1. Evangelism: Spiritually Worthy
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “Which,” He said, “you have heard from Me.” —Acts 1:4
The task of the church is twofold: to spread Christianity throughout the world and to make sure that the Christianity she spreads is the pure New Testament kind….
Christianity will always reproduce itself after its kind. A worldly- minded, unspiritual church, when she crosses the ocean to give her witness to peoples of other tongues and other cultures, is sure to bring forth on other shores a Christianity much like her own….
The popular notion that the first obligation of the church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. Her first obligation is to be spiritually worthy to spread it. Our Lord said “Go ye,” but He also said, “Tarry ye,” and the tarrying had to come before the going. Had the disciples gone forth as missionaries before the day of Pentecost it would have been an overwhelming spiritual disaster, for they could have done no more than make converts after their likeness, and this would have altered for the worse the whole history of the Western world and had consequences throughout the ages to come. Of God and Men, 35-37.
“Lord, I don’t want to be guilty of producing inferior disciples. Send Your Holy Spirit that I might be empowered to produce converts with whom You can be pleased. Amen.”
2. Evangelism: Be Prepared
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” —Mark 16:15
Recall what happened when Jesus said to the disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15).
Peter jumped up right away, grabbed his hat and would have been on his way, but Jesus stopped him, and said, “Not yet, Peter! Don’t go like that. Tarry until you are endued with power from on high, and then go!”
I believe that our Lord wants us to learn more of Him in worship before we become busy for Him. He wants us to have a gift of the Spirit, an inner experience of the heart, as our first service, and out of that will grow the profound and deep and divine activities which are necessary. I Talk Back to the Devil, 139.
“It’s so easy to become busy, Lord, especially when I’m challenged with the vital task of evangelism. Quiet my heart first this month, that my evangelism efforts might spring from a heart of worship. Amen.”
3. Evangelism: Early Church Methods
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.—Acts 4:32-33
A friend of mine went to see a man who was the head of a local communist cell in a local communist headquarters where they send out literature. The communist said, “Come in, Reverend, and sit down.” He went in and sat. “Now, we’re communists,” he said, “you know that, and you’re a minister. Of course, we’re miles apart. But,” he said, “I want to tell you something. We learned our technique from your book of Acts.” He said, “We learned how to win and conquer from your book of Acts.” And he said, “You who believe the Bible have thrown overboard the methods of the early church and we who don’t believe it have adopted them and they’re working.”
What was the method? It’s a very simple method of the early church. It was to go witness, give everything to the Lord and give up all to God and bear your cross, take the consequences. The result was in the first hundred years of the Christian church the whole known world was evangelized. Success and the Christian, 10-11.
“Lord, we’re too selfish, busy doing our own thing. Give us a spirit of love, of unselfishness, of willingness of pay any price for the sake of the Gospel. Do it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.”
4. Evangelism: She Had to Tell Someone
Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ? —John 4:30
Spiritual experiences must be shared. It is not possible for very long to enjoy them alone. The very attempt to do so will destroy them.
The reason for this is obvious. The nearer our souls draw to God the larger our love will grow, and the greater our love the more unselfish we shall become and the greater our care for the souls of others. Hence increased spiritual experience, so far as it is genuine, brings with it a strong desire that others may know the same grace that we ourselves enjoy. This leads quite naturally to an increased effort to lead others to a closer and more satisfying fellowship with God….
The impulse to share, to impart, normally accompanies any true encounter with God and spiritual things. The woman at the well, after her soul-inspiring meeting with Jesus, left her waterpots, hurried into the city and tried to persuade her friends to come out and meet Him. “Come, see a man,” she said, “which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” Her spiritual excitement could not be contained within her own heart. She had to tell someone. The Set of the Sail, 50-51.
“Lord, we have so much more! We’ve seen Your goodness. We’ve tasted Your blessing. We’ve come to love you. Yet how seldom are we that impelled to tell anyone. Direct me even today to someone with whom I can share the glorious news of the Gospel. Amen”
5. Evangelism: Sovereign Obligation
I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. —Romans 1:14,15
That is why I say that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is something more than making us the happiest people in the Easter parade. Are we to listen to a cantata, join in singing “Up from the Grave He Arose,” smell the lilies and go home and forget it? No, certainly not!
