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Friday, November 4th 2011

10:58 AM

"Hell, Don't Ask, Don't Tell : Evangelism is Spiritual Warfare Part 2"

By Pastor Bruce Sikes

Evangelism is something that would seem to be an easy and naturally exciting thing for us Christians to do. Take for example the man who was healed from demon possession by Jesus. The Bible says,
"...the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed." (Mark 5:20) (Decapolis means 10 cities!)
However, for some reason, personal evangelism has become one of the most difficult things for most Christians to do. Spiritually speaking, I can understand why. The hope is that after you have read this series on evangelism you'll feel more energized, encouraged and better equipped to share the Gospel. In doing so, you will become more of a threat to the kingdom of darkness. Naturally, the Enemy does not like this. He does not want you to tell the lost how to be saved. So, it should come as no surprise that he will do what he can to prevent you from witnessing. He will certainly begin to throw obstacles in your way. They may be obstacles of doubt, fear, pride, temptation and troubles of various kinds, sin, or just simple non-sin related activities and distractions. The devil will use anything he can to keep you too busy to share the Gospel. You see, he knows that his time is short and that the Lord is returning soon. So, he is buying time for himself, and too often we let him do that. We let the devil steal time from us. But with God's help, we can change that by keeping our focus on sharing the Gospel of Jesus! This is another great benefit of making personal evangelism a regular part of our daily lives. No matter what obstacles come our way, sharing the Gospel keeps us moving forward.
This reminds me of a story I heard awhile back of an elderly Christian lady who was very active in ministering and witnessing to people. She was having great success in sharing the Gospel until one day, quite unexpectedly, she fell and wound up in the hospital. Someone said to her "It's too bad your work for the Lord was interrupted."  She said "Don't worry... It'll be the last time the devil tries that!" The person was perplexed and asked, "What do you mean?" She said, "Well, while I was in the hospital I witnessed to a dozen people and 7 of them got saved!"
That's the attitude we need! She was not afraid of the devil and not afraid to share her faith. This woman was prepared and focused, no matter what personal circumstances she found herself in. 
Remember what it says in 1st Peter:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15)
Our hope is in Jesus Christ and His victory on the cross by conquering death and providing forgiveness for our sins, leading us to eternal life instead of eternal death.
This very profound statement is why we must practice evangelism at every opportunity.

Hell is a real place. That is reason enough to share the Saving Gospel of Jesus with the lost. A major challenge for believers wanting to do evangelism today is the lack of biblical teaching concerning hell. Most contemporary preachers either minimalize or avoid the topic all together. They claim it would frighten people away, (that is, from joining their local church of course!). Therefore, they have adopted a simple non-threatening policy on the subject, "Hell: Don't Ask, Don't Tell!" Also, to further relieve themselves of any pressure they might feel for avoiding the subject, they claim they do not want to mention hell lest they be accused of "manipulating" people into making a decision to accept Christ through fear. 
Really? Wouldn't any sane person fear hell? It is the most fearful place ever created. No place on earth or time in history could ever compare to it. However, when we accept Christ we no longer have to fear death and hell. Praise God! Yet, the fact that we are saved does not make the continuing reality of the horrors of hell go away. Jesus Himself calls it a place of "darkness", of "torment" and a "fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 25, 13 & Luke 16)
Jesus was not afraid to preach on hell. He was ever mindful of its existence and vividly described it to us as a warning. He tells it like it is. I shudder to think how His preaching would be received today in many of our passive churches and among our "polite" pastors. In spite of them, we are not to simply forget about hell and to put it out of our minds. On the contrary, knowing that we are secure in Christ, in humility, we are to give continual thanks and praise to God that we have been saved from the horror of such a place. What's more, we become greatly motivated and unafraid to proclaim the message of salvation from hell to others - because we know not everyone is saved.
For example, if a building were on fire, I do not think any of us would simply run away from the danger and fail to warn those remaining inside. Even if we were safe from the fire, wouldn't we still shout fire at the top of our lungs so other people would not be burned alive? Of course we would! When we share the Gospel, we become first-responders for Christ! We become rescuers, literally helping to save people from an eternal fire. This is why the Bible so dramatically tells us to;
"...snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” (Jude 1:22-23)
Have you thought about this? Through personal evangelism we have a real-time affect on the spiritual world.  Heaven gains, hell loses.
In case you think that statement is overly dramatic and that our "little" personal efforts at sharing the Gospel will not make a difference in Heaven, consider these words spoken by Jesus Himself:
"I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)
How great is that? You and I can make angels sing! That should encourage us to share the Good News.
When you are engaging in evangelism, you are engaging in spiritual warfare. Things are happening in the spirit world that we can only imagine. That should not intimidate us in any way, because our weapon is much, much, bigger than the enemy's. It's not even close. You are sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You have in your possession, "The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:17)
It was the presence of the Word of God that drove the demons from the man who testified in the Decapolis. It is this very same presence of Christ which confronts the wickedness and sin present in those with whom we are sharing the Gospel. This includes the hidden sins unknown to us in a lost person's life. No matter how "good" a non-believer appears to be, we must present to them the Gospel of Forgiveness. That's why when we feel God gently tugging on our spirit asking us to strike up a conversation about Jesus with this "nice" person, we just do it. We are not to judge by appearance and think, "They seem ok to me; I'll leave well enough alone." There are things happening spiritually which we will never know this side of heaven. The Apostle Paul reminds us in 2nd Corinthians that if a person resists the Gospel message, there are spiritual forces at work. Why then should we fear the reactions of any man or woman, much less what they might think about us? 
"...by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord..."  (2 Corinthians 4:2-5)
Our duty, our obligation, is to simply share God's Word. When we witness, we are never alone. God's Holy Spirit is ever present to bring conviction to the lost. It is His job, not ours, to convert someone. We cannot save anyone, but we can fight the good fight and do all we can to bring the saving message of the Gospel to those who are dying in their sins.
Death, demons, the devil nor hell itself can prevail against the Gospel message. Even those of us who think we are the weakest of believers can become a mighty warrior for God when we humble ourselves and obediently share the Gospel with the lost.
"Lord, we know the war for souls is well underway. You have shown us the way through the death of your Son for the Gospel. We know we have victory through His Resurrection. We do not want to stand idly by while souls perish. Help us Lord take up the Sword of the Spirit and join the battle. Give us courage Lord to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lead us and guide us to the lost beginning this very day" Amen!

(Part 3: "The Lifeblood of the Church - Time is Running Out - Evangelism") CLICK HERE
(Part 1: "The Missing Link - Evangelism"  ) CLICK HERE

For Christ and His Remnant,

Pastor Bruce Sikes


VoiceOfTheRemnant.org © 2011

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