Christmas Evangelism, Part Three

Christmas Evangelism, Part Three: Final Installment

We’ve been considering what an incredible opportunity we have to share Christ at Christmas. It’s as though a canvas has been spread before us that invites us to fill it with the colors of redemption, forgiveness, abundant life and hope. Family and friends surround us, the attitude of anticipation fills the hearts of young and old alike, and the story of the birth of a child is not far from almost anyone’s mind. All we have to do is pick up our gospel brush and paint the detail on this holiday canvas.

And that is just where most of us fall short. For a variety of reasons, we’re convinced we don’t have what it takes to be gospel artists … so the canvas sits there, surrounded by paints, blank. Or, perhaps worse, we just begin to slop around a bit … spreading aimlessly: a splash here, a splash there. In the end a blank canvas might well have been the better option.

So this Christmas Eve, allow me to borrow from one of the church’s most gifted gospel artists, Charles Spurgeon: a few moments of Gospel Art School.

  • A Simple Painting
    • The gospel, according to Isaiah, is, “Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live.”
  • A Talking Painting
    • It is ours, then, to give men something worth their hearing; in fact, to instruct them. We are sent to evangelize, or to preach the gospel to every creature; and that is not done unless we teach them the great truths of revelation.
  • A Good News Painting
    • The gospel is good news. To listen to some preachers (and some of you), you would imagine that the gospel was a pinch of sacred snuff to make them wake up, or a bottle of ardent spirits to excite their brains. It is nothing of the kind; it is news, there is information in it, there is instruction in it concerning matters which men need to know, and statements in it to bless those who hear it.
  • A Truthful Painting
    • It is not a magical incantation, or a charm, whose force consists in a collection of sounds; it is a revelation of facts and truths which require knowledge and belief.
  • A Reasonable Painting
    • The gospel is a reasonable system, and it appeals to men’s understanding; it is a matter for thought and consideration, and it appeals to the conscience and the reflecting powers.

Thus, you must take the time this Christmas not to just talk about the story of Jesus, but to teach people something about it. Spurgeon writes:

We may shout, “Believe! Believe! Believe!”, but what are they to believe? Each exhortation requires a corresponding instruction or it will mean nothing.

    • ESCAPE! From what? This requires for its answer the doctrine of the punishment of sin.
    • FLY! But where? Then must you preach Christ, and His wounds; yea, and the clear doctrine of atonement by sacrifice.
    • REPENT! Of what? Here you must answer such questions as, What is sin? What is the evil of sin? What are the consequences of sin?
    • BE CONVERTED! But what is it to be converted? By what power can we be converted? What from? What to?

The field of instruction is wide if men are to be made to know the truth which saves. “That the soul be without knowledge, it is not good” (Proverbs 19:2), and it is ours as the Lord’s instruments to make men so to know the truth that they may believe it, and feel its power. We are not to try and save men in the dark, but in the power of the Holy Ghost we are to seek to turn them from darkness to light.

Spurgeon then adds a warning – we’ll call it THE DANGERS OF PAINTING POORLY.

Teach the gospel doctrines clearly, affectionately, simply, and plainly, and especially those truths which have a present and practical bearing upon man’s condition and God’s grace. Some paint enthusiasts would seem to have imbibed the notion that, as soon as a minister addresses the unconverted, he should deliberately contradict his usual doctrinal discourses, because it is supposes that there will be no conversions if he preaches the whole counsel of God.

It just comes to this, brethren: it is supposed that we are to conceal truth, and utter a half-falsehood, in order to save souls. This is a strange theory, and yet many endorse it.

      • According to them, we may preach the redemption of a chosen number to God’s people, but universal redemption must be our doctrine when we speak with the outside world;
      • We are to tell believers that salvation is all of grace, but sinners are to be spoken with as if they were to save themselves;
      • We are to inform Christians that God the Holy Spirit alone can convert, but when we talk with the unsaved, the Holy Ghost is scarcely to be named.

He who sent us to win souls neither permits us to invent false-hoods, nor to suppress truth. His work can be, and must be, done without such suspicious methods. To try to win a soul for Christ by keeping that soul in ignorance of any truth, is contrary to the mind of the Spirit; and to endeavor to save men by mere claptrap, or excitement, or oratorical display, is as foolish as to hope to hold an angel with birdlime (a sticky substance spread on twigs to trap birds), or lure a star with music.

So this Christmas, pick up your brush – – begin to paint. Spurgeon’s encouragement to you:

The best attraction is the gospel in its purity. The weapon with which the Lord conquers men is the truth as it is in Jesus. The gospel will be found equal to every emergency; an arrow which can pierce the hardest heart, a balm which will heal the deadliest wound. Preach it, and preach nothing else. Rely implicitly on the old, old gospel. You need no other nets when you fish for men; those your Master has given you are strong enough for the great fishes, and have meshes fine enough to hold the little ones.

Merry Christmas! May the joy of your salvation rise to contagious heights this holiday season!

Pastor Steve
All quotes from “The Soul Winner: How to Lead Sinners to the Saviour”, Charles Spurgeon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *