Why would we go through this charade? Hasn't God already chosen the elect? Isn't God going to do what He wants to do? So why do we bother?
Why do we act this out if the outcome is already predetermined? God chose who would be His from before the foundation of the world, but that does not mean we should be lax about evangelism. And as Pastor Don Green will remind us today on the Truth Pulpit, proclaiming the Gospel is the means God has chosen to save the people He has chosen. So Christians get the privilege of being used by God to increase His kingdom, thus glorifying Him.
Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. We're continuing our series, Chosen by God, and today Don concludes his message, Election and Evangelism. Last time, Don pointed us to the conversion of the Ephesians to show why we must evangelize. Then the command of Christ was point number two. Today we'll turn to the conviction of evangelism, and Don has six sub-points to aid in your understanding of this subject. So turn to Ephesians 1 as Don continues teaching God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit. Turn over to Romans chapter 10 verse 14. God not only chose who would be saved, He sovereignly, freely, wisely, lovingly, graciously chose the manner in which His purposes in eternity would be implemented in time.
As we talk about this, oh once again you see it, right? You see that we are engaged in things that take us into a realm that transcends earth, that transcends men, that transcends human thought, and we enter into a realm where God has thought, God has spoken, God has deliberated within the counsels of the Trinity and determined what He wants to do. We once again, metaphorically speaking, take off our shoes and set them aside because we are standing on holy ground. We see the wisdom of God on display, Romans chapter 10. Scripture, and what you love about this, if you've only heard these things taught in a superficial abstract way or heard them taught from a position of hostility toward them, what's very encouraging is to see that Scripture answers these important questions for us.
We don't have to speculate. We can read the Bible in our own language with our own eyes and see what God has to say about it. I love God for that.
I love the Bible for that. Now, Romans chapter 10 verse 13, it says, Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Now, that's the call of evangelism. You call on the name of the Lord and you will be saved.
I promise you on the authority of Christ He won't turn you away. Now, verse 14, How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How can they call on Christ if they haven't believed in Him? And Paul just starts to unpack it. He pulls back layers of the onion to get to the core of things. He's just systematically working his way back to explain the purpose and the necessity of evangelism, of the proclamation of the gospel.
And he shows why it's necessary. He says, How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him in whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? And how will they preach unless they are sent? And so he says, look, he says, if no one tells them, they will not have what they need in order to believe. Stated differently, proclaiming the gospel is the means that God has chosen to save the people that He has chosen.
He chose us outside of time. He accomplishes it inside of time through the means of evangelism. God uses evangelism to save men that He set apart before time began. And so this passage in Romans forbids us from getting into fruitless, mistaken, misguided theological speculations and tells us, be real!
Use a level of sanctified common sense. How is someone going to believe in a Savior that they've never heard about? How is someone going to hear about the Savior unless someone tells them?
And how is that person going to tell them unless somehow they're sent to do it? And so from within the church is given rise the speakers who would declare the truth, and they go and they declare the truth to people who have not heard. Now they've heard about Christ, now they're in a position to believe. God does not bypass, God does not go around the very means that He has established for people to be saved. They are to be saved through the proclamation of the gospel.
They are to call upon the one on whom they have heard. And if that doesn't happen, people will not be saved. And so God uses evangelism to save the men that He set apart before time began. Now, with our shoes still off on the holy ground of God, I want you to think about what this means when we preach on Sunday morning, when you share the gospel with family, with friends in your own area of relationships and responsibilities. Paul talks about this treasure has been given in earthen vessels.
God has deposited this rich saving truth in a clay pot. What we should start to see, if you think honestly about your own limitations, your own human limitations, your own weaknesses, your sinful tendencies, your reluctance to share the gospel, the sense of intimidation that you have when you're speaking to someone who is hostile to Christ, and you realize, if we're really honest, we realize how weak we are. And yet to realize that God works through that human weakness to achieve purposes that He established before the foundation of the world, He uses words of men who will one day be gone. We're all mortal.
We're all going to be gone, some of us sooner rather than later. And in our weakness, in our sinful tendencies, in our utter imperfections, in our lack of knowledge, in our lack of courage, somehow, God through the invisible powerful hand, so to speak, of the Holy Spirit works through our weakness and accomplishes eternal salvation and works a work in a human heart that we could never have done on our own. And so we're left with the realization, we're left with the reality that a glorious holy God works through our weak means to achieve an eternal perfect salvation in the hearts of those who hear and believe.
And you know what that does, among other things? That glorifies God. That glorifies His power. It glorifies His wisdom.
It glorifies His ability. He is so strong, so mighty, so powerful in salvation that He can work through someone like you and like me to bring it to pass. And by using weak, fallible, broken vessels to accomplish His purposes, God shows how mighty He is to save.
