Evangelism for the Glory of God
It is through the writings of the late Jerry Bridges that I became conscious of the need to remind myself of the gospel every day. It is quite easy to forget what God has done in Christ for such an undeserving sinner like me.
It was through his book "Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love" that I gained a better and more balanced perspective and application of the gospel in my life. Of course, Sinclair B. Ferguson and his book, "The Whole Christ," is also quite important in grasping the gospel of God's grace in Christ, helping us to navigate from one extreme, antinomianism, to another, that is, legalism.
I've been reflecting on the gospel and learning about evangelism, which is basically gospel proclamation. The lessons I am learning from Scripture and reading books concerning the gospel and its proclamation helped me to define evangelism, albeit inadequately.
From what I've read, I understand that evangelism is the faithful and careful yet persuasive proclamation and explanation of the gospel of salvation by those who have heard and believe it, but especially by those who have been commissioned as heralds of Christ by the power of the Spirit.
Evangelism, done Biblically, entails clear and convincing declaration and exposition of biblical doctrines such as the sovereignty of God in creation and redemption, the fall of man as a person created in the image of God, the person and work of Christ as the Son of God and the only Redeemer of mankind, and the grace of God in regenerating and converting sinners by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Responsible evangelism involves faithfulness on the part of the herald in expounding these evangelical truths. It takes patience on his part, too, not only in learning these doctrines but also in presenting them in a careful and understandable manner.
Ordinarily it may take several ocassions (for some, it may take years), and it could take expanded exposition and proclamation of large portions of Scripture before the gospel is clearly and rightly understood.
I don't take one-verse or one-minute evangelism is sufficient to expound the glorious truths of the Christian gospel. There maybe a few exceptions though.
Regardless, the effectiveness in evangelism depends on the Spirit's power. It is the Spirit of God who opens the heart and mind of the sinner to believe Christ and to repent and turn away from his sin.
The proclamation of the gospel has a definite purpose. We may think that the sole objective of gospel preaching is the salvation of sinner. It's one of the goals. But it's not the primary purpose. Its ultimate aim is to glorify God in the proclamation of His work of redemption in the person and work of Christ Jesus.
The preaching of the gospel may lead to the conversion (faith and repentance) of some who have heard it and who will become disciples of Jesus. It may also result in the hardening of the heart of some leading to their constant opposition to the gospel and ultimate condemnation.
The proclamation of God's word will ultimately accomplish its purpose. It may bring some to repentance and therefore unto salvation. It may harden others' hearts remaining in their sin and therefore unto their condemnation.
Either way, God is glorified in His grace among those who would repent and believe, on the one hand. Yet He is also magnified in His justice among those who will remain in their unbelief and condemnation, on the other hand.