What is God’s second greatest desire?



Question: “What is God's second greatest desire for Himself and for mankind?”



Bible Answer

God’s other greatest desire is that we would tell others about Jesus and God’s great love for them.  To be a Christian is to be Christ like.  What was Christ like and what did Christ do? In love, He shared Himself and the salvation He offered.  He evangelized. Evangelism is telling others of God’s great love for them and His saving grace. Love and evangelism, living the Christian life, is God’s greatest desire for His Children.


Why Evangelize

1.   Jesus said that God’s greatest commandment is to: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31. These are God’s greatest commandments to us and they are quite clear.  We are commanded to …love our neighbor. What greater love is there for our neighbor (which includes our: family, friends, co-workers and strangers) than to introduce them to Jesus.  Jesus commanded, Freely you have received, freely give (Matt 10:8).


2.   Witness because Jesus commanded us to share the Word of God.  He said to Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28:19).  Ezekiel 3:11 says, … speak to them and tell them, whether they listen or not…”


3.   Witness because it pleases God and honors Him by your obedience.


4.   Witness and enjoy the great joy of knowing you have helped save someone from hell.


5.  Evangelize because it helps grow Jesus’ Churches and groups of believers.


6.  Evangelizing because it helps maintain a link with the Lord and keeps us from becoming cold toward the things of God.


Philippians 2:3-4 tells us, …in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  Is this not evangelism?

 

Overcoming Fear

Many of you are thinking, that’s great, but I can't talk to others about God and His love.  Where does that thought come from?  Surely not God.  Then who? From Yourself? No. As you would like to obey God and enjoy the thrill of leading others to Christ.  Then where does the idea come from that you can’t share Jesus? From the devil, the one who …comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). The thought that you can’t share Jesus comes as fiery darts of deception directly from the devil.  Remember that Jesus said, I give unto you authority to tread … over ALL the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19).  You have the authority to say, “In the name of Jesus, “thought” I command you to leave and return not”.


Remember, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).


I want you to know that you can absolutely, with confidence, with God’s help, talk to others about the love of God.  They may not always show it, but they are looking for what you have.


Freedom of pressure

Many believe that they must get the person to accept Jesus or they have failed God.  The truth is, it is not your responsibility to save anyone.  Your responsibility is to present the love and Word of God and let the Father, through the Holy Spirit, draw the person.  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him (John 6:44-45).


You will meet five types of people while evangelizing. Those whose heart is so hard, that nothing will penetrate it; those whose hearts are ready to accept a seed of truth, those who the Holy Spirit has prepared and they are just waiting for someone to ask them, those who are Christians but do not have the knowledge and assurance that they are going to heaven, and those Christians who know.


To lead someone into eternal salvation through Jesus Christ is a work of the Holy Spirit. The Father will prepare people. Every Christian needs to be open and sensitive in faith, letting the Holy Spirit lead them in witnessing. Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Our responsibility is to tell others about Jesus and let the Father perform His miracle of salvation.


Command

The Greek word for evangelize is euaggelizo and means “to preach, to proclaim the good tidings, to tell the good news.”


Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15).  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20).


The above scriptures, and others, command us to:

I.   Preach the Gospel to the lost.

II.  Teach (disciple) them to observe His commandments.


These verses are not suggestions to the church and individuals but God’s commandments. Sharing God’s love by telling of Jesus’ salvation is part of the Christian life. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:19-21).


Evangelism is not the mere testimony of a good, consistent life. Being friendly, helpful, and neighborly may be a beneficial preparation for evangelism, but it is not a substitute for evangelism. The good news must be expressed in words.  Unfortunately, many are more concerned with pleasing the world than pleasing God. They forget that temporary things of the world have little value but eternal things are of great value.  Paul considered worldly gains as garbage, that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).


While new social standards say never talk about Jesus, this is the devil’s standard, God’s standard is to tell the world. Our role on earth is to advance God’s kingdom.


Motivation

Our motivation is our love for the lost and our desire to please the Lord by obeying Him.  As the Father has sent Me, I also send you (John 20:21).  So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent (Mark 6:12). ...that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name (Luke 24:47).


But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God (Luke 9:60), and Acts 1:8 commands, You shall be witnesses unto me.    


We should also be motivated to evangelize because of our love for the lost (Luke 19:10), because they are without hope (Ephesians 2:12), under condemnation (John 3:36), and destined for destruction (Mark 16:16).


Part of what is often called the Lord’s Prayer says, Your kingdom come, your will be done (Matthew 6:10).  As we pray the Lords’ Prayer, we need to remember that we are God’s hands, feet, and mouth in helping to bring His Kingdom.  Regardless of our occupation, we all have the same calling and mission in this life, to build God’s kingdom. And Christ commanded, But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33).  


If you focus your mind on the kingdom of the world, you will find it, and if you focus your mind on the kingdom of God, you will find it.  It all depends on whom you put first in your life.


Method

The New Testament illustrates several methods of evangelism, but prayer for the Lord’s direction and blessings should precede all other methods.


The commonest and perhaps the most effective biblical method of evangelism is the sharing of the Good News on a person-to-person basis as we encounter others.


We can talk to others about Jesus nearly anyplace, in the park, at a retail store, at work, at a doctors offices, and when talking with others by phone.  Among others, I have had the pleasure of leading many strangers to the Lord over the phone.  The method is given below.


Wrong Salvation

The motivation given to a person for coming to Christ should not be Peace, Joy, and Happiness, for as soon as they do not have Peace, Joy, and Happiness in their lives, they will be disappointed, they will assume that God cannot be trusted, that He does not provide, and most will turn from Christ. Rather, the motivation should be that God loves us but hates sin, that sin separates us from God, that we are all sinners in God’s eyes, and through repentance and salvation in Jesus, comes the forgiveness of sin. Salvation from hell does not disappoint.  While peace, joy, and happiness may be a result of salvation as we trust God and turn our problems over to Him, it should not be the reason for coming to Christ, because Christians do have problems, tests, trials, and Satanic attacks in their lives.


No Salvation

When is salvation not salvation?  Salvation is not salvation when there is no sincerity in the invitation.  If a person prays to accept Jesus just to get rid of or to satisfy the person who is pressuring them to accept Jesus, there is no commitment in their heart to make Jesus the Lord of their life. Salvation requires a sincere desire for Jesus to come into their heart, to cleanse them, and to turn from their worldly sins to the Lord Jesus Christ.


Rewarding Joy

To bring a person into a relationship with the Lord is the greatest, most loving thing you can do for another human being! You are literally saving their eternal life. Being involved in the salvation of another soul is one of the most fulfilling acts you will ever experience.  There is no greater joy than to know that God has used you in the process of bringing another lost soul to the Lord and saved them from hell.


You may be appointed to plant a seed or maybe to harvest, but both are equally pleasing to the Lord.


A few Evangelistic Approaches

Presented below are a few of the more common approaches to evangelism, but the best approach is to listen to the guidance and directions of the Holy Spirit.


Testimony

The first method of reaching out is to give your personal testimony.  Why did you come to the Lord?  How is your life now different?  What has He done for you?


Your testimony is unique to you, is true, is of interest to others, and is a testimony that you can always share.


Literature

If you are too timid to say it with words or time does not permit, hand them a carefully chosen tract, and say, “Here’s something that helped me; I hope you’ll read it.”  


Questions

If ordinary conversation does not lead to an opportunity to witness, one can ask several questions. You can say, “By the way, do you have any interest in spiritual things?” Then (regardless of the answer given), say, “Suppose someone was to ask you ‘What is a Christian?’ — what would you say?” Notice that the question does not pin the person down; it is not saying that he is not a Christian; it is simply an appropriate question that can turn the conversation into an opportunity to discuss spiritual things of God.  


However, I like to be more direct, and simply ask, “If you were to die today, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven”?  Draw them to God by the love of God and His Word and not because you can beat them into salvation. Sincere repentance only occurs when the Holy Spirit draws them to Jesus.


Witnessing is something we learn by doing.  Each time we talk about the Christian life, we become more at ease. We learn by experience. We profit from passed mistakes.


Seeing the need

Normally, one must first see their sins and their need of forgiveness before they see a need to accept Christ.  If a person acknowledges they are a sinner, then skip down to the Roman Road section.


If a person does not believe they are a sinner, the following scrip will demonstrate that they are a sinner and their need for Jesus.


  1. Can I ask you a question?    Yes
  2. Would you be offended if someone lied to you?
  3. Have you ever lied?  Yes.  What does that make you?  A liar.
  4. Have you ever stolen?  Yes.  What does that make you? A thief.
  5. Have you ever used God’s name to curse?  Yes.  What does that make you?  A blasphemer.
  6. By your own admission, you are a liar, a thief, and a blasphemer, and those are only 3 of the 10 Commandments.  
  7. You are not judged by comparison to others, but by God’s law.  God’s law says you are a sinner.  God is a holy, righteous judge who hates sin.
  8. As a lying, thieving, blasphemer, would you go to heaven or hell?  
  9. Does that concern you?  
  10. Do you know what God has done so that you can go to heaven and not hell?
  11. If you were in court and found guilty, and find $50,000, and you did not have the money, you would go to jail (hell).  But if someone was willing to pay your $50,000 fine, you would be set free.  Christ paid your fine on the cross.
  12. You need to humbly repent of your sins and ask God to clean you.
  13. Ask him if he would like to invite Jesus into his life.


Roman Road

The Roman Road lays out the plan of salvation through a series of Bible verses from the book of Romans. It provides a systematic way of explaining the message of salvation. Many have memorized these five verses and used them to lead others to Christ.


1.  Everyone needs salvation because we have all sinned.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Ask if they have ever sinned.


2.  The consequence of sin is death.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).


3.  Jesus Christ died for our sins.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).


4.  We receive salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).  


5.  Salvation through Jesus Christ brings us into a relationship of peace with God.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).  


Ask if he would like to invite Christ into his heart as his Lord and savior.


My favorite Approach

If the Lord has prepared their heart, this approach takes less than 5 minutes, is well received, and even those who are not ready almost always say “Thank you”.  It is effective almost anywhere, any time, and with almost any person and I thank the Lord for it.


1.  “May I ask you a question?” (Important first step)


2.  “If you were to die today, do you know if you would go to heaven?”  In most cases, regardless of their   answer, continue.


3.  If I get a ho hum response to question #2, I would ask them, “Is going to heaven important to you?”


4.  “God is a Holy God, meaning He is sinless. God loves you more than you can imagine, but because He is Holy (Sinless), He will not let sin into heaven.”


5.  “Does that make sense to you?”


6.  “The sad thing is that there is nothing we can do to pay the price for our sins.”


7.  “Fortunately, God in His great love provided a way for our sins to be forgiven.  He provided Jesus to pay our penalty for our sins.”


8.  “With your sins forgiven and Jesus as your Lord, you then can be assured of going to heaven.”


9.  “Would you like to be assured that you are going to heaven?”


10. “Would you like to pray with me to accept Jesus into your heart?”


For those prepared by the Lord to receive, this approach works amazingly well.


Afterwards

After congratulating them, encourage them to start attending church and start reading God’s love letter, starting with the book of John.


Someone helped you to find Jesus and now its time for you to show others God’s great love.


Summary

Evangelism is talking with someone about God’s love and what Jesus has done for them.  Evangelism is God’s second most important commandment and one of God’s greatest desires.  Failing to tell others about God’s love is to disobey God.  Talking to others about Jesus, when approached correctly, is often similar to talking about finance, sports, politics, or a person’s dreams for life. Evangelism is a major reason for being on earth.



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