Fishers of men

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fishers of menJesus told Peter He would make him and Andrew fishers of men. This word applies to all of us.

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men“ They immediately left their nets and followed Him. (Matthew 4:18-20)

Fishing principles

Good fishermen do not catch fish because they are lucky. Success in fishing is not a matter of luck, but of technique.

Know which fish you want to catch (Matthew 10:5-6) – Each type of fish demands a specific lure or kind of bait and a specific season for fishing. It is one thing to fish for trout and another thing to fish for bass. Choose a target group. You will attract what you are and not necessarily, what you want to attract.

Go where the fish are – (Matthew 10:5) – Different types of fish feed in different places and at different times. Not all fish will go to your cell group. We need to win people in the locations where they live, work, study and play, etc.

Concentrate on the type of fish that is taking the bait – (Matthew 10:14) – Concentrate on winning those who are open to hear the gospel. We do not want to ignore anyone, but it is foolish to spend our time on those who do not want to hear. There are different types of soil in which we sow the seed. It is wise to sow in ploughed and prepared soil.

  • Some groups are more open to the gospel than others here are some examples:
  • Visitors that come the second time to a church service
  • Friends and relatives of new converts
  • People with marital problems
  • People who need deliverance
  • Sick people
  • People with serious or terminal diseases in the family
  • Parents of problematic children
  • The unemployed and people with financial problems
  • People who have just moved from another city

Learn to think like a fish – Matthew 9:4; 12:25, Mark 2:8, Luke 5:22; 9:47 and 11:17 – Understand the habits and preferences of each fish. In other words, speak the language that the fish understand.

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Colossians 4:5

A good fishing trip requires that we do some things that are unpleasant for us, but good for the fish – Luke 10:8 – Good fishermen are not concerned with comfort. We need to follow the ways of the fish and not our own ways. Do whatever is necessary to win a soul. A basic principle of fishing is making the necessary sacrifice to catch the fish. (I Corinthians 9:22-23).

We do not fish for men as a hobby; we are responsible fishers of men before God. – Be a serious and diligent fisherman, and the fish will come. For us fishing is not a game or diversion, but the most serious thing in the world.

Sometimes we use the fish themselves as bait – We need to use the greatest possible number of different types of bait. However, the principle is that each fish that we catch can also become the bait to catch more fish. We can use them to increase the potential and scope of the fishing effort. We must use each fish according to its capacity.

When the fish are also the bait

Matthew’s fish (Luke 5:27-29) – When a Matthew converts we need to use him as bait in a big party. We should teach important, rich or very popular people how to throw a big party and be the bait to catch many other fish.

Lazarus’ fish (John 12:1, 9) – People who have experienced a great miracle in their lives need to be taught to give a testimony. In this case, we can prepare a dinner party like the one Lazarus did in Bethany.

Andrew’s fish (John 1:40-41) – Not everyone has great miracles or popular dreams to share, but we all have a close relative, brother or cousin. Right away, each new convert needs to learn that he must invite his relatives to come to Jesus.

Peter’s fish – Peter was bold and daring. He was the type of a person that was always about to explode, that did not beat around the bush and spoke his mind. He was the first to preach and get results on the day of Pentecost. When we have new converts like Peter, we do not have to teach them the need to preach, they will preach whether we suggest it or not.

Paul’s fish (Acts 9:20, 26) – Paul was a cruel persecutor of the church. When they found out about his conversion, some people doubted, but others began to testify with even more boldness. This is an example of a fish that will inspire fishermen more than they attract other fish. However, this is also good, because motivated fishermen are more efficient.

The fish that was healed (John 9:25) – There is no need for a new convert to learn theology before he can testify of the Lord. He can give the testimony of the blind man who received his sight, “Who he was I don’t know, I only know that I was blind but now I see”.

The Samaritan woman’s fish (John 4:39, 42) – People who led an immoral life before conversion become powerful bait. Take them with you to testify just as the Samaritan woman did.

Conclusion

This is no time to get comfortable just because we have had a good fishing trip, but it is time to grow up even more and become better fisherman. Fishing cannot become just a hobby even though it only might last for a season. It is a time to take advantage of the fish that we have caught and use them as good bait.

