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1685. The Matter of Evangelism

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
January 12, 2024 6:00 pm

1685. The Matter of Evangelism

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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January 12, 2024 6:00 pm

Dr. Alan Benson continues the series entitled “Church Matters,” about church membership.

The post 1685. The Matter of Evangelism appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Sr. His intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services. Today, that tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from The University Chapel platform. Today on The Daily Platform, we're continuing a study series called Church Matters. These messages were preached at Bob Jones University to help students choose a church home while attending college. However, these biblical principles apply to everyone, helping us choose where to worship with the body of believers each week.

Today's sermon will be preached by Dr. Alan Benson. Church matters. Church does matter. It matters for so many reasons, and in discussing why church matters, we're looking at some of the matters of the church. Last week when I preached, we talked about one of those matters, and it's the idea, the nature of preaching, of cutting rightly and presenting accurately the Scriptures in such a way that it's clear that the authority of the message is in the Scriptures themselves. Today, I want to talk about another church matter, and it is the matter of evangelism. The euangelion, the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Does it matter?

How much does it matter? And sometimes we think about that in regard to a presentation of merely the death, burial, and resurrection, and I hate to use the word merely with that. There's nothing mere about that. But then someone being called to a point of decision, and that is the gospel. What I want you to see today is that, as we're going to talk about the matter of evangelism and the church, that it is the mission, it is the message, it is the methodology, it is the mandate of the church. I would say to you that in light of what Christ said, if a church is not actively engaged in scriptural evangelism as the mission of that church, that that from its authority fails to be a church. That's a strong statement. I want us to see why this is so important.

I want you to ask yourself a question like this. If a church isn't actively engaged in New Testament evangelism, the presentation of the gospel that looks like both the making and maturing of disciples of Jesus Christ for the glory of God, if that is not what a church is doing, what does it offer to the world? That in any way is unique. And I would say to you that there are other things that churches do, but I believe of those things, there are other organizations and entities that not only can do them, but can do them better.

The mandate, the mission of the church, is evangelism. You know it all too well. We are living in a casualty-creating world. And the world that we are living in, as you heard from Dr. Jay Knowles when he preached the other day, what we're facing in our world is not unique. It's not like the world has all of a sudden gotten to this place where it's doing, it may be doing them in different ways, it might actually be doing them with more intensity, but the world is the world. John described the world when he said, love not the cosmos, the world system and all that is in the world. It's a system that is bent against God.

It has a priority that it sets on the now, on the immediate, on the instantaneous, not the eternal. World that is bent against God. It is a casualty-creating world, and it's not just creating casualties out of those who are outside of the church. It actually, in that system, is creating casualties out of believers.

And some of you know exactly what I'm talking about. Living in this world is not easy. And thus, I want you to know that we realize some of the pressures that you feel because of the world system, because of its ideals, because of what it says matters, because of what it says about your identity. And some of you are struggling with this innate sense of anxiety because of wanting to figure out your identity. And I tell you that the church offers to you hope in that it allows you to see that your identity is in Christ.

These pressures are real. Why does it matter that I go to a church that makes much of the gospel? Because there's some of you sitting here right now, and you're dealing with the idea of the struggles with who you are and where you fit and what you should do.

And does it really matter? And you're expressing it in ways that the world is expressing that struggle. And so yes, we are dealing right here at Bob Jones with students who right now, sitting under the sound of my voice, are struggling with things like drug addiction and your hiding.

Self-harm, eating disorder. And I say to you, if the church does not offer you the gospel and gospel hope, it offers you nothing. So take your Bibles and turn with me, if you would, to Matthew chapter 16. We're not going to stay there, but I want you to turn to Matthew chapter 16. Matthew chapter 16 is an inquiry of his disciples by Jesus over who he was. Peter, as we know, makes an affirmation, thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus responds to that affirmation of his identity with these words in Matthew 16, 17 through 20, and Jesus answered and said unto him, blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood have not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.

And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, the authority of hell. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and that looks like this, and whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. The language there is basically saying that the church will reflect the authority of heaven in the carrying out of its program, then charged to his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. He identifies his person, and in so doing he communicated that he is the head of the church, and he is going to, in an authoritative manner, establish a church that will carry out his mission, reflecting the authority of heaven.

So listen to what he says in verse 21, the very next verse. From that time, in light of this declaration, what does he do? "...began Jesus to show, to demonstrate, to prove unto his disciples how that he must go unto Jerusalem and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and be raised again the third day." The Gospel.

Having identified his person, he now moves to identify his purpose. Jesus moves from teaching his disciples who he was but teaching his disciples what he came to do. He teaches them that he is the Messiah and that he has come to carry out the redemptive plan of God for the salvation of the world, and in so doing he declares to them that he will build his church and that the church will carry out the authority of heaven in accomplishing his Gospel mission. So turn then to Matthew 28.

