In my entire life I have been inundated with ideals, philosophies, strategies, theories, plans, events, and efforts to engage the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If I were to frame and paste every “certification” in evangelism techniques I have it would cover a good 1000 square feet of wall for sure.  While I don’t want to sound crass or ungrateful for many who serve the Lord in an effort to reach people with the gospel, I have to maintain a strict understanding of what scripture teaches and how God alone gives life to unbelievers in spite of the style and engagement of human beings. In my brief two decades in ministry I have discerned several reasons why people do not share their faith.

They are not in the faith

According to scripture, MOST people among the fellowship of local congregations are NOT in Christ. They enjoy the life of church, but not the giver of life. Jesus says that many are going through the broad way and few will find and enter the narrow gate. He says that He is the door to Heaven, not the ways or words of man. So, for a large majority of people, they don’t share the faith because they don’t have it to share. No one can give what they do not possess.

They are ill equipped by methods and memorization

Being ill equipped is either one of two things: First, it is not being taught anything about sharing the faith, living the faith or the like and second, it is being taught that sharing the faith is a method, system, strategy etc. that completely disregards the commands and practice of God’s word. When people learn to throw a ball, they don’t need lessons and strategies dealing with their finger placement, rotation of spin, muscle retention in the fingertips, or the methods of measuring the arch, friction, or force of the ball moving through the air.  They just need to pick it up and throw it to someone. Scripture teaches that sharing the faith is done in only TWO ways. Through the teaching of God’s Word either through preaching or daily living. Matthew 28:19-21 teaches that all Christians are to just simply teach others to obey Christ through the Scriptures. There is nothing more to it. I guess the question should then look to the first point, do those who profess Christ even know what He has certainly said they will be and do in the first place?

They are fearful due to a lack of power from God’s word

Fear intimidates many in the faith because they see all the magnificent oration and presentation skills of so many and their ability reason and engage in dialog and debate. They feel as if they would never be able to do these things and in a biblical sense, they should not do them. Paul says to the Corinthian church that he did not come in “eloquence of speech” or in wisdom but in “fear and much trembling” being nearly “unable to speak.” He says this because that was his ability, not what we think when we consider successful evangelism. When we put ANY ANY ANY ANY ANY ANY ANY stock in one’s ability to share the gospel, we have dismissed the cross of ALL ALL ALL ALL ALL ALL ALL ALL power. Read 1 Corinthians 1 for the proof.

They don’t have the word of God in their fellowship 

I won’t claim that many people sit in ignorance of their own doing on this matter but I will say that for the most part they sit under talking but not teaching. Teaching requires something being learned and when all one gets from a so-called preacher is stories, examples, personal reflection, commentary or worse, life lessons, they are NOT getting any teaching from Scripture because it doesn’t teach these things. It doesn’t need these things. It doesn’t requires these things. If God’s word is preached as it is written, the the wisdom of man moves into the garbage and God’s wisdom who is Christ Jesus Shines clearly to empower HIS true church to teach others the same.

They think it requires a response by all who hear

Sadly, the efforts of sharing the faith in the last 100 or so years has been compacted to a few verses, a technique or two and then a request for a response to which men, beginning with Satan in the garden then to Charles Finney during the SGA, has gladly put their seal upon as the “right” response for the gospel “plan” or “presentation.”  I will remain focused on this point but if you read more and listen more you will see I have very little tolerance for this “bewitched” practice of damnation that plagues the world today settling the hearts of many who believe they are born again when they are not.  God’s word demands a response and the effect of teaching people to obey Christ and to believe in Christ and to repent of their desires to find JOY in Christ is either God saving them through the hearing of the gospel (Christ died for the ungodly for the judgement of sins) or hardening them through the idea of legalism or rejection of the truth. (Rom 1)  We should not lead people through a process of saying or doing anything but rather engagement to be continually committed to the joy of Christ through the fellowship of the saints around the word and worship. (See Matthew 28 again if you need to.)

Share the faith, share the gospel, live the life of a child of God and stick to the word of God and watch God make disciples!   μαθητεύω (For my Greek Loving Peeps… take a gander at that verb found in Matt 28:19)

In the end, many practices or lack there of regarding evangelism are a direct result of either not knowing or not trusting in the promises of God. Scripture teaches that all who see the Kingdom of Heaven and Enter it are “born of God” (John 3) and that only through hearing of the words of Christ will God create life in that hearing unto faith. (Rom 10:17)  So, when the church begins to reduce God’s saving grace little more than being sincere like when you get married, make a new year’s resolution or commit to a job, then we have failed the cross most certainly and it’s no wonder why so many Christians just are not willing to engage in a losing, false converting game of cat and mouse.

Matthew 28:19–20 (ESV)

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

See this text. It brings with it decades if not near centuries of man-made manure of purveying a godless hope for the gain of self glory and head counting producing false celebration, false worship and false churches for the world to love and enjoy. Jesus says simply that sharing the faith in obedience to Him is on two things:

  1. As you “GO” – so we have to be in the world doing our daily things.
  2. “Make disciples” – this is what we think we’re doing by “committing” people to Christ or sharing the “process” of salvation when Jesus clearly explains it.
    • Making disciples is bringing them into the flock of Christ evidenced by Baptism or inclusion into the local church. This would be those who desire to “know” and “learn” Christ who profess in their own understanding that they are born again by Him. (A whole new discussion)
    • Making disciples is teaching them to observe (0bey) ALL His commands.

The result of real evangelism is that CHRIST IS WITH US ALL until the end of age. Amen.

Pastor James

Crisis of Faith CoverAs the Lord allows, I plan to release this book in January 2016.  It chronicles my journey of faith, theologically, from birth to date and reveals just how harshly Reformed doctrine has affected me, my life and my family as well as my ministry.  In the last ten years or so a movement has ensued that seems to be taking large groups of Evangelicals and dividing them from fellowship.  I have experienced this first hand and in all honesty, have experienced hatred, hurt, death threats and the like while keeping quiet and tending to my own business.

My hope in this writing would be to allow the reader to journey with me, see what I see and then realize that everyone, no matter who they are, at one time or another has had a crisis of faith.  During these times believers are to stand together, work with each other, pray for grace and reconciliation and see God work through it.  Sadly, it hasn’t been the case.  So, my crisis of faith resulted in major growth for my good, but it has been painful.  Pray for me as I put the final touches to this text and pray that the message of the gospel would be paramount to it all.

For His Glory,

James

aacoffin_blackSitting here listening to the ringing of my four oldest children as they play together gives me a moment to contemplate the amazing and glorious gift of God of my family.  At times I feel as though I am truly the richest man that ever lived.  Even in the aggravation of life, I can honestly attest to the reality that our family and our home is a haven of worship, a place where constant reminders of God’s grace sing through the echoes of memories and madness.  A place where there is a people at the heart of it all, a people for God’s glory by the power of His mighty grace.  I’m reminded of the gravity of being a father often, especially in this season as it has been one hard lick after another with “something” just around the corner.  Whether it be problems with our house (firstworld) not coming together or financial strain due to emergencies or the 29 visits to a doctor in 2013 and the related joys that tag along, it all comes in a very small manner, painful but joyful and God is truly using it all to sanctify us.

Our fifth child being born in October has brought a few more experiences, beginning with Robyn, my wife, who had a very difficult pregnancy and bed rest the latter third.  Then the birth in itself was a gift of God’s mercy pushing the physical and emotional limits of our hearts to the peak of failure and even death and all the while, the Lord was there, holding it all together by the Word of His power.  So this day, not yesterday and not the hope of what tomorrow brings but this day is the day for us now.  Now is the time of faith, now is the time of rejoicing and now is the time when all things are for the Glory of our Lord.  My children remind me of this and keep me ever working and hoping, not in a wishful way, in a certain and guaranteed confidence that only comes from God, that His purpose is good for me.  Fatherhood is dear to me, it is something that even as a young boy I desired and I am thankful that the Lord has given me the best and most excellent wife and five wonderful sinners, that by the Lord’s grace, believe on Him (well four at this point).

In this little moment there isn’t much of an argument for me to declare or theological paradigm to proclaim but a small reminder, a big smile and a wonderful glimpse at the Father’s love.  Hearing them play, sing, talk, and work through their own struggles brings me back to my childhood when one of my only fears was the loss of my family.  It really was, I lived in a pretty faith-filled place but when it came to considering one of my parents or grandparents dying I was shaken, not just pouty, but fearful.  I hear my children play and think, “is that their fear?”  Many times in the last 16 years of fatherhood each of my children have expressed this fear.  Daily they all affirm their love for me and their mother through obedience and affection and I know that there will come a day when they will face the reality of the death of their parents.  That day when I or their mother will depart this Earth to receive all that we have longed and held fast for in our lives.

While death is such a sweet and glorious blessing that brings with it no fear, pain or suffering, I have just realized that there is a small amount of fear in me still.  The fear that my children may fear as I feared at their age.  A fear that they would consider life wrecked and hopeless if we died.  And with that thought I can still feel the warm hand of fear in my own soul.  At the same time I rejoice, not because I love the macarbre but mainly because I am satisfied.  I am satisfied that they have the fear of children because they recognize their affection and dependance upon us and because we are their salvation in so many ways.  I know not every family has this that we enjoy and I would be a fool to think it could never end.  But for now, it is what we have and it is to this that I speak.  I am satisfied that the God of my salvation, Jesus Christ has attended to me and will in fact attend to my children.  I am satisfied that true hope is available through the Spirit of Life to them and that we teach them about the reality and certainty of physical death and how it is NOTHING in relation to the death of sin.

I am satisfied to know that my children, even if they are not aware, are prepared by God to face each day He has given them and that with all that I have within me I pray they hold fast to Him forever as He has held fast to them.  I am satisfied that there is no fear in death and that my fear and theirs, even in grief, will be brief and tied to a glorious outcome for their good.  I remember countless death room experiences, some of my own family where the dying would fear what would happen to those left behind.  It is natural, but our life in Christ is above natural, it is above comprehension because it is born of God.

I know that the God of Heaven has established all the days of my life and theirs and that nothing my children accomplish in life will ever make me proud or fulfill my greatest dream or reach their greatest potential except for them to trust fully in the perfect life and finished work of Jesus Christ the Righteous!  I am satisfied knowing that the Lord who began the good work in them will complete it, even if my death in their young lives is part of His glorious grooming and purpose.  But until that day, we fix our eyes not on that which is seen or feared, but the One who is unseen and revealed to us by the Spirit through the Word.  He alone is our peace, He is our comfort, He is our glory, He is our redeemer, He is our sufficient High Priest and He is sufficient to see my children be raised up to lay down their lives for the Gospel.

May the God of all gods and the King of all kings reign supreme in our home and all the days of our lives and God, may the legacy of these parents be one of Christ exalting glory!

Amen.

Pastor James

This series contemplates the reality that in so many circumstances, the people of God act and live as though the Gospel has no power in their lives and in as much, the Gospel must not work.  Over eight weeks in preparation for the “Horrors of Christmas” (wrath, judgement, horror and hell) series, we have discovered that the Gospel IS power in the life of the church and when we fail to rest by faith in the gospel of Christ, we are the problem, not Christ.  Worship with us through this look and pray as God prepares us to move into Titus in January.