“Preach the Word…do the work of an evangelist.” (2 Timothy 4:2, 5)
These imperatives are as vital today as when Paul spoke them to Timothy. You may not consider yourself an evangelist. It is not my office or particular gifted strength. However, I am still under the mandate to do this work.
“To reach people and preach the Gospel is our duty and debt to humanity,” was Dr. Stephen Olford’s constant reminder to preachers. The Gospel is good news. It is an appeal. Preachers are the net- casters.
Here are some practical items to consider in preaching evangelistically:
- Be True to the Text
When preaching an evangelistic sermon, use the right text. I realize we include the Gospel in most sermons. This article is about the sermon that has as its aim evangelism from the introduction to the conclusion. Luke 15 is a wonderful example. Certainly John 3:16 fits this call. John 3:7, “You must be born again,” is a great reference as well. Romans 6 is powerful, and Exodus 32:26, Joshua 24:15, and 1 Kings 18:21 will be helpful. Pray for God to lead you and do your background work. Allow the text to speak. Expose the text to the people, and expose your people to the text.
- Make Much of Jesus
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 tell us the Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. When Jesus is exalted, he draws people unto himself. Make certain you lift him up.
- Illustrate the Life Changing Power of the Gospel
The proper evangelistic illustration is crucial. Using solid testimonies from your own church is strong. The stories can be those of people saved out of crisis or a person who come to Jesus early in life and has had lifelong victory. Stories are important. Jesus had scores of interactions with people whose conversions touch the hearts and make connections throughout generations and today. In his book The Great Physician, G. Campbell Morgan recalls encounters Jesus had with fifty people in the Gospels. The powerful testimony of a changed life leads to evangelistic fruit.
- Make It Personal
People are saved one at a time. Jesus died for all, but we are redeemed individually. All have sinned, but each one has sinned. One gospel song reminds us, “When he was on the cross, I was on his mind.” Make it personal. God loves YOU. YOU must repent. Jesus died for YOU!
- Make An Appeal
There are many ways to give an invitation. Come forward, sign a card, go to a next step table, use an inquiry room, or simply pray where you are can each be effective. Find what fits you and make preparation for the harvest. “Come to Jesus” is the invitation. Study the word “come” in your Bible. You can build a sermon and invitation from the verses you will find.
Give the appeal with confidence in the Holy Spirit. He will draw. He will save. Be expectant for response. Find your confidence in the Gospel.
Dr. O.S. Hawkins has written an excellent book, Drawing the Net, on the invitation process. You will find thirty practical principles for leading people to Christ publically and personally. From time to time, I lay this book on my nightstand and read a chapter each Saturday night. It always helps me extend the Gospel on Sunday.
Jesus came preaching (Mark 1:14). He came preaching the good news of salvation, calling all men to repent and believe the Gospel. We should be doing the same.
Ted Traylor is the pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida.