Christ Paul's Way
by Evangelist Mike
One of the
common misconceptions about the divine command to evangelize is that it
only applies to those who are given the gift of evangelism (Mat.
28:18-20). Consequently there are many in the body of Christ who never
enjoy the privilege of being an ambassador for the King of Kings. There
is no higher honor than to represent King Jesus as an ambassador by
proclaiming His message of salvation to a world that is perishing in
sin. Paul informs us that every Christian is given this divine privilege
and responsibility. He wrote: "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is
a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have
come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself
through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that
God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their
trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of
reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God
were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be
reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:17-20).
Other than the
Lord Jesus Christ, the most divinely gifted and inspired evangelist in
the first century was the Apostle Paul. As the most prolific writer of
the New Testament, there is much that we can learn from his example and
teachings, especially in dealing with opponents of the Gospel. In the
first century, the greatest opposition to the spread of the Gospel came
from the corrupted religion of Judaism. Today, the Gospelís greatest
opposition is the deceptively false religion of Roman Catholicism. With
its great power, wealth, control and influence, many evangelicals are
reluctant to expose it as an enemy of Christ and His Gospel. In both
corrupted religions, the authority of Godís word runs smack into the
unbending traditions of men. With this in mind, let us look at the
Apostle Paulís motivation and ministry and how he contended for the
for God compelled him to faithfully proclaim the Gospel and to exhort
others to do the same. He wrote: "For the love of Christ controls usÖHe
died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves,
but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf (2 Cor. 5:14-15). A
Christianís love of God is best demonstrated by obedience to Him. "For
this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments" (1 John 5:3).
The last command of Jesus must become a Christianís first concern: "Go
therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Mat. 28:19-20).
A great love
and deep compassion for the lost also motivated Paul to be a faithful
witness for Christ. This was demonstrated by selfless desire to give up
his salvation in exchange for the salvation of his Jewish brethren. He
wrote, "For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from
Christ for the sake of my brethren" (Rom. 9:3). Although Paul knew this
exchange was impossible, his words reflected his genuine love and
compassion for the Jews. He went on to write: "My heartís desire and my
prayer to God for them is for their salvation (Rom. 10:1). Here we also
see the most vital element of Paulís ministryóhis prayers to the
sovereign Lord for the salvation of the lost. As we witness to our loved
ones, let us not forget to pray for open doors of opportunity and open
hearts to receive the message with gladness and joy.
At the end of
Paulís ministry on earth, we see a summary of how he served the Lord
Jesus in the 20th
chapter of Acts. What a great model he is for all of us who desire to be
an effective ambassador for Christ Jesus. In verse 19 we see that he
served with humility and compassion. His humility is reflected in his
overwhelming gratitude to God for granting him mercy when he "acted
ignorantly in unbelief" as a persecutor of the church (1 Tim. 1:13).
Paulís humility was also seen in his complete dependence upon Godís
grace and nothing of who he was or what he had accomplished (1 Cor.
15:10). His only boasting was in the cross of the Lord Jesus (Gal.
6:14). Paul faithfully served God despite the persecution and trials he
endured as a result of the relentless opposition from religious leaders.
publicly from house to house, declaring that all must turn to God in
repentance and have faith in the Lord Jesus (v. 20-21). Like a mail
carrier, Paul took the message of Christ to everyone on his route. As he
was going from place to place, he would testify to the Gospel of Godís
grace (v. 24). He faithfully proclaimed the whole counsel and purpose of
God (v. 27).
important part of Paulís ministry was warning Christians of false
teachers who were distorting the truth for the purpose of drawing away
disciples (v. 30). Paul had already confronted "professing Christians"
who had taught and embraced a distortion of Godís Gospel. He condemned
with anathema anyone who would dare pervert the Gospel of God. This
included even himself or any apostle who would distort Godís only means
of saving sinners (Gal. 1:6-9). Paul confronted the Judaizers, who
believed in Jesus, but perverted the Gospel by adding works of the law
as another requirement for salvation. Any human effort that is added to
the Gospel nullifies Godís graceóthe only means sinners can be saved.
For this reason Paul taught antithetically, proclaiming what the Gospel
is, as well as what it is not. This technique is so important when
witnessing to "professing Christians" who have been led astray by a
perversion of the true Gospel. Paulís antithetical teaching declares
salvation is by grace and not of works (Eph. 2:8-9) and by Godís mercy
and not righteous deeds (Titus 3:5). If we follow Paulís example we will
warn Catholics that: 1) sinners are justified by faith in Jesus, not by
water baptism; 2) sinners are purified by the precious blood of Jesus,
not by purgatoryís fire; and 3) sinners have their sins expiated by the
redemptive work of Jesus, not by penance and indulgences. To follow
Paulís example is to call "professing Christians" off the broad road
that leads to destruction while pointing them to the narrow road that
leads to eternal life.
urged believers not to be partakers or partners with deceivers (Eph.
5:6-7). Accordingly, he renounced secret and shameful ways and urged
believers to mark and avoid deceptive teachers. This vital element of
contending for the faith and exposing deception is not practiced by many
in the body of Christ today. In fact there are many parachurch
ministries that embrace Roman Catholicism as a valid Christian
denomination. As a result, the church has given the enemy free reign to
sow tares among the wheat (Mat. 13:25). Many churches have more tares
than wheat and thus reflect a picture of the world rather than a
sanctified sanctuary of believers.
Aware of the
many spurious believers, who had believed in vain and continued in sin,
Paul exhorted, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine
yourselves (2 Cor. 13:5). Those who believed in vain are those who
departed from the Gospel Paul delivered: Christ died to save sinners,
Christ was raised from the dead and Christ appeared to many witnesses (1
Cor. 15:1-4). Paul proclaimed the word of God in all its power. He did
not speak with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be
emptied of its power (1 Cor. 1:17).
and commitment to evangelism is reflected in his writings: "I have
become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. And I
do all things for the sake of the Gospel, that I may become a fellow
partaker of it" (1 Cor. 9:22-23). He said, "Woe to me if I do not preach
the Gospel" (1 Cor. 9:16). Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel and its
singular approach to God. By divine revelation Paul knew there was only
one message of hope, only one Gospel. For in the Gospel we observe the
greatest exchange in human historyómanís sin for Godís righteousness.
Paul summed up this gracious and merciful substitution in one verse: "He
[God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we
might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). As we follow
Paulís example let us seek to "know Christ and Him crucified" and
proclaim this powerful message to those who have embraced another gospel
(1 Cor. 2:2). Paul urged his disciples to hold firmly to the Gospel he
preached. Those who did had the assurance of eternal life. Those who
embraced other gospels had no assurance, and thus believed in vain (1
Christians have been entrusted with the Gospel, let us be exhorted by
the words of Paul: "We are to speak, not as pleasing men but God who
examines our hearts (1 Thes. 2:4). The true Gospel will disturb those
who hear it for it speaks of both heaven and hell. It informs sinners of
the righteousness of God and His demand for the payment of an infinite
debt caused by sin. With this in mind, our primary motivation must
always be to glorify God by accurately reflecting the heart of His
revelation to mankind.
Mr. Mike Gendron
Mr. Greg Durel
Carlos Tomas Knott
Copyright 2006, Ankerberg Theological Research Institute