Text: 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Evangelism is clearly outwards focused function of the church. However we need to get back to the clear gospel proclamation in our churches. The tragedy is that people attend churches all around the world and think they are Christians because they y listen to a good speech every week. We need to proclaim the gospel from our pulpits and in our Sunday school classes and our small groups.
Paul was writing to the Corinthian church and confronting those in Corinth who were saying that there is no resurrection from the dead and that Jesus himself did not rise from the dead. If this were the case then there is no hope, and without the resurrection of Jesus, we have no reason to be meeting together today.
He presents in the verses we read today, Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes one of the clearest presentations of the simple gospel message that we find anywhere in the bible.
Paul declares that Jesus died for our sins, he was buried, and he was raised to life on the third day. Paul produces proof of this in the way of the Old Testament prophecies and the fact that there were many witnesses of these events.
The gospel message is a historical fact, it is not a distant story that changed history, and is still changing lives today for the glory of God. This is the wonderful message on which our faith is built. Jesus won the victory over death that day. When Jesus died, he said, “it is finished” not “I am finished”. Jesus was not a martyr, dying for his faith, but he was a savior dying to save you and me from the penalty of our sins.
There is probably not a finer example in the bible for us of what it is to be a witness of the Gospel message than the story of the four lepers found in 2 Kings 7. We are not people with a superior knowledge reaching down to others who are not as smart as us, we are not theological practitioners. We are sinners saved by Grace, and we are able to say to people, Come with us! See what we have seen, Salvation is here!
Years ago a missional church or a Great Commission church was defined by how much money they gave to missions, and the focus was on the mission field over there…. But now the world is a very different place. We have so many cultures and nationalities right here in Kansas City, in our neighborhoods the mission field has come to us. We need to ask God the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the lost all around us.
Are we truly a missional church if when people come into our churches, they see a church that is not relevant and meaningful to their world or even their generation. A missional church is a church that sacrifices their non biblical traditions that may or may not be very good, in order to present a relevant Gospel message to the lost in their community. Are we a missional church?
There is a difference between evangelism and the gift of the evangelist. The spiritual gift of being an evangelist is rare, probably 5 or 10% of the Body of Christ. However evangelism is an assignment, the commission, and Command of Jesus Christ for every Christian. Witnessing is the role of every Christian. We have a story to tell.
The evangelist has the role of equipping the body of Christ to do the work of evangelism.
We must remember that we do not save anyone, we don’t have the power to convince someone to die to their old life and make Jesus Lord of their lives. That is the role of the Holy Spirit. Our role is to pray for the lost and to present the message of Jesus to them.
Without prayer, our evangelism is weak and ineffective. Matthew 9:37 &38
By the death and resurrection of Jesus, he has made it possible for those who believe in him and make him Lord of their lives to be able to come into a relationship with God the Father. Those who make Jesus Lord of their lives are saved from an eternity in Hell and will spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven.
This is true salvation, not a temporary salvation it is the eternal message of the good news of the cross. And it is available to any and all who call on the name of Jesus.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen—not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis