Skip to comments.Witnessing for Christ Paul's Way
Posted on 09/25/2013 6:02:39 AM PDT by jodyel
One of the common misconceptions about the divine command to evangelize is that it only applies to those who are given the gift of evangelism (Mat. 28:18-20). Consequently there are many in the body of Christ who never enjoy the privilege of being an ambassador for the King of Kings. There is no higher honor than to represent King Jesus as an ambassador by proclaiming His message of salvation to a world that is perishing in sin. Paul informs us that every Christian is given this divine privilege and responsibility. He wrote: "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:17-20).
Other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the most divinely gifted and inspired evangelist in the first century was the Apostle Paul. As the most prolific writer of the New Testament, there is much that we can learn from his example and teachings, especially in dealing with opponents of the Gospel. In the first century, the greatest opposition to the spread of the Gospel came from the corrupted religion of Judaism. Today, the Gospels greatest opposition is the deceptively false religion of Roman Catholicism. With its great power, wealth, control and influence, many evangelicals are reluctant to expose it as an enemy of Christ and His Gospel. In both corrupted religions, the authority of Gods word runs smack into the unbending traditions of men. With this in mind, let us look at the Apostle Pauls motivation and ministry and how he contended for the faith.
Pauls love for God compelled him to faithfully proclaim the Gospel and to exhort others to do the same. He wrote: "For the love of Christ controls us He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf (2 Cor. 5:14-15). A Christians love of God is best demonstrated by obedience to Him. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments" (1 John 5:3). The last command of Jesus must become a Christians first concern: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Mat. 28:19-20).
A great love and deep compassion for the lost also motivated Paul to be a faithful witness for Christ. This was demonstrated by selfless desire to give up his salvation in exchange for the salvation of his Jewish brethren. He wrote, "For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren" (Rom. 9:3). Although Paul knew this exchange was impossible, his words reflected his genuine love and compassion for the Jews. He went on to write: "My hearts desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation (Rom. 10:1). Here we also see the most vital element of Pauls ministryhis prayers to the sovereign Lord for the salvation of the lost. As we witness to our loved ones, let us not forget to pray for open doors of opportunity and open hearts to receive the message with gladness and joy.
At the end of Pauls ministry on earth, we see a summary of how he served the Lord Jesus in the 20th chapter of Acts. What a great model he is for all of us who desire to be an effective ambassador for Christ Jesus. In verse 19 we see that he served with humility and compassion. His humility is reflected in his overwhelming gratitude to God for granting him mercy when he "acted ignorantly in unbelief" as a persecutor of the church (1 Tim. 1:13). Pauls humility was also seen in his complete dependence upon Gods grace and nothing of who he was or what he had accomplished (1 Cor. 15:10). His only boasting was in the cross of the Lord Jesus (Gal. 6:14). Paul faithfully served God despite the persecution and trials he endured as a result of the relentless opposition from religious leaders.
Paul taught publicly from house to house, declaring that all must turn to God in repentance and have faith in the Lord Jesus (v. 20-21). Like a mail carrier, Paul took the message of Christ to everyone on his route. As he was going from place to place, he would testify to the Gospel of Gods grace (v. 24). He faithfully proclaimed the whole counsel and purpose of God (v. 27).
Another important part of Pauls ministry was warning Christians of false teachers who were distorting the truth for the purpose of drawing away disciples (v. 30). Paul had already confronted "professing Christians" who had taught and embraced a distortion of Gods Gospel. He condemned with anathema anyone who would dare pervert the Gospel of God. This included even himself or any apostle who would distort Gods only means of saving sinners (Gal. 1:6-9). Paul confronted the Judaizers, who believed in Jesus, but perverted the Gospel by adding works of the law as another requirement for salvation. Any human effort that is added to the Gospel nullifies Gods gracethe only means sinners can be saved. For this reason Paul taught antithetically, proclaiming what the Gospel is, as well as what it is not. This technique is so important when witnessing to "professing Christians" who have been led astray by a perversion of the true Gospel. Pauls antithetical teaching declares salvation is by grace and not of works (Eph. 2:8-9) and by Gods mercy and not righteous deeds (Titus 3:5). If we follow Pauls example we will warn Catholics that: 1) sinners are justified by faith in Jesus, not by water baptism; 2) sinners are purified by the precious blood of Jesus, not by purgatorys fire; and 3) sinners have their sins expiated by the redemptive work of Jesus, not by penance and indulgences. To follow Pauls example is to call "professing Christians" off the broad road that leads to destruction while pointing them to the narrow road that leads to eternal life.
Paul also urged believers not to be partakers or partners with deceivers (Eph. 5:6-7). Accordingly, he renounced secret and shameful ways and urged believers to mark and avoid deceptive teachers. This vital element of contending for the faith and exposing deception is not practiced by many in the body of Christ today. In fact there are many parachurch ministries that embrace Roman Catholicism as a valid Christian denomination. As a result, the church has given the enemy free reign to sow tares among the wheat (Mat. 13:25). Many churches have more tares than wheat and thus reflect a picture of the world rather than a sanctified sanctuary of believers.
Aware of the many spurious believers, who had believed in vain and continued in sin, Paul exhorted, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves (2 Cor. 13:5). Those who believed in vain are those who departed from the Gospel Paul delivered: Christ died to save sinners, Christ was raised from the dead and Christ appeared to many witnesses (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Paul proclaimed the word of God in all its power. He did not speak with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power (1 Cor. 1:17).
Pauls focus and commitment to evangelism is reflected in his writings: "I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. And I do all things for the sake of the Gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it" (1 Cor. 9:22-23). He said, "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel" (1 Cor. 9:16). Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel and its singular approach to God. By divine revelation Paul knew there was only one message of hope, only one Gospel. For in the Gospel we observe the greatest exchange in human historymans sin for Gods righteousness. Paul summed up this gracious and merciful substitution in one verse: "He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). As we follow Pauls example let us seek to "know Christ and Him crucified" and proclaim this powerful message to those who have embraced another gospel (1 Cor. 2:2). Paul urged his disciples to hold firmly to the Gospel he preached. Those who did had the assurance of eternal life. Those who embraced other gospels had no assurance, and thus believed in vain (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
Since all Christians have been entrusted with the Gospel, let us be exhorted by the words of Paul: "We are to speak, not as pleasing men but God who examines our hearts (1 Thes. 2:4). The true Gospel will disturb those who hear it for it speaks of both heaven and hell. It informs sinners of the righteousness of God and His demand for the payment of an infinite debt caused by sin. With this in mind, our primary motivation must always be to glorify God by accurately reflecting the heart of His revelation to mankind.
....Since all Christians have been entrusted with the Gospel, let us be exhorted by the words of Paul: "We are to speak, not as pleasing men but God who examines our hearts (1 Thes. 2:4). The true Gospel will disturb those who hear it for it speaks of both heaven and hell. It informs sinners of the righteousness of God and His demand for the payment of an infinite debt caused by sin. With this in mind, our primary motivation must always be to glorify God by accurately reflecting the heart of His revelation to mankind.
Ping to read later
How do you get what you paste into italics?
I surround the cut-and-pasted text with certain HTML tags. You can learn how to add italics, and a bunch of other formatting tricks, via this thread:
I had that given to me before but lost it...so will make sure I bookmark this time.
If we follow Pauls example we will warn Catholics that: ...
Forget about html sandbox
Whatcha' gotta do is trap tiny little [keyboard] i's in angle brackets, like "<" ">" but without the quotation marks. That turns 'em into italians. But be careful. If a backslash like / is not bracketed proceeding an "i" then the little ba$tard$ take over.
The same thing happens to the little "b's", like this.
You should have seen FR back in the days when html coding, when or if not "turned off" would run down into the next reply. It could be almost impossible to turn off, since a person couldn't see what the coding was in previous postings or reply/comments.
Back in those days the command still worked across the board for most browsers. If using an older Firefox browser, one may still see the above word "blink" actually well, blink.
The "marquee" or scrolling html feature has been purposefully excluded from proper function on FR for a long time, but one can still make it happen by creating a gif and coding that into one's comment. If anyone sees any scrolling from the default right to left setting, please let me know what browser is being used...
It was wild. Entire comments would be turned colors the commenter did not choose, or blink-flash, or scroll as marquee and of course all the mixes imaginable. Not knowing how to turn the htm coding off was driving more than few batty. Some jokers had some fun with it for a while. I was posting in those days under a different freeper ID. Having then a password I could not remember --- I stashed it on a free, web based email account, then for not accessing that email account for more than a month, had it close,effectively blocking me from recovering the password. So I had to come up with some other name to use here...
Otherwise my sign up date here would be '98, or maybe even '97.
Even getting signed up in those days, from a "free" email account was difficult. The one I used was off of JimRob's radar, so I managed to slip in under the wire so to speak, for I had no commercial account email, or home account email in those days...
Things are somewhat looser as to sign up requirements nowadays? I wouldn't know, but years ago Yahoo and Gmail accounts were finally allowed to be used as email addresses for new sign-ups. That was resisted for a long time...since it was too easy for DU-like trolls to sign up just to pester folks.
That was back when the "viking kittens" first went ashore and rambled the range...
I only came online in 1999, so missed all that stuff. Just typing out the words is difficult enough without having to include code.
Oh well...perhaps one day they will update this archaic forum and get one that does all that stuff for you. :)
Right, cuban leaf.
This writer is a former Roman Catholic so his writing is geared to them.
It will probably get very hairy soon as I have some really harsh stuff coming up for them. So hold on tight.
One can search out html commands (and find them) but it can take some sifting through results.Which is why the sandbox threads can be handy.
One can "test" whatever coding is used in their own replies before posting by using the preview button (of course) which means you don't have to run to a sandbox thread as test bed for any new-to-you basic text/link/image coding you may learn.
As far as this forum someday somehow rendering coding automatically...that would take some sort of function menu to be added -- I think. I am not a code-writing program creator.
Yet this site, compared to many other forums, supports more html than a lot of others do, as it long has. That part helped make it unique and fun, in the first place.
I have a forum of my own for TV and use the SMF Forum (Simple Machines). http://www.simplemachines.org/
We don’t use html...for instance, for an image we just use [img]xxxxx.jpg[/img]
Same for links, etc.
Or we can just click a button and it automatically does it for us.
And then HTML for a link...And HTML for installing a picture, etc...Of course the 'sandbox' is excellent, but if you lose it again, see above...
Or they could update this archaic forum software. :)