Evangelism Is… Incarnational Living, Part 4 (The Soul-Winning Motivator #78)

Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is Titus 3:5 which reads: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

Allow me to share with you some important insights regarding this Scripture from David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible:

Our salvation isn’t based on any works of righteousness which we have done. In and of itself, response to an altar call does not save. Saying the sinner’s prayer does not save. Baptism does not save. Church attendance does not save. Giving does not save. Reading the Bible does not save. Each of these may be wonderful works of righteousness, but they do not save us. Instead, according to His mercy He saved us.

This is the essence and distinctive of the gospel. We can notice the emphasis: of God… not by works… His mercy… He saved us… of the Holy Spirit… He poured… through Jesus… by His grace… heirs. God is always the initiator, and we receive from Him before we give anything back.

These words — ‘by the washing of regeneration’ — are commonly taken as a reference to baptism, and this passage is sometimes quoted in support of the idea of baptismal regeneration. Yet we cannot say that Paul specifically mentions baptism here, and the only other use of the ancient Greek word translated washing here is connected with the spiritual cleansing of the believer by the Word of God through faith.

Our soul winning quote today is from Vincent Donovan. He said: “Evangelization is a process of bringing the gospel to people where they are, not where you would like them to be… When the gospel reaches a people where they are, their response to the gospel is the church in a new place.”

Our soul winning devotional is part 61 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from Dave Earley and David Wheeler.

Evangelism Is…Incarnational Living (Part 4)

Here are two more principles of incarnational living:

3. Christ Followers Should Be Agents of Social Justice and Spiritual Transformation

God’s love for hurting humanity has both a personal and a social dimension. Christians should confront sinful attitudes and structures that oppress human beings. Injustice in society is an affront to God. Jesus proclaimed the gospel to oppressed and disadvantaged groups such as minorities, people with disabilities, migrant laborers, and the poor. He also sought to change the social structures and attitudes that marginalize and dehumanize His creation.

Isaiah 58:6-8 reads: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.”

Jesus was a master at challenging the prejudiced attitudes of his day. Nevertheless, Christians must recognize that His primary message was redeeming sinful humanity to a loving Savior. Believers should always be concerned with social justice and meeting needs but never to the exclusion of loving people enough to verbalize the gospel.

4. Christ Followers Should Love Everyone, Including Social Outcasts

In “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire”, Jim Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City, shares about an encounter he had one Easter evening with a homeless man named David. His first impression was that the man only wanted money. He would soon be surprised. Cymbala recalls:

When he came close, I saw that his two front teeth were missing. But more striking was his odor – the mixture of alcohol, sweat, urine, and garbage took my breath away. I have been around many street people, but this was the strongest stench I have ever encountered. I instinctively had to turn my head sideways to inhale, then looked back in his direction while breathing out.

I asked his name.

“David,” he said softly.

“How long have you been homeless, David?”

“Six years.”

“Where did you sleep last night?”

“In an abandoned truck.”

I heard enough and wanted to get this over quickly. I reached for my money clip in my back pocket.

At that moment David put his finger in front of my face and said, “No, you don’t understand — I don’t want your money. I’m going to die out here. I just want that Jesus the red-haired girl talked about.”

I hesitated, then closed my eyes. God, forgive me, I begged. I felt soiled and cheap. Me, a minister of the gospel…I had wanted simply to get rid of him, when he was crying out for the help of Christ I had just preached about. I swallowed hard and God’s love flooded my soul…

And that smell…I don’t know how to explain it. It had almost made me sick, but now it became the most beautiful fragrance to me…The Lord seemed to say to me in that instant, Jim, if you and your wife have any value to me, if you have any purpose in my work – it has to do with this odor. This is the smell of the world I died for.

Jesus obviously has a special place in His heart for those shunned and rejected by society regardless of their socioeconomic level. We should do the same.

In our next broadcast, we will look at why evangelism is… Being the Change You Wish to See In the World.

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