By Pastor Ed Pincusoff
Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
Last week I made the enormous claim that any sort of evangelism that leaves out the goal of an articulated (spoken/written/explained) gospel witness is unkind to the people that need to hear the gospel. Our model should be how witnessing happens in the Bible where the gospel is communicated in terms that are clear and inviting (not to be confused with trite and cheaply acquired). The big idea was that a ‘lifestyle witness’ without the gospel is a shortcut to nowhere.
Another method of witnessing that should, eventually, lead to a sharing of the gospel is servant evangelism. We agree that service is a wonderful, whomping expression of Christian discipleship since, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Through service, people are loved, and unbelievers “will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). This is a glorious tidal wave of kingdom momentum. However, they may know we are Christians by the love we show them and each other but that doesn’t mean our service communicates to unbelievers how to become followers of Jesus. Service must be sanctified (made spiritually dynamic) with an explanation of the gospel to be an effective witnessing method. Otherwise, we’re shooting blanks.
One of the methods of servant evangelism that our town is excessively acquainted with lately is disaster relief. When volunteers serve in response to a tragic event the love they demonstrate earns the time and trust of the people they serve. But don’t miss the reality that Christian disaster-relief workers are trained to initiate conversations, listen to concerns, process grief, and then help people holistically, body, mind, and spirit, by including the gospel message. Servant evangelists set the stage for sharing the gospel and then breathe life into Romans 1:16.
Last week I ended with a quote from author Jeff Iorg. Therein he suggests a solution for well-intentioned ‘redefined witnessing’. It is worth repeating.
“Reject any redefinition of witnessing that doesn’t include sharing the plan of salvation. Adopt a definition of sharing the Gospel that includes communicating these essentials: God’s love; humanity’s sin; Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection; and every person’s opportunity and obligation to respond.”
Be your best blessing to people, and then bless them with God’s best, the gospel.