Should We Preach for Unbelievers?

I saw an article listed by Trevin Wax (to be fair, I didn’t read it) called “How to Preach with Unbelievers In Mind.” When I read the title, my first thought is, should we? Should we preach a message to speak to unbelievers? I think many would say “yes, of course. Those unbelievers need an opportunity to hear the gospel”. I want to take a moment and press the other side, just for a second and let us discuss.

Should we focus the time we call a worship service to cater to lost people? Should that be the focus of our worship service, or do we want to focus on worshiping God. Now, I understand that we can do both, but often when we try to do too many things, we don’t do either real well. In my opinion, there is a bigger issue that if we should preach for unbelievers or if we should have an alter call or not. That issue is, should we attempt to do everything on a Sunday Morning?

Sunday Morning has become “church” and the place in which we focus to do everything. We do announcements, worship, discipleship, giving, communion, fellowship and greeting, outreach, inreach, ministry and anything else we can cram into that space. We try to get everything accomplished and do it all before lunch. We have created a culture that we count heads and consider our church “growing” if there are more in attendance. We have dropped huge amounts of money for the building, lights and sound, decor and ascetics to make the worship more appealing. Our churches have become Sunday Morning services with some other stuff during the week. Inside this culture, we have to find a way to do everything and still preach for the unsaved that we invited and tried to entice with our event. Is this the best option?

I would say no, it’s not. We have lost so much of our evangelistic culture inside the church that we just relegate it to happen on Sunday Mornings. Sunday School, small group and one on one contact are your best places for evangelism, today I want to share with you some reasons why. We should preach, teach and worship on Sunday mornings, but focus less out outreach.

1. Worship evangelism is often supported by emotional responses, which can be problematic. Often people are moved by an emotional response, not conviction or the Holy Spirit, which will lead to a false conversion. The use of lights and music and an emotional appeal by a gifted speaker often cause people to “walk the isle” and then never return.

2. There is little interaction in a worship service. People can’t ask questions, they can’t have a dialogue, they simply listen in a passive way. Jesus was interactive, the disciples were interactive, the sermon at Pentecost was interactive because the Apostles were speaking in tongues in order to communicate and dialogue with people. Peter’s sermon was only one part. Small groups and Sunday School are great places for this to happen.

3. Sunday School and Small Group have better time limits. Most sermons are 30 minutes, having time for worship through song, giving and other items like announcements or baptisms. We have much more time to discuss and share, pray and study in Sunday School. It has time to develop dialogue.

4. It gets more people involved. Sunday School teachers and helpers and other Christians can be part of the discussion, there is much less passivity. In the worship service, the Pastor speaks and everyone listens. We are creating generations of lazy Christians who don’t share because they don’t need too and are never challenged too. They just invite people to church and let the Pastor do the heavy lifting. It’s not effective.

5. It builds community for new believers. When a person comes forward in a worship service, they are often introduced to the church, but they are often forgotten. They come in the next week to a large meeting and can disappear. They get lost and never discipled. If they are drawn to Christ in Sunday School, they are already part of a community, and that group continues to encourage them in growth. They are already plugged into a group.

These are just five quick reasons why I believe that outreach and evangelism should be tied to Sunday School and small group more than the Sunday morning service. That is not to say we shouldn’t share the gospel during the sermon, but maybe it should be less of the primary focus.

Comments

  1. says

    I firmly believe the worship service should be for believers. That doesn’t mean that non-believers can’t attend. In fact, I think believing parents should bring their unbelieving minor children. So there is the expectation that unbelievers will be there.

    One problem I have with programmatic evangelism is the mindset that “evangelism” = “getting people to come to church”. The two tracks of this are 1) that the process of evangelism is getting people to come to church so that they hear the gospel from the professional preacher and 2) we want to evangelize people so that they come to church (especially our church and not the church down the road). Both tracks are wrong-headed. The purpose of the church is to equip each of us to fulfill the Great Commission when we are away from the rest of the church body. The purpose of evangelism is not to increase the church roll (or to compete with the church down the road). While we disciple new believers to become church members, the purpose of evangelism is to participate in God’s redemptive plan. There is an important distinction between the two goals. So preaching as a primary element of corporate worship should be geared to believers.

