Archives For Evangelism

The biblical record of apostolic evangelism reveals key emphases in their evangelistic doctrine and practice. The following table reflects my current understanding about apostolic evangelism by presenting pairs of key truths concerning the content of their evangelistic message.

Apostolic Evangelism
Name of Jesus Christ Kingdom of God the Father
deity of Jesus as the Christ agency of Jesus as the Christ
Jesus as the God-sent Savior Jesus as the God-appointed Judge
crucifixion resurrection
faith repentance
profession baptism
forgiveness of sins the gift of the Holy Spirit
salvation judgment


At least in much of what I have observed in evangelism, heard preached in evangelism, and read about evangelism, the elements on the left have tended to be overemphasized. In some of these pairs, the disparity has been quite marked. The elements on the right, however, are vital as well and should not be neglected.

Whenever possible, our evangelism should emphasize fully what the apostles emphasized.

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

The Good News for All!

March 18, 2011

God has put a conscience in every man that condemns him when he sins. He knows our secrets and one day will judge them. Our hearts condemn us. We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. He has weighed us in His balances and found us wanting. We all know that we are worthy of death, the wages of our sin.

Death is not some impersonal, automatic consequence of our sinfulness that mechanistically takes place in a godless universe. Death is the work of God as Judge. Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body. The second death, eternal death in the lake of fire, awaits all who die in their sins because they refuse to repent and turn toward God, doing works fitting for repentance.

All our lifetimes, we fear death. Because it is appointed to man once to die, and then the judgment, we all are in desperate need of good news.

The good news is that God the Father anointed the man Jesus of Nazareth, who was also the Son of God, with the Holy Spirit and with power. As the Anointed One, the Christ, He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him. He is the Christ who died for our sins, was buried, rose again on the third day, and was seen by many trustworthy witnesses.

Christ died and rose again so that He might be the Lord, the Judge who has authority over all who are dead and alive. Having been raised by the Father, He now sits in heaven at the right hand of the Father, who has set Him as the King.

He is the Son appointed by God as the Judge of the living and the dead. He has authority in heaven and earth to forgive the sins of everyone who believes in His name. One day, the Son will judge the secrets of men and condemn unrepentant sinners to eternal punishment.

The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son in order that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father who has sent Him. Truly, truly, Jesus says to all, “He who hears my word and believes on Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and will not come into condemnation, but is passed from death to life.”

These things Jesus says that you might be saved. With the Son of God on your side, no one else will ever be able to condemn you.

To be blessed, you must serve the Father with fear and rejoice with trembling. You must also submit to and trust His Son. He has the keys of death and hell. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who believes not will be damned.

God made His Son, who never sinned, sin for you that you might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus will save you from your sins if you will repent toward God and believe that God has raised Him from the dead.

Confess that Jesus is the Lord and He will give you the gift of eternal life. Call on the name of the Lord and be reconciled to God today!

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Consider the following information about gospel preaching by the apostolic company:

  1. Philip preaches the gospel in Samaria: kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12) 
  2. Paul preaches the gospel in Corinth: death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of Christ (1 Cor. 15) 
  3. Paul preaches the gospel for three months in Ephesus: kingdom of God and the word of the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:8, 10)
  4. Paul preaches the gospel for a three-year period throughout Asia: kingdom of God and repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21, 24, 25) 
  5. Paul preaches the gospel for two whole years in Rome: kingdom of God and Jesus (28:23); kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ (28:31) 

Given this information about apostolic gospel preaching, did the gospel change from Samaria to Corinth from a message about the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ to a message just about Jesus? 

If so, did the gospel change again from Corinth to Ephesus, Asia, and Rome? 

Alternatively, has the gospel message always been the preaching of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, and 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 was never intended to be used the way that many use it to define the gospel as a message solely about Christ?

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

The account of how one of the thieves who were crucified with Jesus was saved provides us with valuable information concerning how people are saved. The thief heard Jesus pray, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Hearing this, the thief received explicit testimony that distinguished Jesus from the Father and made known the Father-Son relationship between them. He also heard Jesus testify of the necessity of the forgiveness of sin. 

He heard that Christ essentially signifies that Jesus was “the Chosen One of God” (23:35). He thus received testimony that explained the agency of Jesus. 

He heard soldiers mocking Jesus by saying, “If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself (23:37). He may also have seen the superscription above Jesus’ cross that read, “This is the King of the Jews” (23:38). 

Although he had earlier reviled Jesus (Mark 16:32; cf. Matt. 27:44), he repented and rebuked (23:40) the other thief who railed on Jesus (23:39). His rebuke shows that he feared God, acknowledged that he was a sinner, and believed that he deserved punishment for his sins (23:40-41). His statement also shows that he believed that Jesus was sinless (23:41). Saying these things, the thief justified God and Jesus. 

The thief called on Jesus as Lord and asked Him to remember him when He would enter into His kingdom (23:42). He showed that He believed that Jesus had the authority and the ability to answer His request. Having heard plain testimony earlier to Jesus’ relationship to the Father, he thus did not just entrust Himself to Jesus as Lord in the sense that Jesus was God Himself; He also believed that Jesus was specially related to the Father. 

In the flow of thought in the passage, it is clear that he believed that Jesus would one day be the King of the Jews in a future kingdom. His statement also reveals that he believed that both he and Jesus would be alive again after they died. 

The thief heard Jesus say to him, “Verily I say to thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (23:43). Because of his repentance toward God and faith in God and Jesus, the thief received divine assurance that his request had been heard and that he had been saved! 

After these things, he heard Jesus entrust Himself to the Father by saying, “Father, into thy hands I commend My spirit” (23:46). Hearing this, he received instruction from Jesus that displayed that He was trusting in the Father in His death, and thus by implication, to raise Him from the dead in keeping with what the Father had promised to do (cf. Ps. 16:8-11; Acts 2:25-32). 

Hearing this treatment of the salvation account of this thief, do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Chosen One of God? Do you acknowledge that you are a sinner who deserves punishment from God for your sins? Are you repentant of your unbelief in Jesus? Have you repented of your sinful deeds? 

Do you believe that He is the Christ who died for your sins and rose again? Do you believe that Jesus is the One that God has chosen to be the King of the Jews? Do you believe that Jesus is the Lord who will determine whether or not you will enter into the kingdom of God after you die? 

Believing that God has raised Him from the dead, are you willing to call upon Him and confess that He is the Lord? All who do so will one day be in paradise with Him and the crucified thief who was saved by believing in Him as the Christ, the Chosen One of God!

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

In Luke 19:9-10, Scripture informs us of a blessed pronouncement by Jesus to a sinful man: “This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” An examination of this account (19:1-10) shows a key truth concerning the genuine salvation of people.

Luke reports that Jesus, while passing through Jericho, spoke these words to a man named Zacchaeus. He was a top-level tax collector and a wealthy man. He desired to see Jesus, but was unable to because he was short. Therefore, he climbed a tree to see Him.

Seeing him, Jesus directed him, saying, “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.” Zacchaeus eagerly responded to Jesus’ directives and “received him joyfully.”

An unspecified group of onlookers denounced Jesus’ actions. We then read the only words recorded from Zacchaeus (19:8), which instruct us about the essence of salvation coming to a person’s house. Having come to Jesus, he said “unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.”

Based on these statements by Zacchaeus, Jesus made the blessed pronouncement about his salvation. How do Zacchaeus’s words relate to his salvation?

By comparing them to Luke’s accounts of John the Baptist’s ministry, we discover a key truth about Zacchaeus. Luke recorded John’s demanding that certain people who came to be baptized first produce “fruits worthy of repentance” (3:8). Other people hearing John’s challenge asked, “What shall we do then?” (3:10). John responded, “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise” (3:11). These statements match the essential idea of Zacchaeus’s first words to the Lord about his resolve to give of his goods to the poor (19:8b).

When publicans came to John wanting to be baptized, they also asked him what they were to do (3:12). John demanded that they “exact no more man that which is appointed [them]” (3:13). To soldiers who then asked him what they were to do, he said, “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages” (3:14). His demands from the publicans and soldiers parallels Zacchaeus’s second statement, which expressed his intent to restore to anyone what he had taken from him by false accusation (19:8c).

This comparison of statements by Zacchaeus and John shows that what Zacchaeus said to Jesus displayed his repentance and intent to produce “fruits worthy of repentance” (3:8). Jesus’ pronouncement that salvation had come to him did not mean that his past or present giving to the poor and restoring what he had wrongfully taken from people had saved him (Although we do not have enough data to know for sure, it is likely that Zacchaeus had not done either of these things to any appreciable extent prior to his encounter with Jesus).

Nor did it mean that his future doing so would be what would save him. Rather, his acknowledging of his past actions as sinful and his resolve to make right his past wrongdoing showed that he had been saved through his contact with Jesus:

He publicly wanted the people to know that his time with Jesus had changed his life. . . . Jesus’ words, ‘Today salvation has come to this house,’ did not imply that the act of giving to the poor had saved Zacchaeus, but that his change in his lifestyle evidenced his right relationship before God (BKC: NT, 252).

The comparison above of the accounts of John the Baptist’s ministry (3:1-14) and Zacchaeus (19:1-10) underscore the centrality of repentance (along with faith, though it is not specifically mentioned in this passage) toward God as what brought salvation to the house of Zacchaeus.

Paul’s comprehensive statement concerning his unchanging ministry throughout his life further stresses the same truth: “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision, but showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:19-20).

Has salvation come to your house through your repenting and turning to God and doing works that display the genuineness of your repentance and faith? If there has not been a transformation of your life (2 Cor. 5:17) that has included both a resolve to do whatever you can do to make right your past wrongdoing and an acting on that resolve as circumstances allow, would Jesus say to you that salvation has come to your house?

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Over my years as a Christian, I have heard the phrase, “a simple gospel message,” used quite a number of times. People have expressed their appreciation for preachers who have preached such a message. Those training others for ministry have exhorted their students to preach such messages. Interestingly, I do not recall ever having anyone explain how the Scripture teaches us to preach such a message or what exactly constitutes such a message.

Because of the seemingly widespread use of this phrase and the desire for ministers to preach such messages, we would do well to consider how we would answer the question, “Does Scripture teach us to preach a simple gospel message?” To try to answer this question, we will consider several points.

“Simple” and “Simplicity” Do Not Teach Us to Preach “A Simple Gospel Message”

The phrase, “a simple gospel message,” does not occur anywhere in Scripture. The adjective, “simple,” is not found anywhere in explicit teaching concerning the gospel.

The noun, “simplicity,” is found three times in the NT (Rom. 12:8; 2 Cor. 1:12 and 11:3). The first occurrence is not relevant because it concerns the manner of our giving. The second is in a general statement about conducting our lives in the world and does not directly pertain to what we are to preach.

The third occurrence is in Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians 11 and does concern proper preaching. To the Corinthians, Paul wrote that he feared, “lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (11:3). He then explained his concern by saying,

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostle. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things. Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service (11:4-7).

Three occurrences of two keys verb for preaching and two references concerning the gospel show that this is an important passage concerning our preaching the gospel. Paul’s references to the serpent’s beguiling Eve and to the preaching of another Jesus show that he is concerned about the preaching of a false Jesus and a false gospel by false apostles (cf. 11:12-15). In that connection, he mentions his being “rude in speech” in contrast from the false apostles who touted their speaking abilities in their attempt to draw away the Corinthians from Paul.

He did not mention his lack of eloquence in preaching, however, to teach that gospel preaching should be characteristically simple concerning the content of what is to be preached. As we will see below, Luke’s records of key instances of the preaching of the gospel display considerable complexity and depth in the content of the evangelistic messages by the apostles.

In Paul’s latter reference to the preaching of the gospel (11:7ff.), Paul contrasts himself with the false apostles when he speaks of his foregoing remuneration for preaching the gospel. Neither concern in this context has anything to do directly with the content of his preaching the true gospel being simple.

The Gospel Messages at Pentecost and Gentecost Were Not “Simple”

An examination of the two premier apostolic evangelistic occasions, Pentecost and Gentecost, verifies this interpretation. Peter’s Pentecost message contains statements that interpreters struggle to explain fully even today (Acts 2:16-21). Peter’s abundant testimony to both the Father and the Son along with several references to the Holy Spirit (2:17, 18, 33, 38) show that he evangelized his hearers with a message that was highly Trinitarian and not simply preaching about Jesus Himself and the events that He experienced.

