Persisting in Evangelism, part 1 Purpose of the series: A refresher in evangelism together Different scales - individual/family, community group, whole church Different spheres - Judea, Samaria, Ends of the Earth For each, what will I do, and what will we do. Acts 1.8 - gives us the categories of Judea, Samaria, Ends of the Earth Acknowledge the danger: 'We want to reach people' (why?) - 'To build them up and send them out' - (why?) 'So they can reach people' [cf network marketing] [Actually a very recent way of talking about evangelism] Rather, our vision is not for growth but for Jesus himself [to make Jesus famous, loved and followed]; we want, together to enjoy him and embrace his good rule, and display that new creation reality. Because there is true worship of the Christ, we want others to come and join us in that. Rather then the awful alternative of eternal torment in hell along with all those who rejected God and his King. For love for them, we want them to be redeemed. Whether or not they ever become effective evangelists themselves. 1. Knowing who we are in Christ 2. Building relationships 3. Speaking the gospel 4. Connecting to community 18th June, today, it's 'Judea'. My existing friends and family. Planting and partnership locally in the NE Acknowledge; at some level this is the hardest sphere, because there already is a status quo; there already is a boat to rock. Yet at the same time remember that, p rimarily, the gospel has spread along relationships and down through families. What stops us: We feel ashamed, or not under obligation - cf Romans 1.16 We doubt that it has any effect or result - cf Matthew 13 Disappointment, delay, dramatic results. We want a different method or different message, since our existing one doesn't seem to have enough success - cf 2 Corinthians 4 2 Cor 4. Paul did not appear to be having enough success; his ministry is under attack. Hence he writes 2 Corinthians. So we have a letter reminding us of what true gospel ministry is. He refused to justify his ministry by results. v1 & 16; we do not lose heart. He recognises that one of the greatest difficulties is plain discouragement in the work. It's NORMAL to have periods of despondency. At this point of discouragement, certain temptations come to us. One of two shortcuts (or both); to use wrong methods (v2 - secret or shameful ways/deception/manipulation); or a wrong message. 'We refuse to distort the Word of God.' It's not our job to overcome consumer resistance to the gospel. Instead, the answer is keeping tight hold of a correct framework for Christian life & ministry. 6 questions. 1. What makes us qualified for evangelism? v1 the mercy of God. As Christians, we are those who have received mercy. Not based on what we can give, but on what we have received. v7, jars of clay. Not on our own abilities, or whether we've read the book or been on the course. 2. What are we up against? v4 A powerful foe. We are always 'playing on away ground.' Circumstances seem to work against us, etc. Remember this, since it protects us from a naieve optimism. Expect it to be tough. 'Remember that there's a war on.' 3. What are our resources? v2, 5. Setting forth the truth plainly. Preaching Jesus as Lord (not ourselves). Would you like to read the Bible with me? 4. What is the particular attack of satan? Blinding. v3-4 5. What needs to happen? A miracle of light, v5. 6. What is the link between the unbeliever and the miracle of light? Ourselves. We are servants, whom God uses as a link. The self wants an easy, conflict-free life and so it fights against evangelistic living. So we make selfish choices which are actually, ironically, worldly. Jesus gives us a new power to push outwards and intentionally pursue ways to speak the gospel. He gives fresh encouragement. He gives the assurance of the harvest in due time. 4 things in summary Don't lose your nerve on the gospel Resolve to speak the gospel, and open the Bible, whatever comes Never lose a sense of the joy and privilege of evangelism Keep encouraging one another Keep praying The God of all comfort. Keep applying the riches of the gospel to ourselves. It's why the whole letter of 2 Cor was written. Key next steps: A next step with friend, family, neighbour Stock up on resources. Will you read the Bible with me? Next step as a CG Suggest an invitational event as a church - eg bbq, costa, CEx, WWAW OTHER ELEMENTS: We want someone to coordinate partnerships - could that be you? Week to week communication and update Annual review of giving to church planting/with a panel Prayer specially for this - ask someone to pray Visit to Middlesbrough/Hartlepool/Gosforth NEGP - week 1 FIEC - week 2 A29 - week 3
2 Corinthians 4:1-18