The resurrection of Jesus Christ lays hold on us with all the authority of sovereign obligation. It says that the Christian church is to go and make disciples—to go and make disciples of all nations. The moral obligation of the resurrection of Christ is the missionary obligation—the responsibility and privilege of personally carrying the message, of interceding for those who go, of being involved financially in the cause of world evangelization. Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts, 90.
“Stimulate me today, Lord, with that sense of sovereign obligation. Then lead me to the right person with whom I could share Your grace. Amen.”
6. Evangelism: God is Depending on Us
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him love…. —Ephesians 1:4
Sin is a disease. It is lawlessness. It is rebellion. It is transgression—but it is also a wasting of the most precious of all treasures on earth. The man who dies out of Christ is said to be lost, and hardly a word in the English tongue expresses his condition with greater accuracy. He has squandered a rare fortune and at the last he stands for a fleeting moment and looks around, a moral fool, a wastrel who has lost in one overwhelming and irrecoverable loss, his soul, his life, his peace, his total mysterious personality, his dear and everlasting all!
Oh, how can we get men and women around us to realize that God Almighty, before the beginning of the world, loved them, and thought about them, planning redemption and salvation and forgiveness?
Christian brethren, why are we not more faithful and serious in proclaiming God’s great eternal concerns?
How is this world all around us ever to learn that God is all in all unless we are faithful in our witness?
In a time when everything in the world seems to be vanity, God is depending on us to proclaim that He is the great Reality, and that only He can give meaning to all other realities. Christ the Eternal Son, 48.
“Forgive me, Lord. I fear that all too often I have let You down when You were depending on me. Use me today as a faithful servant. Amen.”
7. Evangelism: Not Willing to Take Contempt
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. —Acts 20:24
We are 20th century Christians. Some of us are Christians only because it is convenient and pleasant and because it is not costing us anything. But here is the truth, whether we like it or not: the average evangelical Christian who claims to be born again and have eternal life is not doing as much to propagate his or her faith as the busy adherents of the cults handing out their papers on the street corners and visiting from house to house.
We are not willing to take the spit and the contempt and the abuses those cultists take as they knock on doors and try to persuade everyone to follow them in their mistaken beliefs. The cultists can teach us much about zeal and effort and sacrifice, but most of us do not want to get that serious about our faith—or our Savior. Jesus Is Victor!, 114,115.
“Lord, let me pray with Paul, that I might not ‘count my life dear to myself.’ I pour myself out today as Your servant, no matter the cost. Amen.”
8. Evangelism: Calling Us Back
Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” —Genesis 3:9
Although the human mind stubbornly resists and resents the suggestion that it is a sick, fallen planet upon which we ride, everything within our consciousness, our innermost spirit, confirms that the voice of God is sounding in this world—the voice of God calling, seeking, beckoning to lost men and women!…
Sacred revelation declares plainly that the inhabitants of the earth are lost. They are lost by a mighty calamitous visitation of woe which came upon them somewhere in that distant past and is still upon them.
But it also reveals a glorious fact—that this lost race has not been given up!
There is a divine voice that continues to call. It is the voice of the Creator, God, and it is entreating them.
Just as the shepherd went everywhere searching for his sheep, just as the woman in the parable went everywhere searching for her coins, so there is a divine search with many variations of the voice that entreats us, calling us back…. Echoes from Eden, 3,8.
“Thank You, Father, for Your grace that continues to call so patiently. Lord, You’re calling some today with whom I could have the privilege of sharing the Gospel. Give me a sensitivity today to opportunities where I might be Your human voice. Amen.”
9. Evangelism: The Desperate Personal Search
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.—Matthew 5:16
The average person in the world today, without faith and without God and without hope, is engaged in a desperate personal search throughout his lifetime. He does not really know where he has been. He does not really know what he is doing here and now. He does not know where he is going.