Moreover, Peter’s explicit statements about God’s approving Jesus (2:22), doing miracles through Him (2:22), raising Him (2:24, 32), exalting Him (2:33), giving Him the Holy Spirit (2:33), and making Him both Lord and Christ (2:36) intensely challenged the hearers with content concerning Jesus as God’s agent; Peter’s focus was not solely or even primarily on the deity of Jesus. He thus forced his hearers to have to reckon with Jesus’ humanity in relation to His deity as well as His agency in relation to His deity.

Peter’s message of the gospel at Pentecost was not a message that was concerned with testifying to Jesus alone with a primary focus on His deity. The Church thus began with his message that was not “a simple gospel message” with respect to its content.

Peter’s message at Gentecost similarly was not a “simple gospel message” about Jesus alone as deity. As he did at Pentecost, Peter preached a Trinitarian message that abundantly referred to both God and Jesus, including an explicit statement of how the Father anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power (10:38a). He also forced his hearers to have to reckon with the existence of evil in the supernatural realm by proclaiming Jesus’ healing all who were oppressed by the devil (10:38b). Moreover, instead of focusing on Jesus’ miraculous works as proof of His deity, Peter emphasized God’s empowering Him (10:38a) and accompanying Him (10:38c).

As he did at Pentecost, Peter strongly emphasized Jesus’ agency (10:36, 38), including a unique explicit statement about Jesus as the God-appointed Judge (10:42) that does not easily fit in with many contemporary perspectives about evangelism and missions. This statement presents other challenges to interpreters as well, including the precise nature of its relation to the next verse concerning the forgiveness of sins through believing in His name (10:43).

These two preeminent evangelistic messages in church history do not line up with the notion of preaching of “a simple gospel message” either with reference to its content overall or with reference to a focus solely on Jesus and His deity. Should we then hold that the Scripture teaches us to preach “a simple gospel message”?

Possible Response: Acts 8:35 and 16:31 Support Preaching “A Simple Gospel Message”

In response to this line of reasoning, some may point to the evangelistic accounts about the salvation of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40) and of the Philippian jailor (16:25-34) as evidence that supports the preaching of “a simple gospel message.” Although Luke does provide fairly lengthy overall records of these evangelistic encounters, he does not provide much information about what was actually testified to the lost people.

In future articles, I plan to look carefully at these accounts to see if they support an approach that does not make the Pentecost and Gentecost accounts (along with 1 Cor. 15:3-5) the primary models for our learning to preach the gospel. For now, I say that it is highly improbable that these very brief summary statements (Acts 8:35; 16:31) of what were undoubtedly much longer messages are intended to be normative for our evangelism in preference above the records of the premier evangelistic messages for both Jews and Gentiles that are recorded in Scripture.

Conclusion

There does not seem to be any clear scriptural teaching that teaches us to preach “a simple gospel message” in the sense discussed above. Hence, we would do well to adjust what we say to one another in this respect, especially in our discipleship activities that are geared toward training ministers and personal workers in evangelism.

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

How should we evangelize Christ to Gentiles? In answering this question, many would say that we are to go to 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 because it is the paramount passage concerning the content of the gospel message. Paul says that the gospel that he had preached to the Corinthians was that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve.” This summary of the gospel that he preached to them is plainly, however, not an exhaustive record of all the actual content that he gave them when he evangelized them because Paul does not tell us specifically how he said what he said to them to communicate that Jesus was the Christ. His summary tells us what he told them about key events concerning the Christ, but it does not tell us anything specific about what he said to them to explain the meaning of the term Christ

If we were to hold that all Paul did was to say the word Christ to them without any explanation, we would need to consider what that would reveal about the Corinthian people whom he evangelized. If in fact he did not explain the term itself, the unsaved Corinthians must have already known correctly what meaning to attach to that term. Was that really the case? If that was the case, how representative are they of the Gentiles whom we evangelize? 

Because Paul does not give us any more information in 1 Corinthians 15 about what he said to the Corinthians to communicate to them who the Christ was, we must look elsewhere in the book to see if there is any information in that regard. Paul uses the word Christ 54 other times in 1 Corinthians (40 times prior to his summary statements about the gospel), but he does not provide any explanation of the essential meaning of the term. This lack shows that they did not need any such explanation prior to receiving the book because they already knew what the term signified. 

The account in Acts of his ministry in Corinth (18:1-18) similarly provides us with no information about what Paul said to Gentiles concerning the meaning of the term Christ. The only relevant information given about his ministry in Corinth was that he “testified to Jews that Jesus was Christ” (18:5). 

In 2 Corinthians, however, Paul makes two important statements about his preaching in Corinth. First, he spoke of “the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among [the Corinthians] by [Paul and Timothy; cf. 1:1]” (1:19). Later, he says that they preached not themselves, “but Christ Jesus the Lord” (4:5). These references do inform us about Paul’s preaching of Jesus as the Christ, but they do not seem to tell us directly how Paul explained the basic meaning of the term Christ itself to Gentiles. Scripture, therefore, does not seem to provide us with any explicit information about how the apostle Paul presented the meaning of the term Christ to Gentiles. 

What should we make of this lack of explicit information? Of course, we are not to conclude that explaining the meaning of the term is unnecessary or irrelevant. Instead, we should understand from this analysis that 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 was never intended to present exhaustively to us what we must communicate about Jesus in evangelism to explain to lost people the essential meaning of His being the Christ. Paul’s summary statement rather takes for granted that providing lost people with the proper understanding of the essential significance of the term Christ must precede giving them the summary statements of the key events recorded in 1 Cor. 15:3-5. 

This conclusion is verified when we look elsewhere in the NT for information on how to evangelize Christ to Gentiles. From a thorough examination of the rest of the NT, we learn that God has provided us with only one account that gives us an explicit record of detailed information specifically about how to present Jesus as the Christ to an exclusively Gentile audience. (Interpreters debate whether Paul’s message at the Areopagus presented Jesus to his audience or not.)  Luke’s record of Peter’s message at Gentecost (Acts 10:34-43) is the premier passage in Scripture about Gentile evangelism in the sense that it provides us with the preeminent inspired account from which we are to learn about evangelizing Christ to them by providing them with the information about its essential meaning. 

Peter makes at least two key statements in his message about Jesus as the Christ that have bearing on our understanding of how to explain the essential significance of the term in evangelism (10:36, 38). First, he says, “The word, which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all” (10:36). Peter’s first statement about Christ presents Jesus as the One through whom God was preaching peace to the children of Israel. His first statement also makes known that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all (cf. 2 Cor. 4:5 above). Regardless of what Peter means by his statement about Jesus as Lord of all (I plan to treat this in a later article), his first words make known Jesus as the Agent of God. As we shall see from examining his next statement, it is this idea that is essential to the meaning of the term. 

Peter next speaks about Cornelius’ prior knowledge of the widespread proclamation of the word that God sent (10:36), which he said was “after the baptism which John preached” (10:37). He then says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him” (10:38). Although this statement does not have the word Christ in it, it still gives us the key information that we need about how to evangelize Christ to Gentiles. It does so by using the cognate verb of the word Christ. Peter says that God anointed Jesus. This is one aspect of the essential meaning of Christ that we must give to Gentiles in evangelism.  The gospel message about Christ at its essence thus is a God-and-Jesus message. To unsaved Gentiles who do not already have relevant information from some prior source, a Jesus-only message does not fully present the foundational truth expressed by the term Christ

Peter specified that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power. He then presents what that God-anointed Jesus did and explains that He did so because God was with Him. Making these statements, Peter emphasizes that Jesus did what He did through the empowerment that God gave Him and through God’s accompanying Him. Both of these closely related ideas explicitly stress the agency of Jesus as the Christ. 