The Light of the Gospel 4 1 Therefore, having x this ministry y by the mercy of God, 1 we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced z disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice 1 cunning or a to tamper with God’s word, but b by the open statement of the truth c we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even d if our gospel is veiled, e it is veiled to f those who are perishing. 4 In their case g the god of this world d has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing h the light of i the gospel of the glory of Christ, j who is the image of God. 5 For what k we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with l ourselves as your servants 1 for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, m “Let light shine out of darkness,” n has shone in our hearts to give o the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Treasure in Jars of Clay 7 But we have this treasure in p jars of clay, q to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are r afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but s not forsaken; t struck down, but not destroyed; 10 u always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, v so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So w death is at work in us, but life in you. 13 Since we have x the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, y “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that z he who raised the Lord Jesus a will raise us also with Jesus and b bring us with you into his presence. 15 For c it is all for your sake, so that as d grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, e to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. f Though our outer self 1 is wasting away, g our inner self h is being renewed day by day. 17 For i this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 j as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:1-18
4 1 Διὰ τοῦτο, ἔχοντες τὴν διακονίαν ταύτην καθὼς ἠλεήθημεν, οὐκ ἐγκακοῦμεν 2 ἀλλʼ ἀπειπάμεθα τὰ κρυπτὰ τῆς αἰσχύνης, μὴ περιπατοῦντες ἐν πανουργίᾳ μηδὲ δολοῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ ἀλλὰ τῇ φανερώσει τῆς ἀληθείας συνιστάνοντες ἑαυτοὺς πρὸς πᾶσαν συνείδησιν ἀνθρώπων ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ. 3 εἰ δὲ καὶ ἔστιν κεκαλυμμένον τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἡμῶν, ἐν τοῖς ἀπολλυμένοις ἐστὶν κεκαλυμμένον, 4 ἐν οἷς ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου ἐτύφλωσεν τὰ νοήματα τῶν ἀπίστων εἰς τὸ μὴ αὐγάσαι τὸν φωτισμὸν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς δόξης τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ. 5 Οὐ γὰρ ἑαυτοὺς κηρύσσομεν ἀλλʼ Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν κύριον, ἑαυτοὺς δὲ δούλους ὑμῶν διὰ Ἰησοῦν. 6 ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ὁ εἰπών• ἐκ σκότους φῶς λάμψει, ὃς ἔλαμψεν ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν πρὸς φωτισμὸν τῆς γνώσεως τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν προσώπῳ [Ἰησοῦ] Χριστοῦ. 7 Ἔχομεν δὲ τὸν θησαυρὸν τοῦτον ἐν ὀστρακίνοις σκεύεσιν, ἵνα ἡ ὑπερβολὴ τῆς δυνάμεως ᾖ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ μὴ ἐξ ἡμῶν• 8 ἐν παντὶ θλιβόμενοι ἀλλʼ οὐ στενοχωρούμενοι, ἀπορούμενοι ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἐξαπορούμενοι, 9 διωκόμενοι ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἐγκαταλειπόμενοι, καταβαλλόμενοι ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἀπολλύμενοι, 10 πάντοτε τὴν νέκρωσιν τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματι περιφέροντες, ἵνα καὶ ἡ ζωὴ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματι ἡμῶν φανερωθῇ. 11 ἀεὶ γὰρ ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες εἰς θάνατον παραδιδόμεθα διὰ Ἰησοῦν, ἵνα καὶ ἡ ζωὴ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ φανερωθῇ ἐν τῇ θνητῇ σαρκὶ ἡμῶν. 12 ὥστε ὁ θάνατος ἐν ἡμῖν ἐνεργεῖται, ἡ δὲ ζωὴ ἐν ὑμῖν. 13 Ἔχοντες δὲ τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πίστεως κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον• ἐπίστευσα, διὸ ἐλάλησα , καὶ ἡμεῖς πιστεύομεν, διὸ καὶ λαλοῦμεν, 14 εἰδότες ὅτι ὁ ἐγείρας τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν καὶ ἡμᾶς σὺν Ἰησοῦ ἐγερεῖ καὶ παραστήσει σὺν ὑμῖν. 15 τὰ γὰρ πάντα διʼ ὑμᾶς, ἵνα ἡ χάρις πλεονάσασα διὰ τῶν πλειόνων τὴν εὐχαριστίαν περισσεύσῃ εἰς τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ. 16 Διὸ οὐκ ἐγκακοῦμεν, ἀλλʼ εἰ καὶ ὁ ἔξω ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος διαφθείρεται, ἀλλʼ ὁ ἔσω ἡμῶν ἀνακαινοῦται ἡμέρᾳ καὶ ἡμέρᾳ. 17 τὸ γὰρ παραυτίκα ἐλαφρὸν τῆς θλίψεως ἡμῶν καθʼ ὑπερβολὴν εἰς ὑπερβολὴν αἰώνιον βάρος δόξης κατεργάζεται ἡμῖν, 18 μὴ σκοπούντων ἡμῶν τὰ βλεπόμενα ἀλλὰ τὰ μὴ βλεπόμενα• τὰ γὰρ βλεπόμενα πρόσκαιρα, τὰ δὲ μὴ βλεπόμενα αἰώνια.
14 a I am under obligation both to Greeks and to b barbarians, 1 both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. The Righteous Shall Live by Faith 16 For d I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is e the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew f first and also to g the Greek.
14 Ἕλλησίν τε καὶ βαρβάροις, σοφοῖς τε καὶ ἀνοήτοις ὀφειλέτης εἰμί, 15 οὕτως τὸ κατʼ ἐμὲ πρόθυμον καὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς ἐν Ῥώμῃ εὐαγγελίσασθαι. 16 Οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, δύναμις γὰρ θεοῦ ἐστιν εἰς σωτηρίαν παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι, Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι.