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1715. Loving God with a Heart for Evangelism

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
February 23, 2024 6:00 pm

1715. Loving God with a Heart for Evangelism

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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February 23, 2024 6:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues the Seminary Chapel series entitled “Loving God,” with a message from Mark 12:28-31.

The post 1715. Loving God with a Heart for Evangelism appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University

Welcome to The Daily Platform. Our program features Dr. Steve Pettit.

Today's speaker is Dr. Steve Pettit. The title of his message is Cold Up North. I was in Niagara Falls on Sunday morning at a church there, and it was chilly, but my son said to me, he said, Dad, this is not like the south. He said, south weather is just different than north weather.

So, it's still cold up there, but it's a little different down here. Well, I'm going to ask you to take your Bibles this morning and turn with me to the book of Mark chapter 12. We're going to look in verses 28 to 31 in just a moment. Our theme today is on the idea of loving God and doing that through our evangelistic work, and so my intention this morning is really to challenge our hearts, to stir our hearts up. Most of us recognize the responsibility to evangelize.

We all understand that, but to be out and doing it is a whole other ball game. And perhaps the greatest struggle that all of us have to overcome in the matter of evangelism are our own fears. It's amazing how easy it is for us to be bold about certain subjects that we believe in when it comes to spiritual truth until we have to talk to somebody about the Lord, and then we just sort of freeze up. And we're paralyzed with fear, whether it's the fear of rejection or the fear of failure or whatever. The question is, how do you get rid of fear?

It's not like fear is going to go away and never come back again, but how do you deal with the fears of your own heart? And John tells us that there is no fear in love, but perfect love actually drives fear out. Just like light drives out the darkness in a room because they cannot be together, light can't dwell with darkness, so love can't dwell with fear. And love casts out fear. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. So when we consider the matter of evangelism and we consider the matter of overcoming fear in evangelism, what is the compelling motive behind this?

It's the motive of love. And as we look in Mark chapter 12, verses 28 through 31, I'm not going to really deal with it in the overall context of the passage because I think that these two commands we have here transcend any passage because it's overall commandments. And we read in verse 28, Jesus answered them well, asked him, which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, hero Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all of thy heart, with all of thy soul, with all of thy mind, and with all thy strength. And this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And as we consider these two commandments to love God and to love God, to love men, then what we see here is the primary motivation behind all of our evangelistic work. And the first we see here is the primary and fundamental motive of all evangelism. And that is a genuine love for God. That is a love for his person, a love for his glory, a love that people would honor him and live their lives for him. This is the consuming passion for all men to know, honor, and truly worship God. I'm reading in my own personal reading time a book by Jonathan Edwards.

It's called The End of All Creation. But here's the great thing about it. It's written in language that you can understand. If you've ever read Jonathan Edwards, it takes you like two hours to read one paragraph and you still don't understand it. Well, this guy came along and he wrote, he rewrote it in a way that we can understand it.

So I'm actually, I'm eating it up. What is the end of all creation? What is the ultimate purpose of all things in this world, of all that God has made? It is ultimately for his own glory.

All of creation is for God's own sake. And therefore, Paul viewed his evangelistic work among the Gentiles like a priest in the temple who is offering sacrifices to God. Romans chapter 15, verse 16.

Listen to what it says. Paul said that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles ministering the gospel of God that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. And the words he used are very interesting that I should be the minister, literally a public servant of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. He saw himself as not only an apostle but a slave to the Gentiles and then he says ministering to them the gospel of God. That word ministering there is ministering as a priest. And Paul saw every Gentile as worshipping a false God and he wanted to turn them from worshipping an idol to worshipping the Father and the Son, to turn them from error, to turn them to truth, to turn them from darkness, to turn them to the light.

And Paul viewed that every Gentile that got saved, he was bringing them to the Lord as a sweet-smelling sacrifice, as an offering to God. And when we look at evangelism, how do we view it? We should view it as a means by which God actually is being worshipped. I remember one of the first times I went to India a number of years ago I was overwhelmed with the raw idolatry, the likes of which I've never seen before. And so I went into a Hindu temple and there I watched the people blindly follow a piece of stone. And to be frankly honest with you, it ticked me off that these people were worshipping a dead idol. I saw multiple worshippers coming from all over India to the state of Kerala to worship, which is in southern India, to worship and pay homage to a Hindu deity whose name is Ayyappan. And his name literally means the God of this world. It is estimated that there are 45 to 50 million devotees who come every year to worship Ayyappan in his temple. And they come and many of them are wearing black clothes.

They go almost 40 days without bathing. All is a dedication to a God that doesn't exist. In reality it does exist as a demon spirit. I understand at least to some degree Paul's passion when he was zealous for God's gospel because he was jealous for God's glory. We should be jealous for God's glory. We should be stirred up in our hearts that people are not giving to God the glory that is due. And what is the difference between what we see in India and what we see in America when multiple thousands of people live every day without the knowledge of God?

Where they worship the God of materialism through a covetous heart, living with no thought of God. I was flying a few years ago on a flight out of Indianapolis and I sat next to a man who was a soldier. He was actually getting ready to go back to Germany. He's 43 years old and he's like from the countryside, from the sticks of Indiana. And to be frankly honest with you, you know, you think of somebody in the Midwest, out in the countryside, you'd think they have at least a knowledge of God.

I mean, brother Fred, you're from that part of the neck of the woods, you know, southern redneck Indiana, excuse me. And so I started talking to this guy and I asked him, I said, you know, do you ever go to church? He said, I've never been to church in my life.

43 years old from Indiana, never been to church in his whole life, ever darkened the door of a church. And I asked him, I said, do you ever think about God? And he looked at me sincerely, he said, I never think about God. It's like God isn't even in his mind.

You know, that stirred me up because I think about God all day long and here is a guy living in a world created by God, a man who's created by God himself, who has the manifestation of God at every turn in this world of creation and he never thinks about God. What is a primary and fundamental motive of evangelism? It is that people would come to know the glory of our God and the glory of his son. Love of God is a motivation for our evangelism but let me also say not only that God should be worshiped but also love for God includes my personal obedience to him in the matter of evangelizing because evangelism is actually an act of obedience. Jesus said, if you love me, keep my commandments. Listen to what Paul said, for though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of. I don't have anything to boast about for necessity is laid upon me, yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel. Paul viewed it as his duty whether he wanted to do it or not. Whether I feel a compelling desire to share Jesus Christ or whether I feel nothing at all or whether I somehow feel that I'm in fear and I don't feel like I can do this, God has commanded us to share the gospel regardless of the way we feel. Paul was not looking for a pat on his back or somebody to brag about his work.

He was just simply a slave who was constrained to obey. Let me ask you a question. How many of you have ever come to the reality that your evangelism is really not an option, that it is an obligation? Well, I'm thankful that God's command alone, though it should compel us to be a witness, God still knows that we need to have a stirring in our hearts.

God has given to us the Holy Spirit to prompt us, to help us, to bless us for the work of evangelization. How many of you have ever been prompted by the Spirit to witness to somebody? How many of you didn't do it?

How many of you did do it? And when you did do it, what was the result within your own heart? You know, for me personally, sharing the gospel is one of the quickest ways to enter into, first of all, the reality of God's presence, and secondly, the experience of genuine joy. Because I have found whether somebody becomes a Christian or not, I have the joy of being able to share with them the very thing that can get them into heaven. Just like a doctor has a joy when he can help somebody overcome a disease and there's a satisfaction in his heart that he was able to serve them. So there is a joy in the heart of people that are effectively sharing the gospel. That's why evangelistic people are genuinely joyful people. If I walk into a church on a Sunday morning and it's as dead as four o'clock and it's as cold as a frozen day, I think, where's the evangelism? Because evangelism always warms the heart. It always brings a joy. Generally, an evangelistic church is a joyful church.

Why? Because people are excited. There's a spirit of anticipation. I got to go to one of those churches this past Sunday. Niagara Falls, New York.

We flew to Niagara Falls. The church was Bible Fellowship Center. The pastor's name is Cal Calvin Vandermay. You know, you think of Calvin Vandermay, you're not going to think very evangelistic.

Come on. His brother, John Vandermay, lives here in town and works with us up in our office with Carol Kerstead in our communications department. I'm telling you what, that guy was the most excited guy I've been around in a long time. And he, I mean, that guy was so excited. His church was like that. And he was the song leader. The guy has a built-in loudspeaker when he speaks.

I mean, he's just got a booming voice. And he was leading the singing and the people were just busting it out. They were so happy. Our people got up to sing.

I think we had four or five specials. And, you know, after each special, they were just so happy. They just started clapping. You know, it's not like they were sitting there thinking this is entertainment. They were just excited. They're in church and they're all fired up.

