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Simple Evangelism

                 Simple Evangelism

                                           Simple Evangelism


One problem with large-scale evangelism, like that of Reinhard Bonnkeís, is that the evangelist has become lifted up. In the eyes of many people he has become a hero, an elevated individual, a celebrity. He has been raised to a different level from the Ďcommoní individual.

But he is not on a higher level in Godís eyes. Everything that has become lifted up by man has to be brought down by God:

For the day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up Ė and it shall be brought low (Is 2:12).

God gives and God takes away. Where ťlitism occurs in the Church, God will destroy it, or it will destroy the Church. Because, the Church is not the buildings, the structure, the institution, and all that goes with those things; itís the ordinary people. And He wants you and me to:

  • Fulfil my joy by being likeminded (Phil 2:2).

You soon find out that the big-name evangelists are not likeminded when you try to contact them. They wonít fellowship with you on the same level. They generally have to be on stage, and you down below, on the ground level. Either they do not consider themselves on the same level, or their position has put them up higher where they are unreachable.

  • Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself (Phil 2:3).

For decades I looked up to ministers as if they were on a higher spiritual plane than me. That was an illusion. God showed me it was a fallacy.

But, even so, men like Reinhard Bonnke, Benny Hinn, Luis Palau, and others who have reached many millions of people for the Gospel, have had my great respect for their workís sake and for the achievements of their lives. However, that should not cloud our judgement of Godís estimation of them. In comparison with you or me, how do they compare? Paul repudiated such comparisons as futile, unwise, unhelpful and counter-productive (2 Cor 10:12). The truth is that, just because such men have reached many more in their work, does not mean they are spiritually superior to you or me. God looks on things differently to the way we view them humanly.

The spiritual viewpoint is not the physical viewpoint. The humble person is the most celebrated in Godís count (Is 66:2), not the one who has reached the most people for the Gospel.

If you take a discerning look through the New Testament, you see that Jesus elevated godly women. Why? Because society put them down. He commended the woman who wept over Him, washing His feet with her hair (Lk 7:44). He praised what Mary did, lavishing expensive perfume on Him (Matt 26:6-13; Jn 11:2). He extolled the sacrifice of the poor widow at the temple treasury (Mk 12:43).

Women in many societies are still terribly put down, undervalued, and underappreciated. Yet it is a woman who portrays allegorically the Church and all that is good with the Church. And in symbolic dreams God frequently portrays oppressive church leaders, false ministers, and the unconverted as men.

God invariably likes to turn the tables on wrong concepts and incorrect approaches.

For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God (Lk 16:15).


The Evangelistís Contribution

Is there not division in the Church because of the elevation of evangelists, preachers, ministers? You bet there is!

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (1 Cor 1:10).

We donít see a harmonious Church today. It is fractured into thousands of pieces, and most of the problem has been caused by leaders. Self, pride and ambition have been chief factors in spawning this state of affairs. Human nature hasnít changed since Ezekielís time. And the lesson Ezekiel 34 teaches us is about ministers fleecing the people instead of feeding them. Falsity abounds today in churches!

Whatís the use of evangelists bringing in new converts into churches rife with contention, pride, error, deception, ministerial superiority, ťlitism, and where so-called Ďservants of Godí jockey for position?

Look at the lesson of the widow:

Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much (Mk 12:41).

So it is with the capable and extrovert, who often aspire to ministerial positions. They are able to contribute much to the temple treasury. I donít mean in fiscal terms. I hope you get my Ďdriftí.

  • Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites [very small copper coins] (12:42).

So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, ďAssuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihoodĒ (12:43,44).

Jesus considered her contribution very great! So it is with evangelism. Your personal example goes a lot further than the Ďpreachí standing on his platform. Itís the light of your life which can penetrate the darkness of othersí lives. Your sacrifice speaks greater volumes than many soap box sermons.


