God Connects Seekers and the Gospel

  1. These statements by Jesus could be explained several ways
    • Passages
      • John 6:37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me
      • John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws Him
      • John 6:45 Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me
      • John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself
      • John 13:20 He who receives whomever I send receives Me
      • Mark 4:14 The sower sows the Word.
      • Matthew 9:48 (Luke 10:2) Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
      • Matthew 7:8 (Luke 11:10) For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened.
      • John 4:37 He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together
    • Explanations
      • Seekers will find the Word because they will not stop until they find the truth.
      • The Word is readily available now. In the first century, they needed divine help to make it available to all.
      • The Word has gone to all Jews (Romans 10:18).
      • God planned that His miraculous events would be a testimony throughout history (Romans 9:17)
      • When Jesus became king, the elect were gathered from the whole world (Daniel 7:13 – 14, Matthew 24:31, Mark 13:26 – 27)
      • The gospel was promised to the whole world before 70 AD (Matthew 24:14, Mark 13:10, Colossians 1:6)
  2. Does God still engineer the meeting of the Word and the seeker?
    • Why is the answer to this question addressed imprecisely?
      • The gospels describe Jesus’ life and promises.
      • The letters were directed to Christians who had already encountered the Word.
    • Some heard the Word from a miraculous source, others heard non-miraculously. God lays claim only to that which is clearly miraculous, even if He does a lot more.
      • Clearly miraculous
        1. Philip and the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26)
        2. Paul and company pushed to Macedonia (Acts 16:10)
        3. Paul asks for prayers for an “open door” (Colossians 4:3)
        4. Cornelius (Acts 10)
      • Non-miraculous (in the short view)
        1. Persecution scattered the believers (Acts 8:4)
        2. Some preached to Gentiles before the apostles (Acts 11:19 – 22)
  3. What evangelism activities are enjoined upon believers?
    • Romans 10:14 – 15 How shall they preach unless they are sent?
    • 1 John 4:17 As He is, so are we in this world
    • 2 Corinthians 3:18 – 5:21
      • 3:18 We all… (not just Paul and Silas)
      • 4:1 We do not lose heart
      • 4:2 Commending ourselves to every man’s conscience
      • 4:4 The light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God should shine on them.
      • 4:6 To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ
      • 4:7 We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
      • 4:9 That the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
      • 4:13 We also believe, therefore we also speak.
      • 5:18 Given us the ministry of reconciliation
      • 5:20 Ambassadors for Christ
  4. What motives are described for evangelism?
    • 2 Corinthians 5:14 The love of Christ compels us.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:11 Knowing the terror of the Lord (we fear for the fate of unbelievers) we persuade men
    • 2 Corinthians 7:1 Perfecting holiness (in order to be good ambassadors, 5:20)
    • Ephesians 5:21 Submitting to one another in the fear of Christ (because we are the light, 5:8, 13)
    • Philippians 2:12 Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (have the mind of Jesus, 2:1 – 11, shine as lights in the world 2:15)
    • Colossians 1:28 That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus
    • Hebrews 4:1 Let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it
  5. If we fail, will some be lost? Does this mitigate against God’s involvement in evangelism?
    • 1 Corinthians 3:11 – 15 Some of those we teach will fall away due to the lack of quality of our teaching.
    • 1 Timothy 6:1 Dishonorable believing slaves can cause the Word to be blasphemed
    • Titus 2:5 Wives with bad attitudes can cause the Word to be blasphemed
    • James 5:4 Some hindered the Word by failing to support missionaries
    • 3 John 5 – 10 Some hinder the Word by denominational boundaries
  6. Do we get any help?
    • Colossians 4:5 – 6 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.  Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
    • Revelation 3:20 I stand at the door and knock (a promise to the lukewarm)
    • 1 Peter 4:11 With the ability which God supplies
    • James 1:5 In faith, pray for wisdom
    • Romans 12:2 That you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God
    • 2 Peter 1:8 You will be neither barren nor unfruitful.