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Date: 5 August, 2021
Text: Acts 20:16-24
16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.
17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
exp. Paul was in a hurry, but he didn't want to miss one last opportunity to challenge the ministers of the church in Ephesus.
His challenge to them is an examination of His Gospel work ethic. He had been faithful as an evangelist and His life and message encouraged them to do the same.
ill. Some men have had great evangelism energy! I have been priviliged to know a couple.
Dr. Ed Nelson - 76 when I did my internship with him. He had started the church after his 70th birthday having resigned South Sheridan in Denver (incredible church he had pastored.)
- He and his wife knocked on all the doors in the surrounding area.
- They had started multiple churches - holding evangelistic meetings - forming a nucleous.
- I did door to door for the first time with Dr. Ed Nelson as my partner.
- He has only slowed down recently in his mid 90's.
Pastor James Barker - started Bible Baptist in Elmont - bold evangelist in NYC. Church of 160 back then - most had been led to the Lord by the pastor. (Weekly door to door.... with many people in the church helping.)
ill. He taught me to knock on the hinge side of the door - he had a forceful knock and almost got beat up when he knocked on a door and it opened. :)
exp. I really learned evangelism in NYC from Pastor Barker.
evangelism is not only for preachers: The great commission is the churches responsability.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
exp. If other's had neglected to TELL THE GOSPEL - YOU WOULD NOT BE SAVED.
Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Isa 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
note: I'm not going to preach on the churches responsability to DO evangelism this evening.
I am going to preach on the WORK ETHIC we ought to put into evangelism.
We need Paul's Evangelism work ethic.
exp. He was tireless in Gospel ministry.
How much effort do you put into evangelism?
How active are you as an evangelist?
Can you go through life without considering your responsability to share the Gospel?
PRAYER - WE NEED PAUL'S EVANGELISM WORK ETHIC.
I. We need Unstoppable Evangelism.
quote: Dr. Bob Sr. "The test of your character is what it takes to stop you."
exp. In this case - the test of your Gospel work ethic is what it takes to stop you.
note: I have said to our church before that Satan has an excuse bucket full of excuses and he is ready to hand them to you. (We can all make excuses why we can't do evangelism....)
exp. Too busy, (work, kids,
- too tired, (I would, but I don't feel like it....)
- too introverted, (I'm a shy person, I don't know what to say, I could never do that....)
ill. I'm a shy person too - Dr. Bob III "Get out of your comfort zone."
- too constrained (no car, too far, no way to, Saturday morning don't work for me. etc.)
exp. We have door to door as a church and outreach with flyers
HOWEVER - anyone in our church is encouraged at any time to do evangelism wherever they are.
app. Paul didn't reach in Satan's excuse bucket.
A. All seasons.
18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
exp. All seasons is not referring to Paul's habits in the winter, spring, summer and autumn. It has to do with how he acted AT ALL TIMES.
ill. A police officer is always a police officer - on or off the clock - they have the duty and ability to make an arrest whether in uniform or out of uniform.
exp. If there is a crime and they are there, we expect them to intervene.
ill. A life guard can't say - I can't save you because I had not yet punched in.
exp. We have evangelism at certain times of the week, but we ought to be always ready to give the Gospel. 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
app. Are you soul conscious? Can the Spirit of God tap you on the shoulder to have you give a tract to someone? Do you carry tracts with you? (We need unstoppable evangelism - at all times)
B. All environments.
19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
exp. Paul not speaking about the good days of evangelism - because anyone can serve the Lord in the good days. He's speaking about the things that try to STOP your evangelism.
1. Reproachful environments. "Serving the Lord with all humility of mind."
def. Reproach: the expression of disapproval or disappointment.
ill. In parenting, in education, in our judicial system - we rightly use reproach to correct someone from error.
- "Honey, I'm disappointed in you, you should know better."
note: Satan perversely uses reproach to try to get believers to turn back to his way.
exp. Disdainful looks, rude statements, haughty laughs.... do evangelism and you'll face them.
ill. Man in Princess St. Gardens - laughing at the idea of God, "Do you really think you are doing any good?" I said, "Yes, the Gospel helps people."
ill. Messianic prophecy - Isa 50:6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
7 For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
app. The Gospel is reproached by this world, we need to set our face like a flint and give the Gospel in reproachful environments."
2. Sorrowful environments. "and with many tears"
exp. Paul wept for peoples salvation, over people's condition, or people rejection....
ill. My dad's first wife - woman in the church antagonistic towards her - weeping looking over her Bible - That is what led to their taking the trip that ended in a horrible car accident.
exp. Nobody will invest themselves in Gospel work without facing tears along the way.
