly church and is unworthy of its time. When there are such times as these, if every man does not go to work, we shall indeed deserve the worst barrenness of soul that can possibly fall upon us.

Final prayer Do it, O Thou Crucified One, for Thy mercy’s sake! Send forth Thine Holy Spirit now and grant, O Lord, that many hearts may be fully resigned to Thy love and to Thy grace.

It is as much the minister’s duty to preach the gospel in adverse times as in fruitful seasons. We are not to think that if God withholds the dew, we are to withhold the plow. We are not to imagine that if unfruitful seasons come, we are therefore to cease from sowing our seed of the gospel.

Our business is to act, not to worry about results. The church must do her duty even though that duty should bring her no present reward. If we Evangelism Daily Readings

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Application: In the DVD series you have been watching, we teach that souls are drawn to the Lord in a six step process (DVD 6). In this reading by Spurgeon, he affirms a number of truths we have been learning in this teaching series. First, he asserts that we are to be busy sowing the seed of the gospel, no matter what ‘season’ the church might think it is in. Second, prayer and intercession are crucial to revival. The absolute need for these two elements as the precursors to revival, prayer and proclamation, make complete sense. Human responsibility (i.e. Relentlessly sowing the seed of the gospel and prayer) must go hand in hand in hand with the work of the divine (i.e. Growing the seed of the gospel). As Spurgeon points out, the six step process is not solely our work, nor solely God’s. We are co-workers with Him. Our responsibility is to sow and pray, His is to save. Third, there is life in the seed! This is surely the one of the greatest lessons of all in the series. Don’t ever forget the word ‘automatos!’ Fourth, while it is God who ultimately controls the state of the soil in the hearts of men and women, we can also influence the soil by ‘ploughing’ and ‘watering.’ Finally, Spurgeon rightly challenges us to remain faithful in evangelism, even when we are seeing no results. Today there are many leaders who are asking evangelists the question ‘where is all the fruit from your sowing?’ to justify not personally engaging in evangelism. But Spurgeon would counter by asking these pastors, ‘where is your faithfulness to the command to evangelise?’ ‘Why are you not leading your flock by example, in season and out of season?’ These are honest questions which demand honest answers from every pastor and leader. Our responsibility is to be faithful and obedient. God’s job is to produce fruit through us.

Prayer: “Lord, thank you for raising up so many people to pray and intercede in our church. Thank you for their sacrifice and persistence. Lord, encourage these pray-ers by raising up and sending out a mighty army of sowers to plant seeds of the gospel in our city, in season and out of season, so that the EXPECTATION of the pray-ers for a harvest might soar to new heights. Amen.”

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Day Eighty Two Evangelism!

(Amos 9:13, KJV) “Behold, the days is coming, says the Lord, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.” Today’s reading is written by evangelist who lectures in evangelism at a University. Please critique what has written in light of the truth you have learned in this course. Where is John ‘right on?’ Where is he unwittingly advertising one of the devices? How might what he has written below encourage evangelism? How might it put people off evangelism? The picture at right is not the university lecturer.

Evangelism and the Holy Spirit Evangelism is co-operating with the Holy Spirit to help people take steps towards faith in Christ.

The goal of evangelism That makes it clear what the goal of evangelism is: that people should put their faith in Christ. Christians believe that Christ is the key to what God is doing in the world, that in Jesus are to be found forgiveness, new life, and joy. So we want others to discover what we have found. This definition also makes it clear also that coming to faith in Christ is a process, involving many steps, over a period of time that may be months or even years. Lest we think that evangelism is a purely human responsibility, the definition says that

evangelism—helping people to faith in Christ— is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit. It is God who wants people to have new life in Christ, and by the Holy Spirit, God draws them towards faith.

Evangelism the work of God So if evangelism is the work of God, what is the role of ordinary Christians in this process? Two words describe it: to “co-operate” with the Holy Spirit, and to “help” the person who is taking steps towards faith in Christ. We open ourselves on the one hand to the Holy Spirit and on the other hand to people seeking faith, and we do (or say) whatever may be helpful to them at this particular point in their journey. We may be the person who helps them come to the point of saying, “Yes, I want to be a follower of Jesus.” But our role may equally well be to show hospitality, to lend a book, to answer a question, to say a prayer, to share our own faith story. Any of these may represent a step forward towards Christian faith. And the outcome depends on all of us being faithful!

