• Matt Beaney

#581 (18/4/22) WHY IS EVANGELISM SO HARD?

This week, as we finish our studies on the person and work of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at the way that He gives us the power to witness.


This week, as we finish our studies on the person and work of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at the way that He gives us the power to witness.


Jesus promises that anyone who comes to Him will receive the Spirit who will then pour out of our lives into the communities around us. Jesus promises,

'Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit...' (John 7:38-39)

These 'rivers' flowing from our lives is, in part, about taking the message of the gospel to our unbelieving communities. However, why do we often fail to see the outworking of this promise? This week, I want to look at this together.


Rico Tice, in his book, Honest Evangelism writes,

‘We all have moments in life we wish we could rewind to and do things very differently. For me, the thing I most regret is what happened before my grandmother’s death. Or rather, what didn’t happen. My grandmother died absolutely convinced that God would accept her because she was a good person. She had no faith in Christ. My brother and I were the only Christians in the family at that point, and my brother broke down in tears when he did the Bible reading at her funeral. I was the only one who knew why. She had died without Christ. And here’s what I regret. In the week before my grandmother died, I did not speak to her about Jesus. I loved her, but I didn’t say anything to her. When my other grandmother had died, I’d taken her hand and prayed with her. But not that grandmother. I just let her go. Why didn’t I tell her about Christ? I’ve come to realise that I was afraid of what she’d say, and I was afraid of what my family would say, because I knew they’d think it was inappropriate and unhelpful. I was afraid. I loved my grandmother, and she loved me, but the hard truth is that I loved myself more than her. I wanted my family to think well of me more than I wanted her to think of Christ as her Saviour. That’s why I didn’t speak to her. I loved myself more than I loved her and more than I loved my Lord. And that means that my family’s respect and having an easy time in life had become idols to me.’

Sharing the gospel is our greatest joy. It’s our greatest desire. We know that those we love and that our community need to hear this good news. However, we all find it hard and often feel like failures. As Christians and churches, we find it easier to do anything other than ‘do the work of an evangelist’ (2 Tim. 4:5). However, If we are truly empowered by the Spirit, we will become the witness that He is calling us to be, and that we all, I’m sure, want to become. Evangelism is hard for a number of reasons:


1. MY INADEQUATE VIEW OF GOD

We are daunted about sharing our faith because we have inadequate views of God such as:

“He leaves it all on me and I’m just not able to do this.”

“God can save anyone and He doesn’t need me.”

“God doesn’t mind if I refuse to be a witness.”

“Not even God can convince people to believe.


Are these ideas that you struggle with? These are strongholds in the mind that need to be destroyed through truth. How would you respond to each of these erroneous positions? Take a moment to think about God’s response to each of these lies.


2. MY INACCURATE VIEW OF PEOPLE

“No one has an interest in talking about the gospel.” The reality, however, is that many, as yet, don’t know their need, but the Spirit is working in some.

“People are more powerful than God and can withstand the Spirit” – We may not admit this to others and even try to hide it from ourselves, but a life without witness is a life without confidence in God’s superior power.

“If I’m winsome, cool, clever people will become Christians” – This foundation will discourage us. We are sent on mission to people who find the message foolish until the Spirit works in them as Paul writes,

'For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.' (1 Corinthians 1:18).

3. MY INADEQUATE VIEW OF DARK FORCES

Evangelism is hard because the devil is working against us. We often feel discouraged or rebellious toward sharing our faith because demonic forces are at work in our lives and the world around us. We read of his work in unbelievers:

‘The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.’ (2 Corinthians 4:4)

If we are to become more effective in sharing our faith, it’s important to realise that we are in a spiritual battle. We need to pray for ourselves and our unbelieving community, if we are to be useful.


RESPONSE

In order to have a right view of God, people and overcome dark forces, it’s important to regularly come to Jesus and spend time in God’s presence in prayer and worship. We need to allow the Spirit to raise our eyes to how great and merciful our God is; we need Him to move our hearts with His compassion. It's those who come to Jesus, thirsty, in prayer who will see rivers of living water flowing out of their lives and their church.


 

This week is our week of prayer and fasting. We will be praying most days on Zoom. Please go to the latest church news or contact the church office for details.










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