Two Journeys Ministry
In-Depth Biblical Content by Pastor Andy Davis

Week 4: The Role of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism, Part 2

Week 4: The Role of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism, Part 2

March 29, 2006 | Andy Davis


I.  Team time

  • Reviewing our covenant together
  • Going over testimony
  • Next week: going out on visitation

II.  Doctrinal instruction: The Holy Spirit’s role in evangelism


1. The Gift of the Holy Spirit

The greatest difference between the Old Covenant (the Law of Moses) and the New Covenant (the Law of the Spirit of Life) is the indwelling Holy Spirit.  The Spirit enables the New Covenant believer to live an obedient life by writing the Law of God on his/her heart, and by empowering the believer to choose the right way.

Part of that new life of Spirit-filled obedience is witnessing to the world of the saving power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit is given to the Church to empower it to witness to Christ.  The Spirit actually testifies about Christ through us to the unsaved world.  We join the Spirit’s testimony with our lives:  our actions and our words.

The gift of the Holy Spirit was promised to the Church by Jesus Christ, and was given (poured out) on the Day of Pentecost.  He immediately indwells each believer in Christ from the moment they are justified by faith in Christ.  Without the Spirit’s work in us, we would never have become Christians in the first place.  Without the Spirit’s work in us, we will never be witnesses for Christ now.  In fact, without the Spirit’s continual work in us, we would cease believing in Christ altogether and would sink back into the mass of unbelievers in the world.

We are thus totally dependent on the Spirit for everything!

2. The Spirit’s Evangelistic Power

One of the major reasons the Spirit was given was to empower the Church to be personal witnesses for Christ.  The best evidence for the Spirit’s constant power and drive to fulfill the Great Commission is found in the book of Acts:

Acts 1:8  “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The Old Testament prophets had spoken very clearly of Christ’s worldwide kingdom:

Psalm 2:7-8  "I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.'"

Psalm 22:27   "All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him…"

Isaiah 45:22   "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other."

Now it was time for the church to move out and fulfill these prophecies.  But it could not do so unless God sent His power through the Holy Spirit.  That the Spirit was given to accomplish this worldwide advance is one of the major themes of the Book of Acts.  The Holy Spirit is mentioned over sixty times in that book, consistently in conjunction with His powerful effect on evangelism

3. Power for the Evangelists

The Spirit’s power in evangelism works both on the evangelists and on the evangelized.  The accounts in Acts show the first of these (i.e. power for the evangelists) in at least fourteen ways:

1)  Power for bold proclamation of the gospel:

Acts 4:8    "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: 'Rulers and elders of the people!…'”

Acts 4:31  "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."

Acts 5:32  “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

2)  Power for miracles to gain a hearing for the gospel:

Acts 2:4  "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."

Acts 4:30   "Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus..."

Acts 10:38  "… how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him."

Hebrews 2:3-4  "This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.  God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will."

Romans 15:18-19   "I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done-- by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ."

3)  Power for courage in the face of vicious persecution:

Acts 4:29-31  "'Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.  Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.'  After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."

4)  Power for the Church to grow in numbers:

Acts 9:31  "Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord."

5)  Power and wisdom to organize the Church with human leadership:

Acts 20:28  "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood."

6)  Power for wisdom in contending for the gospel truth with unbelievers:

Acts 6:9-10  "These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke."

7)  Power for guidance in mission strategy and direction:

Acts 8:29  "The Spirit told Philip, 'Go to that chariot and stay near it.'"

Acts 13:2  "While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'"

Acts 16:6-7   "Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to."

8)  Power for resolution of doctrinal differences:

Acts 15:28  "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:"

9)  Power for taking bold new steps in mission frontiers:

Acts 10:19-20  "While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you.  So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”

10)  Power for encouragement and even joy during difficult trials:

Acts 13:52  "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."

11)  Power to compel evangelists to keep going despite immense trials:

Acts 20:22-23  "And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.  I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me."

12)  Power through inspiring the Scriptures:

Acts 4:25  "You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David"

13)  Power in prayer:

Acts 4:31  "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."

The Holy Spirit did immense work on individual Christians and on the Church collectively to get it to move out powerfully in evangelism.  Before the Spirit came, the disciples were huddled in an upstairs room, “with the doors locked for fear of the Jews.” (John 20:19)  Even one week later, after they had had numerous encounters with the risen Savior, they still had the doors locked.  They were paralyzed with fear, unable to move out.  But the day of Pentecost changed everything, as the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples.  They moved out in power, and went down into the streets to preach boldly, totally unafraid of the consequences! 