The gift of evangelism Some people seem to have unusual gifts of evangelism, and are good at helping people take that final step to faith. But the whole process of Evangelism Daily Readings

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evangelism leading up to that point actually requires the involvement and commitment of everybody in the Body of Christ, whether or not

we consider ourselves “evangelists” in a special sense.

Comment:

The heart of this lecturer is great. He wants to see people come to Christ; he acknowledges reliance on the Holy Spirit; he is conscious of the power of good works; that coming to Christ is a process. However, there are two major device sof the enemy embedded in this article: Could you pick them? It is the device that anything that draws a non-Christian to Christ is evangelism. He is saying that evangelism is a process. But we know that evangelism is an event within a process. So what’s wrong with defining evangelism as a process? If you can’t remember, watch Study 6 again on the DVD series. One of the main reasons is this - most people in the Church want to obey Jesus by engaging in evangelism. They want to say ‘We’re do’in it!’ If we define evangelism as anything which draws a non-Church person closer to God, then nearly everything we do with nonChristians is ‘evangelism.’ And when this is so, most people never get beyond good works, or being kind and nice, and here’s why. If proclaiming the gospel is just one of many options in evangelism, what would most of us choose? The ‘soft end’ of Christian interaction with non-Christians which is being kind, doing good works, saying nice things etc. These behaviours will usually attract praise, thanks, and appreciation from non-Christians, which in turn makes us feel good about ourselves. With the soft end there is no chance of rejection; there is no confrontation; no courage is required;we don’t even have to reveal we are a Christian. Proclaiming the gospel, on the other hand, can be risky and dangerous; it requires courage and going out on the edge; it requires confronting people about sin and final judgement; rejection is a possibility; we have to nail our flag to the mast. We reveal our faith in Jesus. Ouch! Another way to think about this is to think in terms of a smorgasbord of food. When we define evangelism as ‘all interaction with non-Christians’ we offer ourselves a smorgasbord of ways to evangelise. And which behaviours on the smorgasbord table are we naturally going to gravitate towards? The soft end. The jelly, the ice cream, and the strawberries - all the nice stuff. Forget the meat and vegies of proclaiming the gospel. So in this article we see a device of the enemy at work. To prove my point, in this article proclaiming the gospel isn’t even on the smorgasbord table! There is a second device embedded in this article. Could you pick it? It’s that evangelism is a team event. The truth is this - drawing a non-Christian to Christ is a process, but evangelism is an event within this process. This article is another perfect example of truth and error being mixed together so we don’t detect the errors. If you come across articles like this, can I strongly urge you to write to the person directly? If we do nothing, we simply by default allow the devices to propagate. It was Martin Luther the reformer who said: “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not professing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved. To be steady on all fronts besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

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Day Eighty Three How The Church Was In 2010 Judges 17:6 “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Change usually happens slowly in the Church. But a review of the past year’s research conducted by the Barna Group (the picture is of George Barna) provides a time-lapse portrayal of how the religious environment in the U.S. is morphing into something new. Analyzing insights drawn from more than 5,000 non-proprietary interviews conducted over the past 11 months, George Barna indicated that the following patterns were evident in the survey findings.

1. The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate. What used to be basic, universally-known truths about Christianity are now unknown mysteries to a large and growing share of Americans--especially young adults. For instance, Barna Group studies in 2010 showed that while most people regard Easter as a religious holiday, only a minority of adults associate Easter with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Other examples include the finding that few adults believe that their faith is meant to be the focal point of their life or to be integrated into every aspect of their existence. Further, a growing majority believe the Holy

Spirit is a symbol of God’s presence or power, but not a living entity. As the two younger generations (Busters and Mosaics) ascend to numerical and positional supremacy in churches across the nation, the data suggest that biblical literacy is likely to decline significantly. The theological free-for-all that is encroaching in Protestant churches nationwide suggests the coming decade will be a time of unparalleled theological diversity and inconsistency.

2. Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreachoriented. Despite technological advances that make communications instant and far-reaching, Christians are becoming more spiritually isolated from nonChristians than was true a decade ago. Examples of this tendency include the fact that less than one-third of born again Christians planned to invite anyone to join them at a church event during the Easter season; teenagers are less inclined to discuss Christianity with their friends than was true in the past; most of the people who become Christians these days do so in response to a personal crisis or the fear of death (particularly among older Americans); and most Americans are unimpressed with the contributions Christians and churches have made to society Evangelism Daily Readings

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over the past few years. As young adults have children, the prospect of them seeking a Christian church is diminishing-especially given the absence of faith talk in their conversations with the people they most trust.

our life experience.

Few and fewer Christians engaging in evangelism

Largely driven by the passion and energy of young adults, Christians are more open to and more involved in community service activities than has been true in the recent past. While we remain more self-indulgent than selfsacrificing, the expanded focus on justice and service has struck a chord with many. However, despite the increased emphasis, churches run the risk of watching congregants’ engagement wane unless they embrace a strong spiritual basis for such service. Simply doing good works because it’s the socially esteemed choice of the moment will not produce much staying power. To facilitate service as a long-term way of living and to provide people with the intrinsic joy of blessing others, churches have a window of opportunity to support such action with biblical perspective. And the more that churches and believers can be recognized as people doing good deeds out of genuine love and compassion, the more appealing the Christian life will be to those who are on the sidelines watching. Showing that community action as a viable alternative to government programs is another means of introducing the value of the Christian faith in society.

With atheists becoming more strategic in championing their godless worldview, as well as the increased religious plurality driven by education and immigration, the increasing reticence of Christians to engage in faith-oriented conversations assumes heightened significance.

3. Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life. When asked what matters most, teenagers prioritize education, career development, friendships, and travel. Faith is significant to them, but it takes a back seat to life accomplishments and is not necessarily perceived to affect their ability to achieve their dreams. Among adults the areas of growing importance are lifestyle comfort, success, and personal achievements. Those dimensions have risen at the expense of investment in both faith and family. The turbo-charged pace of society leaves people with little time for reflection. The deeper thinking that occurs typically relates to economic concerns or relational pressures. Spiritual practices like contemplation, solitude, silence, and simplicity are rare. (It is ironic that more than four out of five adults claim to live a simple life.) Practical to a fault, Americans consider survival in the present to be much more significant than eternal security and spiritual possibilities.

Christianity increasingly a compartment of life Because we continue to separate our spirituality from other dimensions of life through compartmentalisation, a relatively superficial approach to faith has become a central means of optimizing

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4. Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.

5. The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church. Our biblical illiteracy and lack of spiritual confidence has caused Americans to avoid making discerning choices for fear of being labeled judgmental. The result is a Church that has become tolerant of a vast array of morally and spiritually dubious behaviors and philosophies. This increased leniency is made possible by the very limited accountability that occurs within the body of Christ. There are fewer and fewer issues that Christians


believe churches should be dogmatic about.

Christians want to avoid conflict The idea of love has been redefined to mean the absence of conflict and confrontation, as if there are no moral absolutes that are worth fighting for. That may not be surprising in a Church in which a minority believes there are moral absolutes dictated by the scriptures. The challenge today is for Christian leaders to achieve the delicate balance between representing truth and acting in love. The challenge for every Christian in the U.S. is to know his/her faith well enough to understand which fights are worth fighting, and which stands are non-negotiable. There is a place for tolerance in Christianity; knowing when and where to draw the line appears to perplex a growing proportion of Christians in this age of tolerance.

About the Research This summary is based upon a series of national research studies conducted in the Barna Poll by the Barna Group throughout 2010. Each study was conducted via telephone interviews with a random sample of adults selected

from across the continental United States, age 18 and older. With one exception, each study included a minimum of 1,000 adults; the exceptions were one study among 400 adults, and one among 603 adults. Each survey included a proportional number of interviews among people using cell phones. The data set for each study was subjected to minimal statistical weighting to calibrate the aggregate sample to known population percentages in relation to several key demographic variables. Mosaics are individuals born between 1984 and 2002. Baby Busters are individuals born between 1965 and 1983. Barna Group (which includes its research division, the Barna Research Group) is a private, nonpartisan, for-profit organization that conducts primary research, produces media resources pertaining to spiritual development, and facilitates the healthy spiritual growth of leaders, children, families and Christian ministries. Located in Ventura, California, Barna has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984.