They were there 15 minutes early, all sitting in their place. And the atmosphere had a joy about it. And I got up and preached a message and gave an invitation and a dear lady came down the aisle.

She was weeping. And passed her letter to Christ right there. Another man got saved in the service. I mean, it was joyful. It was a joy of the Lord there. What is the blessing and the benefit for God's people when they obey God?

Joy is always the result of obedience. And when we consider the motivation behind evangelism, what is the great motivation? It is this compelling love that we have for God. But then notice secondly, the second motivation for evangelism is love for our neighbor. We read in Mark 12 31 and the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

There's none of the commandment greater than these. Jesus confronted a lawyer with his responsibility to love his neighbor and the lawyer retorted by asking, who is my neighbor? And from that point, Jesus began to tell them the story of the good Samaritan who helped a Jewish man who had been mugged on the road to Jericho. He had been left for dead and he exposes a religious man, a priest, and another religious man, a Levite, who passes him on the road but he doesn't help him in his need. You know, sometimes religious people are not all that helpful in the real world. Then along comes this good Samaritan, a Samaritan. Do I have to describe to you the viewpoint of a Samaritan to a Jewish person? That's the whole point of Jesus' story. He's flipping their whole viewpoints upside down.

He did that a lot. And this good Samaritan comes along and he responds and he helps and he cares and he meets all the needs to save this man's life. What do we have described in that story? We have a description of what loving your neighbor is. We also have a wonderful illustration of a great model for evangelism because you know, you serve people, you get lots of opportunities to share Christ with them. By the way, the pastor, Pastor Vandermay, just bought a brand new Chevy truck, a 2500 Silverado. And the reason he bought it was not because it was a cool truck but because he has a snow plowing ministry.

And he plows 40 driveways in his community all through the winter for free. And he does it to get the gospel out. I said, how many of those people are coming to your church?

He said, actually, not as many as you think. He says, but it's an opportunity to serve and show Christ's love to people and be able to share the gospel with them because he is serving and he's loving people. Here's what Jesus is saying, your neighbor is any fellow human being you meet who has a need and everybody needs Christ. Therefore, I should be looking for and responding to the opportunities to present the gospel to those I come into contact with on a daily basis who are in need. Galatians 6 10, as we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men. What do we learn about loving people? We learn that love is opportunistic. Love looks for the opportunity to serve.

Now let's be honest, most of us, that's not the way we naturally think. I don't think we go through our day looking for the opportunities to be able to serve, especially people without the gospel. But God puts people along our way who all have needs and God gives you multiple opportunities to witness if you take them.

I got convicted at the end of last year. I traveled in evangelism and so it was my life, that's the way I lived. Then I come to Bob Jones and I'm living on campus at Bob Jones.

I'm here. I don't really go off campus a whole lot except to go to church or to leave or to go somewhere else. I got really convicted that I wanted to share the gospel with people.

I just prayed, Lord, I just pray for open doors. This was like at the end of last school year. Probably about the third week of June I was preaching up at the wilds here in North Carolina and finished on a Friday night and decided to come back home and spend the night Friday night. I was coming down the mountains, if you've ever driven up there before and you know the windy road, I was about halfway down. It was raining. It was probably about 1030 at night, 1015 at night and I'm coming around a curve going down the hill and I see two people standing on the side of the road.

They have these little headlights on their forehead and they were in running clothes, jogging clothes. And I see them standing there and then suddenly it was a man and a woman and suddenly the woman steps out in the middle of the road and she waves her hand like this. And so I slowed down and I rolled the window down and I looked at the woman and I said, ma'am, can I help you? And she said, and she used a little salty language so I won't say what she said, but she says basically we have a problem. I said, well, what's your problem? She said, well, we are ultra runners.

Never heard of it in my life. Apparently an ultra runner is somebody who starts running and they run two, three and four days nonstop and the only time they sleep is they stop on the side of the road and lay down and sleep for an hour or two and they get up and they start running. The woman was from Columbia, South Carolina. The man was from Atlanta, Georgia.

He was a lawyer. And they had parked their vehicle at Oconee County State Park and they had been running since Thursday morning and this is Friday night. And they had been running all the back roads and the trails along the South Carolina, North Carolina border.

Well, what happened was that day we had torrential downpours, we had hail and then they got attacked by yellow jackets. So they were ready to stop running. And I said, well, why don't you get in the car and I said, I'll help you. She says, well, you can take me down to the road and I'll try to get a ride. I said, no, no, no, no. I said, get in the car. I said, I'll help you.

