A high view of God in evangelism

(Syndicated from Cheryl’s deviantart journal)
Our church | STAND for the Gospel 2010

At STAND conference 2010 the keynote speaker was Conrad Mbewe, a reformed pastor from Zambia nicknamed “the African Spurgeon.” The sermons for the whole conference are available here and are free to download. These are the notes that I personally took from Session 3 – it may not accurately represent Conrad’s original sermon.

STAND 2010 Session 3: A high view of God in evangelism

Conrad starts with

1. Some wrong motivations for evangelism:

  • Is our motivation numerical? If your primary motivation for evangelism is to bulk up church numbers, without checking for true repentance, you’ll fill up the church with the spiritually dead.
  • Is our motivation to depopulate hell?
  • Claim evangelism effectiveness?

No. The only true motivation for evangelism is: the glory of God. Anything less than that is idolatry.

2. A true motivation: the glory of God

  • In the coming ages, God will have His boast in sinners turned into saints. It is transformed lives that evidence His power and glory, not numbers.
  • What kept Jesus going in the garden of Gethsemane? He looked beyond His own death to see multiplied thousands upon thousands of souls.
  • The work of evangelism and missions is not easy. It may mean many years of barrenness and/or persecution. If your motivations are not right, it may mean repeated deaths of our inner self (leading to depression, discouragement). UNLESS: God gives you an appreciation that your work, however fruitless, is for His glory.

3. An example from the modern age – particularly convicting for dA I felt!

  • In the modern church we seem to forget the highness of God in evangelism and outreach. Evangelism becomes us-centred, statistically-minded, calculative.
  • The great Shepherd seeks the sheep. But self-centred modern churches seem to think that since sheep have 4 legs, any other 4-legged creatures are close enough – goats! camels! Come right into the fold!
  • On the other hand, there is also a tendency, particularly in America, to identify ourselves according to a very narrow denominational definition: “Hi, I’m Calvinistic, pre-millenial, dispensational, … ” (etc). This then extends to evangelism. Pity you if you think of church planting in denominational terms!!
  • Everywhere there is worship of anything other than God: music/film stars, causes and activism, expensive “toys.” Is the church blind? Shouldn’t it grieve us that souls are spending their precious lives on nothing – dust! – that which is here today and gone tomorrow?

4. So what to do?

  • We need gospel-saturated churches, challenging darkness not with our wits or clever ways but Christ’s gospel.
  • Must be clear about the highness of God in evangelism.
  • So what are our motivations?
    • Father, glorify Yourself that You might be known.
    • I know where history is going, and I want to put my building block to the edifice of the church of Jesus.
    • To make my life to Your immortal glory!! Even if it is to be a carpet on which souls wipe their feet as they enter the kingdom.

STAND conference is “Stand for the Gospel.” The one thing Christians can unite on is the gospel; the one thing Christians can claim any righteousness is the gospel; for the gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16). That is that:

  1. We are all sinners and thus necessarily punishable by a holy and just God.
  2. God sent Jesus, a perfectly righteous Man, to suffer the punishment for sin on our behalf.
  3. Through faith in Christ’s atonement and responding in repentance, we can wear the perfect righteousness of Jesus as a free gift of grace, and thus be reconciled to a holy God.