Friday, December 7, 2012

Today’s Show Notes: Friday, 7th December 2012.

(Email from Kay) “Is inviting people to church sharing the gospel? My pastor seems to think that if congregants invite people to church to hear the gospel, that's all they are required to do. I feel like this isn't sharing the gospel, it's kind of giving them a pass. They are not fans of the "confrontational gospel" and said tracts are a waste of time because most people throw them out."

We definitely want to invite people to church, but there are a lot of reasons why that shouldn’t be the main aim:
·       Jesus told us to preach the gospel (not invite people to church to hear it)
·       God’s example: you don’t see believers inviting people to church in Acts (it sure did happen though), but you do see them preaching the gospel constantly—where the main focus was
·       You have to assume the pastor will give a solid and clear gospel presentation in that service (which most pastors don’t do weekly—the vast majority of people who visit a church for the first time statistically will never return and thus if you don’t witness to them might never hear the gospel otherwise)
·       Most people simply won’t go to church—you have to bring the message to them
·       Most lost people have no desire to go to church, but if they get saved after hearing the gospel they will naturally want to attend
·       You have to hope the person doesn’t die before Sunday

Why not witness to them and then invite them to church? Marry the best of both worlds.

She mentioned that her pastor feels “tracts are a waste of time” because most people throw them out.
·       I’ve been told numerous times that people keep them in their wallet—get a good, striking tract and people will want to hold onto it and pass it along (IQ Tests, money tracts, etc.)

Our theology directs our methodology. Our theology demands the urgency to win the lost and common sense dictates the vast majority will never come to church. We have to follow Jesus & the apostles example and bring the gospel outside the church.

You’re left with 2 evaluation questions:

1. Do gospel tracts effectively reach people?
  • Joey Hancock of the American Tract Society said, "Fifty-three percent of all who come to Christ worldwide come through the use of printed gospel literature."
  • Hudson Taylor the great missionary was saved through a tract, so was Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus, Thomas Johannes Back, who served as General Director and spiritual leader over 800 missions workers who served around the word, and so many more.
  • After George Whitefield read one called “The Life of God in the Soul of a Man,” he said, “God showed me I must be born again or be damned.” He went on to pray, “Lord, if I am not a Christian, or if I am not a real one, for Jesus Christ’s sake show me what Christianity is, that I may not be damned at last!” Then his journal tells us “from that moment . . . did I know that I must become a new creature.”
  • A Christian book relates the true story of a diver who saw a piece of paper clutched in the shell of an oyster. The man grabbed it, found that it was a gospel tract and said, “I can’t hold out any longer. His mercy is so great that He has caused His Word to follow me even to the bottom of the ocean.” God used a tract to save the man.

2. Will a tract offend some people?
  • Sure, is it because of the packaging? No, most people smile when you give them a million dollars. But, the gospel will offend (God promised that). Someone going out of their way to preach the gospel outside of church will rub some people the wrong way, but that’s exactly what we’re instructed and given the example to do in Scripture.
·       We see Paul taking the good news to people that weren’t looking for it at the Areopagus, to kings while on trial, in the marketplace going up to complete strangers. Acts says Paul’s “habit” was to preach in the synagogues on the Sabbath—If there was ever an opportunity to offend people, if ever a location not to go to, it was the synagogue—the national leader of the Jewish people, the leader of their temple, the High Priest, was responsible for Jesus’ death and they preached Christ there—in human wisdom it would have made much more sense to teach your people how to witness, teach them to build long term relationships and at a BBQ subtly bring up Christ—but in the wisdom of God, there was a desperate urgency to bring the lost to the gospel, as if they were heading for Hell… He became as a Jew to Jews, he brought it in a relevant way, but He brought a message many didn’t want to hear and certainly not the way he was bringing it.

It’s not an acceptable method, but an incredible method!
1.     People who would never come to church to hear the gospel
2.     Leaves an impression of warmth and a smile
3.     They realize this matters enough for someone to go out of their way to share it

S.6 | Pearl Harbor Bomber Saved by Tract

(By Sunny Shell)  [Captain Mitsuo Fuchida] led three successful air attacks: Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941; Darwin, Australia on February 19, 1942 and against the Royal Navy in British Ceylon (presently Sri Lanka) on April 5, 1942. [He was the one who made the famous call sign "Tora! Tora! Tora!" which means "Tiger! Tiger! Tiger" = the phrase by Fuchida meant that his air group had obtained complete surprise (just as a tiger would achieve utter surprise on a helpless prey).]

After the war, Fuchida entered civilian life as a very dissatisfied farmer after being a decorated and highly honored soldier. He began to wonder why he survived so many calamities while thousands around him died. Slowly his thoughts came to something he’d never considered: A Creator God. During this time of deep contemplation about life, Fuchida was summoned by General Douglas MacArthur to testify at the war crimes trials in Tokyo. One day, as he was getting off the train, he accepted a tract from an American. The tract was entitled, “I Was a Prisoner of Japan.” It was the salvation testimony of Sargent Jacob “Jake” Daniel DeShazer, a member of the Doolittle Raid, and a prisoner of Japan in Nanking, China for 40 months.

In this tract, Fuchida read that DeShazer was brutally mistreated by the Japanese officials and initially, he hated them for it. But after 25 months in prison, and multiple requests for reading material, the Japanese [complied] and gave the American prisoners Bibles. They were told they could keep them for only three weeks so DeShazer read the Bible with great fervency and passion. After reading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, DeShazer repented of his sins and received God’s free gift of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ and committed his life to sharing the Gospel with those who were once his enemies -- the Japanese.

Intrigued and baffled by such love, forgiveness and peace, Fuchida decided to purchase a Bible for himself. Just like DeShazer, Fuchida read it with fervency and passion. When he came to Luke 23:34 and read, “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” he finally understood how true peace could be obtained. On September 14, 1950, Fuchida became a new creation in Christ, after realizing he too, was one of those that Christ came to save, he asked the Lord for forgiveness (repented of his sins) and gave everything he had to his new Captain, Jesus Christ the Lord, who called him to be a minister of the Gospel of Peace, rather than a man of war.

Fuchida spent the next 26 years of his life as an evangelist.

Wretched: Tearful woman confronts open-air preacher.