So, "Is Mark Driscoll, the well known pastor/author/national conference speaker, correct? The answer is a resounding YES! The truth is Jesus gave us the Acts 1:8 challenge, just before He ascended into heaven and said: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth".
Let's look at what Jesus said for a second:
- "You shall have power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you"...the qualifier "when" specifically implies that ONLY when the Spirit of God confirms a person's salvation by abiding in him/her, that the Power of God is placed inside EACH believer for the advancement of the Kingdom with "Dunamis" or dynamic power. This is the word from which we get "dynamite"!
- "You shall be My witnesses" ....the word for witness is the same word from which we get the English word Martyr! Witnesses in the original Greek is "martyres". Jesus is not saying we are all going to be killed or imprisoned for our Faith in Christ, as our brothers and sisters are in islamic countries or China. What He is implying though, is we do have to die to ourselves and walk the Walk that He did, so others will want to follow Him.
- "...in Jerusalem, in all Judea....to the remotest part (or the ends) of the earth" This is the one Christians are having some big trouble with - so they ignore it! That's it! The church and its pewsitters simply ignore the Acts 1:8 challenge! Here the LORD, right before He goes back Home to Heaven, lays out the Evangelism Strategy for us before He returns for the Second and Last time.
Here is the Strategy:
*** Jerusalem: Jesus said this from the hills outside Jerusalem where He was crucified and rose from the Grave and ascended into Heaven. Hence Jerusalem for us, is EVERYTHING outside the door of our own homes!
***Judea and Samaria: This was the land of ancient Israel. For us, this is the entire country of the United States or wherever you live - Canada, South Africa (or Russian, Lithuania, the Far East etc according to the demographics of the readers of this blog for the past few years).
***The Ends of the Earth: This is foreign missions. Notice, I did NOT say the missions field, because too many uninformed Christians think they are not part of any missions outside the door of the church, after the service is over at 11:30am....and "that is what we pay missionaries for!!!"
Here is the "Skinny":
- Too many modern church programs are geared mainly towards self-help; overviews of "this or that" book of the Bible or some apologetics class. Hence, the few who show up to these classes or sessions, view them as all they need to so-called "grow" as a Christian. Once they leave the premises to "beat the Baptists to Bob Evans Restaurant", that's all the Jesus they need for the week!
- Too many preachers, from churches of any size, are afraid to preach the True Truth - the Gospel of Repentance; the Coming Wrath and the need for making things Right with God.
- Too many preachers say all a person has to do be saved is to "Trust" that his/her sins are forgiven and that's it! No Godly sorrow. No Repentance. No confession. No crying out for forgiveness. No understanding of the NEED for a Savior...."all you have to do IS TRUST"!
Now, Trust is a good thing! It literally means the "full reliability and confidence" in your belief! As far as Salvation is concerned, Trust comes second to what's more important - Repentance! If a person's sins ARE NOT forgiven, they will not be allowed into Heaven, period! You can "Trust" all you want! I will expound more on this, later this week.
- Too many preachers also exhort us to "tell someone" about Jesus or just "tell them Jesus loves them"....and that will get them saved! Has any of this ever gotten anybody truly saved?! Is this even in the Bible?! The answers are NO, no and then, no.
Here is the "Stink":
Mark Driscoll is right - we DO stink at Evangelism! In the over eight years I have been involved in street evangelism, I can count on one hand or maybe two hands, the number of times I have seen either a local pastor and/or his church, doing anything to reach the lost of this city. You can extrapolate this to any city close to you. There seems to be no passion for the lost; no urgency to see them saved or even help meet their needs on a consistent basis. There may be a food drive or two around Christmas and Thanksgiving, but those are good works, not evangelism. We are supposed to be already doing those things. It is easier for these lazy Christians to write a check for $5, $20 or even $100 and more for someone going to an exotic place abroad (where "they need Jesus") than to do something RIGHT HERE IN TOWN, like volunteer two hours at a soup kitchen or at the Mission with some tracts, seasoned with true love!
More and more, as people get more and more comfortable in their airconditioned sanctuaries and pews, waiting to be served. These same people go to work the next day and return to their routines without fail....with Jesus as an afterthought. Occasionally, if a co-worker dies or gets in an accident or develops a horrible illness, and a churchgoer is identified as a christian, there is a 30% chance that the majority non-believing group at the office or factory will come by and even ask if prayer may help.
Here is the chance to finally address, WITH LOVE, the person's need for the Jesus Who heals - not just body, but soul - but what do most Christians do? They promise to keep that person in their "thoughts and prayers" and then proceed to never pray for them or worse, then call their pastor or somebody else to pray for what they, themselves promised that person! Most non-believers know immediately whether we are the real deal or not! We can't fool the devil nor those who walk in his world. But we are making him not worry a thing about us because most Christian do not even walk out their faith, far less try to share/live/walk the Gospel of Jesus where they spend most of their waking and energetic offices - where they work. Beware of this - others WILL use the guise of sharing a Christ we don't recognize from Scripture, and hence from the Father, via left - wing politics. Be aware of this during the political season - Social Gospel is not about Jesus or getting someone saved to go to Heaven. It is about taking verses from the Sermon on the Mount out of context, in order to promote this or that secular political policy! Also, many non-Christian religions have become more expert at Evangelism than us, because we left the doors wide open for them. More Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses and even moslems are doing more to reach the lost (and make they more lost) while we sit and have potlucks and talk about exegesis and systematic theology or golf!
Here is the Summation:
Since inside the church is the same as the mission field as outside the sanctuary, we can pray to Almighty God that He raises up His Evangelist from the comfortable we live in. The entire city and region near you and I are becoming more and more lost daily. The field and the opportunity just outside our doors. Let's take it and run with it and make our King proud, that He chose us to represent Him! Amen!
Please Watch This Video! It will fire up all future (and current) evangelists!