The Calling Of A Disciple

I hope you realise that you are called to be a disciple of Jesus. As a disciple, you are in all respects the same as your Discipler. If you donít believe that, read John 14:12-14 and Luke 6:40. You are not divine, of course. I donít mean that. I mean that you can do, and should do, what Jesus did as a human being. He showed compassion, love, sacrifice, and personal discipline.

A disciple is one disciplined to live precisely like the Discipler. Itís a tall order, but one we should consistently aim for. Perfection is the goal (Matt 5:48).

As one called by Jesus, He commissioned you:

  • Go therefore and make disciples... (Matt 28:19).

How can you make disciples?

  • Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you (28:20).

And if you do that, He promises to be with you always (28:20b).

Evangelism is for all disciples, not just for evangelists.

Philip was a deacon (Acts 6:5), but he evangelised and many heeded his words (Acts 8:5-8).

You donít need a position. You need the Spirit. With the Spirit of Jesus going with you, He does the miracles, and those works do a work of conviction.

The multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed, and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed (Acts 8:6-7).

It wasnít because Philip was an evangelist that he evangelised. He wasnít an evangelist back then. He was a deacon, doing menial work serving the Church. When he reached out to others, God backed him up, and thatís when he became an evangelist (Acts 21:8). I hope you see how God works.

You donít evangelise because you are an evangelist. You evangelise because God is with you. When He uses you to bring others to Him, you become an evangelist.

Many hanker after the Ďpositioní. But there is no position! In their vanity, such people think being an evangelist is being elevated. Silly fools! Itís the opposite of that. Itís laying down your life for others. Itís making yourself of no repute, so that you can win others to Christ, like Paul did.

A lady who meets in our home fellowship was told in a prophetic word about 14 years ago that she would have a healing ministry. 14 years later she now does. God trained her through her life of labour and love for Jesus, so that she is equipped to serve the body in the unique way God can use her.

When demons are present, she hears a clicking noise in her left ear. People, even believers, need deliverance from demons. So in teaching others to put their faith in Jesus, she can help them be delivered from demons and receive their healing.

She doesnít have a public platform. Thereís no soap box, no advertising, no microphone, no loud speakers, no fanfare, no razzmatazz. Itís all very simple. She has shared Jesus individually with her workmates, challenging them about belief in God, about the power and grace of Jesus, and given them some MM publications for food for thought. With that introduction, Jesus backs her up, giving a dream to each person, or to her about the person. This super- natural element brings a new dimension into their life, just like Philip brought to the Samaritans.

She wasnít ordained an evangelist. She took her Ďmarching ordersí in the humble workplace of a school kitchen. But on cost-effectiveness she is more effective than Reinhard Bonnke or any big-time evangelist who needs mega-money to reach the masses. She doesnít depend upon money to reach the Ďlostí. She depends upon the Spirit.

God leads her to people now outside her work- place, and will lead her further afield as time elapses.

The early Church expanded in the same way, by individuals reaching individuals. There was no mega-money, no loud speakers, no microphones, no razzmatazz. They were simple disciples, doing simple evangelism.

Itís time for change in todayís perverted world. And thereís nothing more perverted today than some of the concepts the Church has inherited. Reliance upon money; reliance upon personalities; reliance upon programmes Ė itís all perverse! Itís not of God!

If all disciples were to be self-disciplined as Jesus was, they would see the power of God move more powerfully and effectively than before. A team of such self-disciplined individuals, sold out to God, would achieve far more than all the big names on the worldís evangelical stages!

Fired up by Godís Spirit inside, with the flames of love for Jesus burning, the light of Jesus in you can have more impact than big celebrations that tend to have an emotional impact for the moment.

YOU are the light of the world (Matt 5:14).

Jesus was the main Light of the world and He wasnít a silent witness. His Light spoke, too. So, let your light do its work as Jesus commanded (Mt 5:16).

Malcolm B Heap, September 2007
 

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