Prayer: “Lord, let us not be the limp generation who knows little, and fights for nothing worthwhile! We know that no matter what culture says or does or how it moves and changes, you never change, and nor does your word. You and your word transcend culture. You are over and above it, yet you are intimately involved in every aspect it. We pray that we might be people who don’t alter what we do and say according to what ‘research says’ but that we would be people who find out what to do from your word, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Lord, let ‘take the meat and leave the bones’ in this research. Lets us learn what we need to from it, and let us leave the rest. We want to hear your voice alone through the Spirit to hear how we should live. Oh Lord, give leaders in this generation a new passion to teach their people about the deeper things of the Bible; let this generation not be the one which is Biblically illiterate; let this not be the generation who stops evangelising; let this not be the generation who stops confronting the world, and sin, and injustice, and all the devil stands for. God let this be the generation who stands up and fights the good fight of faith with passion and zeal! Let this be the generation who determines to see ploughing, sowing, watering, harvesting, and discipling flourish! Amen.”

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Day Eighty Four Evangelism - Just Do It Now! Today’s reading is a training exercise. A Christian author has written a book on evangelism and they are being interviewed by someone about the book. Please critique the discussion in light of what you are learning in the DVD series you have been watching. Can you spot the devices? How is what this author saying going to help or hinder evangelism? You decide. I have changed the names of everyone in the story, and the photo at right is not the author.

Study reveals American churches not doing well in evangelism. Jim Smith doesn’t mince words when it comes to the E-word — evangelism. His study of American evangelism within seven mainline churches, and the subsequent books, leaves him with strong convictions: “It’s a discouraging landscape. Let’s get over it. We don’t have time to fuss and whine. But no age has time to act pouty and shut down. No matter when or where we’re born, we have one life to live. If we’re doing something real with God, it’s always going to be hard.” Jim’s new book is the book he has written about his findings. Evangelism is something that everyone talks about but few do much about. “Some people have been talking about it for years,” he says. “Others of us have had our heads buried moderately deeply in sand. And some of the talking that has gone on has consisted of ineffectual hand wringing. Somehow we’re starting

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to hook up the engine to the machine. We’re starting to talk and we’re beginning to take some steps to change.”

The interview We posed some questions to Jim about his new book.

You say the book is about “breaking the curse.” In what way?

Lots of our churches are stuck and discouraged. Tens of thousands of pastors and lay leaders feel doomed to inevitable decline. But we know there really is a God! And God will transform our lives and our churches if we’ll ask to be healed, ask God to open our eyes to see the realities, and if we’ll be available to the Spirit. The recent Duke Clergy Study showed that “pastors’ greatest discouragement is that they feel ineffective in sharing the Gospel.”

Most seminaries don’t teach evangelism First, a lot of seminaries don’t cover it. Our study showed that out of 72 mainline seminaries, only 10 require even half a course in evangelism for an M.Div. degree, and that’s usually combined with stewardship. Second, many pastors don’t have a personal experience of participating in inspiring, relational faith sharing.


They just have the bad cartoons in their heads. Many pastors hear the “E-word” and are hit with immediate flashbacks of haranguing total strangers with tracts. Third, the culture is changing dramatically, so old ways of sharing our faith aren’t working.

You say too that “a vivid relationship with God lies at the heart of real evangelism.” What is it that makes the “ask” of evangelism so hard for most of us, pastors included?

Most people think of evangelism as “talking people into some right answer.” That may have worked 50 years ago, but today faith sharing is about faith and relationships. Evangelism is having a vibrant, growing relationship with God, and learning to talk about it naturally with our friends.

You do say that “evangelism is people sharing with others their personal understandings that life is better, richer, truer if one has faith in Christ and lives in a faith community.” That’s a pretty powerful rationale.

