Share This Episode
Truth for Life Alistair Begg Logo

Examining Our Motives

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
June 8, 2023 4:00 am

Examining Our Motives

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1060 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

June 8, 2023 4:00 am

Every Christian is called to share the Gospel—but sometimes our motives for sharing aren’t biblical. Discover what the Bible reveals as the two primary motives that should drive us to tell others about Jesus. That’s on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Rob West and Steve Moore
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Line of Fire
Dr. Michael Brown

Every one of us as Christians is called to share the Gospel. Sometimes, though, our motive for sharing the Gospel might not be biblical.

Today on Truth for Life, Alistair Begg takes a closer look at what the Bible reveals about the two primary motives that should drive us to tell others about Jesus. It's going to be very important that our motivation is seen to be in accord with the pattern and the principles of Scripture. I say that because we are aware of the fact that there are a number of motives which are often used and which we may succumb to in relationship to the whole question of evangelism, which are spurious, and therefore, they are to be rejected. First of all, a spurious motive is a desire for peer group acceptance. And directly related to that is the motivation of dutiful conformity to external constraints. That is not to negate, nor is this addressing the question of dutiful obedience to the external constraint of Scripture.

I'm talking now about being pressed upon by the framework in which we find ourselves to be involved in perhaps a particular kind of evangelism, and we don't have any drive from within us at all, and we're tempted to go simply being constrained from outside. Or that we might have within us a perverted desire to pronounce judgment upon people. You say, Not me? Well, that's good.

I hope not you. But it is true of some. And a certain form or style of evangelism seems to feed that need within them, and it's a perverted desire within them.

It's not biblical at all. And right along with that, another spurious motive is a desire to gain control of people. For when we are wielding the sword of the Spirit, when we're going amongst people with information that we have gained a clear understanding of ourselves, we go in a position of power. And sometimes it's possible for people to want to be involved in these things because of the control that it gives them. Or, fifthly, a sense of meeting a required quota.

A bit like working in corporate America in sales, actually. And it is definitely, definitely an unbiblical and spurious motive. If we seek to address the question of motivation and summarize it in just two motives, then they are these. That first of all, we should be driven by love to God and a concern for his glory, and then secondly, love to man and a concern for his welfare.

And so what I'd like to do is to spend our time this evening examining each of these and the implications of them in turn. First of all, being concerned with love to God and a concern for his glory. Our love for Jesus, we're told time and again, is revealed in our obedience.

John 14.21, Jesus said, If you love me, you will obey my commandments. So the issue of the compelling influence of God in our lives and a concern for his glory brings us to the place of obedience. And since evangelism is one of the activities that the Father and the Son have commanded, we have no right, then, to decide that evangelism in any shape or form is some kind of optional extra for a rarefied few within the fellowship.

And I think sometimes, as churches, we tend to get into that. But in actuality, when we read our Bibles carefully, we discover that God has demanded of us and commanded us to be involved in evangelism, each one. And indeed, his purpose for the world is directly related to our willingness to be obedient to his command. Now, when we mention obedience, sometimes people get a little bit distressed, because they have come out of an environment where any thought of obedience implies reluctance. But in actuality, obedience to Jesus Christ should not imply a spirit of reluctance, but rather, that it should imply one of joyful privilege. And so, when we look the Great Commission straight in the face, as it were—Matthew 28, 19—we must appropriate the promise of his presence, and we must accept the commission. Jesus said, "'Lo, I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.'" And so, we are rejoicing in that.

We're happy that that is true. And that was directly stated within the framework of an obedient church about the business of evangelism. Now, moving on from there, we're going to realize that if evangelism is the task of the church in general, it is the specific task of individuals. It follows, I think, quite clearly that if the church as a whole is called generally to the responsibility of evangelism, then you and I are called particularly to be involved in that also.

Okay? Now, having laid that down as foundational, and I don't think there are any surprises in it, we need to go on and recognize that when we are motivated to tell the world about Jesus, we're going to be involved in telling the world about God's marvelous deeds. And when you and I are involved in the task of evangelism, whether it be over a cup of coffee, whether it be answering a question of someone who is a colleague of ours in the daily routine of life or whatever it might be, what we are doing is proclaiming the wonderful deeds of God. And God's deeds in creation pale in relationship to his deeds in new creation. So that while we may not fully understand it or may not be cognitive of it in the expressing of our faith, every time that you and I declare that Jesus is the Savior, we give glory to God. Because he said from heaven, This is my beloved Son, in him I am well pleased. And when we declare the wonderful dealings of God in Christ, then God is glorified as a result of our heralding his marvelous deeds.

