Our question this morning calls for a rather short lesson. But it’s not as short as most professing Christians think. What is the first answer from most Christians to the question: What is the purpose of evangelism? Is the salvation of lost souls one of the purposes of Biblical evangelism? Is it the only purpose for evangelism? Is it the highest purpose of evangelism?What do I mean by the word “theocentric”? What are some things which might be considered as the opposite to being “theocentric”? Any religion which doesn’t put Jehovah at the core of its theology is a false religion. Is Islam a theocentric religion? Is Humanism a theocentric religion? Is there much Humanism in professing Christendom today? If we say that the primary purpose of evangelism is the salvation of souls are we being theocentric?
What is the aim of Biblical Evangelism?
The salvation of souls.
What do people mean when they say that man is immortal? What do they mean when they say that man has an eternal destiny? What is destiny? (A guaranteed outcome.) Does the Bible teach that everyone has an eternal destiny? There are some who will enjoy eternal bliss and fellowship with God. And there are some who not enjoy eternal condemnation and separation from the Lord.
Practically speaking, what determines in a person how he will spend eternity? What if someone is not told about the vicarious sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ? Can we say that it is important that everyone hear the gospel of Christ? What is the term that we have been using to talk about the spreading of the Gospel? It is important in an evangelist that he possess a “passion” for souls. What is a “passion?” (Fervor, ardor, enthusiasm.)
Did the Lord Jesus have a passion for the salvation of souls? When Jesus stated that the multitudes were as sheep without a shepherd, what was His emotion? (He was moved with compassion.) Was He emotionless when He said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” When He gave us the parable of the lost coin, what were the emotions of the woman? Who was depicted by the shepherd who left his ninety-nine sheep to seek the one lost animal? As he returned with that sheep over his shoulder, was he angry or grumpy?
Did the missionary, Paul, have a passion for souls? If there were no emotions involved, would he have said, “knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men”? What motivated him to “beseech” men to be reconciled to God? What does “beseech” mean? Was there any passion involved in Romans 9? “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Isn’t that is an unbelievable thought? His passion was so strong that he was willing to be accursed if it meant that others might know Christ.
Listen to these words from I Corinthians 9 – “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” What did Paul mean when he said, “though I be free from all men”? And yet, he still sacrificed much and endured a great deal in order to win souls to the Saviour. Why was it that while in Ephesus for 3 years, he “ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears”? Whatever else is involved, Paul was enthusiastic for the salvation of souls – for the sake of those souls.
How logical or scriptural is it to think of God having human emotions? Could we say that God the Father, or even the God-head has a passion for souls? Who does the father represent in the Lord’s parable of the prodigal son? Was that father emotional? Was there no divine emotion involved when God sent forth His only begotten Son into the world?
Is it Biblical to say that one of the aims of evangelism is the salvation of souls?
The advancement of the Kingdom of Christ.
This is a very large and multifaceted subject. Will the Millennium be a part of the Kingdom of Christ? Does that mean that there is no kingdom of God, or Kingdom of Heaven, or Kingdom of Christ today? Listen to Acts 20:22-26 – “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.” When Paul told the Ephesian elders that he had preached the Kingdom of God, did he mean that he had told them that Millennium is still coming? When he told the church in Colosse that they had been delivered from the power of darkness, and “translated into the kingdom of his dear Son” was he talking about the Millennium? What was he talking about?
In a general sense, there are both a kingdom of Satan and a kingdom of Christ in the world today. Who are the citizens of Satan’s kingdom? Who are the citizen of Christ’s kingdom? How does one become a citizen of Christ’s kingdom? Can a person change loyalties from Satan to Christ without being regenerated? What responsibilities are there in those people who change loyalties from Satan to Christ? What must happen before those people will repent of their sin and trust Christ? Could we say that one aspect of Biblical evangelism is to extend, or advance, the Kingdom of the Lord?
How would you define “worldliness?” How would you define “secularism?” (The world view that omits the things of God.) Is it correct to say that secularism is the denial of the Scriptural teaching that Christ is King of kings and Lord of Lords? How secular is our world today? One of the ways people deal with modern secularism is to divide their lives into compartments: the religious and the non-religious. One of the purposes of Biblical evangelism should be to break down those compartmental walls.
A word of caution here: There are people who believe that the Millennial Kingdom of Christ will be ushered in through evangelism. Some have the idea that God has a number in His head, and when that number of saved souls is somehow reached then it will be time for the Lord Jesus to sit on His father David’s throne. Why is that an unbiblical aim of evangelism? (Because the Lord has no such plan or number.) The Millennial kingdom is not going to be installed by an army of Christian evangelists. There is a day appointed by God, which fits in with everything else that the Lord has foreordained, and at that point the Lord will return, first for his saints, then to judge the nations and establish the Millennial kingdom.
And yet in another sense it is one purpose of Biblical evangelism to advance the Kingdom of God.
Another aim involves the growth of the Lord’s church.
Is there a difference between the Lord’s church and the Lord’s kingdom? Is there a difference between the Lord’s kingdom and the Lord’s family? What must happen for a person to become a part of the family of God? Humanly speaking, what must a person do to be a part of the Kingdom of God? What must a person do to become a part of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ?
What do I mean when I speak of the Lord’s church? What is a church of Christ? What is the church of Christ? Here is a trick question; or perhaps it is just a tricky question: What is more important, the Lord’s family, the Lord’s Kingdom, or the Lord’s church? By and large what does the world and general Christendom think about the importance of the Lord’s church? What do we mean when we speak of the Great Commission? “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Where does the great commission finally culminate: the Kingdom, the Family or the Church?
On the day of Pentecost, were the disciples content in bringing people into the Kingdom of Christ? How do you know that they wanted more? (They baptized the converts, adding them to the church.) Acts 2:47 concludes the events of Pentecost and looks into the future. What does it say? “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Doesn’t that indicate that the Lord is very much interested in the furtherance of His church? Christ is the Christian’s elder brother, and He is the King of the Kingdom, but to the church He is what? When Philip led the Ethiopian to Christ, was it sufficient just to bring him into the Family of God? When Saul of Tarsus was converted what were some of the first things that happened? What did the Philippian jailor want once he was converted?
Is it safe to say that the Lord is interested in the progress of His churches? What is the proper method that the Lord’s churches should use to see growth?
What should be the ultimate purpose for Biblical evangelism? God’s glory.
What is the ultimate end of all things? Turn to Romans 11:25-32. Turn to Romans 16:25-27.
What is the purpose of the Kingdom of God? (The Lord’s glory.) Why does the Lord build churches? (For His own glory.) Which book of the Bible speaks about the Lord’s church most clearly? (Ephesians.) Some of those references are direct and some of them a little more indirect. Ephesians 1:15-23. Ephesians 3:8-12. In chapter 5 Paul compares the love of a husband and wife to the relationship between the Lord and his church. And then there is Ephesians 3:13-21.
The aim of Biblical evangelism is the salvation of souls – for the glory of God. It is for the furtherance of the rule of Christ in the world – for the glory of God. It is the for the building of the Lord’s churches – for the glory of God. But ultimately, the purpose of evangelism is the glory of God. It is theocentric. And what happens when men manipulate evangelism to suit themselves?