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An Appeal for Evangelism (Matthew Sermon 103 of 151)

An Appeal for Evangelism (Matthew Sermon 103 of 151)

June 14, 2009 | Andy Davis
Matthew 9:36-38
The Gospel, Evangelism, Boldness & Courage, Courage

Pastor Andy Davis preaches a verse-by-verse expository sermon on Matthew 9:36-38. The main subject of the sermon is how Jesus inspires us to complete the Great Commission with His observations about the crows who rushed to Him.




So ordinarily, I'd be preaching the next passage in Matthew, parable of the two sons. God willing, I'll get to it next week. I'll allude to it this morning. But this past week, I saw a new film from South Africa called Faith Like Potatoes, what an odd title. It's about a simple South African farmer, a man named Angus Buchan, he's of Scottish descent. He was a man characterized by racism and anger and frustration, brawling, smoking, drinking. A man about which the Scripture says he was without hope and without God in this world. Then he heard the gospel clearly explained, and he gave his life to Christ. He began reading the Bible, praying and seeking the Lord, growing in his new faith. He was struggling to wrestle a livelihood out of the wilderness of the KwaZulu-Natal portion of South Africa. It's a rugged area, and very difficult to make a living there.

And soon after his conversion, he found himself in an absolutely desperate situation, working with his foreman, a Zulu man named Simeon, they were purposely burning some grassy areas to clear it out, and the fire got away from them. Started to spread and was spreading at an alarming rate, and there was no water to put it out. They were just beating the bushes ahead of the fire to stop it from spreading but they were losing the battle and he was getting burned. He desperately jumped in his vehicle and drove to get some help and a few more people came in, but it was not enough. And even more terrifying as the fire started to burn out of control, it was heading toward the largest match factory in South Africa, The Lion Match company. And he realized that if it went up and it was his fault, he would be financially ruined, not to mention the danger to human life. He was absolutely desperate.

And that day he had read the scripture verse that I preached on a couple of weeks ago. “If you believe, you'll receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” “Lord, we need rain. It's the only thing that's gonna put this fire out, we need rain.” He calls out to Simeon, his Zulu foreman, says, “Simeon, pray for rain. We need to pray for rain.” He said, “But it's not the rainy season.” “I don't care. We need to pray for rain. The Bible says if you believe, you'll receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” He just started praying, “Lord, send rain. If not, we're ruined.” Fire's out of control, it's spreading, but then suddenly out of nowhere, come rain clouds gathering right over this man, and the downpour puts out the fire.

Now what would something like that do to your faith? Say, “Oh, Lord, send it, and I'll be a great man or woman of faith. God do that.” I mean, he's in a situation where there's nothing else he can do but trust God. And he just prays. He's not some great man, he's just in a great situation, and he's asking God to do something incredible, send rain. From that moment on, this man Angus Buchan gained a reputation in the area of being a great man of faith and of prayer. Isn't it funny how these things work? And just a short time after that, as his wife and he were preparing to go to bed, some Zulus from the area came in desperation, they're banging on his door. “What is it? What's wrong?” “Portia, our sister has been struck by lightning. Please come and pray for her.” Well, he finds out as he's going there, she's actually dead. And he gets there and she's lying dead on the ground, and he's saying, “What do you want me to do? I don't know what to do.” And no one was with him, he was just there with her and they were on the outside. And he said, “I don't know what to do.” And so he just prayed, mumbled some prayer about her healing, that God would raise her up, and she stood up on her feet.

Now again, if you were put in that situation, event one and event two, what would you do? Wouldn't you do the exact same thing the second time? And as soon as she stood up, he said, to her, “I didn't do this, God did. I didn't raise you up, I just prayed a little prayer. It was all I could do, just to pray that prayer.” Soon Zulus pushed in, they were amazed. And one old woman falls at his feet and begins grabbing his leg and he said, “Get up. Get up. I didn't do anything, I just prayed.” Well, in the movie he doesn't do any more faith healings, God doesn't make him a great faith healer, but these two things happen at the beginning of his life. And he realized that God was calling on him to go from place to place and tell them about Jesus Christ. He wasn't a man trained in evangelism. He wasn't trained in doctrine or theology, he was just a simple man and yet he had a vision, and that was that he would go out and begin telling people about Christ.

