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As we share our lives together as a church founded on the gospel, High Pointe will increasingly grow as an attractive witness to the glory of God (Acts 2:42-47).  However, our witness is not merely to be attractional; God has chosen that the church both originate and continue to expand through the intentional witness to Christ through gospel proclamation.  It is to this end that we have been commissioned (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:14-16; Luke 24:44-49; John 20:21; Acts 1:8).  Be encouraged, though, for we have also been promised the power we need for such a mission (Acts 1:8).  Therefore, we go in faith under the authority of Jesus Christ, boldly proclaiming his gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 2:1-2).  In this light, let me encourage you to pursue ten practices of intentional witness.

1.  Know the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)!  The gospel is the revelation of God concerning Jesus as the Christ (Matthew 16:16-17); it is a divine message.  One of the ways we encourage you to remember this gospel is with four words: God, Man, Christ, Response.  When we understand the gospel, we know that GOD is holy and created a world without sin.  God provided the man with all he would need to dwell in God’s presence.  However, MAN rebelled against God, declaring his independence because he wanted to be his own king.  Such rebellion requires judgment, the penalty of which is death.  But God in His grace and mercy, provided CHRIST as a substitute to live a life of perfect obedience acceptable to God and to receive upon Himself the penalty of sin.  Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day indicating that the Father accepted His substitute life/death for sinners and had gained victory over sin and death.  Now, all who RESPOND with repentance from sin and faith in Jesus have eternal life.  This is the gospel, the good news that we must know and understand if we are to share it with others.

2.  Live your life in light of this gospel.  As this gospel takes root in our own lives and we begin to apply it to our marriages, parenting, relationships, lives together as a church, etc., then our lives will be markedly different than the world and thereby attractive.  How can we announce that this gospel is the power of God to save and change lives if we who profess Christ continue living just like the world?

3.  Pray and fast for unbelievers (John 14:12-14; 15:7-8).  One reason unbelieving people are not on our minds is because we don’t pray for them.  First, pray that God would break your heart for the lost in general and for specific people in particular.  Then, make a list of unbelieving people and begin praying for them and their salvation because it is God who saves.  But also pray for opportunities throughout the day.  Ask God to open doors for evangelism, then by faith be obedient when the opportunities arise.

4.  Be willing to share your life with unbelievers (1 Thessalonians. 2:1-8).  We can’t just share the gospel word, we must also share our lives, investing in those we desire to reach.  In other words, we must make evangelism part of our normal lifestyle, not a special program!  We need to take time to talk to people everywhere and invite them into our homes for a meal, or small group, or even church.  But, in order to do that, we need to know the culture (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).  The apostle Paul said he became all things to all peoples that he may save some.  We must seek to understand people and their cultures in order to reach them.  That means we need to get to know unbelieving people.  We need to know where they live, shop, eat, recreate and move out of our comfort zones to look for opportunities to relate to them where they are, instead of thinking they will come to us.

5.  Share the gospel with urgency!  We are on an urgent mission (2 Peter 3:8-10)!  We must share the gospel naturally & clearly.  Since the gospel is a word/message about Christ, then we must be word-centered and use the Bible.  Also, the gospel is a word that must be proclaimed!  We cannot keep it to ourselves.  But I think one of the reasons we struggle with evangelism is because we think it is “special” – we have to do it in a “special” way, using a “special” outline, and there are Christians who are “especially” gifted at this.  The truth of the matter is that evangelism is NOT special; it is normal.  Think of evangelism simply as a conversation about who Jesus is.  If using the four words, God, Man, Christ, Response, is helpful, then think through the gospel story in that way.  But in the same way we have normal, every day conversations about the weather, the Longhorns and Aggies, we should think of evangelism as normal – this is a normal activity of every Christian: speaking of Jesus when our conversations permit during the opportunities God gives us.

6.  Study the doctrine of hell!  If you lack urgency in evangelism, then perhaps you should do a personal study of the doctrine of hell.  As you study what the Bible says concerning the fate of those who reject Christ, ask God to break your heart for those who reject Christ and to move you with urgency to share the good news.

7.  Invite unbelievers to repent and believe!  As I mentioned above, the gospel requires a response.  We must call on all people everywhere to repent (turn away from their sinful ways) and believe (in Jesus Christ).

8.  Invite unbelievers to church.  This goes along with sharing our lives with unbelievers and investing in them.  Invite unbelievers and unchurched to come with you on the Lord’s day so that they may hear the gospel proclaimed.  Surprisingly, in a 2010 study of unbeliving, unchurched people in Austin, a large number of people indicated that they would be open to invitations to go to church.  Imagine that!  They don’t come because we don’t ask.

9.  Trust Christ for the results.  Faithfulness, not results is what God requires of us.  Salvation is of the Lord, so we must trust the sovereign Lord to do His work in the hearts of unbelieving people.  Our responsibility is to faithfully share the gospel indiscriminately.

10.  Share with others and ask them to join you in prayer.  I have found it greatly encouraging to hear other Christians’ stories of evangelism and to know that I am accountable to someone for evangelism.  Share your encounters and pray together for those souls.  May the Lord grant us a great harvest of souls!

Categories : Austin, High Pointe, Missions

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