It starts with pastors. Pastors must lead out of profound, growing faith or it doesn’t much matter what else they do. We must train our people in spiritual disciplines and in talking about their faith, slowly, consistently, over and over and over. We’re talking about a major change for most churches. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to take time.

We know evangelism matters, why don’t we do it?

Lots of reasons. Some people don’t have a flexible, viable, growing faith. Others are shy and think evangelism is about talking people into a set of propositions. Most don’t pray much. Others are discouraged by the failures of techniques that worked beautifully 40 years ago. It’s not about persuasion — it’s about telling our own stories.

Mormons and Muslims seem to have a passion for evangelism as fast growing faiths. What can mainline and evangelical churches learn from them?

We can learn from Mormons and Muslims to be focused and intentional. We can also step up to the plate and learn that our faith can be heroic — like Corrie ten Boom’s, like Bonhoeffer’s, like St. Paul’s, like Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s. We each

have been given one precious life to live with Christ and for Christ. Let’s do it for real. This matters.

You do say, “We only dabble our toes at the edges of the waters of faith. Few of us have a clue how vivid and powerful life with Christ can be.” What’s holding us back from feeling that experience?

Fear. Habit. A lack of leadership steeped in courageous faith.

One solution you give is disconcertingly honest: “We’re going to have to say it in words.”

We sure are! A huge percentage of Christians were raised with the express teaching that “ … if you live a loving, Christian life, people around you will see Christ in your actions. Your life will show others the gospel and you’ll never need to say a word … ” Gosh, I just wish that worked!

What evangelism techniques are working today where there is growth?

There’s no formula, no fail-safe checklist. It would be great if there were. But the churches showing real growth are (a) alive in Christ — people have growing, vivid relationships with God, (b) they teach their people to talk about their faith with their friends, and (c) they think a lot about how they can connect with people outside the church and systematically move them into faith. The best “technique” is prayer — so that we are attuned to the unbelievable opportunities the Spirit will create for us. Then when the Spirit nudges us, we get to speak for real about our own experience of God and our faith.

The new Pew U.S. Religions Landscape Study released in late February “confirms that the United States is on the verge of becoming a minority Protestant country; the number of Americans who report that they are members of Protestant denominations now stands at barely 51 percent.” What are we to make of that given your optimism from your study?

Actually, a University of Chicago study from three years ago showed that the U.S. had already lost its Protestant majority. We’ve seen these statistical trends for decades. Sometimes, looking at church stats is like staring into a black hole! Yet, my hope and optimism rest in God, in the Evangelism Daily Readings

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reality of Christ, not in our setting. I have seen God moving in people’s and churches’ lives. That’s our focal point.

You looked at evangelism under the “hardest conditions;” what were they and what did you conclude?

We found that the “hardest” (maybe the better word for it is “rarest”) kind of evangelism is for primarily Caucasian churches outside the South to try to reach people with no church background. We concluded that it’s possible. I also laid out six other kinds of evangelism, and suggest that churches start where they are. Remember: faith sharing is always context dependent. Be yourself. God can reach a specific bandwidth of people through you!

The “star power” of a pastor seems to bring people back to a church. Should we care about that?

that “excellent leadership and authenticity” is the critical component to drawing people into effective churches. Visitors say that they resonate to someone real, smart, spiritually authentic. And that is probably a scarier prospect for most of us than being a star. Pastoral leadership is critically important. When I talk about excellent leadership, I’m talking about deep-wired characteristics like intelligence, flexibility, the ability to read systems, curiosity, and energy. And I’m talking about practices like having a spiritual life, physical and psychological health, doing ministry by developing relational leadership teams, preaching very well, all undergirded with a deep love of God and of people. If that puts pressure on people, it’s not so much a pressure to perform as a pressure to be the fullest, most powerful, most committed person we can allow God to lead us into being.

