Sunday, July 1, 2018

Fear

Enemies of Evangelism 4

Note: Today’s blog post is by Pastor Allen Thompson of the Harvest Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. We connected after he read something I had written. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, not just for planting a church, but for doing it in America’s greatest mission field, the inner city.
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Just before Jesus Christ ascended back to Heaven, He left His disciples with a charge that became affectionately known as “The Great Commission.” And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. -Mark 16:15.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. –Matthew 28:19, 20.

Just as a soldier laces up his boots and marches to the battlefield, the Christian has received non-negotiable orders to make their way to the world with their feet shod with the Gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). Operation Evangelism!

Evangelism is the promulgation of the good news of Jesus Christ. It is actively pursuing the unsaved to share that Jesus Christ loves them so much that He died on the cross to pay their sin debt and that He freely offers His salvation to all those who will receive Him.
This salvation is powerful. It is perfect. It changes lives. It fearsaves lives! Why isn't this knowledge shared with the world? The world has not been reached like it should be because evangelism has a foe. This enemy is fear and it has paralyzed many Christians.

What are some fears that a soul winner may face?
  1. Fear of talking to people
Many Christians would rather not talk to people at all. They would rather someone else do it. Moses had that same fear in Exodus chapter four verse 10, And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. How did He overcome that fear? He prayed, obeyed, and went and spoke to Pharoah anyway. The Lord has given the command. Pray for boldness and go. Go, though there may be fearfulness. Go, though there may be nervousness. Go, though there may be awkwardness. Just go anyway. The Lord will bless obedience.
  1. Fear of knowing what to say
Isn't it funny how easy it is to talk to others about the latest news story or sports event, but, when it comes to spiritual things, we are clueless how to begin conversation? We should study God’s Word enough to be able to communicate the truths that it contains. When we know the scriptures, it becomes much easier to know what to say. Bible knowledge will allow us to navigate a conversation with confidence instead of fear. Be prepared. Mark and study the verses in your Bible that will lead someone through the key points of salvation. Carry gospel tracks with you. Rehearse your personal testimony of salvation so that it may lead someone else to the Savior.
  1. Fear of embarrassment
fear (1)Sometimes we get embarrassed to talk about Jesus. It should not be that way. But, it is the truth. Paul even admonished Timothy to not be ashamed of the gospel, or of himself! Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; -2 Timothy 1:8. It may also be said that there is a connection between embarrassment and a lack of prayer. When you have recent answered prayers, it is an exciting thing that you cannot wait to share! It is not embarrassing, it is exciting! But, when there is a lack of a prayer life, we miss some of the excitement built by the faith from that answered prayer. We try to tell others how God can change their lives when He isn’t changing ours. This makes speaking to others more difficult because we lose confidence that God can, that He will, and that He does work in our lives. As a result, we feel embarrassed to talk about Him! Pray, see God work in your life, and share it boldly with others! According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. –Phillipians 1:20.
  1. Fear that others will not believe
We will not win them all and we are not expected to. It is our job to go. It is our job to tell of God's love. As great as John the Baptist was, not even he could win them all! Notice John 1:12 when it says, But as many as received him. The phrase ‘as many as’ indicates to us that not everyone received the Jesus that John spake of! So what do we do when some inevitably refuse Christ and choose not to believe? We keep going! Acts 5:42 says that they ‘ceased not to teach and preach Jesus.’ Even Paul wrote, For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. –Romans 3:3,4. We are hindered enough by our own unbeliefs, we do not need to let the unbelief of others hinder us even further. Know ahead of time that many will reject the message that you bring, and take solace in the fact that you were faithful enough to bring it!
  1. Fear of a bad testimony
It is sad to say that there are those who will not go because of a poor testimony. They know that if they testify of a life-changing Jesus, there will be those who will call out the lack of that life-change. This is why Peter admonishes us to Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. -1 Peter 3:15. Did you catch that? It begins with sanctifying God in our heart. If we want to become the witnesses that we should be, our hearts must be cleansed before the Lord. We may need to acknowledge and confess some things in our own life, so that we may lead others. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. -1 Corinthians 9:27.

While the list of fears could go on, they all have a commonSUDDEN-FEAR_MAIN1520 denominator-the expectation of evil. No matter what fear we face, we face it because in that moment we expect more evil to come from the world than we do power to come from God. Remember the words of the Psalmist, My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

William Gurnall wrote, We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man’s terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.

Paul, who was berated, bound, beaten and beheaded, experienced much evil in his life. Still, he was not overtaken by fear, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. -2 Timothy 1:7.

He knew that no matter the consequences He would not be separated from God and His goodness. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. –Romans 8: 38, 39.

Fears will be present, but they should not be paralyzing. God will not go for us, but He will go with us. And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
There is no reason to be overtaken by fear. There is every reason to be overtaken by faith!

And if you think that anybody is going to frighten me, you don’t know me yet. –Billy Sunday.




















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