The sad commentary is that he is doing it all on borrowed time and borrowed money and borrowed strength—and he already knows that in the end he will surely die! It boils down to the bewildered confession of many that “we have lost God somewhere along the way.”…
Man, made more like God than any other creature, has become less like God than any other creature. Created to reflect the glory of God, he has retreated sullenly into his cave—reflecting only his own sinfulness.
Certainly it is a tragedy above all tragedies in this world that man, made with a soul to worship and praise and sing to God’s glory, now sulks silently in his cave. Love has gone from his heart. Light has gone from his mind. Having lost God, he blindly stumbles on through this dark world to find only a grave at the end. Whatever Happened to Worship?, 65-66.
“Lord, help me to be a light shining in this dark and gloomy cave. Let my light shine today to aid someone struggling blindly through this dark world. Amen.”
10. Evangelism: At Ease While the World Burns
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.—2 Corinthians 5:20
The fall of man has created a perpetual crisis. It will last until sin has been put down and Christ reigns over a redeemed and restored world.
Until that time the earth remains a disaster area and its inhabitants live in a state of extraordinary emergency….
To me, it has always been difficult to understand those evangelical Christians who insist upon living in the crisis as if no crisis existed. They say they serve the Lord, but they divide their days so as to leave plenty of time to play and loaf and enjoy the pleasures of the world as well. They are at ease while the world burns….
I wonder whether such Christians actually believe in the Fall of man! Renewed Day by Day, Jan. 17.
“I’m too often at ease and consumed with my self-interests, Lord. Open my eyes to see the tragedy of friends and acquaintances on their way to a Christless eternity. Do it for Jesus’ sake, Amen.”
11. Evangelism: Times of Extraordinary Crisis
So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” —Isaiah 6:5
Let a flood or a fire hit a populous countryside and no able-bodied citizen feels that he has any right to rest till he has done all he can to save as many as he can. While death stalks farmhouse and village no one dares relax; this is the accepted code by which we live. The critical emergency for some becomes an emergency for all, from the highest government official to the local Boy Scout troop. As long as the flood rages or the fire roars on, no one talks of “normal times.” No times are normal while helpless people cower in the path of destruction.
In times of extraordinary crisis ordinary measures will not suffice. The world lives in such a time of crisis. Christians alone are in a position to rescue the perishing. We dare not settle down to try to live as if things were “normal.” Nothing is normal while sin and lust and death roam the world, pouncing upon one and another till the whole population has been destroyed. Born After Midnight, 30.
“Lord help me to respond like Isaiah, when he saw the extraordinary crisis around him, ‘Lord, here am I; send me.’ Amen.”
12. Evangelism: A Cheap Salvation
But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness and handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.—2 Corinthians 4:2
Here again is seen the glaring discrepancy between Biblical Christianity and that of present-day evangelicals, particularly in the United States….
To make converts here we are forced to play down the difficulties and play up the peace of mind and worldly success enjoyed by those who accept Christ. We must assure our hearers that Christianity is now a proper and respectable thing and that Christ has become quite popular with political bigwigs, well-to-do business tycoons and the Hollywood swimming pool set. Thus assured, hell-deserving sinners are coming in droves to “accept” Christ for what they can get out of Him; and though one now and again may drop a tear as proof of his sincerity, it is hard to escape the conclusion that most of them are stooping to patronize the Lord of glory much as a young couple might fawn on a boresome but rich old uncle in order to be mentioned in his will later on. Born After Midnight, 17.
“Lord, don’t let me fall into the trap of offering a cheap salvation. Remind me often that redemption that cost the life of Your Son should never be so cheapened. Amen”
13. Evangelism: Man-centered Christianity
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.—1 Chronicles 29:11
Christianity today is man-centered, not God-centered. God is made to wait patiently, even respectfully, on the whims of men. The image of God currently popular is that of a distracted Father, struggling in heartbroken desperation to get people to accept a Saviour of whom they feel no need and in whom they have very little interest. To persuade these self-sufficient souls to respond to His generous offers God will do almost anything, even using salesmanship methods and talking down to them in the chummiest way imaginable. This view of things is, of course, a kind of religious romanticism which, while it often uses flattering and sometimes embarrassing terms in praise of God, manages nevertheless to make man the star of the show. Man: The Dwelling Place of God, p. 27
“Lord, take me to my knees this morning in worship. Then let me go to share with the world, or at least with anyone with whom I might have meaningful contact, a great and majestic God Who deserves their worship. Amen.”