And I just want to say, wow, praise God. For some of us, myself included, He used the words of men with whose philosophy of ministry we would disagree and saved us through their ministry. That doesn't mean that we replicate their philosophy of ministry because of that, but it just goes to show God is so strong and mighty to save that He can work through such a seemingly impossible, weak, fallible, clumsy method of human messengers.
Wow. And what it does when we're true and we're actually opening the Bible and showing verses is this. What it does is it brings us as the human messenger down and kind of like it's on a pulley as the human messenger and the human will of those being preached to and our inabilities as we're bringing all of that down to the level of reality outside of our silly, puffed-up pride.
Like on a pulley, when we diminish the power of the human messenger, the power of the Word of God is just lifted higher and higher and higher because the Word of God works through weak human messengers to accomplish a powerful result in those who hear. And so the Holy Spirit empowers our communication, which otherwise has no power of its own, to awaken sinners to eternal life. There's a realm that I don't move in, but once in a while I intersect with it of people who will come and they'll tell you how many souls they saved over the weekend. I saved 43 souls last week. I had conversations like that in the early days of our church right in this room with people who came and visited.
Look, that's just so repugnant. I didn't save anybody's soul. God does the saving, and he does it despite me, not because of me.
He does it through the power of his Spirit, through the power of his Word, because he is the one who has chosen to establish evangelism to accomplish his purposes. But I can't go out and make anybody get saved. You as parents who desperately want your children to get saved, aren't you the living example of this? You would save them if you could. You would lay down your life for them if you could. You would reach into their heart and convert it yourself if you could, but you know what?
You don't have that power. And it weakens you and it humbles you and it makes you weep and mourn and pray. And your own household becomes a living illustration of your impotence to convert people on your timetable. And so what you're seeing in your private life is just a reflection, it's an illustration, it's a sample of what's true in the totality of reality in the work of God through the church. We are humbled and we are dependent upon him to do it. And when he does do it, when he does save, rightly understood, the man of God, the woman of God, the young person of God says, glory to God, his powerful word did it again.
It wasn't for me. Because I know how weak I am. I know how inconsistent my prayers are.
I know how many times I turned away when there was an opportunity to speak. Let's talk about the conviction of evangelism. The conviction of evangelism. What I mean by that is what are the attitudes that move us and motivate us in evangelism? The conviction of evangelism.
I'm just going to give you six bullet points, one right after the other here. As we've already seen, and as I hope that you have embraced and understood, the doctrine of election does not make us cold and indifferent to sharing the gospel. It does not make our preaching cold and lifeless. It does not make your heart indifferent to those whom you know and love that are outside of Christ. Quite to the contrary.
Quite to the contrary. The greatest power in the history of the church has been shown when it most embraced these doctrines and acted upon them. Scripture models a multifaceted spirit that animates our interactions with the lost. And this is going to end up being kind of a repeat of some of the things that I've already said.
Election does not make us cold and indifferent. I want to reiterate that. Scripture models a multifaceted spirit that energizes our attitudes, our thinking, our relationships outside the church. What can we say?
I'm going to give you six and they're going to be really quick, so write fast. First of all, we gladly evangelize. We gladly evangelize. Look over at Romans chapter 1. We gladly evangelize. We gladly proclaim Christ. Romans chapter 1 verse 14, the Apostle Paul is speaking. Romans 1 verse 14, Paul says, I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. Verse 15, so for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
I'm eager. I'm glad to evangelize, the Apostle Paul says. The biblical pattern is to anticipate gladly the opportunity to open our mouth on behalf of Christ.
That's one of the convictions of evangelism. We're glad to do it. We're glad to have one more opportunity to obey Christ who told us to go and to teach. We're glad to have one more opportunity to use our fallen lips and tongue to declare the glory of our Redeemer. Oh, just I've got one more, I better make it good.
I want to make it good. I want to tell one more about Christ. I'm eager to do that because it all flows out of the purposes of God. So we gladly evangelize. Secondly, what do we think about the lost? Secondly, we grieve for them. We grieve for them. The plight and the eternal peril of the lost consumes our hearts. And so election doesn't make us cold. The doctrine of election doesn't produce cold-hearted believers. We believe the fullness of God and his love for sinners animates us and our natural human affections for you take on a vertical dimension because we want you to be saved, we want you to be with us as well.
You're not an accounting abstraction to us. We want you to be saved. Now, what else do we do thirdly? We said we gladly evangelize, we grieve over the lost. Thirdly, we reason with them.
We reason with them. We graciously explain truth and uphold our faith to them. Look over at 1 Peter chapter 3. 1 Peter chapter 3. 1 Peter chapter 3 verse 15.