I wouldn’t characterize it as “star power.” I’d say

Comment: What’s great about what Jim is saying here? He wants to mobilise churches for evangelism. He wants all Christians, particularly leaders to have what he calls ‘a vibrant, growing relationship with God.’ We commend this and encourage all pastors to cultivate this relationship. We know that evangelism is more likely to occur in the life of someone who has a strong devotional life. Such a devotional life will likely strengthen relationship with Jesus, which in turn will lead to a desire to reach the lost with the gospel. For these reasons, we heartily endorse what Jim is saying. However, like the previous critiquing exercises we have done, there is truth and error mixed in this reading, which makes the error hard to detect. Again, this is how the devil wants it. Let’s examine this reading more closely. First, there are mixed messages about exactly what evangelism is in this reading. On the one hand he defines evangelism in the following way:

‘Evangelism is having a vibrant, growing relationship with God, and learning to talk about it naturally with our friends.’

My question when I read this was ‘OK, exactly what are we going to talk about out of our growing relationship with God?’ Are we going to talk about how being a Christian has enriched my marriage, finances, personal life, relationships with my children, or what? Or are we going to talk about how good God is? Or how He speaks and leads personally? What is the content of what we are going to say? We know that Muslims, Hindus, and many people from other religions can claim to have a vibrant growing relationship with their God. So what are we going to say that is different from them? Jim suggests we tell them ‘that life is better, richer, truer if one has faith in Christ and lives in a faith community.’ But we know from our DVD studies this is NOT the content of the gospel.

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Jim’s definition of evangelism is therefore at best hazy and opaque, at worst outright unbiblical. It opens the way to confusion and misunderstanding, which is exactly how the devil likes it. On the positive side, Jim makes it clear that evangelism is not to be equated with living a good life for others to see. About this he says:

“A huge percentage of Christians were raised with the express teaching that “ … if you live a loving, Christian life, people around you will see Christ in your actions. Your life will show others the gospel and you’ll never need to say a word … ” Gosh, I just wish that worked!’

However, and on the negative side, he adds further confusion by saying two things: 1. ‘[Evangelism is not]...about talking people into a set of propositions.’ 2. ‘[Evangelism is not]....about haranguing total strangers with tracts.’

Evangelism, however, IS about communicating a set of propositions. We know from DVD series that Biblically, evangelism is the spread or proclamation of the gospel and that the gospel message has specific content. To say we have evangelised, we must have communicated the following content: 1. Why we must be saved 2. How Jesus can save us 3. What we must do to be saved 4. The cost of being a disciple. The suggestion is made by Jim that to think like this is old fashioned and won’t work today: ‘

1. ‘That may have worked 50 years ago, but today faith sharing is about faith and relationships.’ 2. ‘The culture is changing dramatically, so old ways of sharing our faith aren’t working.’

What disturbs me most about Jim’s last statement is that he hasn’t understood what Jesus taught about evangelism in Mark 4:26-29. You’ll come to this in study 12 of the DVD series. There is another device right at the end of the reading. Did you pick it? In the DVD series, study 5, we talk about this device which redefines evangelism as: ‘Evangelism is any Christian behaviour which draws a non-Christian closer to the point of conversion.’ This is an unbiblical definition. At the end of the reading, Jim seems to be suggesting: “excellent leadership and authenticity” is the critical component to drawing people into effective churches.

Is Jim suggesting that when a pastor draws people to church because of their excellent, authentic leadership they are evangelising? Again, we are left hanging. My reaction to all this was ‘Ouch!’ Most people reading this article will probably go away thinking evangelism is about building relationships and speaking to non-Christians out of a strong devotional life. We are not told what to say in those relationships, expect that expressing propositional truth won’t work. For Jim, giving away a tract is a definite ‘no no’. The overall effect of this reading? Readers will have been put off Biblical evangelism! Can you see how powerful writing can be? And how dangerous? So what’s the solution? The six step paradigm we outlined in DVD 6 would help Jim differentiate the difference between ploughing, sowing, and watering behaviours. His confusion would be cleaned up immediately. Keep in mind in this whole course - the devil’s intention is to stop evangelism. Can you see how this Jim’s answers in this interview are subtly (and completely unwittingly) propagating the devil’s devices inside the Christian community? Evangelism Daily Readings

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Evangelism Daily Devotionals!  

Here are 84 daily devotionals, each day focusing on the life and work of one of the great evangelists from history. If there is one thing I...

Evangelism Daily Devotionals!  

Here are 84 daily devotionals, each day focusing on the life and work of one of the great evangelists from history. If there is one thing I...