Having just recently returned from James Meadows’ memorial service, I find myself in an especially meditative mood. Recalling my much-appreciated friendship with James brought many thoughts to remembrance, not the least of which was his love for a complete biblical perspective. Therefore, I dedicate these thoughts to James’ memory.
For all of James’ vast Bible knowledge, he was a simple man. Not at all simplistic, but profoundly simple. Such is, not coincidentally, the way of Scripture. Yet, despite the Bible’s disarming simplicity and practicality, we, sadly, are not commonly disarmed. Of particular interest in our thoughts here let us take a moment to revisit the simple biblical perspective for evangelism.
To rather starkly (simply) bring out the Bible’s perspective on evangelism, consider the following observations:
- The apostolic ministry is not the model for Christians today. Their doctrine, to be sure, is our non-negotiable standard, but their mission and ours differ in many ways.
- Our “as you are going” (Matt. 28:19-20) will look different from their world-traveling, church-planting proclamations.
- Please take a moment to read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 and Ephesians 4:17-32. For most of us, passages such as these describe the special contributions Christians make in everyday life to exert a profound influence as the light of the world (Matt. 5:16). Therefore, a natural, seamlessly lived, Christ-like life (Rom. 8:29) is the most common perspective for evangelism. Packaged, unnatural methods find no place in Scripture.
- There are no shortcuts on the Bible directed journey where we are commanded to “grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15).
Simply stated, the practical, perspective for evangelism can be voiced as follows:
- The eternal plan of God for each Christian is to be “conformed to the image of His Son so that He would become the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29).
- We might accurately say that God’s plan of evangelism is called “Christianity.”
- With godly influence each Christian is to so sanctify Christ as Lord in their hearts that their hope will be evident to others, they will naturally inquire, and Christians will be prepared to offer an explanation (1 Pet. 3:15).
- Christians who have been presented “complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28-29) developed as mature “disciples” (Matt. 28:19-20), and through “practice have their senses trained to discern good from evil” (Heb. 5:14) “will make the most of the opportunity” to engage in meaningful conversations with their “speech always” filled with “grace, as though seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:5-6).
As James was wont to say, “And this of course is so.”
Edwin has been active in a wide variety of ministries for almost fifty years. Currently he serves the Lehman Avenue congregation in Bowling Green, KY, and is director of the Commonwealth Bible Academy (CBAKY.com).