Psalm 126:5-6 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
app. An unstoppable evangelist weeps and keeps going.
3. Antagonistic environments.
"and temptations which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews."
def. temptations: provocation, adversity....
exp. The Jews whom Paul dearly loved - His people - actively sought his destruction.
ill. Elieazar Urbach - Jew - survived the holocaust - accept Jesus as the Messiah - His wife's parents response to their conversion was to act as if they had died. Elieazar took the Gospel to the Jews.
app. Those who evangelize are going to face this at some level. Family, Neighbours, World.... We can't let antagonism, sorrow, or reproach stop us from giving the Gospel.
transition: We need an unstoppable evangelism.
II. We need Profitable Evangelism.
exp. The Gospel is about the Gospel.
ill. social gospel - food banks, orphanages, health care, ....
note: These things are good secondary things - but the primary purpose is declaring God's Word.
GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL.
app. The profitability of the Gospel is it's ability to save a man's soul.
Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
A. Gospel clarity.
ill. I remember thinking as a child - these adults can't make the Gospel very clear. (I don't know if that was true or not - I probably just didn't get it until God opened my eyes to see it.)
note: However, we have people going to church week after week in Scotland who have no idea what the Bible teaches about salvation.
ill. Woman from Shetland - Church of Scotland - how does your church teach as far as how someone goes to Heaven - I don't know - we just believe in God.
note: (The Gospel is 1) you are a sinner, 2) the punishment for sin is hell, 3) Jesus took your punishment - died and rose again 4) by faith in Him God will forgive you and give you eternal life.)
app. We will not see everyone get save when we teach the Gospel - but we ought to seek to make it as clear as possible.
1. No hidden doctrine.
20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you,
exp. A lot of churches don't believe in hell or agree with other sin - many people don't want truth.
ill. Religious Woman - Princess St. Gardens - I don't believe in hell.
1Th 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
app. We preach a profitable Gospel with Gospel clarity - NO HIDDEN DOCTRINE.
2. No easy believism.
v.21 ... repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
def. Repentance - change your mind, agree with God, put your faith in Jesus.
exp. Our church is a comes as you are church. But, we are not a leave as you were church.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
exp. Our church may be small like Noah's church on the Ark, but the Gospel will not be robbed of it's life changing power.
app. Do not be ashamed to preach a life changing Gospel with GOSPEL CLARITY.
B. Gospel availability.
...and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, ...21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks,
note: Paul proclaimed the Gospel in synagogue and on the street, he took the Gospel to all people.
ill. Iian - made to go to church as a child - never goes to church now.
Max - (English) 17 year old - doesn't go to church - thanked me for speaking with him.
Mark - agnostic - doesn't know which church to go to - if he was inclined to go to church.
exp. They aren't clerks at a shop I visit - if I am to give them the Gospel I have to do street evangelism.
app. We've got to the get the Gospel - not only to everyone in our area - but everyone in the world - (Missions) Are you making the Gospel profitable - a clear Gospel - an available Gospel?
transition: We need an unstoppable evangelism, a profitable evangelism.....
III. We need Sustainable Evangelism.
ill. Sustainable energy is a big deal - Orbital O2, Orkney Islands - biggest tidal power turbine in the world - can convert power no matter what way the tide is flowing through it's propellers.
exp. Sustainable energy is energy which will always be there to provide for us.
exp. God has provided a Sustainable Energy for evangelism.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
note: Paul was a man who had the person of Power (God's Holy Spirit) actively involved in His evangelism.
A. Spirit filled.
22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
exp. Paul used an analogy of his coming imprisonment. In this case, what bound him to his current course - WAS THE CONSTRAINT OF GOD'S SPIRIT.
(Paul couldn't help but run the Gospel race in front of him.)
1 Corinthians 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
question: Are you constrained by God's Spirit at all when it comes to the Gospel?
note: The Holy Ghost - is the SPIRIT OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
EVERYTHING ABOUT THE LIFE OF CHRIST FOCUSED ON THE GOSPEL.
question: Can a person be filled with God's Spirit and not have a Gospel purpose to their life?
exp. If the Spirit of God isn't motivating our church to evangelism - this pastor can not - nor can I sustain us in Gospel pursuits WITHOUT GOD'S SPIRIT.
app. As a church we need to ask God to fill us with His Spirit. (We can't do evangelism - He can't help but do evangelism.)
