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:
- We are all sinners and thus necessarily punishable by a holy and just God.
- God sent Jesus, a perfectly righteous Man, to suffer the punishment for sin on our behalf.
- 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.