And he had a vision of gathering all the South African farmers in the area to the largest soccer stadium in South Africa, a place that could hold over a hundred thousand people. Ordinarily, he'd have to rent it for about a million dollars. Biggest rock stars would come there, etcetera. And he met with this man, he was sympathetic to what he wanted to do, gathering all the South African farmers to pray for rain. It was the middle of a drought and there was tremendous racial tensions there in South Africa, as you can well imagine, and that they would pray for peace. And also that God's work would be advanced. But God does amazing things and they get the stadium for nothing, just about nothing. And they fill it with tens of thousands of people, and he preaches in a very simple way, of the need to repent and believe in Jesus, for the forgiveness of sins, and simple prayer for rain, and for peace in their country. That's all.

But God didn't answer the prayer for rain, at least not right away. And as the time for planting came and started to move on, the land around them was dry as powder. You can imagine the effect of not having rain for that long period of time. And he realized that they were in a desperate situation. And he felt the Lord leading him to plant a crop of potatoes. And his friends and his banker all told him that he would be facing financial ruin if those potatoes, if that crop didn't come up. But as he prayed and he sought the Lord, he just felt this is what he had to do. And he invested all of his worldly wealth into this one crop of potatoes. And then just prayed. Prayed that God would, against all odds and against all science, to some degree, without rain, without water, with the ground as dry as dust, produce a harvest. And it's really kind of amazing, because, unlike wheat or corn where you can see the progress, you just have to wait. You have no idea what's going on below the surface of the ground.

And the time came for them to find out what God had done. And he goes out with Simeon, his foreman, and they pray. And Simeon reaches down under the ground, and pulls up a beautiful yellow potato, big round potato. Where the moisture came from only God knows. And there were thousands others just like it. And his wife, in faith, had gone to the village and brought them out to watch the harvest, if there was one. And out they came, and there was in fact a great harvest. And it's a climactic point in the movie, and he's sitting there with some children, some other people, he's holding one of these potatoes, and he quotes that which became the title of the movie. “You need to have a real faith. A faith that connects to real life, that actually produces real things in your life, as real as these potatoes.” Quoting the King James version of that definition of faith, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” And so there was substance. The potato is substantial. There was something there, something came as a result of faith.

Now, faith has to do with invisible things, trusting invisible God. But it produces visible effects in this world. God has used this man Angus Buchan to start a men's ministry in South Africa that has grown and grown and grown. The first year he just had a vision of having men come to his simple farm there, in that province of South Africa, and 240 men came for prayer and Bible teaching. And the next year, 2007, the number grew to 7,000 men. Last year 60,000 came. They set up the largest tent in the world, a 16-pole tent called Tensile 1. I was interested in that. I studied the tent - you're not interested in the tent, but I am very interested in the tent. Big tent. And if they don't have the side flaps down, they were able to go out to about 40,000. It still wasn't enough. So there are people sitting out in the sunshine, just listening to the preaching and the teaching, 60,000 men. This past May they had 190,000. They're just there to pray and to grow in grace and to see people come to faith in Christ, etcetera, just a simple farmer.

After the film was over, and the next day as I was praying, I started thinking about FBC. Started thinking about my ministry here, thinking about you and me. Thinking about what I preached on two weeks ago, “if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but you can also say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move.” Nothing will be impossible for you. “If you believe, you'll receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Well, that was two weeks ago. Have you asked him for anything? Remember I told you the great danger of that verse is not name-it-and-claim-it and health-and-wealth. It's a danger but not the great danger. Great danger is you will not ask anything based on that verse. You will not know whether you have or not, asked anything based on that verse since then.