By examining the essential ideas in both statements (10:36, 38), it is clear that making Jesus known as God’s Agent is at the heart of presenting Him as the Christ to unsaved Gentiles. We should, therefore, derive our approach to evangelizing Christ to Gentiles by combining key ideas from both Acts 10:33-41 and 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 in the following way: 

Christ (1 Cor. 15:3a), the One through whom God was preaching peace (Acts 10:36), was the One whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit and power (Acts 10:38a); He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him (Acts 10:38b). He was the Christ who died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3b; Acts 10:39b), was buried (1 Cor. 15:4a), rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:4b; Acts 10:40), and was seen by Peter and the twelve (1 Cor. 15:5; Acts 10:41). 

Gentile evangelism that does not stress the agency of Jesus as the Christ risks coming short of making known essential information about Him. The supreme importance of this matter should lead us to make these truths known to all unsaved people without exception whenever it is possible. We must evangelize Christ to Gentiles by carefully explaining the essential meaning of the term to them.

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

After using Romans 3:23 and 6:23, many people who use the Romans Road approach to evangelism go to three statements in Romans 10. All three provide instruction about the necessary responses that a sinner makes to be saved: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. . . . For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (10:9-10, 13). 

Paul teaches in this passage that a person will have to believe objective truth in his heart concerning the Resurrection. Approaches to evangelism that do not plainly testify to the Resurrection risk failing to provide the foundational information that is necessary for the person to confess Jesus as Lord and to call upon Him. People can be saved without having someone else witness to them about the Resurrection, if they have already received that information from some source prior to the encounter in which they are saved. Nevertheless, because of the importance of this information, we should never take this prior knowledge for granted

According to Paul’s exact wording, the sinner is to believe that God has raised Jesus from the dead. Earlier, he taught that righteousness is imputed to those who “believe on Him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead” (4:24). The wording of 4:24 supports holding that he is speaking about the Father’s raising Jesus in 10:9. 

Romans 6:4 strongly supports this interpretation through Paul’s statement that “Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father.” Paul’s climactic statement in his message at the Areopagus (Acts 17:31) similarly highlights the Father’s raising Jesus, as do many other statements by Paul (1 Cor. 6:14; 15:15; 2 Cor. 4:14; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:19-20; Col. 2:12; 1 Thess. 1:10) and by other Scripture writers (at least 10 more times in Acts; 1 Pet. 1:21; Heb. 13:20). In fact, the NT has more than two dozen statements of God’s raising Christ. 

In a number of these statements, we see that key OT passages (Pss 2, 16; Isa. 55) were used to support the truth that the Father raised His Christ. Without exception, every OT passage used by the apostles in their evangelism spoke of God’s raising Him; none of the passages speaks about His raising Himself or simply about His rising. The apostles used these passages to emphasize God’s faithfulness to fulfill what He had said long ago that He would do (Acts 13:33). They thus provided sinners with biblical truth by which they were given sound basis to entrust their souls to the Father in confident expectation that He would be faithful to raise them up as well one day from the dead (1 Cor. 6:4; 2 Cor. 1:9). We should do the same in our witnessing. We should glorify the Father by specifying that He raised Jesus and explain His faithfulness in doing so. 

Telling sinners that the Father raised Jesus from the dead also glorifies Him in this respect because it provides us with the opportunity to explain a glorious truth about Jesus Himself that deserves much more proclamation in evangelism. Psalm 16, a key Resurrection passage from the OT that the apostles used in evangelism (Acts 2:25-28; 13:35-37), does not just speak about what the Father would do. It also records the Messiah’s glorying in His confidence that the Father would do so. The Messiah trusted that the Father would raise Him and rejoiced in the hope of the future glories that He would enjoy in the presence of the Father (Ps. 16:8-11)! 

By explaining in evangelism that the Messiah confidently trusted in the Father to raise Him from the dead, we glorify both the Messiah and the Father in our evangelism. We set the Messiah forth as the great Example of faith in God that the sinner should emulate. He entrusted Himself to the Father and was not disappointed. We should stress that the same will be true for all who like Him entrust themselves to the Father.

Bringing these truths out when we witness to sinners, the Father and the Son will receive the full glory that they deserve in our evangelism, especially on the occasions on which sinners are saved! Let us stress the Father’s raising Jesus when we minister Romans 10:9-10 to sinners.

