Do the ends justify the means?
This question has been on my mind often lately, and that is a good thing for this has prompted much study on my part and I am more prepared for it.
Today I’ll shortly address evangelizing the lost.
Many American churches employ various methods of reaching the lost. Some will do community outreach projects, giving away free light bulbs, having carnivals etc. With the idea that they will prompt the lost to come to their services and then they will perhaps hear the gospel.
Scripture gives no such command; a good rule of thumb to remember is this: what you win them with, you win them to. If it is entertainment and games that draw people to be in your congregation, then it is entertainment and games that they are coming for not a relationship with Jesus Christ. At the very best, you are setting up faults for disappointment. The Christian life is not fun and games by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, a relationship with your Creator is the most wonderful thing that a human being can experience but we are never promised worldly affluence or respect… We are promised persecution.
Scripture not only tells us that we should be evangelizing the lost, it also tells us how. To do it in a manner inconsistent with the Word of God is sinful and rebellious.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.”
– Romans 10:14-15
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
– 2 Timothy 4:1-5
We can see that the way the LORD says we are to reach the lost is through preaching, but does Scripture tell us what we should be preaching?
I submit to you that Jesus Christ and John the Baptist both started their evangelism the same.
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
– Matthew 3:1-2
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
– Matthew 4:17
Christ also commanded the twelve to follow His lead.
“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
– Matthew 10:7
We should be out preaching “Repent: for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
This is a message of change, this is a message of urgency. This is not decisionalism. This is life and death preaching.
The Apostle Paul spoke of how he preached:
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
So, here are the basics of evangelism laid out before us.
–The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ
Certainly we can and should preach other things, but these elements should ALWAYS be presented.
We need to be out and about making disciples, but we have to do it according to the will of God.
The means are just as important as the ends.
(Written by Jake Cooper originally published by Abolish Human Abortion 10/26/15)