Peter says, Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. We gladly give an account. We gladly explain. And we're not angry and vindictive because someone disagrees with us.
We do it with gentleness, with reverence. We reason with them. You need to think about this. Look at this scripture. You need to think about that.
Look at this, which shows that your worldview is wrong. We reason with them. And we do it with kindness, not with hostility. Fourthly, we appeal to them. Turn back to 2 Corinthians, and as you're turning, we appeal to them. Our hearts are so engaged for the souls of the lost with a desire for their spiritual well-being that we humble ourselves for the sake of their soul.
We're glad to be accounted a fool. We're glad to be mocked and rejected if only some would be saved. We appeal to such a level that we beg. We even beg!
2 Corinthians 5, verse 20. How do we appeal to those who are outside? We are ambassadors for Christ. As though God were making an appeal through us, we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. We appeal.
We beg. Oh, please listen. Please don't walk away. Please don't harden your heart again. Please don't stick your fingers in your ears like that and stop up your ears so that you don't hear.
Please don't do that. Please listen. Please hear me.
Don't you understand that this is the love of God, that this is your only possible means of conversion? I beg you, listen! Hear me, listen! Don't look away. Don't turn away the eye contact.
Don't look at the back of your hand. I'm giving you the words of eternal life and I beg you to listen and to turn your heart to Christ. We appeal to them. We command them.
Number five, we command them. We have a divine message to which they are accountable. The Spirit is not so much that I command you, but that God commands you.
This is not merely an emotional appeal. You must understand that this message comes to you with divine authority and you will be held to account for how you respond. Mark chapter 1 verse 15. Mark chapter 1 verse 15. Mark chapter 1 verse 15.
Jesus said, The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel. An imperative, in fact, two of them in that verse. You, repent. I command you, Christ says.
You, believe. I command you, I say. So that your refusal to believe, your refusal to turn, your refusal to submit to Christ, mark this, is an act of disobedience to the command of God himself. The gospel isn't simply an appeal. It is also a command to be believed.
Just a quick review. We gladly evangelize. We grieve for them. We reason with them. We appeal to them.
We command them. Finally, point number six of this conviction of evangelism. We pray for them.
We pray for them. Turn back to Romans 10 as I close. Romans chapter 10. Paul, again speaking of those unconverted Jews, says, Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.
Let me wrap it all up in a bow here. The great realities of election and evangelism humble us so that we depend on God for the results. Even people who think they believe in the human will, the power of the human will and salvation, they show on their knees that they don't really believe what they say they believe because they too pray God save them. They appeal to the sovereignty of God to do a work that they can't do on their own. And so in all of this, in the doctrine of election, in the doctrine of evangelism and the way that they interrelate, we're humbled under all of it to such a point that we say, God, we are dependent upon you to do anything with our meager words to accomplish your purposes. Oh, God, won't you give power to your word? Oh, God, won't you do a work in their hearts? Oh, God, won't you save them because, oh, God, I can't.
I can't. So how does election relate to evangelism? You should see that our love for God's truth so engages the totality of our being at an intellectual, emotional, volitional level that the totality of our person embraces the responsibility, the opportunity, and the privilege to evangelize and with humble, pleading voices of authority based on Scripture, we call man to Christ.
The doctrine of election has never made an understanding Christian cold and indifferent. It has engaged him with the power, with the saving purposes, with the compulsions of mercy, kindness, and love that animated God to send Christ in the first place. And so it glorifies God all the more that he would use us to accomplish his purpose. And so, brothers and sisters in Christ, share the gospel freely somehow in ways that we can't understand and in ways that we can't predict. God will use his word and he will turn sinners through our faithful ministry to Christ.
That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with part two of a message titled Election and Evangelism. We've learned that we should gladly evangelize, we should grieve for the lost, and reason with them from Scripture, appealing with all our hearts. We reiterate biblical authority and commands. And finally, we pray. Well, Don has more powerful teaching on the doctrine of election next time on The Truth Pulpit, and we hope you'll join us then.
But right now, here again is Don with some closing thoughts. Well, you know, my friend, I really think it comes down to this simple point. We want to take some of the credit for our salvation, that we help determine our own destiny, and the Bible doesn't give us that option. We have pride in our heart that makes us want to be like that, yet Scripture says that salvation is of the Lord. It's by him, through him, and to him.
Friend, let me encourage you to continue your study of God's Word, and you'll find that God gets all of the glory for salvation, and that's why we respond to him with a heart of praise. Thanks, Don. And friend, we invite you to visit thetruthpulpit.com. There you'll find information about free CDs of Don's teaching, and also a link to Don's Facebook page. That's all at thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time, as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit.
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