So I was going to preach on this parable, the two sons. God willing, will do so next week. You know the parable. There's a man who has two sons. “He goes to the first and says, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he says. But later he changes his mind and goes. Goes to the second son and says, ‘Go and work in the vineyard.’ ‘I will, sir,’ he says, but he does not go.” I was starting to think of it in terms of my relationship with God, God as a father, he has a vineyard. He has a harvest field. He comes to me and says, “Go and work in the harvest field.” Which of the two sons am I? It seems to me that I'm more like the second son that says, “I will go,” but I don't go. I'd like to see God do something incredible here. I'd like to see him do something that none of the church growth people say ever happens. I'd like to see a multi-generational fruitful evangelistic ministry here. I'd like to see senior adults leading others to faith in Christ and bringing them for baptism and discipleship. I'd like to see people my age or a little bit older, people just about retirement age doing the same.

I'd like to see career people, people in their 30s and 40s, people with growing families, leading people to Christ, men and women. I'd like to see singles who haven't gotten married yet. I'd like to see young mothers of preschoolers leading others to faith in Christ, bringing them here to have him baptized and then discipled and trained. That's what I'd like to see. I'd like to be involved in a work like that. I'd like to kinda prove that you don't have to have all of the trendy, hot cultural stuff and the music and all of that in order to see something like that happen. If they're right in their theology, they're gonna tell you it's the gospel that converts them anyway, not all that other stuff. I'd like to at least try. My sense is that I feel that if we trusted the scripture and trusted the gospel, we could actually see that happen and we could disprove all the experts.

I'd like to at least try because my instinct here is that we're not trying like we could. We haven't really trusted Matthew 21:22 or Romans 1:16 that the gospel is the power of God for salvation. Let's go ahead and give it a try. And then when we disprove that. Will we? We will not. But when we disprove that, then we'll start bringing in all the glitzy cultural stuff, and then they'll be proven right. I don't think that's gonna happen. I think that the gospel is, in fact, the power of God for salvation. And I'm excited to see what God can do here. And I've been here about 10 and a half years, and I think God's done incredible things here. There's no other church on earth I'd rather pastor than this church. I wanna be right here. I wanna be here when God does these things. He's cleared a lot of stuff out of the way. He has established a lot of good things here. Everything's in order, friends. Except this one thing, a regular pattern of people being baptized and then taught to obey everything Christ has commanded. That isn't here yet, not like it will be. And I'm trusting God that it will be.

But it's so beautiful. We see the elders, plurality of elders have been established. It is a delight to work with these men, it's a joy. We see the deacons now in place and godly leadership, excellent leadership, getting them out into ministry teams, that's all in place, everything's in place. I kinda liken it to like a pick-up truck by the side of the road with its hood up, and now the tinkering's done under the engine, the hood's down, and we're moving. Okay, but where are we going? Where are we going? And I think we ought to go where Jesus has commanded us to go. We talk about the two infinite journeys, internal journey of holiness, external journey of disciple-making worldwide. And I've said, and I'll continue to say, you can't pick and choose. They have to be done together. If you just do one, you will not have the one you do. You won't have it. Not for long. And so we've got to move out, without giving up our commitment to sanctification, to holiness, growth in grace, we've got to see people brought to faith in Christ, and started on their internal journeys of holiness. 

"We talk about the two infinite journeys, internal journey of holiness, external journey of disciple-making worldwide. And I've said, and I'll continue to say, you can't pick and choose. They have to be done together."

That's what I wanna see happen and I think it's going to happen. We've already seen some remarkable conversions this year, especially in the international student ministry. We've seen a husband and wife couple brought to faith in Christ. You have to go minister in Japan to realize just how unbelievably rare that is. Praise God that we're here when God's doing these things. I just want more of it, don't you? I'd like to see those kind of testimonies week after week. I'd like to kind of sit over there in my pew and none of you watch me. I wanna just sit there and cry. I wanna sit there and cry at the goodness of God in that person's life. And then the next week cry a couple more times. Don't you wanna see that? I wanna be part of that. I wanna be part of a church like that.

I want 2009 to be the year that this church broke free from its shackles of fear of man. If you were totally free of fear of man, you would be bolder in evangelism than you are. And you say, “Is it really even possible to get that free?” I think it is, I think it is. That's something worth praying for. I'd like to see this be the year in which we grow in this kind of way, in marvelous ways, with people being brought to faith in Christ and baptize them and teaching them to obey everything that God's commanded. I believe that if God enabled us to baptize, what number could I put to it? Does it matter the number? I don't even wanna say a number. But baptize some remarkable number of people. Far more than we've ever baptized before. I don't know if this is a true statement, but for me, I think it would be a greater miracle than if we went down to Duke cancer ward and emptied the place through faith in prayer.

Frankly, I think it would be of more eternal consequence, don't you? These are people brought to genuine faith in Christ who will spend eternity with God in heaven. And a greater miracle. That's a mountain-sized, mountain-moving kind of miracle right here at this church, in 2009. Won't you pray for me and pray for us that we would see that happen? I would like to be the son that says “Yes” and then goes and obeys the father. That's the best of both, isn't it? That we would actually assent to what God is telling us to do and then go do it, and see God be powerful. Now, I'm in a group of pastors called The Gospel Coalition, these are some of the great men in gospel work in the US, and it's a privilege to be part of them. One of the pastors, a man named Mark Driscoll, he's pastor of one of the most extraordinary churches in America. Somewhat controversial guy, but he preaches the gospel, he’s reformed in his theology, believes in regenerate church membership. Very, very careful on church discipline, plurality of elders. Remarkable ministry among people that most of us could never reach. These are the unchurched in the most unchurched city in America, Seattle, Washington.

Not at all the Bible Belt friends, up there in Seattle. Very interesting city. This past Easter, they baptized 400 people on Easter Sunday, 400 people. They baptized them. I watched some of them on the internet, some of the baptisms. Wow. Now I was talking to somebody and that person said, “Yeah, but how many of them are genuinely converted?” Friends, I don't know. I don't know. But I know him and I know his seriousness and I know he will not baptize anyone who doesn't give a credible profession of faith in Christ. 400 on one Sunday. His church has gone from zero to 10,000 in 13 years. Started in his living room, now it's 10,000 people. Is that gonna happen here? I don't even know that that's a good thing for it to happen here. I know this, it's a good thing for us to see more people baptized than we do and growing in grace in the knowledge of Christ.

So I wanna just give you a quick sermon with four brief points. I wanna talk about our motivation, I wanna talk about our message, I wanna talk about our method and our multiplication.


The Glory of God

First of all, what is our motivation? Well, what is our motivation for everything? Is it not the glory of God? Isn't that why God spoke this universe into existence? We are here to glorify God. But I believe that the conversion of a sinner from rebellious against God to a son or daughter of the living God, glorifies him greatly. And so it says in Isaiah 43:6-7, “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Bring them. I created them for my glory. Or this in Ephesians 1:11-12, “In him we are also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be for the praise of his glory.” That's why we're here. 

Obedience to Christ

So we evangelize that God might be manifest or glorified in us, that we might display the goodness of God and the love of God. We also evangelize because Jesus has commanded us to do it. So simple obedience to Jesus, simple obedience to Jesus would have us out evangelizing, trading with the gospel. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” So just out of love for Jesus, we would evangelize.

The Joyful Rescue of Lost Sinners

And out of love for others. The second great command is that we would love our neighbor as ourself. There's no greater love that you could show for a neighbor, a lost neighbor, than to share with them the gospel of their only hope of salvation. Joyful rescue of lost sinners. Apart from the gospel, they're doomed to spend eternity in torment under the wrath of God. Let's not forget that for a moment.

It says in Revelation 14, If anyone disobeys. If anyone disobeys the gospel, “he too will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur, in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. There is no rest day or night” for those who do not believe in Jesus, and who die in that Christless condition. Oh, that should motivate us, that we could be involved joyfully in rescuing them. Snatching them, as it were, from the fire, it says in the book of Jude, and being a human instrument to transfer them over into the kingdom of the Beloved Son. Where they will spend eternity serving God, it says in Revelation 22, standing in the presence of God, seeing his face filled with an in-expressible joy.

Oh, what could be better than that, to be involved, to actually be materially involved in that transfer. Oh, how exciting could that be? Joy, it's the greatest joy in life. Third John 4, “I have no greater joy than this, that my children are walking in the faith.” Now, you might say that's a parenting verse, and fine. Fine enough. In any case, it ends up with people walking in the faith. But I actually think John's talking not just, or perhaps even about biological children, but about people he has led to faith in Christ. He is in some sense their father in the faith. He says, “There's no greater joy in my life than to know that they're walking genuinely with Jesus.” It's the greatest, most joyful life there is. 

Eternally Satisfying Rewards

And motivation, eternally satisfying rewards. First Thessalonians Chapter 2, the Apostle Paul said this to the Thessalonian church, “What is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and our joy.” When Jesus comes back, Paul says, I'm going to be wearing a crown and the name on that crown will be you, people I led to Christ. You are my crown and I'm gonna glory in it when Jesus comes back. Oh, that'll motivate you.


Alright, what about the message? What message? Well, we have only one, we have only one. God's given the church two great powers to accomplish the conversion of lost sinners. The first is the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” If you lack power, then ask God and he'll give it to you. You have, if you're a Christian, all the power you need through the indwelling Holy Spirit; power to be a witness. But there's a different power, another power, very much related, but the power for them, for the dead in transgressions and sins, they are dead in their transgressions and sins. The only power there is to raise them from the dead is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel, the righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is from faith to faith, just as is written: ‘the righteous will live by faith.’” A gift of righteousness through the gospel message, that is the power of God for salvation. And there is no other. That's our message. So we have the gospel. What is the gospel?

Well, some said, “All you have to do is memorize John 3:16, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him, should not perish but have eternal life.’” Well, those are most of the salient points of the gospel. But as I've trained people about what is the gospel message, I've broken it into four main headings: God, man, Christ, response. God is the creator of the ends of the earth, created all things visible and invisible. Therefore, He has the right to make laws by which we should live our lives. He has made those laws. The ten commandments, the two great commandments, that we should love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and we should love our neighbour as ourself. He is a lawgiver as a king, and he will also be our judge. Someday, we'll stand before him and give an account whether we have obeyed those laws or not. That's God. 

What about us, man? We are created in the image of God, and therefore, capable of having a relationship with God. But we are sinful, every last one of us. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We have violated those ten commandments. We have violated the two great commandments, to love God with all we are, and to love our neighbour as ourself. We stand condemned. And if God doesn't save us, then we'll spend eternity in hell. That's man.

What about Christ? God sent his only begotten Son. He became a human being, he took on a human body. He lived an ordinary human life except in one thing: He never sinned. But he was also God in the flesh. And so, He demonstrated this by great miracles: Walking on water, feeding the 5000, raising the sick and the dead. He could do anything, but most of all, he came to die in our place, that he would be our substitute, taking our beating, walking with our cross up that hill, getting struck by the lightning of the wrath of God in our place, that we might be freed from condemnation. Jesus, in our place, taking our wrath, and him offering a perfect righteousness to us.

And what of response? We have to believe. By simple faith we can receive this righteousness and we can have all of our sins removed from us. And Jesus having died in our place, we will not be condemned, but we have to repent and we have to believe the good news. There's the gospel, friends. You should be able to share that message in one minute or one hour. God, man, Christ, response. And if you can't, then train yourself. Get yourself ready. Get yourself ready like an athlete, to go out and be used by God. That's the message.

"By simple faith we can receive this righteousness and we can have all of our sins removed from us. And Jesus having died in our place, we will not be condemned, but we have to repent and we have to believe the good news."


Daily Lifestyle

What of our method? Well, I want to give you three quick things. Daily life, visiting visitors, and our structured ministries. First of all, daily life. Every day, seven days a week, you interact with non-Christians. Every day. Could be the workplace, could be in your neighborhood, could be at the supermarket, gas station, every day. Ask the Lord every day to give you an opportunity to witness today. Ask him. There's a great thing. D.L. Moody said he made a commitment, he would not go to bed every day, would not go to bed until he had witnessed to at least one person. Now, I'm not saying that you have to make that kind of commitment, but God may lead you to do that for a week or a month, something like that. Try it out. And begin reaching out, speaking to somebody. You could be there at the watermelons in Kroger. You're standing there and you're looking at watermelons, and someone else. That's a human being standing next to you. Look at them, they have a face. They might talk if you talk to them, they just might. They might not, but they might. Strike up a conversation. You say, “About what?” I don't know, about watermelons, something. Talk to them.

Now, you might say, “Well, I'm ashamed. I'm afraid something might happen, they might persecute me.” Hey, look. If they persecute you, what's the worst that could happen? You'd become the only martyr in church history who died by watermelons at Kroger's. You'd be the only one. And you'd be there in heaven, and you'd be able to say, “Here I am Lord, the only martyr that died at Kroger, near the watermelons, as I tried to share the gospel with that unbeliever and they pulled out a knife and stabbed me.” But, you know, if that individual, through remorse of killing you near the watermelons, ends up coming to faith in Christ, you'll say it was all worth it, and so will God. What are you afraid of? What are you afraid of? Yeah, they might be rude, they might turn away, but God's called on us to do this. Let's get active in our daily life, our witnessing. 


What about visitors? Well, praise God. Every single week, God brings lost people here to this Church, and I try to preach the gospel every week. But my basic thesis is that more people come to faith in Christ not at church, than at church. Do you think that's true? I think it's true. I think more people come to faith in Christ on a Tuesday afternoon, or Wednesday morning, whatever, than on Sunday, for what I used to be told by my pastor in Louisville, “This is the most important hour of the entire week.” I didn't know whether that was true. If someone was predestined to come to faith in Christ on Tuesday afternoon, that was the most important hour of the week for them. The bottom line is we are called on to get out, to go, but God brings visitors here and you can be involved. Just reach out, say, “Hey, I haven't seen you here before.” “Well, this is my first time.” Take them out to lunch, find out what their spiritual background is. Talk to them, or get involved in our structured ministry to visiting visitors, called Connection Partners. Say, “I wanna be part of that.” Tell Eric Campbell. Say, “I wanna be part of The Connection Partners. I wanna reach out.”

Urban Ministries

Or it could be, thirdly, the organized ministries of the church, our urban ministry. You heard Matthew at the beginning. It was an announcement, but he was saying he needed people to go out with him, inviting people to go to VBS. Those are witnessing opportunities. Matthew has a lot of great urban ministry opportunities going. He needs laborers for that harvest field. And there are other opportunities here in the urban area. Diana Lyle works at the Club Boulevard School. School's out for summer, but she has a tremendous heart for children, and she displays that by being active in child evangelism fellowship. They do backyard bible clubs all summer long. Talk to Diana. Say, “I wanna get involved, I wanna be part of witnessing to children.” Maybe that's what you have a heart for.

Our Caring Center has a ministry with clothing, in which we bring clothing and it’s just incredible. I think more could be made of that ministry. If we went out on the streets and say, “We probably could meet all your clothing needs, but we can do more than that. We can help you come to faith in Christ. We can see you clothed with the righteousness of Christ on judgment day.” I think we can do far more with that ministry if we just had more laborers for that harvest field.