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Need-based evangelism

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Evangelism – identifying and meeting human needs

need-based evangelismWe can identify three levels of human need. The first level refers to basic needs such as food, clothing and housing. The second level refers to immediate needs. These needs are related to sicknesses, finance, marriage etc. In addition, we will call the last level of need the ultimate need, which refers to salvation in Jesus Christ.

Categories of need

The Word of God possesses a history, or a principle, which applies to any human need. Immediate needs are opportunities to lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord. We cannot suppose that someone who has received some kind of blessing has also been saved. Nor can we meet the immediate needs of a person and ignore their need for salvation. Need-based evangelism involves clearly exposing what the Word of God promises concerning a situation or problem, and explaining how the person can fulfill the conditions for that promise to become a reality in his or her life.

Connecting a common necessity to the need for salvation

Evangelism is not giving people what they have no right to receive. In order for them to enjoy the inheritance, they must first become children of God.

Allow the person to vent their frustration. – Ask questions that help the person to open up.

Offer hope – If the situations are similar, then the result may be the same.

Make an analogy connecting the person’s problem with the Word of God – Look for a principle or a Bible story that applies to the problem.

Explain biblical conditions – The blessings of God depend on a correct relationship with God, namely to be a child of God.

Make an evangelistic connection – The great majority of problems are the consequences of a life far from God. Show that the greatest problem is separation from God.

Trace a path to God – Make an evangelistic appeal and suggest a prayer of repentance.

Show the worst-case scenario – Warn the person that the situation can get even worse, if he rejects the gospel.

Common needs and Bible texts

Housing problems (Deuteronomy 28:1-11) – Jesus taught us not to worry about material things. (Matthew 6:25-34). If you are His child, He promises to give direction and to meet our needs. He will certainly give direction, but for this, you must hear His Spirit. Jesus said that if you seek first the kingdom of God these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33).

Evangelistic question: “Would you like to know how to seek the kingdom of God?

Sickness (Isaiah 53:4-5, Exodus 23:24-25) – Someday every sickness will be eliminated (Revelation 21:4). Sickness today is a consequence of the fall of man (Genesis 3). The Lord has the power to heal all sickness. He carried all of the sicknesses of those who trust in Him to the cross (Isaiah 53:4-5). Healing is available on the cross.

Evangelistic question: would you like to know how to appropriate what the Lord did on the cross?

Terminal patient fearing death (Isaiah 38:1-8) – It is normal to feel fearful at death. The Lord himself felt anguish as He faced death. However, death is the only sure thing for every person. You however, have an advantage by knowing the approximate time of your death. There was a man in the Bible who all also knew the day of his death (Isaiah 38:1-8). The Lord commanded him to put his house in order (organize his affairs) before departing.

Evangelistic question: would you like to know how to put your house in order before God?

Financial needs (Matthew 6:25-34, Psalm 34:10) – There are many causes for financial problems like injustice, theft or even bad administration (Matthew 25:14-20). However, the greatest aspect of problems is a result of curses (Malachi 3:8). The Lord has promised to fulfil all of the needs of His children (Matthew 6:25-34). If we are in Christ all of our needs will be supplied (Philippians 4:19).

Evangelistic question: would you like to learn how to be free from financial curses?

Life endangerment (I Samuel 30:6, Psalm 91) – God promises protection for those who cling to Him with love and confess their trust in Him (Psalm 91) David suffered many death threats, but he strengthened himself by seeking the Lord (I Samuel 30:6). All of us will die someday. The only assurance that we have is that we are in God’s hands.

Evangelistic question: would you like to know how to have the protection of God and feel this type of assurance?

Fear of the future (Jeremiah 29:11 Matthew 6:25-34, Isaiah 64:4) – God’s plans are perfect and He desires good things for us. We do not need to know the future, we only need to know the one that knows and holds the future in his hands (Matthew 6:25-34).

Evangelistic question: would you like to know how to feel secure about the future?

Loneliness (Psalm 68:6, Job 19:13-26) – Job was a good man, yet he suffered much because of his loneliness (Job 19:13-26). However, this made him call out to God. He knew that God was the solution. When we are alone all that we want is a friend. Did you know that Jesus once said that we could be His friends? (John 15:15).

Evangelistic question: would you like to know how to become friends with Jesus?

