Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday Quotables

From Mark Dever's The Gospel & Personal Evangelism

"I think many times we don't evangelize because we undertake everything in our own power. We attempt to leave God out of it. We forget that it is his will and pleasure for his gospel to be known. He wants sinners saved." (p 24)

"We share the gospel because we love people. And we don't share the gospel because we don't love people. Instead, we wrongly fear them. ...We protect our pride at the cost of their souls." (p 27)

"When we don't sufficiently consider what God has done for us in Christ—the high cost of it, what it means, and what Christ’s significance is—we lose the heart to evangelize.” (p 28)

“The good news is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in his image to know him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from him. In his great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law himself and taking on himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust in him. He rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us had been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness. If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.
“Now that’s good news.” (p 43)

“The love that the New Testament community of believers shared is presented as an integral part of their witness to the world, as we see in John 13:34-35. …In fact, the outworking of faith through the community of a local church seems to be Jesus’ most basic evangelism plan.” (p 50)

“It’s not manipulative or insensitive to bring up the urgent nature of salvation. It’s simply the truth. The time of opportunity will end.” (p 58)

“Clarity with the claims of Christ certainly will include the translation of the gospel into words that our hearer understands, but it doesn’t necessarily mean translating it into words that our hearer will like.” (p 64)

“It is important to remember that the message you are sharing is not merely an opinion but a fact. That’s why sharing the gospel can’t be called an imposition, any more than a pilot can impose his belief on all his passengers that the runway is here and not there.” (p 70)

“An account of a changed life is a wonderful and inspiring thing, but it’s the gospel of Jesus Christ that explains what it’s all about and how it happened. And it's the gospel that turns sharing a testimony into evangelism.” (p 73)

“We don’t fail in our evangelism if we faithfully tell the gospel to someone who is not converted; we fail only when we don’t faithfully tell the gospel at all.” (pp 81-82)

“As we so experience the gospel, we find ourselves loving others more, and we want to share this good news with them.” (p 100)

“Ultimately, our motive in evangelism must be a desire to see God glorified.” (p 101)

“As one Puritan said, ‘Outside of Christ, God is terrible.’” (p 103)

“You and I aren’t called to use our extensive powers to convict and change the sinner while God stands back as a gentleman, quietly waiting for the spiritual corpse, his declared spiritual enemy, to invite God into his heart. Rather, we should resolve to preach the gospel like gentlemen, persuading while knowing we can’t regenerate anyone, and then stand back while God uses all his extensive powers to convict and change the sinner.” (p 109)

“When the message of the cross captures your heart, then your tongue—stammering, halting, insulting, awkward, sarcastic, and imperfect as it may be—won’t be far behind. As Jesus said, ‘Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks’ (Matt. 12:34).” (p 112)

In an appendix to pastors at the end: “Certainly, we pastors sacrifice personal opportunities to do evangelism when we work full-time in ministry. We are, in a sense, willing to be pulled behind the front lines in order to equip others. We realize the front lines of the contest, the ‘skin’ of the church, if you will, is represented by the members of the local congregation after they leave church on Sunday. It is then, throughout the week, that the church presses in on the kingdom of darkness as believers live out their callings around hundreds or even thousands of non-Christians each week. It is our task as pastors to lead all believers in accepting, embracing, and using the opportunities that God richly gives them. In all of this, we should work not so much merely to implement programs as to create a culture in our church. We want our congregations to be marked by a culture of evangelism. In order to do that, we are going to have to watch how many nights we encourage our members to be doing some program at church. We must give our members time to develop friendships with non-Christians.” (p 118)

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