Medical Ministry

It could be medical ministry. Ron Halbrook was talking about how we could use the dental bus year-round. We need more workers, though. Imagine if every month, we had a dental outreach. We could make incredible connections with people in the community here. They frequently don't get good dental care. And share the gospel while they're waiting. Tell our dentist, “Hang on, don't be too quick 'cause we're right in the middle of good gospel conversation here. Forget the teeth, let's look at the soul.” Share the gospel. 

Strategic Ministry

So there are structured ministries that we could be involved in. Prison ministry. You heard we need people to go out and share. We have the privilege in one prison, 'cause we've been there for decades, of going from room to room and inviting prisoners to come to the Bible study. They won't give any other ministry that freedom. We have that freedom, but we need more workers. There's also a woman's prison ministry, as well. You could get involved in that. International student ministry needs your help. It's been one of our most wonderfully fruitful ministries we have. They teach English to people that are yearning to learn English. But we also share the gospel. And we've already seen, as I've mentioned, some fruit coming from those ministries. 


Finally, multiplication. Well, this is the way that the Lord has ordained that we should spread the gospel through to the ends of the earth, that we would be able to lead an individual to faith in Christ, train them up and then send them out that they themselves would also be able to lead others to Christ. And so, we could become spiritual grandparents and great grandparents and great, great grandparents in the span of five years or 10 years. Multiplication. But it's only as we take that first step of saying, “I am committed to being willing to suffer for the gospel, whatever that means here in America. To lose some of my own comfort of my own pleasure and ease and convenience so that I can share the gospel with somebody today.” If we are willing to do that, we're gonna see God do extraordinary things.

Now you have in your bulletin there, a yellow card. It's the homeliest card you'll ever see. We threw it together on Wednesday. We didn't get it professionally printed. It's just a card, is all. But if God has spoken to you today and you wanna be involved in witnessing, if you feel like you need more training that's fine. Our tendency is always more classrooms, more training, I think you probably know enough to already be active in evangelism, but if you feel like you wanna go through God, man, Christ, response, with me or learn some things, whatever. We're willing to do what we can as elders and ministerial staff to get you ready to be witnesses. If you know you already know enough, but you just wanna be held accountable. You say, “There's some people at work I wanna witness to, will you pray?” Whatever. All you have to do is just fill out your name and email. You don't even have to check a box. If you're specifically interested in one of the ministries, check that box. But if God's leading you to do that sometime between now and when we leave in a handful of minutes, just fill out and please write legibly. It's no good if we can't read it, friends, you know that.

But just write your name, your email, and say, “I wanna be involved in reaching out with the gospel, I want to be evangelistically fruitful. I don't wanna stand before God on judgment day empty handed. I wanna have some people there that I actually brought to faith in Christ.” Write it down. We'll begin at least, by praying for you. And then as the elders lead, as we think of how best to use the laborers, we're gonna use you. So I like to ask the elders to come forward now, if you would, and stand in the front. I've asked them to come and pray for this church, that we would be fruitful in evangelism, that God would use us in a mighty way and while they come, I'm going to pray first. Let's pray.

Father, thank you for this day. Thank you for the joy of seeing these high school graduates, for all the labor that has gone into shaping and molding them and preparing them. And Lord, I thank you for godly parents in this church that have a vision for sending out their children, who have been brought to faith in Christ that they would be world-changing disciples of Jesus. Thank you for that, I pray that that would never be diminished by this additional appeal to reach out to the unchurched, and to be father to the fatherless and others, Lord. Help us to be committed to our own children, our families. But God, I do pray that you'd move us out. Make us fruitful. Help us to be bold in evangelism and God, that we would see large numbers of people converted. God, do an astonishing work in our midst here, that we would see many brought to faith in Christ.

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