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus teaches that those who do not believingly receive the Word of God experience a fearful reality: “Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). The other Gospels add that Satan does so “immediately” (Mark 5:15) in the heart of a person when he hears” the word of the kingdom” and does not understand it (Matt. 13:19). Through these statements, Jesus teaches us that the devil is always actively at work in removing the Word of God in some unexplained manner out of the hearts of people who do not understand what they hear about the kingdom of God. 

How should this sobering truth affect our evangelistic practice? It seems that we should conclude from this teaching by Jesus that we should treat a lost person who has received even much previous testimony but has not understood what he has been given as if he has never heard those truths at all. If this understanding is correct, we should be all the more diligent to testify central truths as clearly as possible to lost people each time we witness to them and not take for granted that they understand any of them in the manner that they should to be saved. 

Our focus, therefore, in evangelism must be on bringing lost people to understand and accept what they hear and not just on a quick witness followed by an immediate decision. We should take pains to do what we can to be reasonably certain that they understand central truths properly. 

As a specific application of this line of reasoning, we should not assume that unsaved people who have grown up in Christian homes or attended church even for many years have a proper understanding of any key truth. Even if they protest that they already know something or have heard it many times before, we should not allow their protesting to deter us from thoroughly explaining key truths to them prior to leading them to make a decision. 

For example, multitudes of unsaved people have some familiarity with the Resurrection of Jesus. Their simply knowing and even assenting to the bare fact that Jesus rose does not constitute a biblical understanding of its full evangelistic significance. God has revealed to us that He has proven a specific truth to all men by raising Jesus from the dead (Acts 17:31) and that He mandates a specific response to that truth from all men everywhere (17:30). We, therefore, would do well to probe all people to whom we witness about their understanding and acceptance of that truth and their willingness to act properly on it before leading any of them into a profession of faith

Although there will be situations in which we encounter people who already have the necessary understanding of key truths and willingness to act upon them, we will not know that such is the case apart from carefully trying to discern that readiness properly. Taking steps to ensure proper understanding in the people that we evangelize should help us at least to some degree to overcome the supernatural opposition that we face and to reduce the number of false professions that we see.

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

The Gentecost accounts (Acts 10, 11) present how a “good” man named Cornelius and others who were with him were saved. From these accounts, we should note many key truths about how a person, even a good man, is to be saved.

Cornelius was a high-level military official in the Roman army. He was a “devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people and prayed to God always” (10:2). His servants said that he was “a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews” (10:22). These statements reveal that Cornelius was truly an exemplary man. 

One day, he saw an angel of God in a vision (10:3). The angel came to him and informed him that his prayers and alms were “come up for a memorial before God” (10:4). The angel then instructed Cornelius about what he was to do. Because we are given four separate records of this angelic encounter (10:3-7; 22; 30-32; 11:13-14), we know that God has greatly stressed to us this event in Cornelius’ life. Interestingly, we are given key information in the last record that is not provided in any of the others: the angel told Cornelius to send for Peter, who would tell him words, whereby he and his entire house would be saved (11:13-14).

Based on the information provided, we learn many important truths about how this good man was not saved. First, he was not saved by being a good man. Though he was an exemplary man in many ways, he still needed to be saved. His good deeds of giving alms to people did not save him. His being religious did not save him. His fear of God did not save him. Though he prayed to God continually, his doing so did not save him. His being just in his dealings with others did not save him. Though he was a model citizen who had a good reputation among all the Jews, he was not saved.

Furthermore, though he had an authentic encounter with a true angel of God, that supernatural experience did not save him. What’s more, though God had heard his prayers and remembered his alms, he still was not saved!

After the angelic encounter, Cornelius immediately sent for Peter (10:7-8; 33). Peter came to him. Upon seeing Peter coming in, “Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I myself also am a man'” (10:25-26). Peter was the Christ-chosen leader of the apostolic company. He thus was the top religious leader among the disciples of Jesus. Cornelius met this supreme religious figure and did homage to him, but his doing so did not save him. We thus learn that meeting and doing homage to any mere man, even the supreme religious leader of one’s time, will not save a person

After Cornelius explained to Peter why he had sent for him (10:30-33), we read how Cornelius was finally saved. As the angel had told him, to be saved, Cornelius had to hear words from Peter whereby he would be saved. . . .

(Read the full article)

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.