14)  Power for holiness:

Acts 5:9  "Peter said to her, 'How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord?'”

There is one more way the Spirit empowers Christians for evangelism:  by sanctification.  Sanctification is the work of the Spirit in the heart of an individual causing that person to walk in God’s Laws (i.e. to love God and neighbor), and to put sin to death.  Personal sin greatly hinders our effectiveness in evangelism, so the Spirit was given to keep us holy.  He warns us against sin, and teaches us to say “No!!” to ungodliness (Titus 2:12).  When we do sin, He convicts us of it, causes us to grieve over it, to hate it, to renounce and repent from it, and to bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance.  Acts 5 contains the sobering story of Ananias and Sapphira, who decided to lie to the Holy Spirit about some money they were contributing.  Peter told both Ananias (Acts 5:3) and Sapphira (Acts 5:9) individually that they were sinning directly against the Holy Spirit.  When they each fell dead at Peter’s feet, it was clear it was the Spirit who was cleansing His church and keeping it holy. 

Paul speaks even more directly about the Spirit’s role in sanctification in Romans 8 and Galatians 5:

Romans 8:4  "…in order that the righteous requirements of the Law may be fully met in us who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit."

Romans 8:13-14  "For if you live according to the sinful nature you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God."

Galatians 5:24-25  "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."

God will use only use vessels that are pure.  This does not mean He can only use perfect people, for then evangelism would never occur.  But it does mean that, if we cherish sin in our hearts and do not fight it with hatred, we will become progressively useless to God.  Eventually we will have disqualified ourselves from service by our sin.  This is precisely why Paul says “I beat my body and make it my slave so that, after I have preached to others, I myself my not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)  The Spirit lives within us to make us holy, and to empower us to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  This is essential to a life of fruitful evangelism.

The Spirit also makes us love God and our lost neighbor more and more. This is essential to enable us to evangelize properly and to be courageous over the long haul.  Love and love alone is the best motive for bold evangelism.  Since we do not naturally love God or neighbor, the Spirit must work this in us.  That process is called sanctification, a growth of love by the Spirit:

Galatians 5:22  "The fruit of the Spirit is love…"

Colossians 1:8  [Epaphras] "told us of your love in the Spirit"

Romans 15:30  "I urge you brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me."

In Romans 15:30, Paul urged the Roman Christians to pray for his “struggle” (i.e. for his bold advance of the gospel through evangelism) on the basis of their commitment to Christ and the love the Spirit was working in their hearts.  Without the Spirit’s work, they would not love Paul or care about his “struggle” enough to pray for him.  The Spirit makes us love.

Summary:  These fourteen ministries demonstrate the Spirit’s power for evangelism.  That is why Jesus commanded them to wait for the Holy Spirit before they would begin conquering the world for Christ:

Luke 24:48-49  "You are witnesses of these things.  I am going to send you what my Father has promised (i.e. the Holy Spirit); but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

The Church today must also rely on the Holy Spirit for every aspect of evangelism.  We can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15:5), and His enables us to be fruitful witnesses through His Holy Spirit:

John 15:26-27  "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.  And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning."

If you feel overwhelmed by the task of evangelism, or if fear, or ignorance, or intimidation, or your own sinfulness have conspired to eliminate you from effectiveness as a witness, the Holy Spirit’s power is the only answer for you.  The Spirit has come to give you power to evangelize!

 4. Power on the Evangelized

The Holy Spirit also works within the hearts of the people we’re evangelizing.  In fact, without that work, none of the people we will proclaim the gospel to will EVER believe.  Remember from last week that unsaved people are “dead in transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), and must be “born by the Spirit” (John 3:5) or they cannot enter heaven.  The Spirit does many things in the hearts of the hearer:

1)  Orchestration

The Holy Spirit shows His sovereignty over daily life by orchestrating witnessing opportunities in amazing ways.  He prepares the hearer by leading him/her through specific experiences which till the soil of their hearts for the seed they’re about to receive.  On that particular day, perhaps they heard something on the radio, or had the worst day on the job, or received some specific news, the net effect of which prepares them for the witness they’ll hear from the evangelists.  The Spirit’s orchestration of events stretches back in time as well, going deep into their formative years.  He has been working in their hearts since they were born, orchestrating them for the moment of faith in Christ.

Furthermore, the Spirit specifically picks the evangelist and the words the evangelist will use.  Everything seems to “click into place,” but it’s not an accident.  No, it’s the Spirit’s orchestration.  Finally, the Spirit orchestrates the actual witnessing occasion:  normally noisy children quietly sit on the couch and read, the phone either rings or doesn’t depending on the Spirit’s perfect plan.

Perhaps the best illustration of the Spirit’s orchestration of the witnessing event is in the account of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8.  The eunuch had been prepared for the gospel by his trip to Jerusalem to worship.  We have no idea why he went, but this itself was the result of years of preparation by the Spirit on his heart.  On the way home, he “happened” to be reading Isaiah 53, the clearest reference to Christ in the Old Testament.  The Spirit also orchestrated the witness, telling Philip to “go south to the road, the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza,” and telling him to “go to that chariot and stay near it.” (Acts 8:26, 29)  The witness proceeded from there, but everything had been perfectly laid in place by the Spirits orchestration.  [See a similar orchestration in Acts 10 with Cornelius and Peter.  The Spirit plays “matchmaker” between the evangelist and the evangelized, all for His own glory and the eternal joy of the hearer.]

2)  Conviction

The Holy Spirit is specifically given to convict the hearer of sin.  More specifically, Jesus says the following:

John 16:7-11  "Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned."

Unsaved people must come to grips with their sinfulness; they must see themselves as under a curse from God, as guilty and in danger of the fire of hell.  They must understand that, without a Savior, they will never survive the intense scrutiny of Judgment Day.  Part of the blindness of sin is that sinners never see their sin as serious:  they make excuses for it, laugh it off, consider it a minor issue.  The more they are pressed about it, the more they tend to respond with humor or with anger and defensiveness.  None of these things lead to salvation.  Furthermore, since repentance from sin is required for salvation, the sinner who is not convicted of personal sin CANNOT be saved.  They must come to realize that sin is, more than anything, an offense against the eternal and holy God who created them and who holds their lives in His hand.

No words on the part of the evangelist can accomplish this!  No matter how much we may try to warn and persuade the sinner to “flee the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7), our words will have no effect.

This is the work of the Holy Spirit, and He is able to do it!  Without His work of conviction, no one would ever be saved.  A good example of the Spirit’s convicting work is seen in Acts 2:31, on the day of Pentecost.  Peter had spoken pointedly about the Jews’ guilt in condemning Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to death:

Acts 2:37  "When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'"

The words, “they were cut to the heart” is exactly what the Spirit does by way of conviction of sin.  The evangelist cannot reach the heart, but the Spirit can and does, when He is saving someone.  Once the hearer is convinced that he/she is a sinner under the judgment of God, the heart cries out for a Savior.  In the passage just cited, Peter’s hearers cried out “Brothers, what shall we do?”  So also the Philippian jailer, terrified after an earthquake, was even more frightened about his eternal soul:

Acts 16:29-30  "The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'"

Such a person is ready to turn away from sin and toward a Savior.  This is the Spirit’s next work:  illumination.

3)  Illumination

The heart is crying out against itself because of sin, and deeply yearns for a Savior.  But who can save?  And how can I be saved?  The Scriptures make it clear that only faith in Christ saves souls, and that saving faith comes only by hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).  But clearly this is not simply a “hearing with the ear,” but rather a deep reception of the word into the heart.  Many “hear” the word of Christ without ever truly hearing, and this does not save them.  What’s the difference?  The illumination of the word by the Spirit!  He drives the word home to the heart.  Paul speaks of this in terms of a “veil over their hearts” which is removed by the Spirit whenever anyone turns to the Lord.  He also speaks of giving sight to the blind:

2 Corinthians 4:3-4  "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."

What does it mean that God “made His light shine in our hearts”?  This is the illumination of the Spirit when the person hears the Word of Christ.  What is the outcome of this illuminating action?  By it the Spirit gives us “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”  In other words, the Spirit makes Christ appear glorious, appear desirable, appear to be what He is:  God in the flesh.  Before that illumination, Christ was none of those things to the hearer.  The Holy Spirit makes the truth of the gospel come alive with compelling force, so He is rightly called the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13) who is sent to guide us into all truth.  Having seen with the heart their own sinfulness, they now see the sufficiency of Christ’s blood, shed on the cross, as an atonement before God.  They now see the righteousness of Christ as sufficient to cover them on Judgment Day.

