Everyday Evangelism: The Importance of Faithful Laymen

Evangelism, follow-up, and discipleship is an inside job.

An Inside Job

It’s not very often (for the most part) that the people working the register, behind the desk, driving the truck, or taking your blood pressure will openly engage you in a conversation about their miserable condition before a holy God and the work of Christ on behalf of sinners who will repent and believe.  Not impossible — not even farfetched.  If you have a Million Dollar Bill tract from Living Waters or the simple beauty of a gospel of John handy, you can, if the Lord wills, have a 10 minute presentation/dialogue about the good news of Jesus Christ.  But, what often doesn’t get to happen in these encounters is vitally important: follow up.

So, if you are a regular employee like the vast majority of Americans, it means that you work with unbelieving, unregenerate men and women multiple days per week.  In God’s unsearchable, wise providence, he has meticulously worked out every detail of your job search, distance circumstances, employee hiring/terminating, pay/benefits needs, and the unbelievers’ similar circumstances so that you would be their means of seeing and hearing about the loveliness of Jesus Christ.  Evangelism, follow-up, and discipleship is an inside job.

Opening the Door

With that being said, we need our pastors and the local church to help us.  Lay people need the faithful preaching of their pastor.  The Wonderful Counselor instructs through the hours and hours of preparation spent by the Christ-exalting pastor to “equip” us for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12).  Pastor, keep preaching, keep encouraging; continue studying, praying, and example setting that we dearly need and love.

Therefore, here are some practical ways to help open the door to talking about the most glorious news that heaven itself sings about:

  1. Get to know your coworkers more — not just they “How are you? Good” conversations followed up by small talk about the weather.  These aren’t bad, but in a Facebook post, soundbite world we lack the keen eye for genuinely getting to know those we work with.  There is some deep-rooted pain and history in their lives, and much sin.  Gently ask questions about their life, where they are from, about their family, where they used to work, why they left, etc.  Take an interest.  Invest into them.  And as you do, clear avenues will appear as you ask more questions and walk down those roads together.
  2. Current events — the access to information is a fantastic way to open the evangelistic door.  Paul in Athens in Acts 17 looked around at what “he saw that the city was full of” (Acts 17:16).  And then, the Apostle preaches.  Current events are currently happening (obviously).  And as a Christian, you have the only true framework that can truthfully explain anything in the world.  Only the Bible can bring light to the haze of darkness.  Bring up the news, if it isn’t already brought up, and ask questions.  What would they have done?  What was wrong with that?  How did you come to that conclusion?  Have you ever considered?
  3. Praying for them — probably one of the most direct ways is to ask, “How can I pray for you?” or if they are under much pain and distress to ask, “Can I pray with you now?”  And then, you pray!  Trust the Lord to lead you in this prayer and how to talk with them after.  This is a home field advantage.  The Lord doesn’t hear the prayers of the wicked — but he listens to his children (Proverbs 15:29).
  4. Inviting them to church — another very direct way that is very simple to do.  Invite them to church, ask if/where they attend, and boom!, you have your door.  Be sure to allow them to talk as possible explanations come about why they used to attend/don’t attend or where they currently go/have gone.  It doesn’t take long to stand by an apple tree to be able to look at the fruit and know what it is; now, we can’t read hearts, no, but we can take an honest approach by observing their lives and being able to take humble, correct steps about where they are in relation to the Lord (again, very vague understandings).
  5. Tell them you went to church — every Monday one of the things that is asked is, “So, how was your weekend?”  Assuming your aren’t some CEO Christian (Christmas and Easter Only), you actually attended the gathering on Sunday morning (or Saturday evening, hipster).  Say something uncomfortable like, “I had a great weekend: Saturday I did blah blah blah, and Sunday we enjoyed our worship at…”  Guess what?  Maybe awkward silence.  But, maybe not.
  6. Ask them if you can talk to them about God — seriously?  Seriously.  It really does work.  I don’t have a stat sheet for you, but this approach rarely falls through.  People love talking about what they think in general about the world by nature; start like this, “Can I ask you a serious (or interesting, or random, or important) question?,” and as they answer sure you say, “What do you believe about God?” or “Do you think about life after death?” or “Are you a Christian?”  Being direct is more loving than you might think.  If you were dying of a disease, the most ugly thing your doctor could do would be to beat around the bush.

There are more ways to bring up the gospel, tons actually.  From offering rides to those in need that then makes them a prisoner to what turns out to be a gospel-directed kidnapping/loving offer (whoops),  to asking questions about their tattoos, shirts they wear, plans they have for the weekend, etc.

In the end, I hope that these will be helpful ways for you to tell the greatest story that’s hardly ever told.  You’d be surprised how many don’t know it.  And it’ll make your week to tell ’em about Christ crucified.

And since it is an inside job, follow up with the unbeliever.

May the Lamb receive the reward for his suffering.

Everyone is an Evangelist

The question is: is your news true and eternal?

News! News!

There is always news to tell: whether saddening or joyous, we all bring news.  Everyday people advertise all around you; everywhere there are announcements of information.  Whether you are bragging about the cute picture of your toddler or the fantastic weather outside (or lack thereof), we function as evangelists.  We bring news.  Especially during the NFL/MLB/NCAA season.  Complete strangers have conversations from solemn silence about ‘the big game’ last night.  Silence escapes under the weight of good news.

The question is: is your news true and eternal?

