Biblical Evangelism

Part 1 - Laying the foundations

In this course you will learn why it is that salvation can come only through a personal relationship with Jesus, how the plan of salvation works and how you can share your faith in Christ Jesus with others, whether that be one-to-one or in front of a large crowd. 1 Peter 3 v 15 reads: "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."

Jesus told His disciples in Luke 10 verse 2 "The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray, therefore that The Lord of the harvest will send forth labourers into his harvest." There are some harvests, like for instance the grape harvest that those gathering it in require training so that the harvest will not be damaged or lost.

There are many hurting people in this world, it is The Lord's desire that none of them should be lost, but all of them come to salvation. When Jesus ministered on earth He went to places and people others would never go to because God has a tremendous heart of compassion for the outcast of society as well as others.

Mark chapter 2 verses 15 to 17 inclusive shows us the people that Jesus came for early in his account of the gospel. "It came to pass that as Jesus sat at table in the house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and His disciples: for there were many who had followed Him.

When the scribes and Pharisees saw him eating with publicans and sinners, they said unto His disciples, how is it that he eats and drinks with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he said unto them, they that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

In order to bring in these and others that The Lord has called unto Himself a person must know, understand and practice the biblical instructions on how to gather in the harvest. In Exodus chapter 25 verses 8 and 9 The Lord reminds Moses to do things exactly as he has been instructed.

"Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall you make them." In Matthew chapter 16 verse 18 Jesus tells Peter: "I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

There you see it, God is going to build His church and have it built in the way He always intended that it would. Psalm 127 begins with these words: "Except The Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it"

Before Jesus was taken up into heaven He taught His disciples the way He wants His church to be built. The first instruction is found in John's gospel chapter 12 verse 32 reads: "If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me." Do you understand that? If Jesus is lifted up He will draw all unto Himself.

We are not required to lift anyone up except Jesus, not our guest speaker, not a famous Christian author, not a rich man who comes to know Christ Jesus as his personal Lord and saviour, but only Jesus. Sadly many sermons in churches today make no mention of the name of Jesus, therefore it is no wonder that so few people are drawn to Him.

There are hundreds of millions of people in the world who have been taught that it is only through Jesus that salvation can come yet nobody has ever explained to them what the plan of salvation is or how it works. To most it is a complete mystery, therefore if anyone is asked to testify as to why they believe this, most are completely at a loss to know where to begin.

This should be foundational knowledge, something a person learns a matter of days after He commits his life to Christ, but so many people even born-again, Spirit-filled Christians do not know where to begin, that is why we shall look at this subject before we look at anything else, so that you will be able to understand the simplicity of the plan of salvation and be able to explain it to anyone who asks you to do so.

Let us start with a misunderstanding that many people have about the story of Adam and Eve found in Genesis chapter 3. The bible states that it was the serpent (not a serpent) who tempted Eve to disobey God. Whenever in scripture you see the words the and serpent together it always refers to the devil.

We can see this from Revelation chapter 12 verse 9 which reads "The great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceived the whole world: he was cast out down to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

Further we see from 2 Corinthians chapter 11 verses 13 and 14 that the devil can appear very deceptively. "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ, and no marvel for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."

The description of the devil as a serpent does not refer to his appearance but his character. Look for instance at Luke chapter 13 verses 31 and 32 we see Jesus giving His reaction to the threat of Herod. "The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get out and depart from here: or Herod will kill you.

He then said unto them, go and tell that fox, behold I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." This is another biblical reference to character not appearance, this time Jesus describing Herod as a fox. He did not mean that he had red hair, a bushy tail and walked around on four legs, Jesus was describing an aspect of Herod's character not appearance.

Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden because of one sin. Some say this is very harsh but it was in fact a great act of love. God stated clearly why He turned them out of the Garden, we see the reason declared in verses 22 and 23 of this chapter.

"The Lord God said, behold, the man has become as one of us, knowing good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: therefore The Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken."

If Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree of life and lived forever in their state of sin they would be irredeemable, but God put into place a plan whereby He could redeem Adam and Eve and all who would come to believe in the one who was to come as our redeemer.

Adam's father was God, therefore the second Adam would have to have God as his father otherwise he would inherit a sin nature through his father. He would also have to lead a life free from sin, for God turned Adam and Eve out of the Garden also because He could not tolerate sin in His presence unless it had been atoned for.

Later the Jewish festival of atonement (at one ment) where the whole community were made at one with God through the blood of an unblemished lamb was to become a forerunner of what Jesus would do on behalf of mankind, acting as our High Priest, Scapegoat and unblemished lamb at the feast of the Passover.

We see from the New Testament that Jesus fulfilled all the duties required for this festival to be conducted perfectly except that this time the community (all believers throughout the ages) would be made at one with God (atoned for) for all eternity.

Only a sinless person could do this since if he did sin or had an earthly father thereby inheriting the sin nature, he would not even be able to atone for his own wrong-doing much less the sin of everyone past, present and future who would put their faith and trust in Him.

Christianity is unique, in every other religion you have to try to outweigh your good deeds with your bad deeds, and even then you cannot be sure of a place in heaven but Paul described Christianity in these terms in Romans chapter 10 verses 9 and 10:

"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

If you were to ask God to forgive all your sin and cleanse you from it, and be your Lord, your God, your Saviour, your King and your friend forevermore, then He will do as you have asked.

read part 2...