Relational conflicts (Genesis 4:1-11) – When we are not in fellowship with God we cannot have peace with anyone. Abraham had a conflict with his nephew and he was able to resolve it because he trusted in God and was even called the friend of God (James 2:23). He went to the point of giving up his rights because he was a peacemaker. (Matthew 5:9).

Evangelistic question: would you like to know how to have peace with God and with the people around you?

Marital problems (Matthew 7:24) – God has established a pattern for family life that must be followed in order to have harmony in the home. (Eph. 5:28-32). When this pattern is violated conflicts arise. Jesus said that some households fall because their foundation is not on the rock.

Evangelistic question: would you like to know how to build your house on the rock and have harmony in your home?

Low self-esteem (Luke 15:21) – The prodigal son felt totally useless and worthless (Luke 15:21). He felt that way because he had abandoned his home. However, when the relationship with his father was restored, the other members of the household were even envious of him. In order to feel good about yourself, first you must feel bad about your distance from God.

Evangelistic question: would you like to know the condition of your heart before God and received His approval?

Fear of failure (Psalm 139) – God knows everything about you. (Psalm 139) He can direct you as to how to use your aptitudes and talents for what is best for you. However, you can only obtain this information if you have fellowship with Him.

Evangelistic question: would you like to know how to restore your fellowship with God and know His plans for your life?

Employer problems (I Samuel 18:11-14) – David was in a stressful situation because of the jealousy of his leader. (I Samuel 18:11). The only way that David was able to overcome this problem was because the Lord was with him. We will always have tensions, but if we can receive power from God to overcome them.

Evangelistic question: would you like to know how to receive power to overcome all stress?

Loss of a child (Job 15:26) – There are times like these in our lives when human words are not sufficient to comfort us. Jesus said that He would send us a comforter that would abide with and in us and give us the peace of God in the midst of suffering. (Job 15:26). This comforter is the Holy Spirit.

Evangelistic question: would you like to know how to receive this comforter in your heart?

Lack of meaning (Isaiah 48:17-18) – God is the only one that can give us meaning and purpose in life. (Isaiah 48:17-18). This only comes when we receive His direction for all areas of our lives.

Evangelistic question: would you like to know the purpose of God for your life?

How to share your testimony

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How to share your testimony in seven steps

share your testimony

He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.  But He needed to go through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.  A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. (John 4:3-8)

Jesus is the most powerful model and example of an evangelist. In John 4 when the Lord Jesus met the woman at the well, He demonstrated the most effective form of personalizing the gospel in a practical way. The following seven steps will help you share your testimony effectively.

Make contact with people outside of the church (John 4:1-6)

One of the main reasons for Christian’s lack of fruit in evangelism is because they have little or no contact with non-Christians. Jesus was called the friend of tax collectors and sinners (Luke 5:27-32), He made contact with unbelievers; however He was separate from the world.

Do not confuse separation from the world with isolation from the world (John 17:15; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11). Separation is God’s strategy for our sanctification, but isolation is the devil’s strategy to prevent us from influencing people with the life of God. The Lord’s prayer was clear: “I do not pray that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15).

Establish a common point of interest (John 4:7)

If we were Jesus, maybe we would have gotten right to the point and asked; “Do you know who I am?” However, Jesus did not do that, rather He sought to establish a point of contact in order to talk with her. This point of contact was something that she was interested in, water. Here are some practical ways of establishing these common points of contact:

  • Remember, people like to talk about themselves…
  • Discover their interests
  • Use what the other person is doing at the beginning of the conversation
  • There is nothing as attractive as a compliment

Awaken interest (John 4:9-12)

The Lord awoke the interest of this woman in two ways: Because of His attitude of coming to her and being interested in her (4:9) – The woman was surprised at Jesus’s attitude and this caught her attention. Our life has to be like salt that awakens thirst in those around us. Our interior peace and serenity in the midst of difficult circumstances; our sanity and our contentment with that which we have; our quality of life and our attitudes are things that attract people.

We do not have to be perfect to give a testimony, but it is vital that we not be full of contradictions. The devil’s strategy is to convince us that we cannot give a testimony to anyone about Jesus as long as we are not as good as the Angel Gabriel’s twin brother. The lie that we have to be perfect before we are qualified to speak has silenced many Christians. It does no good for people to recognize that you and I are excellent people if we do not share the message of the gospel with them.