One Resurrection

In Matthew 28, the Lord Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.  As the “dawn” (v.1) began to pierce the night, the blazing Son of righteousness tears through the curtain of death.  The guard at the tomb “became like dead man” (v.4) upon meeting an angel of the Lord.  Then, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary run from this same encounter with “fear and great joy” (v.8) to tell the disciples the unbelievable news: Jesus is alive.  The Lord Jesus meets them in person, they fall before him and trembling joy and fear, and worship the King (v.9).  Jesus has risen from the dead.   These eyewitnesses now run to Galilee upon Jesus’ instruction to tell the disciples that they, too, will see the risen Christ.  If the gospel accounts were not enough, 1 Corinthians 15 is loaded with over 500 witnesses and the names of the disciples who also met and spoke and saw the Risen Lord (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

The God-man, Jesus Christ, has bore and forgiven the sins of many; and in order to do so, he has fulfilled all righteousness of God’s Law, absorbed the wrath of God on behalf of everyone who would ever turn from their sins and turn towards God in faith in Christ, and has risen from the dead for the believer’s righteous declaration before the Judge of all the earth.  This is glorious news!  News that must be told.  He has risen — this is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Two Evangelists

Yet, there comes a turn of events following this history-quaking moment: “While [Mary M. and the other Mary] were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place.  And when the chief priests had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’…So they took the money and did as they were directed.  And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day” (Matthew 28:11-15).

The first story we see the natural man functioning as an evangelist for the world.  Even though these terrified (to say the least!) guards witnessed an angel break through the heavens, descend with the sound of thunder in brilliant, blazing white to only drop down as dead men — they report this news to their superiors.  And they are then to tell people something else — something full of denial and doubt; nothing of good news and great joy.

  • This is the natural evangelist of the world.  As unbelievers, we deny the goodness and the worth of Jesus Christ.  Romans 1 tells us that we go so far as suppress the knowledge of God in exchange for stuff.  The guards did the same: they suppressed the truth about God in exchange for a money (Romans 1:25; Matt. 28:15).  The world naturally suppresses and is repulsed by the good, glorious news of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead for sinners.  They do not and cannot please God (Romans 8:7-8).  Friends, these evangelists are speaking to you and to other unbelievers.  They seem to sometimes spread these lies better than we do.  Saddening.

The second story comes immediately after these false accounts (I mean, c’mon now; you were asleep when the disciples came and stole the body?  Right.  But you were sleeping when this happened.  Ok.) and carries not a small, fading offering of cash; but an omnipotent charge packed behind it to launch it through the ages: “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee…and when they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted.  And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.'” (28:16-19).

  • This second story is what we see of the supernaturally changed man as an evangelist for the Lord Jesus Christ.  They, too, have seen Jesus; and in heart-filled affection and love, they worshipped him, and some doubted this staggering truth standing before them.  Jesus comes near to them and does not offer riches or man’s empty praise, but asserts his omnipotent, universal power as his pledge to them.  These evangelists are to tell all nations and to teach them this good news.  The love of Christ is better than life (Psalm 63:3); and his omnipotent hand, who can steady it?  He does as he pleases (Psalm 115:3), and he delights to magnify his glorious grace (Ephesians 1:6).   This beautiful news needs to be proclaimed!

The Finale

The finale, thankfully, doesn’t end there.  It starts with you vs the world, the flesh, and the devil.  It appears to be a stacked deck.  But then, “[Jesus is] with you always, to the end of the age” (v.20).  Stacked for you, that is.

Brothers, sisters, are you faithful to your commission?  Have you brought news about the changing weather, the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, or the accomplishments of your kiddos lately?   The world proclaims life-numbing news and hollow joys every day.  This news does not make eternities change.  But the news of the Risen Christ does.

The world is an evangelist; and you have been plucked out of it to be plucked back into it to forward this good news.  Not to change hearts, but to change the news.

Jesus is with you always, to the end of the age.

What is Union with Christ?

You are knit together with Christ.

The Heart of the Christian Life

Scottish theologian Sinclair Ferguson once wrote that, “[union with Christ is] a doctrine which lies at the heart of the Christian life.” If there was ever a doctrine taught so profoundly in the Scriptures that believers must better see and adore, it is their union with Christ.

And yet, I find that we need a helpful understanding and a clear picture of this profound mystery that is the core of the gospel of God.  First, I want us to pick up on the language of what it means to be united to Christ in the New Testament, and then I want to take you to a beautiful picture of what this looks like in the Old Testament. Continue reading “What is Union with Christ?”

Big Reflections on Small Phrases: Recovering Meditation

Featured at Servants of Grace (servantsofgrace.org)

Featured at For the Church (ftc.co)

Thank You, Puritans

Not many people read the Puritans, though I am immensely thankful for the seemingly recent revival of great books (thank you Banner of Truth and Monergism.com) by who I call the “old dead guys.”  There is tons of truth, deep theology, and soaring treatises on the holiness of God, communion with God, the mortification of sin, the doctrine of repentance, etc.  And in all of these writings by the Puritans and men similar to them, I have noticed one very common thread: big reflections on small phrases.  Continue reading “Big Reflections on Small Phrases: Recovering Meditation”

Sanctification in God’s Good Gifts

It is like the sweetness of honey that rolls over the rottenness of a cavity — the sweetness exposes my rottenness.

Featured on For the Church (ftc.co)

The Many Medicines of the Lord

We are very much aware of the texts that speak of the meticulous and wise providences of God in brining about suffering, pain, and affliction for our good and God’s glory.  And we are keenly aware (hopefully) of the footing for these precious and very great promises:

  • Job 5:17-18, ““Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.  For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.
  • Hosea 6:1, “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
  • Lamentations 3:31-33, “For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.”
  • Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (see also verse 67, 75).

Continue reading “Sanctification in God’s Good Gifts”