I'll do whatever you need. I was thinking, wow, I got to drive to Oconee County State Park. Man, that's a long ways away. So we're going down the hill and I started talking to her. I said, so your car's in Oconee County State Park. She said, well, actually we have a car there and we have a car at Table Rock. So we put it at the beginning and the end. They were headed to Table Rock State Park. I said, oh, we go right by there. I said, it'll be perfect. I'll just take you to your car.

Well, I got a captive audience. The guy sitting in the back seat, he didn't have a shirt on. He only had a pair of shorts on. And I mean, that guy was a chiseled piece of muscle. I guess he was about 45, 46 years old.

Come to find out that in the month of May, he ran a race in, I believe it was Hungary, and he broke the world record as an ultra runner for running 606 miles in six days. What people get into, I guess, you know. So I'm talking to these two people.

I don't know if there are a couple or not. I didn't dive too deep. And I asked her, I said, where are you from? She said, well, I'm from Columbia.

I said, I grew up in Columbia. And of course, that was the entrance way into beginning to share the gospel. I told her where I went to college. I told her how God changed my life and God saved me. And then I told her that I'm now in Greenville, South Carolina, and I'm the president of Bob Jones University. And for her, this is like blowing her mind.

And for me, it's kind of blowing my mind. But we came together. Well, they weren't really overly interested, at least in their communication of their spirit of the gospel, but they didn't have any choice. They're sitting there and I'm sharing Jesus with them. And so I take them to the place and they thank me. And so the next day, the lady writes me an email and she thanks me for, you know, picking that.

And she, you know, I'm the angel in the night, you know, that kind of a thing. But here's what's interesting is the very next day, I got a letter from a pastor in Asheville, North Carolina. And he told me that he was a runner. And he said, I received an email from this girl that wrote me that we picked up. He said, she wrote me and told me the whole story. And he said, I want you to know that I've actually been sharing the gospel with her.

And of course, I wrote him back and thanked him for the email. But the point of the matter was that I'm just a part of God's plan and that person's life. God at his providence brought us across the pathway. All of us here who believe in the sovereignty of God know this is the way God works.

And you get to be a part of that. What is evangelism? Evangelism is taking the opportunities that come our way. Are you taking gospel opportunities? You know, to be frankly honest with you, if you're not doing that, you're really not getting ministry. As we all know, I mean, we all understand that we're here to study and we're here to learn and thank God for that. But I sat in your seat. I lived here two years, worked in a local church here in the area, was involved in evangelism here, went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, went on visitation Thursday night, youth activities on Saturday night.

All a part of our ministry preparation on Saturday mornings went out and knocked on doors and invited teenagers to activities so that they could hear the gospel. Love is opportunistic. Are you opportunistic? Love is not only opportunistic, but it is creative. It is enterprising. It is proactive. It is looking at all the possibilities.

It's looking at all the options. I'm amazed at what heights young men go to pull off an incredible, unsuspecting engagement. You will do incredibly creative things to show your love. And if we can be that creative in an engagement, how much more creative can we be in evangelism? You know, sometimes we think there's only one way to evangelize.

We've got to do it this way. Well, God gave you a brain so that you can be creative, so you can think of all kinds of avenues and options to get the gospel to people. And why do we do this? It's because we love people, because love is caring. Personal evangelism should never be perceived as impersonal.

Our hearts should be broken. Our hearts should be full of love. True evangelism loves people. It cares for people.

It serves people. It treats people as human beings. It's respectful. It's courteous.

It's not roughshod over people. We don't speak down to people. We are their friends. We are their servants. We are concerned about their lives. We seek to build bridges by building relationships with people. We show interest in their interests.

With some people, you can do this in a minute. With other people, it'll take you a lifetime so that you can be able to share the gospel with people, all for the purpose of showing them God's love and showing them love that they need in their life. So I hope that our hearts will be stirred and that we will be committed to evangelism.

I want to put your feet to the fire. If you are not seeking opportunities to share Jesus Christ, if you're not convicted about it, if you're not stirred up about it, we've got a problem, folks. Because if we love God and we love people, then what will we do? We will share the gospel with him. You've been listening to a message preached at Bob Jones University by Dr. Steve Pettit, and this was part of the Seminary Chapel series, Loving God. Join us again next week as we continue this series on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-23 21:32:21 / 2024-02-23 21:42:36 / 10

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