14. Evangelism: Trying to Decide
For He says, “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. —2 Corinthians 6:2
This is so desperately a matter of importance for every human being who comes into the world that I first become indignant, and then I become sad, when I try to give spiritual counsel to a person who looks me in the eye and tells me: “Well, I am trying to make up my mind if I should accept Christ or not.”
Such a person gives absolutely no indication that he realizes he is talking about the most important decision he can make in his lifetime—a decision to get right with God, to believe in the eternal Son, the Savior, to become a disciple, an obedient witness to Jesus Christ as Lord.
How can any man or woman, lost and undone, sinful and wretched, alienated from God, stand there and intimate that the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and God’s revealed plan of salvation do not take priority over some of life’s other decisions? Christ the Eternal Son, 121-122.
“I have a neighbor, Lord, who may soon enter a Christless eternity. Give me boldness to share; give him faith to believe—today! Amen.”
15. Evangelism: Gospel Implications
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.—Titus 2:11-12
The fact is that the New Testament message embraces a great deal more than an offer of free pardon. It is a message of pardon, and for that may God be praised; but it is also a message of repentance. It is a message of atonement, but it is also a message of temperance and righteousness and godliness in this present world. It tells us that we must accept a Savior, but it tells us also that we must deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. The gospel message includes the idea of amendment, of separation from the world, of cross-carrying and loyalty to the kingdom of God even unto death.
To be strictly technical, these latter truths are corollaries of the gospel, and not the gospel itself; but they are part and parcel of the total message which we are commissioned to declare….
To offer a sinner the gift of salvation based upon the work of Christ, while at the same time allowing him to retain the idea that the gift carries with it no moral implications, is to do him untold injury where it hurts him worst. The Set of the Sail, 19-20.
“Lord, help me to proclaim the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth as I present the Gospel today. Amen.”
16. Evangelism: Such a Short Time
So he said to him, “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?” And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”—Matthew 22:12-13
…we have such a short time to prepare for such a long time. By that I mean we have now to prepare for then. We have an hour to prepare for eternity. To fail to prepare is an act of moral folly. For anyone to have a day given to prepare, it is an act of inexcusable folly to let anything hinder that preparation. If we find ourselves in a spiritual rut, nothing in the world should hinder us. Nothing in this world is worth it. If we believe in eternity, if we believe in God, if we believe in the eternal existence of the soul, then there is nothing important enough to cause us to commit such an act of moral folly.
Failing to get ready in time for eternity, and failing to get ready now for the great then that lies out yonder, is a trap in plain sight. There is an odd saying in the Old Testament, “How useless to spread a net in full view of all the birds” (Proverbs 1:17). When the man of God wrote that, he gave the birds a little credit. It would be silly for a bird watching me set the trap to conveniently fly down and get into it. Yet there are people doing that all the time. People who have to live for eternity fall into that trap set for them in plain sight. Rut, Rot or Revival: The Condition of the Church, 87-88.
“And Lord, I have the message that will enable them to prepare. Give me a willingness—no a passion—to do my part in this urgent matter. Amen.”
17. Evangelism: “I Gave It All Up!”
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.—2 Corinthians 5:17
I have been asked more than once what I gave up when I was converted and became a believing child of God. I was a young man, and I well remember that I gave up the hot and smelly rubber factory. I was making tires for an hourly wage, and I gave that up to follow Christ’s call into Christian ministry and service.
As a youth I was scared of life and I was scared of death—and I gave that up. I was miserable and glum and unfulfilled—and I gave that up. I had selfish earthly and material ambitions that I could never have achieved—and I gave them up.
That forms the outline of the worthless things that I gave up. And I soon discovered that in Jesus Christ, God had given me everything that is worthwhile.