    How many of you have a problem with people talking baby talk to babies and toddlers? Ideally, we want to use proper language so that they learn proper language. The same holds true with sermons. Believers need to hear the gospel and it should be integral with every sermon. But there is no reason to dumb down the details of the sermon thinking that it’s the best way to appeal to the nonbelievers who are present.

  2. says

    Dan

    Thank you for the VERY needed emphasis. I agree completely that the worship time should be just that, worship.

    You are indeed asking the right questions. I am not sure, however, if our traditional SS or even SG is the best place for evangelist emphasis. The reason being, “focus”. It seems to me it is not the entity that is used to do evangelism as much as it is an entity that is focused on that need. Whatever we choose to use as our main evangelistic tool must be focused entirely on that concept.

    My pastor (also my son) has instituted a monthly lunch (usually on Sunday) to which he invites all people who are interested in being a part of God’s people. These names come from the Sunday morning “connection card”, folks to which our people have witnessed and led to the Lord, those who have heard of our church by word of mouth, or whatever. From that gathering a teaching situation is later created in which people have opportunity to hear, discuss, and seriously consider what it means to be a part of God’s family and a church member.

    This process is neither original nor without problems, but it is focused on evangelism and takes seriously all that is involved in a commitment to Christ.

    Agan thank you for the much needed post.

  3. says

    I agree that the worship service is primarily for Christians. However, I am not naive to believe everyone in my local congregation are born-again believers. There are lost people in my congregation.

    A preacher must preach the whole counsel of God. This includes the Gospel call, submission to commands, and proper relations with people to name just a few.

    In my understanding there is a difference between preaching and teaching. What you advocate is teaching. Preaching is the heralding of God’s Word expecting a positive response from the listeners.

    • says

      I would agree we preach the full text and scripture and we should share the Gospel during preaching, and Christ is in every page of the Bible, and He should be worship and proclaimed.

      • Tarheel says

        “I would agree we preach the full text and scripture and we should share the Gospel during preaching, and Christ is in every page of the Bible, and He should be worship and proclaimed.”

        Amen.

        …and this is an encouraging and thoughtful post. Thanks.

    • Tarheel says

      Thomas,

      “In my understanding there is a difference between preaching and teaching.”

      One can teach without preaching, but one cannot preach without teaching.

      I hear what you have said, alot….I am not sure of the distinction that many try to make between preaching and teaching – maybe you could help me understand it?

      • says

        One can teach without preaching, but one cannot preach without teaching.

        I agree completely with that statement.

        The difference, if I understand correctly, is the positive response. In teaching, the goal is to dispense information. In preaching, the goal is to dispense information with the sole intent of the header to respond positively. This is part of Vines and Shaddix definition of preaching.

        • Tarheel says

          In the context of a seminary or Bible college classroom there is a difference between teaching and preaching…sure…but I am not sure I understand the difference when it comes to us in pulpits of our churches.

          Isn’t there always a response when the word is proclaimed?

  4. Rick Mang says

    Neither have I read Wax’s article so I am just responding to the one posted. I think the question is a great one, and the responses that I’ve seen are quite insightful. My input is that it seems to be a false dichotomy to distinguish between believers and unbelievers for the purpose of ordering the worship service. When preaching is expository, the whole counsel of God is given. The whole counsel covers both and the Holy Spirit can use the word preached to both build up the body and convict unbelievers, with one and the same message!

    As far as the church is concerned, it IS the body of Christ. I think that there can be to great of an emphasis on the distinction between preaching and teaching. We don’t look on the hearts of the people that come to a service, God does. He will meet the needs of all through the Word preached. The worship service is for the body (don’t forsake the assembling of YOURSELVES together) and we are to evangelize the world, out in the highways and hedges. Corporate worship should prepare the people to evangelize.

    Thank you for this stimulating article.

    Rick Mang

  5. says

    There is a big difference between centering the entire service around unbelievers and preaching with unbelievers in mind. The first I believe is what you are addressing and I agree that the worship service ought to be just that. The second I believe is also something that ought to happen–we ought to preach and do everything in the service with unbelievers in our mind. Read Trevin’s article to know what that means.

    • says

      Mike, I think I would respectfully disagree, we should do everything in the service with Worship in mind, and in that process of Worship, the Holy Spirit will move. We shouldn’t focus on the unbeliever, but on Christ.,

      • andy says

        Paul, in his instructions to the Corinthian church, seems say they should consider the fact that unbelievers are present, and make intentional adjustments for the sake of clarity (in their case, speaking in tongues less).

        • says

          Yep that’s all that I’m saying. I’m not saying “focus” on unbelievers. But I am saying, just as Paul, that we ought to make things communicable to unbelievers.

          • Andy says

            I think I’m going to just start agreeing with everything Mike Leake writes from now on without even reading it. :-)

          • says

            Most people have the “not even reading it” part down. It’s the agreeing with everything I say thing that I’m really trying to work on. I know that if I’m ever going to be a good cult leader I’ve got to get that one down.

  6. Ron F. Hale says

    Spurgeon set his gaze on the salvation of sinners every time he stepped behind his pulpit, he said, “I take my text and make a beeline to the cross.”

    He was a theologian in his own right, but he said, “I would sooner bring one sinner to Jesus Christ than unpick all the mysteries of the divine Word.”

    Spurgeon described the central role of evangelism this way:

    “I would rather be the means of saving a soul from death than be the greatest orator on earth. I would rather bring the poorest woman in the world to the feet of Jesus than I would be made Archbishop of Canterbury. I would sooner pluck one single brand from the burning than explain all mysteries. To win a soul from going down into the pit, is a more glorious achievement than to be crowned in the arena of theological controversy … to have faithfully unveiled the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ will be, in the final judgment, accounted worthier service than to have solved the problems of the religious Sphinx, or to have cut the Gordian knot of Apocalyptic difficulty. One of my happiest thoughts is that, when I die, it shall be my privilege to enter into rest in the bosom of Christ, and I know that I shall not enjoy my Heaven alone. Thousands have already entered there, who have been drawn to Christ under my ministry. Oh! what bliss it will be to fly to Heaven, and to have a multitude of converts before and behind.”

    In short, Yes … we should preach “to” sinners in every service while striking a balance in feeding the saved on the precious Word of God.

    Blessings!

    • Tarheel says

      Wow! Those Calvinists sure are serious about preaching the gospel and calling sinners to repentance. ;-)

      Ron said,

      “In short, Yes … we should preach “to” sinners in every service while striking a balance in feeding the saved on the precious Word of God.”

      I agree it’s a both/and….primarily in worship services we preach and teach family of God…but we always do it with the lost in view.

      I think we all end up in the “same place”, but we get there a little differently.

      As pastors it’s our honor and responsibility to follow God’s instructions to; Preach the word, Feed Christ’s sheep and, implore sinners to be reconciled to God.

  7. says

    In all honesty it is somewhat difficult for me to wrap my head around this discussion given the prevailing concept of worship in the SBC. Where there is a climate of the music person being the “Worship” Leader and music being worship or praise time, it is difficult for me to think in terms we have been discussing. The whole concept of worship has been so skewed in many churches I have observed, especially new plants, that it is hard to think in terms of preaching/teaching being worship in those churches. I say that not by my accusation but by their admission. Look at the “worship” folder.

    Just saying……. Am I wrong?

    • says

      I agree. We have almost trained those in the congregation to enjoy music while enduring preaching. I’m very blessed to have a congregation, for the most part, which prefers preaching to singing and we must work studiously to emphasize the importance of musical praise. But I do not believe that is the norm in Evangelical churches. We seem to have moved toward a liturgy of music. Not sure that is a good thing.

  8. says

    Hey, guys! Are we not tilting torwards a type of “hyper-Calvinism” when we begin down a road like this? Not saying we should not be aware of our audience but when we begin to center the entire service in one direction or another we seem to be saying we know someone either is or is not saved.

    Seems Paul dealt with this by saying it is the “foolishness of preaching”.

