Sermon: Prayer and the Gospel

“Prayer and the Gospel”
Ephesians 6:18-20
January 7, 2018

One of my annual goals is to read at least one book each year on evangelism. So this week I read Rico Tice’s book, Honest Evangelism: How to Talk About Jesus When It’s Tough. In his introduction he writes:

I find evangelism hard. The problem with being an evangelist is that people assume that you find evangelism effortless; but I don’t find it easy, and never have. For me, telling people about Jesus has often been nerve wracking.

Maybe you feel the same way? Actually, you probably — almost certainly — feel the same way. Most believers affirm the difficulty in communicating the gospel. Telling the gospel is hard. But telling the gospel is also a privileged joy. The Lord has entrusted the communication of his salvation plan to — us! We are the vessels (ordinary, weak, cracked, and broken) into which God has placed the eternal and infinitely rich treasure of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:1-7). We are God’s distribution plan for the Good News of Christ. How will we fulfill this responsibility and priority when we find it hard?

Paul addresses that in his letter to Ephesus. In his final comments in that letter, Paul asks them to pray for him to be effective in his proclamation of the gospel and to be bold in telling the good news of Jesus. That’s Paul, the apostle, asking for prayer to be bold — suggesting that he did not have a natural boldness in preaching the gospel.

Evangelism starts where all ministry starts — with prayer.

Effective evangelism begins with effective praying.

Last fall the elders met to consider our long-range plans for the church, and part of that was an evaluation of how we did last year. And as we thought about how we did in creating a culture of evangelism, we thought that we had some successes and some failures and that there was still more work to be done. So we don’t have a new ministry emphasis this year. We have an old ministry emphasis (much older than last year!). We want to continue to build a culture of evangelism into the structure of our church. As we think about sharing the gospel and building a culture of evangelism in our church body, Paul identifies four components that are needful for effective evangelism:

  1. The Necessity of Prayer (v. 18)
  2. The Necessity of Power (v. 19)
  3. The Necessity of Persecution (v. 20a)
  4. The Necessity of Proclamation (v. 20b)

Download the rest of this sermon on Ephesians 6:18-20.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website later this week.

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