Throwing out a lure – A lure is a situation or subject that allows us to put forth a spiritual subject and thus present the gospel to someone. Jesus threw out a lure using a mysterious affirmation (4:10). Normally a lure is something that attracts a person’s attention and curiosity and stimulates conversation. We cannot always awaken interest, but we can discover those who are interested. We do not have to force our testimony on anybody. We must free ourselves from the feeling of embarrassment and begin speaking about spiritual things in a natural manner. When we give a testimonial, we must be as comfortable and natural in our tone and voice as when we speak about a game from the night before, about the escapades of our children or any other thing.

An easy way to begin a conversation is to ask questions. Questions are useful because they allow us to get the feel of the other person’s interests. There are at least three questions that you can ask. The first: “Since you mentioned religion, are you interested in spiritual subjects?” Many will say, yes, but even if the answer is no, we can ask them a second question: “What do you think a true Christian is?”

The person will probably list a number of things that Christians do like: going to church, reading the Bible, giving to the poor, etc. After their answer, we can agree that Christians do these things, but then we can emphasize that this is not what a true Christian is. A Christian is a person who maintains a personal relationship with a living person: Jesus Christ. If after this he continues showing interest, you can ask the third question: “Would you like to become a true Christian right now?”

Don’t try to explain the whole Bible (John 4:13-15)

Stick to what is important and necessary for the person at that moment. Many believers allow others to distract them with irrelevant questions and then try to answer all of the person’s doubts concerning traditions, tithes, etc. However, the only thing that the person needs to know at this point is how to receive salvation, so stick to the gospel.

It is best to present Jesus according to the person’s need. If someone is a prisoner, present yourself as a deliverer and so forth. It is possible to present the gospel without having to expound all Bible doctrine. Using a simple diagram, we can explain the whole plan of salvation.

Don’t condemn the person (John 4:16-18)

There are many ways to condemn people. It could be through an attitude of rejecting an invitation that somebody extends to us to have a beer or through a moralistic comment. The Lord however, never condemned anyone; He always had a word of forgiveness and acceptance for all sinners.

Stay on the main point (John 4:19-20)

The woman wanted to know right off the bat where the correct place to worship God was, but Jesus did not answer her question. He stayed on the central point and revealed Himself as the Messiah. Invariably people ask questions, but we must not deviate from the central point.

Confront the person directly (John 4:21-26)

Once we follow these steps, we must confront the person about making a decision for Jesus Christ. The final objective of our testimony is to expose the person to the gospel so that they can be saved. This implies a personal decision.

Practical tips

  • Never argue and never debate
  • Never stray from the central point
  • Do not preach religion; preach the gospel
  • Do not make comparisons with other groups or religions
  • Do not joke around, but also do not lose your spontaneity
  • Don’t rush
  • Use the Word, but do not pour out a river of verses on a person
  • Be gentle
  • Demonstrate real interest
  • It is better to speak with those of your own social as well as cultural level
  • Engage one person at a time
  • Do not condemn and do not criticize
  • Depend on the Spirit
  • Respectfully confront excuses
  • Make an appeal. The person must decide for, or against Christ
  • Lead the person in a prayer of confession of faith
  • Explain the gospel and do not simply share your testimony

Evangelistic styles

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Seven evangelistic profiles in Scripture

evangelistic stylesSociety often stereotypes evangelists as people who scream at the top of their lungs on some street corner frantically warning those who pass by of hellfire, beating their Bible and needlessly irritating unbelievers. Many believers sincerely reject evangelism because they do not feel comfortable with such a style and such rejection represents a great loss for the church. There are as many styles of evangelism as there are evangelists. For a world as varied as ours with different cultures, personalities, social positions and levels of education, God has also prepared an army of evangelists with different styles. We do not have to transform ourselves into something that God has not made us to be in order to become evangelists. However, we do need power, anointing, prayer, holiness and dependence on God. We can receive all of these things however, just by being ourselves.

