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Editorial Spring 2015

There is quite a considerable amount of evangelism in the Church which actually consists of convincing people who are not Christians that they are. A person may believe that God loves him, that Christ died for him, and that he has invited Jesus into his life, and still not be a Christian.

To evangelise we first need to be sure about our answer to “What is a Christian?” Paul tells us that his testimony to both Jews and Greeks was one of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). To repent is to change one’s mind, to turn decidedly from sin, and to look to Christ alone for salvation. Paul pressed Felix hard on righteousness, self-control and the coming judgment, to the point where Felix became alarmed, and sent Paul away (Acts 24:25). Such evangelism would be frowned upon today, even in most evangelical circles.

Believing in Jesus as Saviour is not enough. Paul speaks of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The man Jesus is also Lord and Christ. The cross saves because it is the Lord who died there, as a substitute for all whom the Father had given Him.

Sometimes evangelism can be so simple that we might be scarcely aware that we are evangelising. Philip told Nathanael: “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth” (John 1:45). When Nathanael wanted to argue the point, Philip simply issued the invitation: “Come and see” (John 1:46). Love need not preclude vigour. The early Christians prayed that God would enable them to speak His word with boldness (Acts 4:29; Eph.6:18-19). These days, we would be more likely to hear a prayer that we would speak with sensitivity into the lives of others. It is not a case of being sensitive or being bold but of being both, however difficult that may be.

Our mind, our affections, and our will respond to the message that Jesus Christ is not only the priest who is the sacrifice for sinners, but the prophet who proclaims God’s word to them, and the king who rules over them. The focus is on Christ. A. W. Tozer warned: “You cannot believe on a half-Christ.” The more clearly we see Christ, the more we will want to make Him known.

Peter Barnes

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