by Brian Yeager
Many congregations have the dilemma of seeking to save souls. Often times suggestions on how to seek those souls are made with thoughts of entertaining the lost. Those wanting to entertain look at passages such as the following. (Matthew 4:18-19) "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Then they start to imply that we, being fishers of men, need to come up with sweet smelling and attractive bait. That is not what Christ means when he introduces this terminology because they followed and then Christ taught. (Matthew 4:23) "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." We all realize that miracles by the hands of men have ceased (I Corinthians 13:10-13) because we have the book to teach people with and prove all things with. So the only other thing Christ did in relation to what he called them for was Preach. He did not have "Open Fellowship" days where he invited all the false teachers of that time to come and share a pulpit. He did not have a festival. He did not add attractive things to the worship. Christ preached.
If we continue to look at growth and the Church we can see by example of the apostles that they too did not entertain, they taught. (Acts 5:42) "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." The apostles knew what they were commanded to do, because Christ told them. (Matthew 28:18-20) "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Now if we will look at what authority they had. Christ said by my authority, I am telling you to go and teach. Did Christ say somewhere between those passages to have entertainment to draw them in? If he did I will really appreciate someone showing me. Entertainment is not authorized in the spreading of the Gospel. We do not read of any such thing in the New Testament. We read of authorized teaching, of the authorized word.
Once a congregation decides to break the New Testament mold for evangelism they make the first step outside of the authority in Christ. Then they will find that as they entertain their numbers will increase. That is the problem the numbers increase on the attendance board but the number of souls saved does not. These people that have been entertained have been just that. Then to keep them a congregation is going to have to entertain some more. This again is not the New Testament Church way of doing evangelism. The apostle Paul told the Church at Ephesus that he had not kept anything from them, and he warned them that some might come and teach perverse things. (Acts 20:27-30) "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." Friends and fellow Christians the Lord wants us to be aware of new and perverse methods. We need to be like Christ and the apostles and simply teach the word of God. Let me close this article with a very valid series of scripture. (Luke 8:4-15) "And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." Apply sowing the seed to this passage. (Acts 6:7) "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."
Copyright © 2000 by Brian Yeager
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