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.

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AuthorMichael Willey

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…”

The gospel is an intellectually understandable plan of salvation. The Gospel transcends being a good feeling, or a good idea, or the best choice. By definition, it is clearly articulated good news. Biblical phraseology regarding the Gospel includes ‘proclaiming the gospel’, and ‘preaching the gospel’. Also, ‘testifying to the gospel’, and ‘your confession of the gospel’. In the Bible the gospel is announced, the word of truth, a mystery cleared up, defended, and spread.

Acts 15:7 ‘Peter (addressing the assembled believers in Jerusalem) got up and said: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.”’

The gospel is both elegant in its simplicity and complex in its genius to be able to answer questions about what author Douglas Adams referred to as life, the universe, and everything. The gospel gets us all the way there (wherever ‘there’ is for your particular conundrum), but we will no more be able to extricate actually telling people about the gospel from, well, telling people about the gospel, as we are able to sustain our bodies without chewing food from time to time. The gospel has been given to redeemed humankind because we live with other people and speak their language – it’s a delivery system.

1 John 1:1-2 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.

You see, Jesus came as the Word, not the Example, and He spoke the message of the gospel. He did ministry by being amazing, but accompanied the amazingness with explaining the gospel, proclaiming the gospel, and giving people the opportunity to do what, He told them, they simply must do – respond to the gospel. These are all verbal endeavors prerequisite to accurate and complete communication. Good news is not vague or implied.

If Jesus had to tell His story verbally, despite His sinless life lived in the midst of sinful (selfishly predispositioned) people, how can anyone realistically expect to communicate the gospel effectively (with effect) by simply living a godly example? Forget it. It can’t be done. Get over it. This fairy tale is sometimes mistakenly referred to as ‘lifestyle evangelism’. Real lifestyle evangelism is (honest, or I’ll eat three slugs), living in such a way that your verbal witness has credibility when you share it. Redefining any sort of evangelism by replacing the articulated witness with anything else is dangerous - for the people that need to hear what God did to get them saved.

Author Jeff Iorg suggests a solution for well-intentioned ‘redefined witnessing’. He says, “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.”

Posted
AuthorMichael Willey

The Shepherd’s Heart  -  April 13th, 2018  By Pastor Ed Pincusoff

    Imagine how a person who lived their entire life on a desert island, isolated from the rest of the world, would perceive everything in our world. Now imagine that they had a Bible, and read it with devotion, allowing its author, the Lord Himself, to bless them with salvation, hope, and purpose. That’s a shout point right there. Praise the Lord!

 After many years, miraculously, they were found, and their island isolation ended. On the day that this person was ‘rescued’ imagine that they fell into conversation with someone who gives them an incredible piece of news. The co-pilot of the helicopter that took this person away from that island and then whisked them to the so-called mainland mentioned something. It just came up per chance (although we know that ‘per chance’ usually means ‘per Jesus’.) Our island person hears something that brings incredulity and then joy to their hearts. Wait for it . . .  They are told that . . . Church actually exists! Every town has a few churches, and anyone can go to any church.

 Here’s the question. What would our island survivor expect to find? Remember that their only impression of church is what they found in their Bible. So we would expect them to have certain expectations because the Bible says a lot about church, and about Christians. Jesus said that the gates of hell would not overcome the church. I think island man would be pretty excited about that – church is a place where faith and God wins! The church is also a place where fasting and prayer take place, and people hear from God and do God’s will. The Biblical record also reveals that miracles happen through the ministries of the church. Illness does not have dominion over the body! Also, all needs are met through the church. All emotional needs are met with acceptance and healing and love. All physical needs are met as the body shares its resources from person to person. All spiritual needs are met because the church is filled with those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! The church is characterized by grace and peace!

 The church is full of people that will be friends to this stranger from the lost island. They will take him in, help him to discover his spiritual gifts and will put him to work – on mission with God and the church to bring the good news to everyone on the mainland, and beyond. So much work to do! How exciting. And as we work together we are dedicated to not causing anyone else to stumble on the journey, seeking the good of many so that God will be exalted and people may be saved. This is simply following the example of Christ. The church is like a household, God’s household built on the foundation of Jesus! In Him, the whole house is joined together rises to be a holy temple to the Lord, a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.

 And even how things work is all worked out in the church. God has appointed apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. There will always be enough workers, and they will do just the right things at the right times because church is not a human organization; it is God's workmanship (Eph 2:10), created in accordance with His eternal purpose in Christ (Eph 1:4) that in it He might show the exceeding riches of His grace (Eph 2:7).
No wonder island man is so excited. To tell the truth, I am too. Did you ever stop to think that every time a new person (a new believer or seeker that does not yet know about church) walks into our church, they are getting a first look at something that can be divine? Here’s an example of how that works. On June 3rd Franklin Graham is coming to Chico to share the Gospel. This will be a large event reminiscent of Billy Graham’s crusades. Besides all of the opportunities to invite people to attend, or to be prayer counselors, or to be friends and mentors for the people that will get saved, our church will be introducing people to what church is and, more importantly, what church can be. We will have ‘island people’ show up excited about God’s church.

 Catch the vision. We are becoming an oasis of faith, hope, and love. Every day we have the freedom to read our Bibles with devotion, allowing its author, the Lord Himself, to bless all of us with salvation, hope, and purpose. We are so blessed.

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AuthorJanice Fiori

Both in Sunday School and during the preaching time we have been focusing on offense and forgiveness.  Not because of some occasion that drew our attention there (like somebody getting especially mad at another person) but because we are going through the Gospels and are now at Luke 17:1. 

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AuthorTyson Crowl