    • says

      Funny how some people can find the Calvinist boogieman everywhere they look! Doesn’t matter WHAT the topic is, they always seem to find it.

      • says

        No one has found a “Calvinist boogieman” SVMuschany. I am merely saying when we, as Preachers, begin to decide who is worthy of hearing a certain perspective of the Gospel and who is not then we have began making a determination that should be left to God.

        God calls us to preach not decide who should hear the portions of the text we believe should be heard.

        But, if you want to point to a “Calvinist boogieman” be my guest. The fact remains this post along with Wax’s post certainly take on a perspective of us choosing who hears the Gospel of saving Grace and who doesn’t. Deal with it!

        • John Wylie says

          SVMuschany,

          First of all Tim used the term “hyper Calvinist” not Calvinist, and second it is absolutely relevant to the subject at hand. No boogey man here, brush the chip off your shoulder.

          • Rick Mang says

            Actually Tim was inaccurate in the way he used the term “hyper Calvinist”. The hyper will preach the Gospel to those that he thinks are lost, but only if he determines them to be elect. The Calvinist will preach the Gospel and issue the call to faith and repentance to all who listen. Whether or not they are of the elect is up to God.

            Rick Mang

        • says

          From the article through the comments, I believe we’ve been talking about general audiences, not individuals. It’s reasonable for anyone of any soteriology to talk about how the purpose of corporate worship should inform the construct of the sermon based on the general makeup of attendees (saved versus not saved) we expect would be attending the service. But in order to import concerns over hyper-Calvinism, you must be talking about what the pastor thinks he can know about each individual.

        • Jeff Johnson says

          “The fact remains this post along with Wax’s post certainly take on a perspective of us choosing who hears the Gospel of saving Grace and who doesn’t. Deal with it!”

          I honestly don’t understand this comment. Trevin Wax’s article points out how two prominent pastors use different methods in trying to make their sermons understandable to unbelievers. Dan’s post contends that we should focus less on how our church services are catered to unbelievers and emphasize worship, with evangelism being a natural outflow. Although Trevin and Dan have different perspectives (although I’m not sure they even disagree here), neither of them has adopted a perspective of choosing who gets to hear the gospel. I think both are emphasizing the need to take the gospel to everyone.

          • Ron F. Hale says

            Trevin,
            I’m agreeing with you on this one.

            First, Dan says that he didn’t even “read” your article” — first mistake!

            Secondly, there is a big difference between “How to Preach with Unbelievers in Mind” …to…”Should We Preach For Unbelievers.”

            Dan … what do you mean by saying …”for” unbelievers?

            Thanks

          • Tarheel says

            Ron, I did not understand Dan’s peice to be based on the substance of Trevin’s article at all. In fact I take his comment that he didn’t read prior to posting this as evidence of that.

            The TITLE original article written by Wax was seen by Dan and the title itself stoked in him some thought and provided a basis for a blog post here….He wasnt critiquing the article or really been talking about it – I took this post as Dan’s own thought that were sparked by a title of an article.

            ..I’m not sure that qualifies as a mistake. Unless by mistake you mean missing out on the usual excellence of a Trevin Wax work. Now, that’s a mistake.

            Trevin Wax, thanks for honoring us with your presence today. Your article referenced here is awesome, btw!

          • says

            I wouldn’t say that I’m disagreeing with you so much Trevin as I am saying that we need to focus more attention on presenting the gospel in a personal context, one on one, Sunday School and Small Groups. I think we try to make Sunday Morning Worship be the “do everything” time and I think that’s a mistake.

    • says

      No we aren’t tilting towards Hyper Calvinism, did you actually read the post? We share the gospel at all times, but put more emphasis on evangelism in one on one, Sunday School and Small Group. That is not hyper-Calvinism, that is personal evangelism. When did we begin believing we can only share our faith while preaching?

  9. John Wylie says

    It’s really pretty simple, preach to both the saved and unsaved in every message. We see preaching directed to both the saved and unsaved in the scriptures. I do think it’s a tragedy when a preacher preaches a “get saved” message every Sunday though and fails to feed the flock of God.

