Commentary on "Evaluating Witnessing and Evangelism"
Day 2: Sunday, June 17, 2012 - Why Evaluate?
The focus of today’s lesson appears to be that evaluation is always taking place, whether we realize it or not—sermons, public meetings, etc. They are being evaluated on their content, clarity and even length, and that the people expect a high level of professionalism. “Wherever and whenever people have expectations there will be evaluation.” There are three main questions asked in this lesson:
The early Christians, despite their lack of academic learning and hierarchical organizations, turned the world upside-down. Their emphasis was on God’s work, not on some formula for evangelistic success. Jesus Christ is the power of the Holy Spirit so that men come to put their faith in God through Him, to receive Him as their personal Savior. The elders trained the saints to evangelize and reach out to a lost world. They went, they spoke, and the Lord added to His church.
The verses following the first question are all basically summed up to point us to personal examination and evaluation. Before we can go out and be effective for God’s work and glory, we need to look at our own hearts and see if they are right before God. It’s about our character—do we possess humility? What are our motives—the advancing of God’s kingdom, or praise and recognition from others about our personal accomplishments and contributions? Are we willing to perform “menial” tasks, or do we want what we feel are the important jobs so that we can feel superior?
When considering the second question (including “What is God’s evaluative process?”), it really comes down to two things: 1) Do we have a humble and willing heart ready to be used in submission to God’s will, no matter what that entails? 2) Are we preaching the correct gospel? The Bible is pretty clear that getting the gospel message right is of utmost importance. If we err in this point, the rest is meaningless.
John 5:24 says, “I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.”
Galations 2:16, 21 says, “Yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ…”I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.”
Galations 1:6-9 states, “I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ, and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! As we have said before, I now say again: if anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!”
Seventh-day Adventists preach a contrary gospel. Much like the Judaizers of Paul’s day, they mix works in with grace (and thus restrict entrance to salvation), with traditional Jewish requirements, such as food laws and Sabbath-keeping. Here is just a sampling:
• Their goal of evangelism is to increase the membership of the Seventh-day Adventist church, not to make Christ-followers. They are not the same thing.
“He has also sealed us and given us the Spirit as a down payment in our hearts.” Eph. 1:13, 14 says, “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation—in Him when you believed—were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.”
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:9, 10; “’Sir, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved—you and your household’.” Acts 16:30b, 31)
“Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe.” “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is strongly urged to enter it.” (Luke 16:16; Matt. 11:13)
These are just a small sampling of unscriptural doctrines held by the Seventh-day Adventist church.
In looking briefly at the final question given, I just want to emphasize one main point: That we can know that Jesus lives in us. As I mentioned earlier, when we accept Christ, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13, 14; 2 Cor. 1:22). Philippians 1:6 says, “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” He is on our side and won’t leave us alone. Period. It is Christ who carries it on to completion, not us. Because we have this amazing grace, love and freedom in Christ, our response will be to produce fruit—not works for salvation—for the kingdom and for His glory. This is the work of Christ in me, not of my own volition or efforts.
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised June 1, 2012. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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