I believed, therefore I spoke.

Our church is in a sermon series encouraging us to put mission at the heart of all we do and say.  It’s got me thinking about one of my favourite verses: “I believed therefore I have spoken.” (2 Cor 4:13)  I’ve been trying to think, what do I need to believe in order to be the evangelist God calls me to be?  Here are 21 thoughts:

  1. God is mission.  He is Sender, Sent and Proceeding.  His being is irreducibly bound up in sending – in mission.  He is the out-ward focussed God, the spreading God.  He is a fountain of sending love.
  2. Participation in the life of this God means, inescapably, participating in the glorifying/magnifying/proclaiming of the Persons (“Behold My Servant…” Is 42:1ff).  Life in God means life in mission.
  3. The Father is over all our missionary efforts.  He is the real One who summons the world to faith in Christ and who orders all things that they might be brought under His feet (Eph 1:10).  Therefore He is not limited by my limitations and can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. (Eph 3:20).
  4. The Son is the centre of all our missionary efforts (Rom 1:3-4).  He is the One proclaimed – the substance of all our proclamation.  Good thing too because He is unbelievably attractive.  Speak of Him and you cannot go wrong.
  5. The Spirit is the power of all our missionary efforts.  You are ‘clothed with power’ as you go in mission (Luke 24:49).  The One whose very nature is to make known the Son is with you in divine power and presence. 
  6. Hell is real and the certain destination of all those apart from Christ.  (Acts 4:12; 2 Thes 1:8-10)
  7. The gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16).  I am unleashing divine potency as I testify to Christ.
  8. The love of Christ compels us (2 Cor 5:14).  This is not a case of God saying, “I’ve been good to you in X, why don’t you be good to me in Y.”   It’s a case of “I have swept you up in my mission to the world.  Now carry on!”
  9. I am salt and light (Matt 5:13-16). I am a witness (Acts 1:8). Whether I act on this or not, I don’t have to become an evangelist.  God has made me what I need to be.
  10. My flesh is the real enemy to evangelism not lack of evangelistic techniques!  My flesh curves me in on myself when mission is to extend myself into the lives of others.  The arguments against me evangelizing always revolve around my present comfort, introspection and the status quo.  My desire for vain glory, approval and ease stops me gospelling.  My fight against the flesh is one fought on the front lines of the mission field.
  11. My authority to speak of Christ is not about me ‘earning the right’ but the authority is Christ’s resurrection from the dead. (Matt 28:18-20)  That is the Ultimate Disruption that authorizes all other disruptions of the status quo that aim at making disciples of Christ. 
  12. Giving myself away is the happy life – the way of Christ, the way of blessing.  (Mark 8:35)
  13. Disgrace for the sake of the Name is glorious (Acts 5:41).  There is nothing like evangelism for experiencing standing with Jesus as one chosen out of the world (John 15:18-21). 
  14. Nothing is neutral (Matt 12:30).  My friends, family, colleagues and the public space is not neutral but conveys spiritual values all the time.  I never ‘inject’ God-talk into the world.  All talk is god-talk, that is – talk about ultimate spiritual values.  I never need to be ashamed that I’m the one forcing spiritual views on another.  Such proselytising is a necessary part of all conversation.  I may as well bring true God-talk to bear.
  15. The Gospel is about everything!  Fundamentally I don’t have to turn the conversation to spiritual things.  It’s already spiritual and it’s already addressed by the Father in the Son and by the Spirit.  (I just have to figure out how! – but that will come in time.)
  16. The community is chosen, dearly loved and special in its world-focussed outward-looking-ness (1 Pet 2:9).  I have a whole body – the body of Christ – behind me.  In fact no, let me re-phrase.  The body of Christ surrounds me as an intrinsically evangelistic organism.  The burden is never simply on my shoulders.
  17. The community in its unity is hugely important  (John 13:34-35; John 17:20-26).  Before I’ve loved the unbeliever, my love of the believer (if done in view of the world) has already witnessed powerfully to Christ.
  18. The community in its diversity is hugely important (Eph 4:10-12).  I have been uniquely gifted in the evangelistic task and I am surrounded by others (who I need) who are likewise uniquely gifted.
  19. I don’t have to be holy first then a missionary.  I strive for holiness in mission.  (More on this in other posts).  It is the outward-looking holding-up-of-Christ that is the umbrella activity of the Christian under which my holiness is worked out.  So don’t wait to evangelise while you sort out your personal walk.  Use mission to conquer those besetting sins and habits (they won’t be properly conquered any other way!).
  20. I don’t have to be complete in knowledge first and then a missionary.  John 9: “I was blind but now I see.”
  21. There is reward for the evangelist!  (Dan 12:3; Luke 16:9; 1 Thes 2:19)

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I’m sure others can add more.  What is it that we need to trust that will motivate our evangelism?

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Posted on by Glen in evangelism, mission

About Glen

I'm a preacher in Eastbourne, married to Emma.

0 Responses to I believed, therefore I spoke.

  1. Carina Bowman

    Hi Glen,

    Thanks for this – Pete and I have been discussing similar things lately. I particularly agree with point 10: I’m well aware that whenever I don’t speak about Jesus it’s not because I don’t know how; it’s because of fear – as you stated! I was encouraged recently to see someone who wanted to know how to share Jesus come to CE rather than an evenagelism course. Whatever faults CE may have (perhaps not the time for that one!) I just thought it was good on principle that she wanted to know more about Jesus rather than those ‘skills’ you mentioned. There’s nothing better than a good reminder of how great Jesus is and what he’s done for us! It’s when I forget how amazing it is to be a son of God & part of the bride of Christ that I shy away from proclaiming Him – and that’s sadly often!

  2. glenscriv

    Hi Carina, great point. Your friend who did CE to become a better evangelist reminds me of the certain church we both know well (let the reader understand!) where two courses were held simultaneously on a Thursday night. One was a theology course, one was a ‘how to’ evangelism course and they were both held in adjacent rooms. Unarguably the theology course produced far more (and better!) evangelists. “I believed, therefore I spoke”!

    The whole ‘curved in on myself’ definition of sin perfectly describes my failures to evangelise. To be ‘curved out of myself’ to the Lord and others perfectly describes what evangelism is – it’s certainly the way He did it – the cross! My flesh is the problem. And witness is perhaps the strongest assault on the misdeeds of the flesh. I hope to post soon on some thoughts I’m having about mission being the driving force and organising principle of holiness.

    Anyway, thanks for dropping by. Say hi to Pete too.

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