  10. says

    It is not my intent to enter into the soteriological debate. It would be a misunderstanding to apply that to what I am about to say.

    This discussion has been very relevant and pointed. In most, if not all of this thread, issues have been delineated that are vital to what we are all about as Preachers. However, (you knew a “however” was coming) we seemingly have relegated our evangelistic thrust to the Sunday morning worship hour. Obviously. that time is vital to who we are and what we do, however (there it is again), if our main thrust of evangelism is the sunday worship time we are already dead in the water in that area. Evangelism is a life style for a church and must permeate every facet of that local body, the worship time being only a part of it.

    Now I realize that no one here is advocating that, however (ah fiddle sticks, not again) in my opinion that mindset has been the major cause of Baptismal decline in the SBC. This comment admittedly does not advance the discussion at hand, but it does need to be on the table IMO.

  11. Jeff Johnson says

    I Googled the title “How to Preach with Unbelievers in Mind” by Trevin Wax, and I could only find an article Wax wrote around the first of the year called “How Andy Stanley and Tim Keller Preach with Non-Believers in Mind.” This article compares and contrasts how Stanley and Keller make their sermons understandable to those who are not Christians or who do not have a church background. Wax does not argue that pastors should exclusively, or even primarily, cater their sermons to unbelievers.

    • says

      I read that article too. It was a good article. The thesis, in my understanding, was to remove or lessen the “Christianeze” so unchurched/unbelievers could understand the sermon.

      Is that what you understood it to be?

      • Tarheel says

        I think that’s important both for believers and non believers….

        We often tend to use words and phrases that we haven’t even adequately taught to the sheep – so it sands to reason that the lost are lost with our phrases too.

        It’s a important matter, I think.

        • says

          Yes, I completely agree. We need to proclaim salvation in worship as instructional, but also AS worship. We give Him glory and thanksgiving for our Salvation!

        • says

          Gentlemen

          Concerning the use of words that communicate, I completely agree. One problem as I see it is we tend to use “buzz words” that are in vogue at the moment. Often the words mean different things to different people. In addition about the time that word has a generally accepted meaning a new word comes along and on and on and, well you get the idea.

          Using good basic english is good for communication, for most of us it is our mother tongue.

      • Jeff Johnson says

        Thomas, yes, that was my understanding of Wax’s article. It was about presenting a sermon in a way that does not assume everyone in the audience understands or accepts the underlying concepts.

  12. Tarheel says

    Lol. SBC voices has its own version of Godwins law!

    From wiki…

    “Godwin’s law is an Internet adage asserting that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches” that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism.”

    Since our leader Dave Miller loves it when this happens…let’s name it after him. ;-)

    Change the Hitler and Nazi references to Calvinism or alcohol consumption and voila, you’ve got “Miller’s law”.

    Lol. ;-)

  13. Mark Terry says

    This is a helpful discussion. I’ve known pastors who mainly preached evangelistic sermons, and their congregations were spiritually malnourished. On the other hand, it would be unusual to preach to a church congregation in which no lost persons were present. So, what should we do? When I was a pastor, I planned an evangelistic sermon at least once each quarter. I would announce this to our folks and encourage them to bring lost friends and family members to the worship service. On the other Sundays I gave a short synopsis of the gospel as part of the invitation. I certainly agree that we should be careful to explain our Christian jargon so that non-believers and new believers can understand the message.

  14. Andy says

    I suppose I simply think that preaching the Gospel is what every person needs, believer or unbeliever. The gospel calls sinners to repentance and calls Christians to obedience.

  15. says

    2 Timothy 4:2
    2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

    I guess Paul missed the worship memo.

      • Tarheel says

        I am not sure about Corinth…but I am pretty certain that FBC Ephesus started promptly at 11. ;-)

      • Christiane says

        “From the rising of the sun
        to its setting,
        the name of the LORD is to be praised!”

        ( from Psalm 113)

      • Doug Hibbard says

        I actually know a guy who used to pastor First Baptist Corinth.