This is what Jesus says, prophetically, that he will do. That the authority for this mission was seated in him and that he was going to, in a sense, with that authority, build his church and have his church carry out his mission. Thus we come to what we know as the Great Commission, Matthew 28 and verse 16.

In the 11th now, disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them, and when they saw him, they worshiped him but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, listen, all power, authority, is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

Amen. The Great Commission is seated in the prophetic announcement of Christ that he is going to build his church and that that church is going to have a mission of reflecting the authority of heaven and taking a Gospel message to a world that so desperately needs it. He then comes at the end of this time now and commissioning these disciples who now are identified for us, if you will, as the building blocks of the church and that they are to establish this thing for the purpose of carrying out this mission. I've been in church ministry for some 25 years before coming to Bob Jones University. And so I know about the struggles of doing ministry in the world, of leading a church, of leading a multifaceted church, of a church that has all kinds of programs that look like taking the Gospel and reaching into our culture. And I will tell you, sometimes in a first-world culture that is harder than it is in a third-world culture.

The distractions are greater. But one of the dangers for the church in a first-world culture is this danger, that we do all kinds of things as a means to an end. We carry out all kinds of programs, we carry out all kinds of activities, we get incredibly creative to find ways that we might penetrate our culture for the purpose of bringing the Gospel to them. But in our busyness and in our pursuit, it is very easy for a church to substitute the means to the end for the end, and we never get to Gospel work. So I challenge you as you are thinking about selecting a church, and I don't mean for these days while you're in college, I mean for the rest of your life when you think about selecting a church. This is an area that I think you have to give great priority to.

Is this a church that actually is making much of the Gospel, both in the making of disciples, people getting saved, and then in the maturing of disciples, those being transformed through progressive sanctification into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Why does it matter? I want to give us a few reasons. First of all, I want us to consider just quickly the challenge that we face. I think we need to think about what the world is like and what it's facing. If we really are going to ask, does the Gospel really matter? I won't take the time to go there.

I want to encourage you to go there. Go to Romans chapter one if you want to while I walk us through these things. But these are things that we need to consider. And remember, these are written in the first century. This is Romans chapter one, and Paul is describing the world.

What we face in our culture may take unique expressions, but it's not new. This has been the condition of the world since Jesus established his church. This is the challenge and this is why the Gospel matters. What does Romans 1 point out to us that the culture is like?

What is the challenge like? And I want you to see that there are some key markers that mark the world. One is the exclusion of God. The world is always attempting to exclude God. But there's one name under heaven given amongst men whereby we must be saved.

No one is going to attain eternal life without there being a right recognition of who God is. Romans 1 21, for although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him. But they became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened.

23, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Verse 28, and since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased or reprobate mind to do what ought not to be done. The world is marked, it is marked by constant attempts to exclude God.

There is no psychological approach, psychiatric approach. There is no self-help religion that's ever going to bring a man to a place where he acknowledges God. Only the gospel can do that.

I say the church can't help the world if the church neglects the gospel. Secondly, is the elimination of truth. The elimination of truth. How am I ever going to exclude God? Well I guess I have to get rid of absolute truth. Verse 18 says the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth because they exchanged the truth, verse 25, of God for a lie. We're living in a world system that intentionally wants to destroy the basis of absolute truth.

Why? Because when it does that, it can exclude the existence of an omnipresent, omnipotent, sovereign God. I say to you, what does the church offer to the world if it doesn't offer them gospel hope? The world is marked by the elimination of truth, it is marked then thirdly by the elevation of God. Create a vacuum by getting rid of God and by eliminating truth and it leaves a vacuum for the elevation of man.

Verse 23, in exchange the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man. You see the world's system based in its humanism is desiring that it would have a system of authority. But that system of authority elevates the self. You see, built into fallen man is a desire for him to be a God maker.

Because you see, the one who makes God ultimately is God. If that's what's going on in the hearts of fallen men, what hope is there if the church doesn't bring them the gospel? Fourthly then is the excusing of sin. Excusing of sin. God gave them up to a reprobate or a debased or futile mind to do what ought not to be done, verse 28. Verse 29, because of that they're filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetous, malice.

And what he is doing is here identifying the markers of a fallen heart. Envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossip, slanders, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. We're living in a culture that wants to excuse sin. There's no absolute truth in it.

Nothing is absolutely wrong. Which means maybe in a cultural setting that has some level of moral refinement to it, we wouldn't do everything every time, but we can do anything at the right time. That's moral relativism that marks our world. If we don't have the gospel as a moral compass, what hope do we offer a casualty-creating world?

Then there's a fifth marker and that is the endorsement of a culture of death. Somehow if there's built into men an understanding of their culpability before God and that ultimately the culpability for their sinfulness is death. We find in verse 32 of Romans 1 that though they know God's righteous decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die. That death is a result of sin.

They don't really do those things, but they give approval to those who practice them. They endorse a culture of death. It's shocking to us when we see actual expressions of that that look like a culture that somehow cannot just allow but endorse the murder of unborn children or the murder of those that they perceive to be unhelpful citizens and euthanasia. That's shocking to us. It ought to though be an indication to us that you have a world that is endorsing the sinful behaviors that God has said are condemned and thus will bring men to eternal death.

And that's happening every day all around us. If that's what marks the world, what hope do we offer the world if we abandon the gospel? The challenge that we face, quickly I want you to contemplate though in our day, in our first world culture, what has been the church's response. And I'm not indicting any given church, but I'm looking at church in general. I'm looking at church in our culture and I'm saying if I look at the churches, what are some of the things that I'm seeing, that I am observing? And again, it's Alan's observation, but here's some of the things that I see in reaction to that, in wanting to penetrate the culture, maybe with the best of intentions that will eventually get to the gospel, but somehow we see major denominations not getting to the gospel anymore. In fact, making statements, stepping away from the gospel. And what I see is this, the marginalizing of truth.

If I'm trying to reach an audience that says that there isn't any absolute truth, how can I have dialogue with them? Well, I have to somehow marginalize the truth. Yeah, you know that churches hold the truth, but we can put it way over there and there's this sense then that we're going to approach them best with this mindset of a humility. Oh yeah, well, yeah, we don't make a big deal out of that. And I'm not saying that we shouldn't be kind, but if at some point our response to a world that is marked by abandoning truth is that we soft sell the truth and marginalize it so it doesn't matter.

We actually can offer them no hope. Because of that marginalization of truth, there is a minimization or a minimizing of theology. Why is it when you come to Bob Jones University, we put you through five Bible classes that look like understanding the Old Testament and understanding the New Testament and doctrine so that you understand what you believe from the Bible, and ultimately leading then to a class on worldview so you take that theology and look at the world and make all the decisions in life based upon that theology.

Why do we do that? Because that's what matters. But today we're seeing church in general want to somehow minimize theology so does bibliology really matter? Does it really matter that the Scriptures are inerrant?

If that's a rub for people, let's set that aside. Friends, if the word of God isn't the word of God, we don't have anything to offer the world. The doctrine of salvation, is it by faith alone through grace alone? Is it a working of the Holy Spirit in the heart of men? Is Christ really the Son of God, co-equal with the Father? Is His vicarious atonement for sin the only way that a man can receive the grace that brings salvation? Was He fully God and fully man? The doctrine of sin, is man totally depraved without hope in and of himself? Is God God? And what we find as a church wanting to be relevant to a world is taking the very truth that causes its existence to matter and is somehow finding ways to set it aside.

And what does that look like? It looks like a manipulation of the Gospel and thus we have churches declaring things like the health and wealth or the prosperity Gospel. There is again a rush to universalism, the thought that all men ultimately will be saved. There's a rush to reduction theology, let's see what we can take out so that we can all get along.

There's an embracing of ideas like annihilationism that in the end there is no eternal punishment. Friends, if we approach the Gospel, the church approaches the Gospel with a mindset that says we have to find what we can take out. We undermine the very authority of our existence. And that has led then to the marketing of the church.

And this is an area where we need to be careful. The church can be known for everything from therapy to education, from craft shows to coffee shops, from donuts to dating services. And I'm not saying that any of those things are bad in and of themselves if they're a means to an end but if we never get to the end that's not why the church exists.

And you shouldn't be picking a church because it offers you those things. And thus we end up with the messaging to the culture. And the messaging to the culture is this, come as you are, stay as you are, and we'll help you find a way to be happy with you as you are. That's not the Gospel. It is only the Gospel that transforms hearts. It is only the Gospel that then works in lives so that men are being transformed to Christ-likeness.

It is the only hope for the life change that men need. And based on the authority of Jesus Christ, it is the mandate, the mission, the methodology of His church. As you pick a church, look carefully for the Gospel. Let's pray. Father, thank you for your truth. I pray, Lord, that we would take it to heart, that we would apply it to our lives for your glory. For it's in Christ's name that we pray. Amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached at Bob Jones University by Alan Benson from the series called Church Matters.

My name is Wyatt Smith. I'm a senior here at Bob Jones University studying multimedia journalism, and I want to tell you a little about my experience here at BJU. I've been here a little over three years, and I truly cannot say enough about the community here at BJU. Whether it has been in the halls of the dorms, in my incredible society, or even in the classroom, I have always felt a very strong sense of community around me that has aided in my growth as a person and as a Christian. BJU's commitment to academic excellence has also pushed me to discover and refine the skills and talents needed to succeed in life after school, such as communication, critical thinking, and problem solving. My time in the classroom has allowed me to gain hands-on experience in my field of study, all while giving me the freedom to think creatively and build my skills. One aspect of BJU that I've really appreciated is that I've been continuously challenged to develop and grow my faith in Christ through the preaching of God's Word in chapel and the daily discipleship of those in community around me. For any further information, please feel free to give us a call at 800-252-6363. Thank you for listening. Join us again next week as we continue this series on church membership here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-12 19:32:36 / 2024-01-12 19:41:41 / 9

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