The confronting style of Peter

Some people are naturally confronting and “in your face”. While such a style may make some people uncomfortable, others need this directness in order to respond properly to the message. Peter, the impulsive and outspoken disciple of Christ falls directly in this style of communication. God powerfully used Peter in the spreading of the gospel in the early days of the church and will continue to use people who naturally communicate in this confrontational and unapologetic style. In the first chapters of the book of Acts, we can see how God specifically tailored Peter’s style of sharing the gospel to the initial circumstances surrounding the preaching of the gospel in Jerusalem.

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:36-38)

The intellectual style of Paul

Some people naturally communicate on the intellectual level. Here again not all people respond favourably to such as style yet obviously it has its place since God worked powerfully through Paul in the great gentile cultural centres of his day. If Peter had preached in the circumstances and cultural context in which Paul ministered, we can reasonably predict that he would not have even a fraction of the success. Of course, we must depend on the enabling of the Holy Spirit but we must also recognize that the power of the Spirit will not always operate outside of people’s natural communication styles.

For as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: (Acts 17:23)

Some people needed a more persuasive and academic presentation of the gospel and simply will not tolerate any kind of confrontation. God through his Holy Spirit reveals his tremendous grace and mercy by providing ministers of the gospel who he has specially tailored to the preference of his hearers. The church must use the wisdom from above to discern the proper style that each circumstance requires.

Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.“ And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas. (Acts 17:2-4)

The blind man’s testimonial style

The use of personal testimonies is yet another communication style that the Lord of the Harvest has prepared in his arsenal. It would be good if each believer would write down his or her testimony of conversion experiences so that he or she can present it with clarity and objectivity. This evangelistic style is so powerful because almost no theological knowledge or ability is necessary and most people cannot argue against or dispute concrete experience. The blind man who had his sight restored may not have been able to effectively debate his detractors but in the end, all he had to do was point to the results of his experience and was able to effectively silence their opposition to his message. How do you argue against the miracle of a transformed life?

So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:24, 25)

The sharing style of faith of the delivered demoniac

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mark 5:18-19)

The majority of us do not feel qualified to approach a stranger with a gospel presentation, but we are able to target relatives with prayer and fasting and afterword show them how the love of God has change our life.

The interpersonal style of Matthew

Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. (Luke 5:29)

Matthew was a tax collector and as such had many friends. He certainly was a very prosperous man. Matthew did not intellectually confront or challenge his friends; he merely developed friendships among them. He invited them to go to his house. He wanted to influence them and all the Lord required of him was to simply draw people to Jesus.

The invitational style of the Samaritan woman

The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him. (John 4:28-30)

Many people are neither confrontational nor intellectual, neither do they possess a dramatic testimony to share and they are not particularly popular, they can however invite people to come to church meetings.

The serving style of Dorcas

Dorcas probably never preached a sermon like Paul or Peter and perhaps never had a dramatic testimony to share however, through her deeds of goodwill; she attracted many people to Christ.

At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. (Acts 9:36)

God is willing to act powerfully through your life and words no matter which communication style that pertains to your life. He has tailored your personality and life experiences to attract others to Christ supernaturally. You can start today, really! Go for it! If you initiate contact with someone, He will show himself strong on behalf of your cause as you make your cause his cause.

Why preach the gospel?

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Legitimate motivation for evangelism

why preach the gospelMost people greatly fear the challenge to evangelize. Evangelism awakens insane feelings of fear, insecurity, pressure and guilt. For most of us, evangelism is merely an uncomfortable biblical obligation motivated by feelings of guilt. After all, if I do not evangelize, God will require the blood of those who did not hear. Their blood will be on my hands. However, the evangelism that God has planned never has guilt as its motivation. It is a natural reaction of a full heart. The mouth speaks from the fullness of the heart.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)

God expects our evangelism to be in accordance with the peculiar nature of our temperament. Authentic evangelism fills us with assurance and not terror. We must have the mentality of being concerned with people and valuing them. In Luke chapter 15, Jesus told three parables to illustrate the importance of the sinner before God. In the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son, there is rejoicing because in each parable, someone found and recovered something of great value. The message of Jesus is clear: the rebellious, the profane, the immoral, and the backslidden are very important to God and He wants us to seek out their salvation.

We can share the gospel with the lost (2 Kings 6:24-7:20)

The second book of Kings tells the story of the siege of Samaria by the king of Syria. Because of the siege, the people became so hungry that they resorted to cannibalism. Condemned to die like everyone else, four lepers while contemplating entering into the enemy camp spoke among themselves, “If they let us live, we will live; if they kill us, we will die” (2 Kings 7:4). The lepers went in and found the Syrian camp abandoned so they feasted on the provisions of food and took the best clothes, because the Lord had chased the Syrian army away. Because of this, notice their attitude, they went and told the rest of the city.

Just as those lepers, we have much to tell of what God has done for us. We do not need to preach the Bible, we only need to tell others what God has given to and done for us. Why is it that we do not evangelize more like this? Because the devil has convinced too many people that they are poor, miserable and have nothing to share.

We are God’s representatives on the earth

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

As incredible as it seems, God chooses and uses people like you and me to be his mouthpieces on planet Earth. We are unique in our aptitudes, talents, personality, age and message. Each one of us is an agent sent to a special type of person. We are agents of peace and reconciliation. However, the key to develop this function is the filling of the Holy Spirit.

We must alert people of the reality of hell

It is disquieting, but true: hell exists and many people are going there right at this minute. Hell was one of the principal things that Jesus addressed. (Luke 16:19-31) We must spend more and more time, money and energy to reach those outside of the church. When we perceive the inescapable reality that there is a hell, then we will have the mentality to do everything possible to save souls.

The reality of hell

The way of life winds upward for the wise, that he may turn away from hell below. (Proverbs 15:24)

You shall beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell. (Proverbs 23:14)

I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes. (Hosea 13:14)

But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘you fool!’ Shall be in danger of hellfire. (Matthew 5:22)

If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (Matthew 5:29-30)

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (Matthew 11:23)

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire. (Matthew 18:9)

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (Matthew 23:15)

Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? (Matthew 23:33)

And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (Luke 16:23)

For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; (2 Peter 2:4)

I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. (Revelation 1:18)

So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:8)

Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (Revelation 20:10-15)

God rewards those who evangelize

The last motivation for evangelism is that we will receive a reward for bringing someone to Christ. This reward occurs in two ways:

We rejoice greatly when we are able to father a spiritual child. The angels of heaven share in this joy.

I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7)

We receive a reward in heaven from God.

Therefore, my beloved and longed for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast for the Lord, beloved. (Philippians 4:1)

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

We will give an account to God if we fail to preach

If we are faithful, we will have a reward, but if we are negligent, the Lord will punish us. The responsibility of the watchman weighs over us. This should not be our principal motivation, but certainly, we must have it before us. To know the truth and not reveal it; to perceive another person going to the pit and not warning him; discovering a treasure and not sharing it; having medicine and keeping it for yourself, are situations that God will judge.

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 3:17-21)

Personal evangelism

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Keys to successful personal evangelism

personal evangelismThere are certain things that face a lot of resistance; some of them involve true spiritual battles. One of these things that Satan so vehemently resists is the expansion of God’s kingdom. We cannot speak of expanding the kingdom of God without speaking of winning souls, thus soul winning or evangelism, is heavily resisted on several fronts. Those who defend church growth face much criticism, and sometimes the criticism occurs even within the church. However, we must admit that in reality, numbers are fundamental. Jesus did not die because of half a dozen people, but because of an innumerable multitude (according to the apostle John), a multitude so large that it would be impossible to count.

You, as a Christian leader, discipler, pastoral candidate or pastor, are a weapon in God’s hands against hell. Therefore, you must prepare yourself for God to use you. Evangelism is an important aspect of this preparation, which comes before consolidation. Evangelism is the winning of souls, the basic work of the minister the first step of which is to win souls and subsequent steps are consolidation, edification, training and then sending. When we speak of winning souls, we speak of evangelism. Observe what Jesus said in Matthew:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)

This is the Lord’s command to each one of us, not only to the 12 apostles. The Lord has commanded us to go and make disciples. Naturally, our work is not only to evangelize. Making disciples involves winning souls, consolidating them, edifying them, training them and finally sending them. The making of disciples is a complete process. However, winning souls is the first step, the first part, an important moment. When we speak about evangelism, we need to begin by questioning why some Christians do not succeed in winning souls. Why do some Christians fail to evangelize? Why do many have a hard time testifying of the Lord? What is the reason for this? In order to correct the problem, we first have to detect the causes, the failures and the difficulties. Therefore, we will examine the principal reasons of this deficiency in the church.

Reasons why some Christians do not evangelize

1. They have no training

The first and principal reason why many Christians do not evangelize is that they have received no training for the task. Many do not really know what to say and how to proceed. Their failed attempts of the past also present a great barrier. This is the reason why the Vine International emphasizes training. For this reason, it is important that each church member and minister complete such training, so that everyone can learn how to use this excellent spiritual tool called evangelism.

2. They are timid and fearful

Many are overly timid and panic at the mere idea of having to approach someone, even if it is someone who they know. Some zealous evangelists are somewhat overbearing, reminding those that feel this timidity that revelation says that the timid will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. However, the reference there speaks of those that are ashamed of the gospel, something different from what we are referring. The timidity that I am referring to is the withdrawing attitude of many people who have a hard time making contact with others, and speaking with people that they have never met before. Those who identify with these difficulties should not feel accused; these are natural difficulties of temperament.

The truth is that this is only the fear of the unknown, because it is something that they have never done before. However, with training and practice, the tendency toward timidity disappears. Happy are those who have had disciplers, who have modeled evangelism for them and have evangelized together with them, so that they can see how to do it. Those who have learned have become spontaneous and unshaken in their evangelistic activities, even if they do not have a very spontaneous natural temperament. No one has to be an extrovert in order to evangelize.

3. They have false concepts

What is the first idea that comes to your mind of a Christian when we speak about evangelism? Some think of an unpleasant situation like standing on a street corner yelling at uninterested people as they walk by. Others feel intimidated and uncomfortable at the idea of having to knock on the door of a stranger. The majority of Christians associate evangelism with something unpleasant, inconvenient and embarrassing.

We can do each one of the things cited above, but we do not necessarily have to do any of them. Each person has his or her own way of doing things. We are not obligated to do them all in the same way. We cannot lead the church to evangelize unless we aware of these exaggerated concepts.

4. They do not have the gift of evangelist

This is certainly the main mistake, the idea that only those who possess the gift of evangelist can truly evangelize successfully. However, we must remember that the principal function of the evangelist is not to evangelize, as many imagine, but to train the church to evangelize. Of course, the evangelist also evangelizes, it is evident that this is his ministry and that he is more efficient and more effective in doing it. However, the principle task of the evangelist is to multiply his ministry in others, and to train and inspire the rest of the church to evangelize.

I believe that the departmental vision of the church has contributed to the majority of Christians feeling as if they had no obligation to preach the gospel. However, the biblical model is not departmental (as some doing one thing and others another); but a model in which each believer must be trained to accomplish the entire process. Each believer must be trained to win souls, to consolidate them, disciple and edify them. The truth is that each one of us has received the responsibility from God to build up the Saints as ministers and that is the intent of this training.

5. They feel disqualified

Some believe the lie that we must be as holy as the Angel Gabriel in order to evangelize. The idea that our life testimony is more important than our words has led people to be extremely quiet about their faith.

Having a righteous life does not excuse you from the duty of preaching the Gospel. It does no good to claim that you are a good person and that your life is in order and that if someone you know wants to know God, all they have to do is look at you and they will see that you are a Christian. It does not work that way. The Bible says that people will only believe if there is someone to preach, because faith comes by hearing. So how will they believe if there is no one to speak to them? No matter how good our testimony is people will only come to the Lord for salvation if they hear the message of the gospel and accept it.

Now, if you can come up with a life of absolute integrity, coherence, holiness and beyond that you still preach the gospel, that would be better, that would be glorious. However, if your life is not as wonderful as you would like, you should still not refrain from preaching the gospel. Go ahead and preach anyway, because even if your life is not what you would or what God would like it to be, it is probably much better than that of your neighbor who does not know the gospel. So then, you can preach the gospel in spite of your deficiencies.

6. They have no more unbelievers as friends

The church has confused separation with isolation. Many believers no longer have unbelieving friends after several years of conversion. Separation is God’s strategy for our sanctification, but isolation is a strategy of the devil to keep us from being influential. The boat must be in the sea, but the sailors must keep the sea out of the boat. This is separation. However, the boat that never leaves the sand of the beach is isolated and outside of its purpose.

