Sermon: Excel Still More – Evangelism

Excelling Still More:  Evangelism
Colossians 4:2-6
February 6, 2022

Randy Newman introduces his book Bringing the Gospel Home:  Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well by writing this:

When I informed a friend I was writing a book on witnessing to family, he told me he had the perfect chapter titles:

Chapter 1: Don’t Do It!
Chapter 2: Don’t Do It!
Chapter 3: Did You Think I Was Kidding?
Chapter 4: Pray for Somebody Else to Do It
Chapter 5: Review Chapters 1, 2, and 3

He then offered several firsthand stories of how not to witness to family. And he had more from where those came from. Since then, many others have volunteered the same kinds of illustrations. Apparently, horror stories outnumber success stories.…

I realize that most Christians are not evangelists. Consequently, for them evangelism is not easy. A problem often arises because many of the people who speak and write about evangelism are evangelists. For them, evangelism is easy. It’s as natural as breathing. They can’t imagine not witnessing to anyone and everyone who comes their way. They tend to make the rest of us feel guilty.

They say, “I cannot sleep at night unless I have witnessed to at least one soul that day.” When I hear that (and I have found I am not alone), I usually think, “I sleep just fine!” Or they tell how they always pray for a witnessing opportunity as soon as they sit down at their seat on an airplane. I pray for there to be an empty seat next to me.

When we’re told that witnessing should come naturally, we’re set up for failure and frustration. For the vast majority of Christians, evangelism never seems natural and never flows easily. As a result we fall into one of several pits. Either we sound like someone we’re not, evangelizing with a different tone of voice than we use for every other topic. Or we wait for it to “feel right” or easy and, when that doesn’t happen, we clam up. Or we beat up on ourselves for not being bold enough, smart enough, or quick enough. Thus we tell people “good news” but sound more racked with guilt than liberated by grace.

These are just the potential problems with witnessing to strangers or acquaintances. Witnessing to family members — the ones who have known us the longest, seen us at our worst, and are the least likely to fall for our facades — seems infinitely more daunting. [pp. 13, 21.]

Those words resonated with me, and my guess is that they resonate with you as well. 

One of our goals for this year is to stimulate one another to excel still more in loving and caring for one another.  One of the ways we care for one another is through communicating the gospel in evangelistic opportunities and seeing more people trust in Christ and become part of our church body. So today we want to think about our growing commitment to excellence and communicating the gospel by answering this question:

How can we be more effective in communicating the gospel?

I want to answer it with three words from Colossians 4 — pray, live, and speak.

As we go through this passage, I want to give you (and me) some practices we can cultivate in order to help yourself in each of these areas, so that you leave today not guilt-ridden but hopeful.

How can we be more effective in communicating the gospel?

  1. Pray (vv. 2-4)
  • Pray diligently
  • Pray for opportunities
  • Pray for words
  1. Live (v. 5)
  • Live the gospel
  • Look for opportunities
  1. Speak (v. 6)
  • Speak graciously and boldly
  • Speak discerningly

Download the rest of this sermon on Colossians 4:2-6

The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.

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