Our soul winning verse from the Word of God today is 2 Timothy 4:5 which reads: “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
Allow me to share with you some important insights regarding this Scripture from David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible:
In this Scripture passage Paul was addressing Timothy. He gives a word of contrast against the people mentioned in the previous sentence. Though others turned aside to fables, Timothy was to be even more dedicated to doing what God wanted him to do. Their presence was to make him more dedicated, not more discouraged.
Timothy could not fulfill his ministry unless he kept careful attention, being watchful in all things. Every good shepherd has his eyes open.
Ministry is just like life – there are afflictions to be borne with. For some this is a disturbing thought because they thought that the ministry would be one beautiful spiritual experience after another. There are plenty of wonderful blessings in serving God but there are also afflictions to be endured.
This command – do the work of an evangelist – implies that Timothy was not particularly gifted as an evangelist but he still had to faithfully do that work as a preacher of God’s Word.
Our soul winning quote today is from Oscar Thompson. He said: “I believe the most important word in the English language, apart from proper nouns, is relationship…The thing that satisfies the deepest longing of your being is a relationship with someone…God wants to reveal His character through a Christian’s life…He does this by loving through you in your relationships with others.”
Our soul winning devotional is part 50 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from Dave Earley and David Wheeler.
Evangelism Is…Reaching People Through Relationships (Part 2)
Oscar Thompson’s second major emphasis aimed at explaining how to make genuine disciples of those individuals in the circles of influence. The process has seven stages:
Stage 1: Get Right with God, Self, and Others
Thompson said, “A person can never lead another closer to the Lord than he or she already is. Evangelism must flow from a life that is deeply in love with the Lord.”
This first stage of disciple-making emphasizes the critical importance of relationships. Thompson believed that the most important word in the English language was relationship – even more important than love because love is stalled without relationship. If love is the train, he says, “relationship is the track.” To Thompson, evangelism traveled down the track of relationships. He would say that evangelism is supremely relational.
We can almost always associate times of crisis or times of joy with the state of our relationships. Crisis situations like divorce, alienation from family or friends, divided churches, or failed business partnerships point to damaged relationships. On a larger scale, fractured relationships can result in war and death. Healthy or restored relationships produce the opposite effect – happy marriages and families, successful businesses and ministries, and strong alliances between nations.
The most important relationship, and the one we need to get right first, is our relationship with God. We must come to God on His terms, make Him Lord of our lives, and receive His gift of salvation. Having done that, if we have been disobedient to His direction, we need to repent and ask for God’s forgiveness. First John 1:9 promises believers that God will not hold a grudge but is eager to restore fellowship with His children.
Once we are right with God, we need to examine our relationships with others and restore them if necessary. No one can be right with God and still be wounded by broken relationships. Matthew 5: 23-24 reminds us of this: “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
Thompson stated that “reconciled relationships with others will clean the channel in your life so that the love of God can flow through you to others around you. The gospel will move through these right relationships.”
Relationships may include the unlovable or those whom we don’t particularly like. Thompson reminds us that part of following God’s will is surrendering the right to choose whom we love.
In our next broadcast, we will look at Stage 2 of why evangelism is…Reaching People Through Relationships