7. They feel no responsibility

The mandate of responsibility is something that we transmit by our example, service and passion. The church possesses its pastor’s vision, mandate and passion.

8. They feel ashamed of the gospel

It seems strange, but some people confuse being ashamed of Christians with being ashamed of the gospel. If we do not confess the Lord today, he will not confess us on that day before the Father. It is one thing to be ashamed of Christians; it is another thing to be ashamed of the gospel. I confess that sometimes I am ashamed of Christians, but I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation of all those who believe.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Spiritual laws of price

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laws of priceSpiritual laws of price for spiritual riches

And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:14-22)

In order to prosper spiritually it is essential to pay the price as determined by the spiritual laws of price. You will never fulfill God’s purpose for your life if you fail to pay the price. The Lord expects us to count the cost of everything in our lives, according to the passage in Luke 14:28-32.

In order to have a spiritually successful journey through life you must pay the price. In the third chapter of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians, we read of two groups of materials for edification of God’s work in our lives and in the church: wood, hay and stubble, and gold, silver and precious stones. The most obvious difference between the two groups is the price. For lack of willingness to pay the price, most Christians prefer to build with wood, hay and stubble, because these materials are less expensive.

Everything of value carries a price tag

Normally a price of something involves money, time and energy, pleasure, sleep and relationships. Other times the price involves pressure, criticism, isolation, pain and financial sacrifice. Most people seek wide doors and wide easy paths because they are not willing to pay the price of following the narrow and difficult path or because they imagine that all of the things that God offers are free and involve no cost (Matthew 7:13, 14).

Choose both the pain and sacrifice of discipleship today or you will reap the pain of repentance tomorrow. We cannot flea-bargain the price of victory. You have just as much time as anyone else, so pay the price and make the most of it.

You can achieve anything depending on the price that you are willing to pay.

The Lord told Matthew, “Follow me and abandon everything, including the table on which you charge taxes” (Matthew 9:9). You can predict the future success of the student by the price that he pays in school.

How to recognize a winner:

  • By his commitment to excellence
  • He never measures himself by the mediocre
  • He pays attention to details. The difference between a winner and the second runner-up are the details to which the winner gives attention.
  • He is consistent

Not everyone pays the same price. Each one of us has a different cross to carry.

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23, 24) Therefore, never desire what others have unless you discover the price they paid to get it and are willing to pay at least the same price.

The more you want something the higher price you are willing to pay for it.

The greater your dream and your desire to fulfill something, the greater the price you will have to pay. Jesus said, “To whom much is given much will be required” (Luke 12:48). Many people want the position, but they don’t want the responsibility and the hard work. Each right and privilege implies a responsibility, each opportunity has its obligations; each possession has its price. Excellency costs more than mediocrity.

If you complain about the price, you’ll probably give up before you pay it.

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) Either you rule over your emotions or they will rule over you. Never wait to feel good about paying the price, pay the price now and later you will feel good.

Your talents do not determine your success in life, but the price that you are willing to pay to reach it.

The servant who received five talents paid the price to be able to take care of 10. There are innumerable examples of people who overcame their deficiencies. They didn’t have the talent, but they paid the price.

You will be criticized for paying the price.

One of the main reasons people fail is because of criticism. The price to pay to overcome criticism is persistence. Someone will always say that the goal is not worth the sacrifice.

The price never goes down.

Each time you are successful in a challenge, another challenge more difficult and more expensive will arise. God never said that things would be easy. He promised peace (John 14:26), power (Matthew 28:19, 20) an abundant life (John 7:37, 38), but not conveniences. Life is like climbing a ladder. The first rungs are easier, but the last are more difficult.

The real price will increase while the perception of the price will decrease when your desire to improve grows and you become more and more intimate with God.

Everything in life is a preparation for the next step. When an opportunity presents itself, it is too late to prepare for it. The price is not paid at the beginning of the race, but at the end. The price may increase, but our desire to pay it makes it seem like a good bargain.

You cannot obtain something tomorrow that you refuse to pay for today

All spiritual payment is in cash. You cannot attain tomorrow what you refuse to pay for today. You cannot reap what you have not planted. We exaggerate what we have gone through, overvalue tomorrow and undervalue today. It is sad to see someone who has nothing to contribute today, because they paid no price yesterday.