Views from the Pew – 10.15.21

What did you learn from last Sunday’s sermon “Lamp Shades”?

Q1: Are you evangelizing even if you aren’t aware of it?

Q2: Does the world hate you?

Q3: Should we try to set up opportunities for evangelism or should we pray that God does that for us?

Q4: What might it say to unbelievers if you just stay in your Christian circles and never engage with them?

Q5: How can we re-salt our salt to keep it ultra salty?

Q6: True or False – There is no hope for evangelism if it is not bathed in prayer.

Sermon Summary & Answers

Last week’s sermon wraps up Pastor Wilson’s eight-part series on Faithful Evangelism. Suppose you’ve been blessed enough to have listened to all eight sermons. In that case, you now know that when most people speak of “evangelism,” they aren’t talking about Biblical evangelism as God instructs; they are referencing what modern American Christians have systematized for getting people to choose Christ. I encourage you to go back and refresh your memory on the critical points of true Biblical evangelism. Do this so that you (an average believer) will know that you are evangelizingalready and how to do it the right way instead of blowing it all the time (like me). I wish I’d had this knowledge and skill years ago.

  1. 8/10/21 – What evangelism is and isn’t
  2. 8/17/21 – Understanding the condition that requires evangelism
  3. 8/24/21 – 3 predictable evils that befall an unbeliever and what to do about it.
  4. 8/31/21 – What to say and not say to an unbeliever
  5. 9/7/21 – Check your light bulb, then shine. Crib notes on the Sermon on the Mount.
  6. 9/21/21 – Get rubbed into the world and prepared to be persecuted
  7. 10/6/21 – Your light shining brightest in your bad circumstances

This week (sermon #8), we start in Matthew 5:13-16. The world’s relationship to us is evident. They hate us and want to persecute us for our belief in Christ. Our relationship to the world is that we must relate to the world while being salt and light. In John 17, Jesus says that we are not of the world, but we must stay here and cope. In Colossians 4:5-6, we are told to influence the world (unbelievers, outsiders) by being very careful with our speech and conduct, as it applies to the moment. We don’t use methods or mantras. We have to speak the truth with love (Eph 4:14) when the opportunity presents itself. We are not to construct opportunities (Jesus t-shirts, oil changes, and gospel tracts). We just need to be ready when God reveals His tailor-made opportunities for us. We also have to eliminate all of the old ways we used to speak and act when we were in the world (Ephesians 4:1-32). Here is a list: unwholesome speech, lying, anger, theft, idleness, selfishness, tearing people down with gossip, slander, etc.

Pastor Wilson points out two potential problems that might block our usefulness when trying to be salt and light to the world.

  1. We can lose our saltiness.
  2. We can lose our shine (wearing a lampshade).

How might this happen?

  1. Failure to engage with unbelievers – our pastor postulates that it isn’t just the believer’s fear that the world (unbelieving friends/family) will hate them (John 17:14) but that believers just might not care enough about the lost to intentionally engage as God commands. Also, if you deliberately stay away from unbelievers, they may think that you think you are better than them. That will really ramp up the hate. Hate from the world is a blessing to Christians. It’s where we are supposed to be. Jesus did.
  2. Compromising with the world – this is where believers engage with the world too much. You can’t be wholly integrated – you have to stay in the world but not be of the world (1 John 2:15). You will become unsalty salt when you compromise and have no influence. This takes wisdom and hard work. We have to meet with the brethren to get re-salty and be the saltiest salt (sanctification) we can be each week when we head back out into the world. The church is our reflecting pool and our recharging station.
  3. Having a lack of clarity about the truth we are supposed to be sharing – You can’t evangelize by using fuzzy theology (understanding/doctrine of God). You have to know your Bible. What you say must be doctrinally sound. You can’t go out there and speak easy-believism and “God has a wonderful plan for your life here on earth.” 1 Peter 3:14-15 tells us that we have to be ready to give an account of our faith – the story of Christ and what he has done only. You shouldn’t give shallow answers and have a haughty/arrogant way of speech. You should be reverent and gentle because you are standing on God’s holy ground – the ground that he has prepared for just this moment (2 Timothy 2:15-16). This takes hard study of the scriptures.
  4. Lack of prayer – Evangelism is the power of God. The means God uses to get His word to an unbeliever’s ear is you. You have to pray to gird yourself up and be ready for the opportunity to evangelize on the battlefield that is before us. All biblical knowledge is useless without prayer. 1 Timothy 2: 1-4 shows us Paul, telling Timothy to pray before conducting himself properly. Prayer comes first in all Godly endeavors. You have to ask God to carve a path in this hate-filled world so that you can shine your salty-light (evangelize). This is in God’s will, so it will happen (2 Thessalonians 3:1-5). Prayer will give you peace in times of evangelizing. You should also start your prayer for evangelistic opportunities by praying for the authorities in charge. You will lose your salt and light if you stop praying. 1 Col 1:9-12 tells us that God will grow us up to do this, and we must thank Him for that. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 says we are worthy to do this work. There is no hope for evangelism if it is not bathed in prayer.

Colossians 4:2-6 sums it all up:

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

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  1. If you are a believer, you are salt, and you do shine the light of Christ to unbelievers – this is evangelism. You might not do it well, but your character, conduct, and speech content say a lot.
  2. If you are a believer, the world does hate you. You cannot avoid this, and it is actually a blessing.
  3. We should pray for God to open those doors and not do it ourselves.
  4. It might say that you think you are better than them.
  5. Go to church, work out your sanctification and study God’s word so that you understand the doctrine of God.
  6. True