(“He who wins souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30 NKJV)
Last week we discussed Evangelism Session #2 by Dr. Barry Jones, a Dallas Theological Seminary professor. I entitled the post “Can I Get A Witness?” In the session Dr. Jones talked about our “divine mission” to witness to the non-believing world, and what the word “witness” means. He said as a qualifier, “It’s always necessary to use words.” But the first step in using words is to earn the right to use those words by “living out the truth of the gospel” so that people can see our changed and different lives of “justice and peace.
The focus this week in Session #3 is the term “evangelism”, which is under the category “witness” of the last session, which in turn was under the category “mission” of the first session. Dr. Jones said our role of evangelism plays a major part in “God’s Unfolding Cosmic Story!”
Dr. Jones quoted D.T. Niles, that evangelism is just “one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread”. I used that quote in a previous Soulwinnersr.us post. He then said that Martin Luther’s last quoted words before he died were, “We are all beggars, that is true.”
Dr. Jones pointed out that our persuasiveness and charisma are not what produces results, and we in fact should not concern ourselves with results, because it’s God’s Holy Spirit that ultimately wins souls for Jesus. Our role is to just use words to tell Jesus’ story of His death and resurrection.
Dr. Jones told of his own experience one weekend where he spoke to a group of teens. He said the first night he was really “really feeling it” as he spoke with power and conviction the message of Christ, but when he gave the altar call not one teen came forward to accept Christ. He said the funny thing was that the next night he felt his message was weak and disjointed, but many, many teens came forward to accept Christ!
To further get his point across of the fact that only God and His Spirit has the power to change hearts is the story of Jonah, and that Jonah did everything wrong and was even “racist” in his lamentations about the people of Nineveh turning away from sin and toward God. In the end, however, Dr. Jones said one redeeming fact was that Jonah likely was the only one who could have truthfully told the story about being swallowed and spit out by the fish, being reluctant to evangelize Nineveh, and showing racism against the people. And in the story in the Bible Jonah didn’t make himself out to be a hero.
An interesting statistic Dr. Jones used is the fact that the average Christian has been witnessed to approximately 32 times before he or she gives their hearts to Christ. He asked his students about their experience in that 32 time “continuum”.
In conclusion Dr. Jones said that modern individualism has hindered evangelism. He and his students talked about the fact that while salvation is a wonderful individualistic experience; it can, however, cause us to "lose or ignore the cosmic dimension of what God is up to in the world”.
I don't want to lose or ignore that cosmic dimension of what God is up to in the world. Instead, I very much want to embrace and play a role in "God's Unfolding Cosmic Story” . . . How about you?
See you next time,