Weekly Newsletter

Pastor David’s Weekly Devotional
I heard a story the other day about a church member who approached his pastor and said, “I want you to be more evangelistic in your preaching.  I think you should preach the Gospel in every sermon.”  Surprisingly, the pastor quipped, “Why?  Who are you bringing that needs to hear the Gospel?”

I think this provocative little story highlights the importance of personal evangelism not only for the preacher, but also for every Christian.  While perhaps every Christian desires for their preacher to proclaim the Gospel each Sunday, many never personally bring any unbeliever to church to hear it.  They may assume that others are bringing unbelievers to church, or they want the Gospel proclaimed just in case an unbeliever walks into church, or they may just like to hear the salvation story over and over again.  To make matters worse, however, many preachers preach as if they are only teaching Christians more about the Bible and therefore spend precious little time proclaiming the Gospel.

The point is that all too many churches are little more than a gathering of the “frozen chosen.” That is, Christians gathering strictly to fellowship with other Christians.  This seems to be the natural tendency.  That is, if we do not intentionally keep evangelism as a major focus and goal of our church (and our lives), we will inevitably focus on other things and, practically speaking, become apathetic to the eternally lost condition of unbelievers.  Left unstirred, the passion for evangelism naturally grows cold in the hearts of most Christians.  This is a far, far, cry from what we read of the disciples in the early church: “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus” (Acts 5:42).

If we are not vigilant, we can subtly become a “holy huddle” for Christians to come and feel good about being Christians.  If we are diligent, we can become so internally focused that we give little attention to the thousands of people in Coos County – and millions of people around the world – who have no saving faith in Jesus Christ.  If we are not faithful, we will sinfully fail to obey Christ’s Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt.28:19; see Mk.16:15).  If we are not passionate about evangelism, we may come under the same criticism Christ gave to the church in Sardis when He said, “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.  Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent” (Rev.3:1-3).

I have heard it said that 80% of evangelical churches have 100% of their ministries and programs focused on Christian growth, not evangelism.  Perhaps most of these churches are ministering faithfully and biblically, but without an intentional and practical focus on evangelism they may very well be sacrificing the “best things” on the altar of “good things.”  For sometimes, “the enemy of ‘the best’ can be ‘the good.’”

Just before Jesus ascended into heaven (after His crucifixion and resurrection), He exhorted His disciples by saying, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  Essentially, Christ commissioned them to begin evangelizing locally then nationally and internationally.  The same is true for us today.  Perhaps it would be helpful for us to personalize Christ’s words in this way: “you will be my witnesses in North Bend/Coos Bay, and in all Coos County and Oregon, and to the ends of the earth.”  Each one of us must regularly ask ourselves, “What I am personally doing to fulfill the “Great Commission”?

Together in and for Christ,
Pastor David

Scripture Readings for the Week (Monday – Sunday ~ Week #48):
Deuteronomy 20-22; Nehemiah 1-4; Psalm 137-139; Ecclesiastes 11-12; Malachi; Acts 19-20; 1 John 1-3
Recommended Reading:
“Gospel and Personal Evangelism” by Mark Dever

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