Now let's pause there for a minute and be honest. Ask yourself the question as you think about witnessing to people. How much of our desire to tell others about Jesus stems from the fact that the pastor said we should, rather than stems from the fact that we know that God has purposed to get glory to his name, and since we should glorify God, we want to do anything that serves that purpose. Therefore, we want to be involved in evangelism. We want others to be added to the great chorus of praise that will stand before God on the day of resurrection and will give glory to his name, those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Now, I put it to you, loved ones, that this is a real and life-transforming event when this begins to burn itself in underneath our skin—that our desire in evangelism is not simply because somebody made the flames of hell lick up around our ankles.

It's not simply because we began to cry buckets over the condition of men, although we should, as we'll see. But it is far more that we saw that God has purposed to have a people of his own and get glory to his name. And so every morning we wake, we say, O magnify the Lord with me!

And come on, let us exalt his name together! And we find ourselves saying, O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness and for his wonderful works towards the children of men! A deep-rooted concern for God's glory is the example of the apostolic church. And right alongside that, that biblical evangelism never puts a full stop after conversion but regards conversion as a prelude to worship.

Now, where do you get that from, says somebody? Well, right from the words of Jesus when he spoke to the lady at the well. And Jesus makes clear to this lady, who's trying to sidetrack him concerning the discrepancies between Samaritan and Jewish worship, and he says, Listen, lady, a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

So here's the deal tonight. The Father is seeking worshipers. God does not need us. There is no gap in God that we must fill up.

God is entirely self-existent. But God has purposed that glory should come to his name, and he is seeking worshipers. So when we go about the business of evangelism, we are aligning our wills with the God who is seeking others to add their voices to his song. Therefore, the evangelist should look beyond the benefit which comes to the convert who is saved to the glory which comes to the God who loves him.

I put it to you tonight that this falls strange on many ears. It's a long time before my own approach to evangelism took this turn. That is not to denigrate anybody's style nor approach, but I do believe that to begin here with God and his glory is where the Bible begins. Rather than with man and his guilt or man and his need or us and this and that. And finally, under this, worship expresses itself in witness, and witness expresses itself in worship. When men and women who have no knowledge of God in Christ come and worship with us on the Lord's day, our worship is in itself a witness. We are witnessing in our worship. We are magnifying the wonderful deeds of God.

We are bestowing honor and glory upon his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And those who remain unconverted are listening to these songs. They may in measure add their faltering tongues in the chorus, but from their hearts they know it isn't so.

They are not expressing the reality of their experience. And so, in the providence of God, as a result of his dealings in their lives, many of them come to assure knowledge of Jesus Christ, having in the experience of worship been witness to. And now their witness will express itself once again in worship. Well, that's the first—love to God and a concern for his glory, and secondly, love to man and a concern for his welfare. The Scriptures say that we should do good to all men. Now I ask you, what greater good can we do for anyone than to set before them the knowledge of Jesus? So, when we think about evangelism and doing good to those who are our neighbors and friends, we realize that ultimately the greatest good we can do them is to commend them to the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

And it is ultimately our awareness of man's condition, which we dealt with last time, that demands that our love will issue in action. Now turn for a moment to the passage that is represented here, and we just set this clear in our minds. Luke chapter 10, and the story begins in verse 25, and it's the parable of the Good Samaritan. And here Jesus is answering the question, What must I do to inherit eternal life? And the man who so far has been giving some pretty good answers, seeking to justify himself after Jesus said, You should love your neighbor as yourself, asked the question, Who is my neighbor? And in reply, Jesus said, and then he told the story, A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among thieves, who stripped his clothes off him and departed, leaving him half dead. And then he went on to tell how some religious figures came down the street, a Levite, when he came to the place, passed by on the other side, despite the fact that he'd seen him. A priest who was going down the road, he went on the other side.

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was. Now, if ever we are going to be involved in evangelism, it demands that we get where people are. It demands that we get down and get dirty, if they're dirty. It demands that we get bloody, if they are bloody. It does not call for us to ride in on a large white stallion using a megaphone to call directions to the poor individual in their needs and to cry out suggestions as to what might be possible remedies for their condition. No, says Jesus.

The man or the woman who understands the condition of man then is prepared to be involved in the action. Now, this is not to be simply some dutiful response to, if you like, the tactics of the army, but rather, the impulse to evangelize should be a spontaneous response to the need of our neighbor. That's what we were reading in 2 Corinthians 5. That the love of Christ compels us, constrains us from within.

It is a spontaneous response. Let me ask you a question. How much talking is there in this good Samaritan story? How much talking do you read of?

None! The only conversation that takes place at this point is a conversation between the good Samaritan and the innkeeper. Everything else that takes place for the man in his condition is love in action. So before we fall into the pit of thinking that evangelism has never taken place without a lot of talk, without running through a kind of encyclopedic parade of our knowledge of the gospel, let's remember this. As the old song said, you know, not merely in the words you see, not merely in the deeds confessed, but in the most unconscious way is Christ expressed. While such an approach may become easy and natural—let me qualify that. What I mean by that is, there comes a time when, if you are daily sharing your faith, if you're seeking opportunities, if you're seizing the moment to speak a word for Christ and to live out a Christlike example, as it increasingly becomes the spontaneous response of a heart, there is a sense in which it becomes easy in terms of it being a natural overflow, in the same way that, for, let's say, a professional baseball player, it becomes easy to swing in a certain way, or for the pitcher to throw a certain kind of ball, if there's a natural overflow. But no matter how natural, no matter how easy it may become, if we're going to do this, it's going to remain costly in honest friendship.

There's a paradox there, I recognize, and yet if you think it out, I think you'll agree that it's true. No matter how straightforward it may become for us to share our faith, there is a cost involved in honest friendship, in getting, like the Good Samaritan, where people are. And as simple as it seems, genuine friendship is a vital prerequisite for effective witness. We're going to talk about all the different kinds of witnessing, the witnessing to the person that you may never see again in your life, and that gives you a peculiar window of opportunity that may only last for a moment or two. But many of us, most of us, have the greatest opportunities, at least in personal evangelism, with folks that we see regularly, routinely.

And there is nothing in Scripture that would allow us to devalue in any way the place of genuine friendship as a means, as an open sesame, if you like, into telling others of the truth of Jesus. Now, in 2 Corinthians 5, concerning the approach of Paul—and I just want to fill this in for you, and you can perhaps use it as some homework study—looking at the approach of Paul as he described it for us in that passage. First of all, you will notice that the judgment of God, where he says, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, brought two things to oppose life. It brought a sense of urgency, and it brought a degree of consistency. We will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, the Bible assures us of that.

So will our friends and neighbors. Therefore, there is a great urgency, and it calls for consistency. Also, Paul says that the inner compulsion in his life was love. It was the love of Christ that compelled him, which forces us to ask this question, Do I love people because I want to see them converted?

Or do I want to see them converted because I love them? And as he outlines that which makes it possible for him to exercise his ministry, he refers to the power of Christ, by which life is changed and men and women become made new the ministry of Christ in our lives, and the death of Christ, who became sin, who was not sin. So that as was underlined for us tonight, we might become the righteousness of God in him.

You're listening to Alistair Begg on Truth for Life. Most of us are motivated to tell others about Jesus because we long to see people we love come to know Jesus, to embrace God's plan for salvation, and we rejoice in seeing God glorified. But taking that first step to share the gospel can be daunting.

We get that. So today we have some resources that we want to recommend to you. First is a book called Before You Share Your Faith, Five Ways to Be Evangelism Ready. This book is a perfect companion to Alistair's teaching on evangelism.

It's designed so you can quickly browse through a list of helpful tips about how to share the gospel. And then each time you're getting ready to meet with a friend or a colleague, you can easily remind yourself of the five key factors that will help you make your conversation about Jesus more effective. Ask for your copy of Before You Share Your Faith today when you donate to support the teaching ministry of Truth for Life at slash donate or call us at 888-588-7884. We also want to recommend a brand new 13 lesson study that's designed for you to introduce someone to the Bible in a more in-depth way over the course of several weeks. It's called The Basics of the Christian Faith. This study will introduce the foundational truths of Christianity to someone who's either new in the faith or someone exploring what it means to follow Jesus. The study comes with two workbooks, one for you as the leader and one for the person you want to take through the content. Each lesson involves listening to or reading a passage from Alistair, then meeting in person to discuss the teaching and to answer any questions the person you're discipling might have.

The Basics of the Christian Faith gives you a step-by-step format that relies on Alistair to do the heavy lifting, which we hope will help you facilitate deeper discussions about the grace of Jesus. You can purchase both of these books together for $16 when you go to slash store. Let me remind you our current series Crossing the Barriers comes with a corresponding study guide. You can download it for free at slash crossing barriers. I'm Bob Lapine. Many people assume that evangelism requires some kind of extensive training and planning, but as we'll see tomorrow, sharing the gospel is something we do in the rough and tumble of everyday life. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life, where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-08 05:26:57 / 2023-06-08 05:34:57 / 8

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime