JeremiahCry Ministries

The Gospel By Paul Washer

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Biblical Outreach by John MacArthur

Biblical outreaching is more than dropping gospel leaflets over a city or inviting someone to a church concert. These four elements deserve a closer examination.
1. Evangelism is proactive. English translations of the original Greek text of Matt. 28:19 begin with “Go,” which is the translation of an aorist participle conveying the sense “having gone.” The main verb of the verse is “make disciples,” or literally “disciple” all the nations. Hence, what the command assumes is that Christians will go out for the express purpose of making the nations disciples of Christ.
Biblical evangelism is outreaching, that is, going out to the lost souls of this world. Many pastors have fallen into the error of thinking that if sinners among the nations want to be saved, they need to come to the church. The greatest single reason why the church is declining is that it has ceased to go out to the lost. For some reason, evangelism has become something to do in church—within the walls of the church building. The church today expects unbelievers to come to it, when in fact the church should go out to them. Effective outreach will take place when Christians realize that the starting point of the Great Commission is to move out from the comfort zones of ecclesiastical structures into the lives of the lost around them. From the pulpit to the pew—from the pastor to the parishioner—the perspective of evangelism must be that of a proactive, aggressive endeavor.
2. Evangelism is gospel preaching. The command to make disciples entails calling men and women to faith, obedience, and submission to Jesus Christ. Some equate evangelism with preaching social change, human rights, political liberation, economic equality, and many more causes. These issues, though they are righteous endeavors, are not biblical evangelism.
Evangelism is the preaching of the cross of Christ, that He died for the sins of the world, that He arose from the dead, that He is Lord of the universe and of His church, and that people must believe the truth of the message before it can have any effect on their souls (Rom. 3:1–31; 10:9–10; 1 Cor. 15:1–4; Gal. 2;16–21). It must include the deity of Christ, His incarnation, His sinless nature, His vicarious substitutionary death for sinful humanity, His bodily resurrection, repentance and faith on the part of sinners, and the coming judgment of the world.
In recent times, it has been a tendency of pastors and churches to water down the gospel of Christ. In an effort to make more converts, preachers have resorted to a diluted gospel void of the saving features. They have resorted to “another gospel,” and inferior results are evident. An effective presentation of the true gospel will take careful preparation, time, thought, prayer, and patience. Evangelistic preaching is a call for souls to become disciples of Christ. Anything short of that is not biblical evangelism. Pleadings for professions of faith, decisions, or other outward manifestations just to elicit a response, if they do not result in making true disciples of the Lord Jesus, are not effective evangelism.
3. Evangelism is transformed lives. Christ commanded that the disciples baptize the nations into the triune name of God as a symbol of their turning from their sins to the Savior. The gospel call is always “be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40) and “turn from these vain things to a living God” (Acts 14:15). The gospel is to let the nations know that God “is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30). It always involves “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Paul summed up his proclamation when he told King Agrippa that Christ called him to open the eyes of the Gentiles, “that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the domain of darkness to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18). Hence effective biblical evangelism always results in changed lives, souls yielded to Christ, believers submitted to the Lordship of Christ.
4. Evangelism is an ongoing discipleship. The Lord included in the Great Commission the additional task of perfecting and maturing disciples by “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matt. 28:20). Effective evangelism has as its goal the incorporation of the disciple into the context of a local church or assembly of believers, where under the ministry and influence of gifted believers, the new disciple can grow into the fullness of the image of Christ (Eph. 4:11–16). New Testament evangelism issued from the local church and resulted in converts added to the local church. The measure of results was not the number of professions but the numbers added to the church, and later the number of churches formed through the churches’ evangelistic outreach.
The lethargy, lukewarmness, and compromising attitude within the church is responsible for the anemic and stagnant condition of the modern church. The church needs to renew its commitment to obey the mandate of our Lord Jesus Christ: Go! Rice speaks to this generation with a heart-stirring exhortation:
MacArthur, J., F., Jr, Mayhue, R., & Thomas, R., L. (1995). Rediscovering pastoral ministry : Shaping contemporary ministry with biblical mandates (Electronic ed.). Logos Library Systems (307). Dallas: Word Pub.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Howell Harris And Revival

‘A Fire was Kindled in my Soul’ – Howell Harris and Revival

We’ve seen that Howell Harris, the man who pioneered outdoor preaching in the 1700’s, was spurred on to a preaching ministry by a direct infilling of the Holy Spirit.

He saw the Spirit’s anointing as the source of his authority to preach and bring multitudes to Christ – even though he was angrily opposed by clergymen and violent mobs.

But he writes, ‘A fire was kindled in my soul and I was clothed with power…I could have spoken to the King were he within my reach – such power and authority did I feel in my soul…I lifted up my voice with authority…’ (Quoted in Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield, Banner of Truth, Vol 1. P.240)

Waiting for the Spirit’s Power

He began by simply going from house to house and reading from a book. When he felt the power of the Spirit filling him he would preach, but still as though he were reading.