As a result of this “heart-work,” a new believer is about to be born.  That is the work of regeneration. 

4)  Regeneration

The word “regeneration” implies a “new creation,” akin to the creation of the universe out of nothing by the mere word of God.  Now God speaks light into the mind, faith and repentance into the heart.  The sinner’s very nature is transformed.  What was confusing becomes clear, what was repulsive becomes beautiful, what was terrifying becomes saving, what could only be perceived by faith is now as real as the physical world.  The sinner is “born again” by the Holy Spirit, a begins to cry “Abba, Father.”  This is reflected in “calling on the name of the Lord,” perhaps through an audible prayer.

John 3:3  "In reply Jesus declared, 'I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.'"

John 3:5-8   "Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.  You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.'  The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.'"

Titus 3:4-6  "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior…"

2 Corinthians 5:17  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

We cannot make ourselves new; we cannot love God where we ignored Him before; we cannot yearn for holiness where we hated it before; we cannot hate sin where we loved it before.  But the Spirit can do all of this inside us, and He does when He is saving a sinner.

It is at this moment that the Triune God comes to live within the new believer:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit take up their residence within this new Christian, and they will be together with that person forever:

Acts 2:38-39  "Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call.'"

John 14:16-17  "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."

John 14:23  "My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."

Thus the Spirit has been working to make a dwelling place for the Trinity within the soul of a sinner, and to that end He has used us as evangelists.  To that end also, He has done His own sovereign work:  orchestrating, convicting, illuminating, and regenerating.

5. The Gifts of the Spirit

The Spirit does one other major work to accomplish evangelism.  He equips the Church intelligently through specific spiritual gifts so that the Church is able to meet the challenges of a lost and dying world.  Some are gifted as teachers, some as evangelists, some as generous givers, some as encouragers, some as administrators, some showing hospitality, some with faith, etc.  Spiritual gifts are not a major loophole for average Christians to jump through to avoid their personal responsibility in evangelism:  “That’s not my gift!”  Not at all!!  Rather, they show the healthiest and best way the community of faith works together to help save people.  When the givers give, the teachers teach, the prayers pray, the encouragers encourage, etc. there is an amazing power to convert a sinner.

My best analogy to this comes from considering two momentous battles in the history of our country.

The Alamo:  During the Mexican-American war, some Texas settler were surrounded and vastly outnumbered by Santa Ana’s Mexican troops at the Alamo mission in San Antonio.  Because of the dire circumstances, every available person had to take a rifle and take a position on the wall. It would make no sense for a man to say, “That’s not my job, I’m a cook!”  Everyone had to do the same thing.

D-Day:  During World War II, the Nazi forces had swept Europe of all opposing armies, dominating France for over three years.  They had built a wall of protection in northern France, with their seasoned troops defending against an Allied invasion from England.  That invasion force was being built up in England, and it was an immense and complex operation:  quartermaster corps had to be sure the troops had their rations and all necessities, the Navy had to protect the invasion fleet, the Air Corps had to keep the air clear of German warplanes, the meteorologists had to tell General Eisenhower when the best time for the invasion would be, the communications department had to keep the lines open between the commanders and the troops.  On June 6, 1944, this massive, complex undertaking moved out and re-conquered Europe from the Nazis.

Too many churches take the “Alamo” approach to evangelism, as though all that mattered was “getting people saved.”  The problem with that is that Christ called on us to “make disciples,” and the whole church, with its marvelously complex systems of spiritual gifts, is much more like the “D-Day” approach… able to make disciples when each part does its work.  Certainly, to some degree we function like the Alamo in that each of us is called to be personal witnesses.  However, I am saying that the Church is most effective as a gifted whole, each part doing what it is tasked to do, creating a “covenant community of faith,” the total effect of which enables us to fulfill the Great Commission.

Romans 12:1-8, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4:1-16 all discuss this concept at length, and it is the Spirit who gifts the church to function as a Body, so maximizing its impact on the unsaved world.  As the Church functions together as a Spirit-gifted and empowered community, it has maximum power for evangelism.

III.  Practical instruction

Overcoming fear in evangelism: practical steps

A.  Win the Battle for the Mind

Fear is Satan’s great “smoke and mirrors” show to keep you from winning the lost.  He has duped us into silence by his vain threats.  The way to conquer is to win the battle for the mind… you own thoughts must be brought under the control of the Scriptures.  Reason with yourself through the following Scriptures:

  1. “Perfect love casts out fear”

1 John 4:18  “There is no fear in love but perfect love drives out fear… the one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Fear of evangelism is essentially self-centered:  “What will they think of me?”; “What will happen to me?”; “I feel so inadequate!”; “What if I can’t answer?”; “What if they yell at me?”; “What if I lose my job?”

Satan’s key step is to get your eyes off of Christ and onto yourself.  This cuts you off from the greatest two motivators for evangelism:  love for God, love for neighbor.

The Bible’s remedy to is fill your heart with love; love for God as shown by obedience to His commands (“If you love me, you’ll obey what I command.” John 14:15), love for neighbor as shown by a willingness to suffer for his/her eternal good.

In the immediate context of 1 John 4:18, John was speaking of our fear of God on Judgment Day.  Yet he immediately links our love for God with our love for our brother.  The unsaved person may not be a brother yet, but he may be through our witness.  Love for God and love for human beings are closely related.

To drive out your fear of evangelism, focus your mind on God:  His purposes in the world, His goals in building Christ’s church, His compassion for the lost.  Pray that God’s love may fill your heart.  Then meditate on what your life would be like apart from Christ.  Realize that the people you are trying to reach are living every day without forgiveness of sins, without the guidance of the Spirit, without the Scriptures.  Perhaps they’re having marital troubles, perhaps a substance abuse problem.  Fill your mind with the thoughts that, one year from now, they may stand and testify to God’s grace with tears in their eyes, and bless the day you came with the gospel.  Also, think what grief and agony a mother of a child with cancer would go through in order to get that child well.  She does it for love.  Your witness will be less traumatic than her efforts.  Pretty soon, love has driven out fear.

Love for God and for the lost drives out fear!

2. “Who are you that you fear mortal man… and forget the Lord?”

Isaiah 50:12-13  “I, even I, am He who comforts you.  Who are you that you fear mortal man, the sons of man who are but grass, that you forget the Lord, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth…?”

Isaiah gives a different powerful remedy to fear of evangelism:  fear God more!!  We are afraid of some person’s “facial expressions,” “angry tone,” “harsh reaction.”  But we’ve completely forgotten that we will have to give an account to God for our lives, and a big part of that account is whether or not we’ve been faithful in evangelism.  How dare we care more what people think of us than what God thinks of us?  God used this same argument with Jeremiah, when he gave him his difficult message to proclaim:

Jeremiah 1:17  “Get yourself ready!  Stand up and say to them whatever I command you.  Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.”

In other words, “Jeremiah, you should fear me more than you fear them!”  Faith alone can help make this argument stick in our hearts.  Faith comes from God through the Scriptures.  Meditate much on Judgment Day, and your need to give account to Him.  Ask Him to help you fear God more than you fear man.

3. “I will be with you”

Hebrews 13:5   "God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'”

Matthew 28:20  “And surely I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The greatest encouragement God has given us in facing our fear in evangelism is that He will be with us.  This is the same encouragement He gave Moses in Exodus 3:12 when Moses asked “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?”  The issue is not, “Who are you?” but “Who is the Lord?”   “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)  God has promised to walk with us through all the trials, rejection, persecution, and difficulties.  We will not be alone!

4. “What can man do to me?”

Hebrews 13:6   "So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?'”

Hebrews 13:6 begins with the word “So” or “Therefore.”  This connects it to the verse we just discussed:  “Never will I leave you.”  Our confidence comes from the fact that God’s power dwarfs anything man can do to us.  So, what can man do to me?  Much, actually.  He can hurt us physically, take possessions from us, take loved ones from us, take our freedom from us, even take our lives from us.  But “What can man do to me ETERNALLY?”  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  He cannot hurt us in eternity.  And all those evil things he can do to us in this world only increase our rewards in the next world (see below, letter f.)

5. “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.”

2 Kings 6:15-17  When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city.  “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.  “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet [Elisha] answered.  “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.”  Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

Fear can be driven out when we realize that God has given us the power of conquerors in the spiritual realms.  Angels and the power of God Himself surround us, and nothing can stop our success.  Our forces are stronger than those opposing us.   But we need eyes of faith to see that.  Faith drives out fear.

6. “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven”

Matthew 5:11-12   "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Even if “the worst” happens, and people persecute you, you should rejoice, according to Jesus.  God will reward our faithful and courageous service to Him once we get to heaven.  Satan tried to defeat the early Church this way, and he utterly failed because they were too filled with faith to be intimidated by persecution.  They wanted whatever heavenly rewards God had promised, and they were willing to pay for their witness with their lives.

7. “The Spirit of glory and of God rests on you”

1 Peter 4:14  "If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you."

Peter promises a blessing to us if we are insulted because of the name of Christ:  the “Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”  This means that the insults will result in a closer experience of God’s fellowship.  Just as Jesus got close to the formerly blind man who had just been evicted with curses from the synagogue in John 9, so Jesus will draw close to us by His Spirit if we are insulted for His name’s sake.

B.  Pray in the Spirit

Having “won the battle of the mind” by the power of these Scripture verses, we must drive these truths still deeper into us by means of prayer.  Just as the early church resorted to prayer during a time of persecution in Acts 4:23-31, so we must also.  We should pray specifically about whatever we most fear, and give that fear directly to God.  We should pray for the power of the Spirit to be with us as we go witnessing.  We should pray for the enemies of the gospel to be silenced so those God is calling can be free to come to Christ.  We should cover the whole enterprise in prayer.  And we should pray for others we know are witnessing, so that they may be bold and free from fear.  In Ephesians 6:19-20, Paul says “Pray that I may declare it boldly as I should.”  If Paul needed prayer for boldness, we certainly do!

C.  Work in teams

Jesus sent His disciples out witnessing in teams of two:

Mark 6:7  "Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits."

Luke 10:1  "After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go."

The reason for this was probably two-fold:  for the encouragement of the evangelists themselves, that they might have fellowship during the work; for the authority of the message, for “every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”  We also should go out in teams, and rely on each other.  This will reduce fear in witnessing.

D.  View evangelism as worship

One of the biggest helps I’ve ever found in overcoming fear in evangelism is to view it as worship.  God and declare the wonders of God before them.  Honor God, and give Him glory for His mighty works and His powerful nature.  Speak of His promises and His rewards.  Fearlessly declare His purity and hatred of sin.  As we declare such a majestic God, we are freed from fear because God is honored whether the “audience” is pleased or not.  The first evangelistic outpouring from the church came on Pentecost in Acts 2.  The hearers were amazed when they heard all the Christians speaking in tongues and revealed the content of the message: “…we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2:10)  Worship evangelism drives out fear!  Talk about the “wonders of God,” the mighty words and deeds of Jesus Christ!

E.  Put on spiritual armor

Since fear is a weapon of the Devil, we must use our spiritual armor as described in detail in Ephesians 6:10-18.  The articles are:  the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness of the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (the word of God).  These are all mighty weapons with which we can defeat our enemy the devil.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 also describes the nature of the warfare in that we are destroying falsehoods and false arguments with a steady does of the truth.  All of this gvies us power against fear.

F.  Go in faith

When we have made all these preparations, the time has simply come to go in faith.  The longer we delay going in faith, the larger the obstacles seem to become.  We should “run quickly to the battle” as David did when moving up to meet Goliath (1 Kings 17:48).  We should sing praise songs in anticipation of the victory, as the head group in Jehoshaphat’s army did while marching out to face the invaders in 2 Chronicles 20:21.  We should realize that courage is not the absence of fear, but the presence of commitment and resolution to do what is right despite the obstacles.  Don’t wait for the “scary tingle” in your stomach to go away… go out in spite of it, and God will be honored by your faith and courage.


IV. Overview of the Gospel Outline: 

“Preparation, Presentation, Invitation” and “God-Man-Christ-Response”

Three-Part Overview

  1. Preparation

In this section, we are beginning a conversation about spiritual things, seeking to move from general topics to spiritual things.  It is composed of four parts.

  1. Presentation

This is the presentation of the gospel message itself, with the supporting Scriptures and illustrations.  It breaks into four parts as well.

  1. Invitation

This overlaps with the final section of the Presentation portion.  It is the time in which the person is made to understand most clearly the need for and cost of a commitment to trust and obey Christ.

V.  Homework: 

Memorize three-part “over-outline”, four-part “presentation outline”


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