If God takes away from us the old, wrinkled, beat-up dollar bill we have clutched so desperately, it is only because He wants to exchange it for the whole Federal mint, the entire treasury! He is saying to us, “I have in store for you all the resources of heaven. Help yourself” Jesus, Author of our Faith, pp. 49-50
“Why am I so hesitant to share the Gospel, Lord—when this is what I’m asking people to give up? Thank You for all we gain through our new life in Christ—in exchange for all the junk we give up! Amen.”
18. Evangelism: A Bond of Compassion
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.—Psalm 126:5-6
The testimony of the true follower of Christ might well be something like this: The world’s pleasures and the world’s treasures henceforth have no appeal for me. I reckon myself crucified to the world and the world crucified to me. But the multitudes that were so dear to Christ shall not be less dear to me. If I cannot prevent their moral suicide, I shall at least baptize them with my human tears. I want no blessing that I cannot share. I seek no spirituality that I must win at the cost of forgetting that men and women are lost and without hope. If in spite of all I can do they will sin against light and bring upon themselves the displeasure of a holy God, then I must not let them go their sad way unwept. I scorn a happiness that I must purchase with ignorance. I reject a heaven that I must enter by shutting my eyes to the sufferings of my fellow men. I choose a broken heart rather than any happiness that ignores the tragedy of human life and human death. Though I, through the grace of God in Christ, no longer lie under Adam’s sin, I would still feel a bond of compassion for all of Adam’s tragic race, and I am determined that I shall go down to the grave or up into God’s heaven mourning for the lost and the perishing.
And thus and thus will I do as God enables me. Amen. The Next Chapter After the Last, p. 36
“Lord Jesus, give me that broken heart, give me that bond of compassion, as I interact with unsaved people in my ministry today. Amen.”
19. Evangelism: Conviction and Pain
So I said, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” —Isaiah 6:5
When Isaiah cried out, “I am undone!” it was a cry of pain. It was the revealing cry of conscious uncleanness. He was experiencing the undoneness of the creature set over against the holiness of the Creator.
What should happen in genuine conversion? What should a man or woman feel in the transaction of the new birth?
There ought to be that real and genuine cry of pain. That is why I do not like the kind of evangelism that tries to invite people into the fellowship of God by signing a card.
There should be a birth from above and within. There should be the terror of seeing ourselves in violent contrast to the holy, holy, holy God. Unless we come into this place of conviction and pain, I am not sure how deep and real our repentance will ever be. Whatever Happened to Worship? p. 76
“Lord, we’re not doing a very good job today of showing the world that holy, holy, holy God. Use me today to declare to someone the awesomeness of God. Then let me go to my knees with him in heartfelt repentance. Amen.”
20. Evangelism: Saved to Worship
Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!—1 Chronicles 16:29
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with signing a card. It can be a helpful thing so we know who has made inquiry.
But really, my brother or sister, we are brought to God and to faith and to salvation that we might worship and adore Him. We do not come to God that we might be automatic Christians, cookie-cutter Christians, Christians stamped out with a die.
God has provided His salvation that we might be, individually and personally, vibrant children of God, loving God with all our hearts and worshiping Him in the beauty of holiness. Whatever Happened to Worship? p. 14
“Lord, I don’t need another name in my file, another notch on my belt. But I would like the privilege today of bringing someone to the point of salvation so he could become a genuine worshiper of You. Use me today, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
21. Evangelism: Too Easily Converted
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”—John 8:31-32
First, we must consider the person who becomes a disciple of Christ on impulse. This is likely to be the person who came in on a wave of enthusiasm, and I am a little bit suspicious of anyone who is too easily converted. I have a feeling that if he or she can be easily converted to Christ, he or she may be very easily flipped back the other way. I am concerned about the person who just yields, who has no sales resistance at all….
Actually, I go along with the man or woman who is thoughtful enough about this decision to say truthfully: “I want a day to think this over,” or “I want a week to read the Bible and to meditate on what this decision means.”
I have never considered it a very great compliment to the Christian church that we can generate enthusiasm on such short notice. The less there is in the kettle, the quicker it begins to boil. There are some who get converted on enthusiasm and backslide on principle Faith Beyond Reason, pp. 55-57
“Lord, this is contrary to our usual thinking. We’re aware of the urgency of the hour, of the need to trust Christ before it is too late. But thank You for this perspective on serious consideration rather than flippant acquiescence. Amen.”
22. Evangelism: The Longing After Eternity
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts…. —Ecclesiastes 3:11
We take it for granted and we are not surprised at all about the eternal nature of God but the greater wonder is that God has seen fit to put His own everlastingness within the hearts of men and women….
I believe that this is the truth about our troubles and our problems: We are disturbed because God has put everlastingness in our hearts. He has put a longing for immortality in our beings. He has put something within men and women that demands God and heaven—and yet we are too blind and sinful to find Him or even to look for Him!…
Men and women need to be told plainly, and again and again, why they are disturbed and why they are upset. They need to be told why they are lost and that if they will not repent they will certainly perish. Doctors and counselors will tell troubled men and women that their problems are psychological, but it is something deeper within the human being that troubles and upsets—it is the longing after eternity Christ the Eternal Son, pp. 52-54
“Lord, we long for eternity, but there is so much commotion, activity, and noise in our world that that longing is too often drowned out. Help me to break through that madness with the message of Christ today. Amen.”
23. Evangelism: The Right Road to the Desired Destination
O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.—Jeremiah 10:23
The prophet here turns to a figure of speech, one which appears in the Scriptures so frequently that it is not easy to remember that it is but a figure. Man is seen as a traveler making his difficult way from a past he can but imperfectly recollect into a future about which he knows nothing. And he cannot stay, but must each morning strike his moving tent and journey on toward—and there is the heavy problem—toward what?
It is a simple axiom of the traveler that if he would arrive at the desired destination he must take the right road. How far a man may have traveled is not important; what matters is whether or not he is going the right way, whether the path he is following will bring him out at the right place at last. Sometimes there will be an end to the road, and maybe sooner than he knows; but when he has gone the last step of the way will he find himself in a tomorrow of light and peace, or will the day toward which he journeys be “a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness” The Set of the Sail, pp. 105-106
“I look around me, Lord, and everywhere I see aimless wanderers on a course toward eternal destruction. Help me to be more faithful, even today, to point them toward the right destination. Amen.”
24. Evangelism: Unconvincing Testimony
For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.—Acts 4:20
There is a large amount of ineffective Christian testimony among us today. Much of it is well-intended, I am sure—honest and sincere. We do the best we can with what we have. But our performance turns out to be something like that of the salesman promoting fountain pens. He tries to make a case for his product, but his would-be customers know he really thinks ballpoints are far more practical.
Too much of our Christian witnessing is unconvincing because we have not been convinced. We are ineffectual because we have not yet capitulated to the Lord from glory. It is like the proselyte making proselytes….
Perhaps this is happening because we are trying to plan how everything should happen. Everyone of us reads a little how-to book on witnessing. We try to do it the way we have been taught. But it is perfunctory and without any contagious element. If angels can weep, they must weep salty tears upon seeing a proselyte who has never really met the Lord making another proselyte who will also never meet the Lord. Faith Beyond Reason, pp. 101-102
“Out of the abundance of a heart filled with love for You let me speak today. Let me see You this morning in a way that will cause me to leave this prayer time with a renewed passion to minister. Amen.”
25. Evangelism: Only the Spirit Can Give Sight
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.—2 Corinthians 4:3-4
The uncomprehending mind is unaffected by truth. The intellect of the hearer may grasp saving knowledge while yet the heart makes no moral response to it. A classic example of this is seen in the story of Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield. In his autobiography Franklin recounts in some detail how he listened to the mighty preaching of the great evangelist. He even walked around the square where Whitefield stood to learn for himself how far that golden voice carried. Whitefield talked with Franklin personally about his need of Christ and promised to pray for him. Years later Franklin wrote rather sadly that the evangelist’s prayers must not have done any good, for he was still unconverted….
The inward operation of the Holy Spirit is necessary to saving faith. The gospel is light but only the Spirit can give sight. When seeking to bring the lost to Christ we must pray continually that they may receive the gift of seeing. And we must pit our prayer against that dark spirit who blinds the hearts of men. Born After Midnight, pp. 62-63
“Lord, I’ll do my part today to share the Gospel with anyone You’ll bring my way. But Holy Spirit, I’ll wait for You to open eyes and give sight. I’ll leave the results with You. Amen.”
26. Evangelism: Sovereign Calling
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.—John 1:12-13
There is another and worse evil which springs from this basic failure to grasp the radical difference between the natures of the two worlds. It is the habit of languidly “accepting” salvation as if it were a small matter and one wholly in our hands. Men are exhorted to think things over and “decide” for Christ, and in some places one day each year is set aside as “Decision Day,” at which time people are expected to condescend to grant Christ the right to save them, a right which they have obviously refused Him up to that time. Christ is thus made to stand again before men’s judgment seat; He is made to wait upon the pleasure of the individual, and after long and humble waiting is either turned away or patronizingly admitted. By a complete misunderstanding of the noble and true doctrine of the freedom of the human will salvation is made to depend perilously upon the will of man instead of upon the will of God.
However deep the mystery, however many the paradoxes involved, it is still true that men become saints not at their own whim but by sovereign calling. The Pursuit of Man, pp. 37-38
“Sovereign God, I’m Your servant. I’ll share the message, I’ll pray for response, but only You can draw an unsaved person to faith in Christ. Thank You for the privilege of having even a small part in Your sovereign work. Amen.”
27. Evangelism: Trusting the Lifeboat
And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” —Acts 16:30-31
Now, the matter of complete trust in the person of Christ.
No man has any hope for eternal salvation apart from trusting completely in Jesus Christ and His atonement for men. Simply stated, our Lord Jesus is the lifeboat and we must fully and truly be committed to trusting the lifeboat.
Again, our Lord and Savior is the rope by which it is possible to escape from the burning building. There is no doubt about it—either we trust that rope or we perish.
He is the wonder drug or medication that heals all ills and sicknesses—and if we refuse it, we die.
He is the bridge from hell to heaven—and we take the bridge and cross over by His grace or we stay in hell.
These are simple illustrations, but they get to the point of the necessity of complete trust in Jesus Christ—absolute trust in Him! Who Put Jesus on the Cross?, 52.
“Lord, help me to make this clear as I share the Gospel. So many seem to persist in wanting to trust Christ plus their own efforts. Thank You for this free gift of salvation. Amen.”
28. Evangelism: Believe the Right Things
And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” —John 8:23-24
Because the heart of the Christian life is admittedly faith in a person, Jesus Christ the Lord, it has been relatively easy for some to press this truth out of all proportion and teach that faith in the Person of Christ is all that matters. Who Jesus is matters not, who His Father was, whether Jesus is God or man or both, whether or not He accepted the superstitions and errors of His time as true, whether He actually rose again after His passion or was only thought to have done so by His devoted followers—these things are not important, say the no-creed advocates. What is vital is that we believe on Him and try to follow His teachings.
What is overlooked here is that the conflict of Christ with the Pharisees was over the question of who He was. His claim to be God stirred the Pharisees to fury. He could have cooled the fire of their anger by backing away from His claim to equality with God, but He refused to do it. And He further taught that faith in Him embraced a belief that He is very God, and that apart from this there could be no salvation for anyone….
To believe on Christ savingly means to believe the right things about Christ. There is no escaping this. That Incredible Christian, 22.
“Thank You, Lord, that You are Who You claim to be and that our salvation does indeed rest on a solid foundation. Don’t let me ever back down from this vital truth of Who You are. Amen.”
29. Evangelism: Salvation Apart from Obedience
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.—Ephesians 2:10
Therefore, I must be frank in my feeling that a notable heresy has come into being throughout our evangelical Christian circles—the widely accepted concept that we humans can choose to accept Christ only because we need Him as Savior and we have the right to postpone our obedience to Him as Lord as long as we want to!…
I think the following is a fair statement of what I was taught in my early Christian experience and it certainly needs a lot of modifying and a great many qualifiers to save us from being in error.