B. Spirit guided.
23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
exp. Paul's Gospel course was being charted by God. His vessel was under the guidance of God's Spirit.
note: Rome needed the Gospel - Paul was called of God to testify of the Gospel in Caesar's Court.
ill. My wife and I are currently reading Esther in our devotions together - Esther is told by Mordecai - "Who knowether whether thou art come to the Kingdom for such a time as this."
exp. The Jews needed deliverance and she was there to access their salvation.
question: Do you sense at all that God has put you where you are FOR GOSPEL PURPOSES. THAT GOD'S SPIRIT IS GUIDING YOU FOR EVANGELISM?
ill. Witnessing to Tommy's first cousin - God guided us.
Witnessing at Karen's door - now she and Benjamin are saved - God guided us.
app. Are we doing SUSTAINABLE EVANGELISM? We'll quit if we aren't filled with God's Spirit and guided by God's Spirit - HE ALONE CAN USE US AND DIRECT US!
transition: We need an unstoppable evangelism, profitable evangelism, sustainable evangelism....
IV. We need Immovable Evangelism.
exp. The Spirit of God is the sustaining power - but we have to do our part and stay the course.
A. Immovable evangelism is self sacrificing.
24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself,
exp. The biggest threat to your evangelism is yourself. (Your plans, desires, tastes, fears, worries...)
ill. The average tv viewership per day - went up by 45 minutes during the pandemic to nearly 6 hours a day.
ill. People were studious in the past - now we play video games, watch sports, sitcoms, etc.
Mark 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
ill. Imagine being at a funeral - funerals emphasize what someone's life was all about - they were a huge sports fan, they could tell you all about politics, etc.....
ill. Evangelist Tom Ferrel passed away this past week - I put a note on his evangelistic facebook page - God called me to preach under his ministry - numerous others had said the same thing.
exp. I can picture in heaven the rows of people lined up to shake his hand as he entered glory saying, "Dr. Ferrel - I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you."
question: How long is the cue going to be to shake your hand?
app. It's going to be really short if you live your life for anything other than the Gospel. LOSE YOUR LIFE FOR JESUS SAKE AND THE GOSPEL AND FIND IT!
B. Immovable evangelism is never quitting.
so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus,
to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
exp. Paul didn't want to enter glory ashamed. HE WANTED TO FINISH HIS COURSE WITH JOY
note: Paul's Christian life was about a sacred calling. A ministry he had received from Jesus.
GO TELL THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD.
exp. Paul often reflected on his calling. We know that because his testimony is recorded 3 times!
ill. I imagine it got tough for Paul - feet in stocks, bleeding stripes on his back from whipping, hungry and cold....
Act 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
question: Since God is no respecter of persons? WHAT IS YOUR CALLING?
DOES IT NOT HAVE MUCH TO DO WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS?
ill. I well remember as a teen ager having the Spirit of God grip my heart when the minister said, "Who will say to Jesus - whatever you want me to do with my life I will do it."
I well remember when Tom Ferrel preached and God answered my prayer from just an hour before, where I said, "If you give me the ability to speak I will surrender to preach." (God didn't change my ability - he just convinced me that he could use my mouth. - ill. stutterer)
I well remember - walking out from Stratton Hall - church planter preacher - God is this just a burden or is this a call - and God said in my heart IT IS A CALL.
exp. Have I ever been tempted to quit? YES I HAVE - will I quit - by God's grace, "No - I want to finish my course with joy and the ministry which I have recieved of the Lord Jesus to testify the Gospel of the grace of God!"
app. What about you? Are you a Gospel quitter? Or will you take it as God's call? Will you die to self and do IMMOVEABLE EVANGELISM.
Dr. Nelson - was a great evangelist - just a farm boy from the Front Range of the Rocky Mtns.
James Barker - great evangelist - just a hot dog seller at the professional baseball games, construction worker - God got ahold of his life.
BOTH HAD A GREAT GOSPEL WORK ETHIC.
PAUL'S GOSPEL WORK ETHIC WAS EXEMPLARY AND HE CHALLENGED THE CHURCH TO DO THE SAME.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? HOW IS YOUR GOSPEL WORK ETHIC?
DO YOU HAVE UNSTOPPABLE EVANGELISM? (At all times, in all environments....)
PROFITABLE EVANGELISM - (Gospel clarity, availability)
SUSTAINABLE EVANGELISM (Spirit filled, Spirit Guided)
IMMOVABLE EVANGELISM - (Self sacrificing, never quitting)