Eventually, as the Spirit fell upon him with such power he began to preach freely, often without any particular preparation and often with a sweeping power that affected all who listened. He referred to this as ‘the gale descending’. Houses became too small to contain the hearers. And so he began preaching in fields, and at town fairs.

Dallimore writes, ‘Because he was unordained, Harris refused to practice any kind of formal sermonisation, and stood before his congregations without a prepared message.

He looked to God for wisdom and power and as he began to speak his soul took fire and his speech became like a mighty torrent and rushed forth with tremendous conviction.’

Scorching hot from the Preacher’s heart

‘It was said, ‘The words flowed scorching hot from the preacher’s heart’, and ‘He would go on thus, pouring out old things and new for two, three or even four hours. Indeed, we have instances of his services continuing without a break for six hours.’

This work was mightily used of God. Harris ranged over a wide area of South Wales, and held meetings anywhere and at any time till the whole countryside became conscious of his condemnation of sin.

Under the power of the Holy Spirit hearts were broken, and it was not uncommon for people to come under such conviction that they would cry aloud to God for mercy while he preached.

Hundreds were converted – among them some of the most notorious sinners – and Harris made plans for their upbuilding by organizing them into societies.’ (ibid, p.241-242)

2500 miles on foot!

Harris himself kept detailed accounts of his meetings and his experiences of the Spirit in his diaries and was able to record that he had walked more than 2500 miles between meetings in Wales in just two years!

His passion for evangelism and his breathtaking success in bringing thousands to Christ became a stimulus to Whitefield and others. He was so popular in Wales that at his funeral the Countess of Huntingdon recorded that no fewer than 20,000 people gathered at his funeral.

A Voice in the Wilderness

But, back in the late 1730’s, as multitudes in Wales were gathering to hear him, as the ‘ordained’ clergy opposed him, Howell Harris, almost a voice in the wilderness, wondered ‘There must be some worthy men in the world of the same mind as myself!’ (ibid p.234)

Indeed, God had not only saved this pioneer preacher in Wales. In the year of Harris’s conversion Daniel Rowland had also come to Christ, so had George Whitefield and John Cennick. Thus God had sovereignly saved four of the men who were to be used mightily in the Great Awakening. 1735 was a vintage year!

The Wesleys’ conversions soon followed and a prayer meeting took place on January 1st 1739 that was to be the launch of a revival movement that would shake Britain and America.

These men had experienced individual outpourings of the Spirit, now the Spirit was to come upon them as they gathered together!

More next time…

You can purchase Arnold Dallimore’s excellent two volume biography of George Whitefield at a specially reduced price here

© 2009 Lex Loizides

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Flee from the R-Rated Church!

Soul-Saving Our One Business C.H. Spurgeon

"The Soul-Winner"
By Charles H. Spurgeon
Soul-Saving Our One Business (page 259)

"Christian men and women, nothing but the gospel can sweep away the social evil. Vices are like vipers, and only the voice of Jesus can drive them out of the land. The gospel is the great besom with which to cleanse the filthiness of this city, and nothing else will avail.
Will you not, for God's sake, whose name is every day profaned, seek to save some? If you will enlarge your thoughts, and take in all the great cities of the Continent; ay, further still, take all the idolaters of China and Hindostan, the worshippers of the false prophet and antichrist, what a mass of provocation have we here! What a smoke in Jehovah's nose must this false worship be! How He must often put His hand to the hilt of His sword as though He would say, "Ah! I will ease Me of Mine adversaries." But He bears it patiently. Let us not become indifferent to His longsuffering, but day and night let us cry unto Him, and daily let us labour for Him, if by any means we may save some for His glory's sake."

Friday, December 10, 2010

What is it to win a Soul ?

"What Is It To Win A Soul?"
By Charles H. Spurgeon
Taken from Faith's Checkbook - An Online Devotional

"Soul-winning is the chief business of the Christian minister; indeed, it should be the main pursuit of every true believer. We should each say with Simon Peter, "I go a fishing,' and with Paul our aim should be, 'That I might by all means save some.' We shall commence our discourses upon this subject by considering the question - WHAT IS IT TO WIN A SOUL?

This may be instructively answered by describing what it is not. We do not consider soul-winning to be accomplished by hurriedly inscribing more names upon our church-roll, in order to show a good increase at the end of the year. This is easily done, and there are brethren who use great pains, not to say arts, to effect it; but if it be regarded as the Alpha and Omega of a minister's efforts, the result will be deplorable. By all means let us bring true converts into the church, for it is a part of our work to teach them to observe all things whatsoever Christ has commanded them; but still, this is to be done to disciples, and not to mere professors; and if care be not used, we may do more harm than good at this point.

To introduce unconverted persons to the church, is to weaken and degrade it; and therefore an apparent gain may be a real loss. It is a serious injury to a person to receive him into the number of the faithful unless there is good reason to believe that he is really regenerate. I am sure it is so, for I speak after careful observation. Some of the most glaring sinners known to me were once members of a church; and were, as I believe, led to make a profession by undue pressure, well-meant but ill-judged. Do not, therefore, consider that soul-winning is or can be secured by the multiplication of baptisms, and the swelling of the size of your church."