Posted by Paul Edwards on August 10, 2017
Within the church, there is much confusion on the subject of evangelism, specifically the means and methods to be employed to convince unsaved, unconverted, lost men and women to call upon and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
But more concerning than the confusion around the subject of evangelism is the reality that the church is not seeing powerful movements of the Spirit of God resulting in the salvation of souls. And this second problem is a result of the first. The church places too much emphasis on methods, too much emphasis on talking to men and women about God, and very little time talking with God about lost men and women.
This is not to say that believers do not have a responsibility to share our faith. Rather, it is to say that no amount of sharing our faith can be effective without the power of the Holy Spirit doing the actual work of converting lost men and women. Effective evangelism requires intercessory prayer on behalf of the lost - specifically the lost people we know, and beyond that the lost people we don't.
But intercessory prayer doesn't just happen. It must come from priests (1 Peter 2:9) who have been cleansed and made holy. This cleansing is itself the work of the Holy Spirit on the merit of the Lord Jesus Christ. This cleansing comes as we confess our own sins and immerse ourselves in the word of God every day (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26; Psalm 119:9). Once cleansed, we then are in a position to present ourselves through Jesus Christ in the presence of God (Hebrews 10:19-22) to plead with Him for the souls of lost men and women. We pray in faith, believing God will give to us the souls for which we are asking Him.
Lewis Sperry Chafer says it succinctly: "How little the stupendous fact of this individual power in prayer is realized by Christians today! The present failure on the part of Christians to enter the holy place in intercession according to the appointment of God is sufficient to account for the present lack of Holy Spirit conviction and conversion in the church." Chafer continues, "...the personal element in true soul-winning work is more a service of pleading for souls than a service of pleading with souls. It is talking with God about men from a clean heart and in the power of the Spirit, rather than talking to men about God." [Lewis Sperry Chafer, True Evangelism, 1929]
The burden of my heart is that Redeemer Church will see lost men and women come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. The beginning place for that work is not a program of evangelism. It's you and me - right now, in the quiet of our homes and offices - PLEADING with God for souls.
As you have read this post, God has brought at least one lost person to your mind. Take a moment right now and ask God to open the heart of that person to the gospel. And then patiently wait for God to give an opportunity to share His work of grace in your own life with that person.
Evangelism is pleading with God, not proselytizing people.
Praying with you for souls.
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