“We are saved by accepting Christ as our Savior; we are sanctified by accepting Christ as our Lord; we may do the first without doing the second!”
The truth is that salvation apart from obedience is unknown in the sacred Scriptures. Peter makes it plain that we are “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit for obedience” (1 Peter 1:2). I Call It Heresy, 1-2.
“Lord, as I rejoice in the free gift of salvation, by grace through faith, remind me regularly that it is a salvation unto good works, that we’re saved to serve. Amen.”
30. Evangelism: Modern Salesmanship
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.—1 John 2:19
In our eagerness to make converts I am afraid we have lately been guilty of using the technique of modern salesmanship, which is of course to present only the desirable qualities in a product and ignore the rest. We go to men and offer them a cozy home on the sunny side of the brae. If they will but accept Christ He will give them peace of mind, solve their problems, prosper their business, protect their families and keep them happy all day long. They believe us and come, and the first cold wind sends them shivering to some counselor to find out what has gone wrong; and that is the last we hear of many of them….
By offering our hearers a sweetness-and-light gospel and promising every taker a place on the sunny side of the brae, we not only cruelly deceive them, we guarantee also a high casualty rate among the converts won on such terms. On certain foreign fields the expression “rice Christians” has been coined to describe those who adopt Christianity for profit. The experienced missionary knows that the convert that must pay a heavy price for his faith in Christ is the one that will persevere to the end. He begins with the wind in his face, and should the storm grow in strength he will not turn back for he has been conditioned to endure it.
By playing down the cost of discipleship we are producing rice Christians by the tens of thousands right here on the North American continent. That Incredible Christian, 116-117.
“Lord, I suspect this is getting much worse even since Tozer’s day. In our emphasis on growth and success we may indeed be guilty of producing rice Christians. Deliver us from that error. Amen.”
31. Evangelism: Coming Home
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.—John 14:3
Some years ago one of our national Christian brothers from the land of Thailand gave his testimony in my hearing. He told what it had meant in his life and for his future when the missionaries came with the good news of the gospel of Christ.
He described the godly life of one of the early missionaries and then said: “He is in the Father’s house now.”
He told of one of the missionary women and the love of Christ she had displayed, and then said: “She is in the Father’s house now.”
What a vision for a humble Christian who only a generation before had been a pagan, worshiping idols and spirits—and now because of grace and mercy he talks about the Father’s house as though it were just a step away, across the street.
This is the gospel of Christ—the kind of Christianity I believe in. What joy to discover that God is not mad at us and that we are His children…. What a hope that makes it possible for the Lord’s people to lie down quietly when the time comes and whisper, “Father, I am coming home” Echoes from Eden, 50-51.
“Thank you, Lord, for this incredible truth! And this is the message of hope that we share as we proclaim the Gospel! Let me do it joyfully today. Amen.”
Reprinted from Tozer on Christian Leadership by A.W. Tozer, copyright © 2001 by Zur Ltd. Used by permission of WingSpread Publishers, a division of Zur Ltd.
Tozer on Christian Leadership is protected by copyright and may not be copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, translated, transmitted or distributed in any way.
Tozer on Christian Leadership was compiled by Ron Eggert.
Prayer was of vital personal importance for Tozer. “His preaching as well as his writings were but extensions of his prayer life,” comments his biographer, James L. Snyder in the book, In Pursuit of God: The Life Of A.W. Tozer. “He had the ability to make his listeners face themselves in the light of what God was saying to them”, writes Snyder.
Among the more than forty books Tozer authored, at least two are regarded as Christian classics: The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy. His writings impress on the reader the necessity to abandon worldly comforts in favor the deeper life that comes with following Christ. Living out this simple and non-materialistic lifestyle, Tozer and his wife, Ada Cecelia Pfautz, never owned a car, preferring bus and train travel. Even after becoming a well-known Christian author, he signed away much of his royalties to those who were in need.