        Of course, it was Mississippi, but still :)

      • Nate says

        Dan, to mock the notion that Paul didn’t have a set time that he preached in certain cities is not very helpful to your desire to discuss what you wrote. The fact is (check the book of Acts) Paul went to synagogues at the time of worship (and they would have had set times), he met with folks on the Lord’s Day (again set time) and even if it wasn’t after he “milked the cows” your remarks are not even attempting to discuss the issue with people who disagree with you. You come off as assuming that Paul just happened to go from house to house (at any time of the day or night) or that the early church was so (loose and easy-going) that they just so happened to end up worshiping together. This is highly doubtful.

      • Nate says

        Also, while I understand you might have merely been attempting humor, Paul certainly wasn’t in the synagogue to preach to believers, but to attempt to evangelize the Jews. And it would also be highly doubtful that the early gatherings weren’t packed with unbelievers who were brought by friends and family to hear about this Jesus. Furthermore, in today’s “less is more” church-life (only one Sunday service, no SS, and small-groups) there is less time for “outreach” than in churches 15-30 years ago, and less time for “worship”.

        • says

          Yes Nate, he went to a Jewish (non Christian) synagogue and shared Christ. When they met with Christians in homes, they worshipped and taught. You can’t superimpose our worship with Paul’s evangelistic mission. Not the same.

          • Andy says

            Yet Paul encouraged gathered believers to alter their gatherings intentionally with the awareness that unbelievers might be present. Whether it was Sunday morning or not seems a side issue..

          • says

            Andy, I’ve seen you say this several times in reference to 1 Corinthians 14, and I agree that Paul did, but not in the way that I think you think he did…

            He did command clarity, so that all those present might be edified… but in terms of the believer/unbeliever aspect of it, Paul said that tongues was a sign for unbelievers not believers (which, kind of rings of Acts 2), but prophecy is a sign for believers and not unbelievers (1 Cor 14:20-22). Paul then told the church that when they came together as a church, they should seek to prophesy–or do what is the sign for believers, and not speak in tongues–or don’t do what is the sign for unbelievers. By doing so, it brings conviction to the unbelievers (14:23-24).

            In other words, it is by focusing our “church coming together” times on things that edify the saints that Paul says the unbeliever there will be convicted and called into account, not by ordering it with the things that are the signs for the unbelievers.

          • Andy says

            Mike,
            Verse 22 is the most confusing part of that, and I suspect I may have a different view of that than you (see below), But regardless of that verse, the next few verses point to Paul encouraging prophesy (over tongues,) so the outsiders are convicted and called to account.

            BTW….The best interpretation of verse 22 I have seen is the one that says tongues, by virtue of not being understood by outsiders, are a sign to them that they are outsiders, that these people have something they don’t…but without the clarity of vernacular prophesy, they would never move beyond that to real understanding.

          • says

            Yeah, I would disagree… especially since the only place in Scripture we seem to have the tongues thing described in detail would be Acts 2, where everyone heard the message in their native language, thus tongues was also a clarifying act and not an excluding act, and it truly did serve as a sign to the unbelievers as thousands came to Christ with that in combination with Peter’s message.

            Regardless, I think the fact that in 1 Cor 14 Paul tells the church to do the very thing in their gathering that is edifying to believers to bring any unbelievers to account shows not that we are to modify our gatherings (church services, if you will) to speak to the unbelievers, but rather we are to organize it as a time where followers of Christ are gathering together to praise God, and encourage and edify each other…and then if any unbeliever is among us, it may call them to account.

            Evangelism (read: taking the Gospel to the lost) is what we do as we scatter and live as ambassadors of Christ among the world.

            When we gather, we focus on it basically being a conference of ambassadors: so we serve each other and worship God in ways that build up and equip each other for the preparation of scattering as evangelists back into the world.

            Thus, I believe Paul is telling us to treat our gatherings as if we all truly are the church, all believers, and in that if an unbeliever happens to be among us they might be convicted; which would not be so if we are calling ourselves a gathering of Christ-followers yet treating each other like we are lost…which would be madness.

            Of course, in the culture back then, the church was not so much seen as a center-piece of society but an odd, fringe movement, thus (other than family members of believers who came), you wouldn’t really expect unbelievers to just pop in. For several decades that was turned around in our culture, where for a lot of people church services became a thing to do. However, with the way things are going the tide seems to be shifting back to the church in North America being an odd, fringe movement, even though there’s a “church” building still on many-a-corner…

          • andy says

            Despite what I’ve written thus far, I agree that I find it very disconcerting when a preacher preaches an essentially evangelistic sermon to a mostly church crowd…seems misplaced.

            I also agree that evangelism is not the primary purpose for the main weekly gathering, but I think there is wisdom in making the message clear, explaining terms that non-churched might not understand, and being aware that they may be present. I also believe there is no biblical reason not to do this.

  16. dr. james willingham says

    Our Lord preached to unbelievers as did His disciples; they were never bothered by the idea that we have a message only for the election. Pshaw! They thought the message of election itself was for the Lost sinner as their Lord did. Remember in His sermon to His neighbors in Nazareth He preached election to them, saying Elijah was not sent to any widow in Israel, but to a woman of Sarepta, a city of Sidon. Then He said Elisha healed Naaman the Syrian of leprosy, but he did not heal any of the lepers in Israel. And for His pains His neighbors nearly murdered Him. He evidently felt, however, that they needed to hear that message about some one else being chosen just as the woman of Canaan had to hear that Jesus was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and she was not a Jew. However, she thought it was an invitation and an opportunity to worship. Now, I do not advocate that we make a study diet of this. Some need to hear whosoever will. Some need to hear that God invites even the Reprobates to be saved. Just think of the dogs and the woman of Canaan. There is even the unconditional preaching and prophecy of destruction, which was not fulfilled. It had no promise attached to it. But the opposite was the offering and the opportunity. Reprobation and an unconditional prophecy of gloom and doom might well be considered as shock therapy, where as the other cases are really therapeutic paradoxes. There are other depths to the scripture, depths which challenge the deepest thoughts and reflections of people. After all, the pages of Holy Writ present to us the words of omniscience, and it follows from that they are of a depth commensurate with such a source. As to who we are to seek to win? I answer everyone where it is possible or not. We might have to pray for a time and an opportunity, we might have make an opportunity for ourselves, but we have to believe that the Gospel is going to win the whole earth and every soul in it in view of the prophecy in Daniel where the stone becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth, etc. And in order to have a host as innumerable as the stars of Heaven and the sand by the seashore, we have to start thinking of more time to win them and of more planets. Some scientist, the former head of the Skunk Works that developed the stealth planes said to the graduating class of UCLA in 1993, “We are able to go to the stars.” Do you suppose they have gone in the21 years since? Think what a relief valve it would be to have the starry universe open to us.

  17. volfan007 says

    Last night, we had a Wild Game Supper. Our fellowship hall was packed. We had 200 people there, and about half of them didn’t go to Church. The speakers preached the Gospel, after a great meal of turkey poppers, catfish, fried gator, duck tenderloin, gator pizza, wild turkey pizza, duck pizza, and a whole host of other delicious, wild game delicacies.

    Well, a lot of seeds were planted that night. But, best of all, a young boy got saved afterwards. He had been thinking about getting saved for a while, and he was ready to put his faith in Jesus. I counseled with him to make sure that he understood…stressing repentance and faith. Then, I led him in a sinner’s prayer. Then, I asked him to thank the Lord in his own words, and his prayer was a very special blessing to hear.

    What a joyful, thrilling experience it is to lead someone to Jesus.

    David

    • says

      I think that is the perfect venue for that, and I wish more churches had these types of events outside of the regular Sunday AM service. Evangelism can be a bulk of what we do when we seek to do it outside the box. We look at neighborhoods, communities, find needs and activities. Feed people, share with them, fellowship with them, care about them. It’s amazing how that focused push can make all the difference. Sharing the gospel is important on Sunday Morning, but we lose a lot when we just cram it in with everything else. Preacher preaches and then tacks some evangelism on the end and hopes people come forward. The Great Commission is so much more than that.

  18. Christiane says

    reading directly from the Word
    accomplishes more than a minister could possibly say to anyone present, whether those people be of the community of faith, or strangers visiting