Release in Evangelism

Guidelines for Group Bible Studies

Release in evangelism follows on naturally from our release in the Holy Spirit. Our Lord Jesus said, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (ACTS 1:8). The Holy Spirit has come to give us not only a release in language, in praise and in worship, but also a release in witness. The repercussions of our infilling with the Holy Spirit are not to be felt just inside the church, but also outside in God's world. Jesus did not say to His disciples, "Ye are the salt of the assembly", but "Ye are the salt of the earth ..."; not "Ye are the light of the church," but "Ye are the light of the world ..." (MATTHEW 5:13-14).

The first word we hear from the lips of Jesus is the word "Come". It is not long afterwards when we who have responded to that first invitation, hear the word "Go". "I am the door:" Jesus says "by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture" (JOHN 10:9). Our call is not into a religious enclave, but into an outgoing community which will take the good news to a world outside to hear. Are you living up to your potential in the area of witness for Christ? If not, why not frankly discuss the hindrances. Others may have experiences that will help you.

Let us examine the GO COMMANDS OF JESUS:

"Go and Tell" (MARK 5:19)

Here was an outstanding convert, a man who had been untameable, possessed by a foul spirit and living among the tombs, now properly clothed and perfectly sane. What a story he had to tell, and Jesus wanted him to tell it. The man would like to have travelled the country with Jesus giving his testimony, but where did Jesus send him? - to his own people to tell them what the Lord had done for him.

Home is the place where we do not deceive anybody, where we are subject to inspection every day. It may not be the easiest evangelistic field but it is very rewarding. "Well may we doubt the reality of any blessing" said Hudson Taylor "that does not make us easier to get on with, sweeter and more loving, especially at home." Small groups could covenant together to pray for members of families represented who are unsaved.

"Go and Show" (LUKE 5:14)

The man who is really born again has something to show, and that something will bear the closest scrutiny. Testimony is not just being clever. It is not knowing all the answers. Happy is the man who can say, "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see" (JOHN 9:25). The men here had been lepers, but it was obvious that they were not cleansed. The world is not waiting just to hear something. It is waiting to see something.

"Go and Learn" (MATTHEW 9:13)

The purpose of the Bible teaching is not to produce intellectuals. It is to produce sane, balanced Christians who know what God's plan is all about. It is not the whole, but the sick who need a doctor. God wants to be merciful. The traditionalists of Christ's day spent all their time arguing about non-essentials. In doing so they missed the whole purpose of Christ's coming. Let the group pause here to contribute Scriptures that will help in leading men to Christ.

"Go and Do" (LUKE 10:37)

What great lessons on personal evangelism are to be found in this story that Jesus told of the Good Samaritan (LUKE 10:30-37):

He got out on to the open road. We shall never win folk to Christ by sitting in church and waiting for them to come in.

He had eyes to see a man's need. There are needs all around us. Not just neighbours, colleagues, tradesmen, but men and women whom Satan has stripped and robbed.

He had compassion. The 'professionals' were too busy with their religious duties and exercises. Read about the compassion of Jesus (MATTHEW 15:32; MATTHEW 20:34; LUKE 7:13). Pray for a genuine love for people.

He bound up his wounds. All the time he was doing this, he was exposing himself to the same danger of lurking bandits as had beset the poor man he was trying to help.

He poured in oil and wine. It was a good job he carried some around with him. Do you carry around reserves of grace?

He put him on his own beast. This meant he had to walk, whereas before he had ridden. He had to walk instead of riding away from bandit infested country. He had to walk supporting the weight of a half-dead man. Soul-winning is rarely convenient.

He took out two day's wages. It meant dipping his hand into his pocket. Salvation does not end with gaining new converts. It is all bound up with aftercare. Jesus says to you and me, "Go, and do thou likewise".

"Go and Bid" (MATTHEW 22:9)

The feast is prepared. The banquet is laid on. The reception is all ready. But many who have been invited will not come. Some sneer at the invitation. Some are far too preoccupied with business interests. Some are aggressively opposed. The story told in verses 1 to 6 is all too familiar. But the invitations must still go out on the highways, the thoroughfares, at the cross-roads, the street corners.

Everyone must be invited, the good and the bad. The gospel is not just for nice people. It is capable of making nasty people nice. The King wants the bridal hall to be packed with guests. He is capable of doing the rest.

Jesus never told His disciples to do what He did not do Himself. If you trace the footprints of Jesus throughout the gospels you will be staggered at the great distances He covered on foot. "Let us go into the next towns ..." was His word to His disciples, "... that I may preach there also ..." (MARK 1:38).

There are all types of evangelism, all of them necessary, all of them with their own appeal, all of them complementary and not competitive:

Crusade evangelism: The big-time occasion which demands careful follow-up if it is to reap lasting results.

Literature evangelism: So successfully exploited by false cults.

Radio evangelism: So often penetrating areas that other forms of evangelism cannot reach.

Cell evangelism: Which communists have found so successful. Now exploited to good effect by house groups.

Door-to-Door evangelism: Exploited to the full by Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses.

...and others, but the most effective of all is personal evangelism, everyone winning one. The greatest lie the devil ever told the churches is that the pastor is responsible for converts. Discuss how you can become more effective soul-winners. Are your groups prepared to welcome newcomers? Will it be happy to subdivide when the numbers make it necessary? Let us be happy to remember the words of the four lepers in 2 KINGS 7:9, "We do not well: this is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace."

by Alfred F. Missen

Source: ‘Redemption Tidings'