Our soul winning verse from the Word of God today is John 1:14 which reads: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Our soul winning quote today is from Joseph C. Aldrich. He said: “Evangelism is expressing what I possess in Christ and explaining how I came to possess it. In the truest sense, evangelism is displaying the universals of God’s character – His love, His righteousness, His justice and His faithfulness – through the particulars of my everyday life.”
Our soul winning devotional is part 42 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from Dave Earley and David Wheeler.
Evangelism Is…A Lifestyle
In the last several decades, America has shifted from a mostly Christian nation to a post-Christian nation. An ever-increasing majority of the population is secularized. According to Jim Petersen secularized describes “people who are not operating within a religious framework. Religion is not a vital aspect of their existence. Their personal philosophy of life is not based on religious concepts.” He continues, “They feel that religion has been exhausted as a valid basis for a personal philosophy. They are post-religious. They may have a traditional knowledge of religion but no personal religious life.”
For decades Christians have counted on reaping events such as crusades, revivials, and church services to do their evangelism for them. This approach is no longer as effective, especially in an increasingly post-Christian culture. And make no mistake, America is an increasingly post-Christian nature. Church attendance in America continues to drop, going from 60 percent after WWII, to 49 percent in 1991, to just over 18 percent of the population attending church on any given Sunday today. That means fewer than two out of 10 people you see at Walmart were in church last Sunday.
Seminary professor and consultant Aubrey Malphurs addressed the fact that America is changing when he said, “Essentially, what was a churched, supposedly Christian culture has become an unchurched, post-Christian culture. People in our culture are not antichurch; they simply view the church as irrelevant to their lives.”
If secularized people meet Christ, it will probably be as a result of Christians who view evangelism as a process and a lifestyle, not merely an event. They will be patiently willing to plow, plant, and water before they try to reap. They will be intentionally willing to build friendships with people far from God and live their Christianity in order to give a clear explanation of the gospel out of an authentic lifestyle and a genuine concern. They will reach people as they allow investigators to belong before they ask them to believe.
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Some things are better together than separate. Few people eat peanut butter sandwiches. Not many people eat jelly sandwiches. But nearly everyone enjoys peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Why? They taste better together.
The peanut butter and jelly of effective evangelism is proclamation and affirmation. Proclamation describes the event of giving a clear explanation of the gospel to a non-Christian as an event. Affirmation describes living the character of Christ. Proclamation is preaching the gospel with our lips. Affirmation is preaching the gospel with our lives. Proclamation is doing. Affirmation is being. Proclamation is telling the truth. Affirmation is living the truth. Effective evangelism, especially of secularized people, requires both proclamation and affirmation.
In Ephesians 4:15 we are told to speak the truth in love. Truth without love destroys. Love without truth deceives. Truth combined with love draws people into a relationship with Christ. Truth and love are what lost people hunger to see. Truth and love are proclamation and affirmation joined in effective evangelism.
In our next broadcast, we will continue to look at why evangelism is…a lifestyle.