Promise Land Bible Church
Today's Lesson in Evangelism
 
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Our Primary Task

"You have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work. And go not only to those that need you, but to those that need you most ... It is not your business to preach so many times, and to take care of this or that society; but to save as many souls as you can; to bring as many sinners as you possibly can to repentance."

John Wesley

 

A lighthouse keeper gained a reputation of being a very kind man. He would give free fuel to ships that miscalculated the amount of fuel needed to reach their destination port. One night during a storm, lightning struck his lighthouse and put out the light. He immediately turned on his generator, but it soon ran out of fuel-and he had given his reserves to passing ships. During the dark night, a ship struck the rocks and many lives were lost.

At the lighthouse keeper's trial, the judge knew of his reputation as a kind man and wept as he passed sentence. He charged the lighthouse keeper with neglecting his primary responsibility: to keep the light shining.

The church can so often get caught up in legitimate acts of kindness-standing for political righteousness, feeding the hungry, etc.-but our primary task is to warn sinners of danger. We are to keep the light of the gospel shining so that sinners can avoid the jagged-edged rocks of wrath and escape being eternally damned.

Imagine seeing a group of firefighters polishing their engine outside a burning building with people trapped at a top floor window. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with cleaning a fire engine-but not while people are trapped in a burning building! Instead of ignoring their cries, the firefighters should have an overwhelming sense of urgency to rescue them. That's the spirit that should be behind the task of evangelism. Yet according to Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ, "Only two percent of believers in America regularly share their faith in Christ with others." That means 98 percent of the professing Body of Christ is "lukewarm" when it comes to obeying the Great Commission.

Oswald J. Smith said, "Oh my friends, we are loaded down with countless church activities, while the real work of the Church, that of evangelizing and winning the lost, is almost entirely neglected." We have polished the engines of worship, prayer, and praise and neglected the sober task given to us by God. A firefighter who ignores his responsibilities and allows people to perish in the flames is not a firefighter; he is an impostor. How could we ignore our responsibility and allow the world to walk blindly into the fires of hell? If God's love dwells within us, we must warn the lost. The Bible tells us to "have compassion ... save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jude 22, 23). If we don't have love and compassion, then we don't know God-we are impostors (see 1 John 4:8). Charles Spurgeon said, "Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that." Each of us should examine ourselves in light of these sobering thoughts (2 Corinthians 13:5) so that we won't be part of the great multitude who called Jesus "Lord," but refused to obey Him. It will be professing believers who will hear those fearful words, "I never knew you: depart from me" (Matthew 7:21-23).

A popular episode of the "Andy Griffith Show" is called "Man in a Hurry." It tells the story of a businessman who rushes through the quiet town of Mayberry. He is uptight and very hyper and finds the laid-back lifestyle of the locals to be extremely frustrating. However, in time he begins to enjoy the take-it-easy way of life. While it's a wonderful lesson on the importance of not rushing through life, the "man in a hurry" should be the Christian's hero. We are in a hurry. We should work while it is yet day with a sense of extreme urgency. We must preach the Word in season and out of season, always abounding in the work of the Lord.

Take to heart these words from Billy Sunday: "I believe that lack of efficient personal work is one of the failures of the Church today. The people of the Church are like squirrels in a cage. Lots of activity, but accomplishing nothing. It doesn't require a Christian life to sell oyster soup or run a bazaar or a rummage sale. Many churches report no new members on confession of faith. Why these meager results with this tremendous expenditure of energy and money? Why are so few people coming into the Kingdom? I will tell you-there is not a definite effort put forth to persuade a definite person to receive a definite Savior at a definite time, and that definite time is now."

May God give us a renewed sense of urgency and such love for sinners that we will be convicted by our conscience if we walk past any person without a deep concern for his salvation. May He also work in our hearts so that our prayers will be permeated with a cry for laborers, so that this world may be reached with the message of eternal salvation.[1]



[1] Cameron, K., & Comfort, R. (2004). The school of biblical evangelism: 101 lessons: how to share your faith simply, effectively, biblically-the way Jesus did (pp. 168-171). Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.