WHAT MAKES AN EVANGELISTIC CONGREGATION?
A young man was baptized into Christ here at the church building on Thursday. His family was here for a funeral and was getting ready to go back to Wisconsin. It was a delight to witness a young man whom we may never see again until Heaven obey the gospel.
I then thought about how exciting it must have been in the early church to have daily additions. The elders of the XXXXXXX congregation have made a commitment to lead this congregation to become evangelisticly minded in 2001.
I. AN EVANGELISTIC CONGREGATION IS ONE COMMITTED TO PLEASING THEIR LORD.
A. They were committed to serving Jesus! 1. Acts 2:42, 46 - "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers....So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,"
2. Acts 11:21_24 "And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. 22_ Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23_ When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24_ For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord."
3. John 6:66_68 "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67_ Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" 68_ But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
B. This kind of committment will cause them to remain faithful as lights in a community lost in darkness.
1. Revelation 3:7_10 ""And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, 'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": 8_ "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9_ "Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie; indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10_ "Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth."
II. AN EVANGELISTIC CONGREGATION IS ONE THAT IS COMMITTED TO A SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JEHOVAH GOD.
A. They understand the importance of depending on God and walking close to Him.
1. 2 Corinthians 3:4_5 "And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5_ Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,"
2. Jeremiah 10:23 - "O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps."
B. This spiritual relationship with Jehovah means that we move forward, depending on Him, even though we do not see the end result, because we trust God will produce the result He desires.
1. 2 Corinthians 5:7 "For we walk by faith, not by sight."
2. 1 Corinthians 3:6_7 "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7_ So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase."
3. 1 John 5:4 - "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world; our faith."
III. AN EVANGELISTIC CONGREGATION IS ONE THAT IS COMPLETELY COMMITTED TO THE CONCEPT OF REACHING OUT TO THE LOST.
A. The first century Christians were committed to the public and private proclaimation of the Gospel.
1. Acts 5:42 "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."
2. Acts 8:4 3. Acts 4:19_20 "But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20_ "For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.""
4. Acts 4:31 "And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness."
B. This fired an evangelistic zeal that spread out over the entire Roman world.
1. Acts 11:19_20 "Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. 20_ But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus."
2. Acts 20:20 ""how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,"
C. The result? The church grew!
1. Acts 2:47 "praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."
2. Acts 5:14 "And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,"
3. Acts 6:7 "Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith."
4. Their zeal to reach out to lost souls was so great that within a generation every corner of the Roman world had received the preaching of the word.
a. Colossians 1:23 "if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister."
IV. AN EVANGELISTIC CONGREGATION IS ONE THAT IS BALANCED IN THEIR REACHING OUT TO THE LOST.
A. Saw the importance of public preaching and teaching.
1. 2 Timothy 4:2_5 "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3_ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4_ and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5_ But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
2. Acts 5:42 - "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."
3. Acts 20:20 - ""how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house."
4. We should not forget that the great sermons on the day on Pentecost in Acts 2 and at the Beautiful gate in Acts 3 were just that. They were sermons preached to a public assembly.
5. Any congregation that downplays the role of public proclaimation in evangelism is bound to fail in the long run. This is where young people learn about the great lessons of the gospel, where visitors often first hear the gospel plea, where new Christians are ground in the truth, and where all Christians are motivated to reach out to the lost!
B. But the role of "personal evangelism" cannot be overemphasized! The early church understood!
1. Acts 5:42 - "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."
2. Acts 20:20 - ""how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house."
3. Some of the greatest lessons where taught to a single individual, or to a small group.
a. John 3 - Nicodemus
b. Acts 8:26ff - The Ethiopian treasurer
c. Acts 10 - Cornelius and his family
d. Acts 16 - Lydia and her family and the Philippian jailor and his family
4. Any congregation that depends on public proclaimation alone is not following the example of the New Testament church. As surely as we cannot grow without a strong pulpit, we cannot grow without individual Christians reaching out individually to seek souls!
CONCLUSION: Are you going to try to win one in 2001?
By Grady Scott
Return to the Sermon Outlines Page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /