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                         "WHAT IS EVANGELISM?"


INTRODUCTION

1. The work of the local church has often been described as threefold...
   a. Edification - equipping the saints for ministry
   b. Benevolence - meeting the needs of destitute brethren
   c. Evangelism - spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost

2. The organization and worship of the local church naturally focus
   attention on...
   a. Edification - the office of elders (pastors) speaks to the work of
      building up the saints
   b. Benevolence - the office of deacons along with weekly contribution
      speak to supplying the needs of the saints

3. Unless frequent attention is given to Evangelism, it can become easy
   for churches...
   a. To focus solely on edification and benevolence
   b. To neglect evangelistic efforts both as congregations and as
      individuals

[To neglect evangelism is harmful to the spiritual life of the church.
That we might not neglect this important duty, let's take this
opportunity to address the question...]

I. WHAT IS EVANGELISM?

   A. CONSIDER THREE GREEK WORDS...
      1. The Greek word translated gospel is euaggelion - cf. 1Co 15:1
      2. The Greek word translated preach is euaggelizo - cf. 1Co 15:1
      3. The Greek word translated evangelist is euaggelistes - cf. Ac
         21:8

   B. NOTE THEIR CLOSE ASSOCIATION...
      1. The word gospel (euaggelion) means "good news"
      2. The word preach (euaggelizo) means "to bring good news"
      3. The word evangelist (euaggelistes) means "one who declares
         good news"
      4. In the NT, to "evangelize" refers to bringing the good news of
         Jesus Christ - cf. 1Co 15:1-4

[Evangelism is sharing the gospel about Jesus Christ.  To appreciate the
role of evangelism in the church and the lives of Christians, let's look
a bit closer...]

II. EVANGELISM IS SHARING THE GOSPEL

   A. AS COMMANDED BY JESUS...
      1. Evangelism is sharing the gospel, just as Jesus commanded
      2. In the Great Commission, first given to His apostles - Mk 16:
         15-16
      3. He wants the good news proclaimed to every person in the world!

   B. BY PREACHERS...
      1. Evangelism is sharing the gospel, by preachers who were also
         known as evangelists
      2. Like the apostles did on the day of Pentecost - cf. Ac 2:36-38
      3. Like the evangelist Philip did, both to groups and to
         individuals - cf. Ac 8:12,35

   C. BY ALL CHRISTIANS...
      1. Evangelism is sharing the gospel, by all Christians and not
         just evangelists
      2. As mentioned following the persecution at Jerusalem - Ac 8:5
      3. For our duty as the people of God is to proclaim His praises
         - 1Pe 2:9-10
      4. Thus we should be ever prepared to give a reason for our hope
         in Christ - 1Pe 3:15

   D. BY CHURCHES SENDING...
      1. Evangelism is sharing the gospel, by churches sending forth
         preachers
      2. Preachers need to be sent that others may hear - Ro 10:11-15
      3. Just as the church in Antioch of Syria sent Barnabas and Saul
         - Ac 13:1-3

   E. BY CHURCHES HELPING...
      1. Evangelism is sharing the gospel, by churches helping those who
         are preaching
      2. Paul received help time and again from churches like Philippi
         - Php 1:3-5; 4:15-16
      3. They helped Paul preach elsewhere "without charge" - cf. 2 Co
         11:8

   F. BY CHRISTIANS HELPING...
      1. Evangelism is sharing the gospel, by individual Christians
         helping those who preach
      2. As John praised his beloved Gaius for doing - 3Jn 5-8
      3. In this way they become "fellow workers for the truth"

[Perhaps we see why the gospel spread so far and fast in the first
century.  Not just preachers, but all Christians both collectively
(churches) and individually were involved in evangelism, either sending,
helping, or going themselves!  Finally, allow me to suggest a few
thoughts as to...]

III. WHY EVANGELISM IS IMPORTANT

   A. WHEN EVANGELISM CEASES...
      1. Christians wither, and are cut off for not bearing fruit - Jn
         15:1-8
      2. Churches are removed from their relationship with the Lord, and
         die - cf. Re 2:1-5; 3:1-2

   B. THUS EVANGELISM IS THE SPIRIT OF THE CHURCH...
      1. Just as the body without the spirit is dead - cf. Jm 2:24
      2. So Christians (and churches) without evangelism are dead!

CONCLUSION

1. Evangelism is therefore essential...
   a. Not just for the saving of souls who need the gospel of Jesus
      Christ
   b. But for the saving of souls who have the gospel of Jesus Christ!

2. What is your role in evangelism...?
   a. To share the gospel of Jesus Christ!
   b. Perhaps by going to other countries to tell others, or helping and
      sending those willing to go

Whether at home or abroad, let's make sure that both as individual
Christians and as congregations that we never lose our heart for
evangelism in all its forms...!
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