Commentary on "Personal Evangelism and Witnessing"
Day 7: Friday, May 11, 2012 - Further Study
Today’s lesson discusses the importance of the Holy Spirit in the personal lives of Christians in order to be effective evangelists. The author writes the he, “would not deny the importance of Bible knowledge” but that he does not want to neglect the importance of “personal spiritual preparation”. He goes on to say that the essential “ingredient” for personal growth is the Holy Spirit and in order to experience His power He must have access to their lives. He writes that as Christians become aware of their personal needs they, “request and receive a greater indwelling of the Holy Spirit,” and they are, “empowered for a continuing ministry.”
In the discussion questions the author asks, “In what sequence should the truths we hold be presented in order to be most effective in our outreach? Why should Christ’s substitutionary death always be at the forefront of all that we teach?” After sharing a quote from E.G. White about the role of Christians to manifest God’s glory, the author asks the readers, “How often in the last 24 hours have you manifested God’s glory in your life?”
“Personal spiritual preparation” carries with it the idea that there are things we must do before God can do anything with us. We prepare ourselves, God takes over—if we are properly prepared. This is not in the Bible. All we must do is be born again (see Sunday) and even that is a work of God. He finishes what He starts. Knowing that we have needs and bringing those needs to the Father does not provide us with a “greater indwelling” of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not a power source or “ingredient” that is given in measure. Seeing Him that way sits on the fence of blasphemy in my opinion. The Holy Spirit is GOD the Spirit. He is a person—the third person of the Godhead; either you have Him or you do not. We do not have pieces of people in our lives, we either have them or we do not. The Holy Spirit indwells us in all His fullness at the time of our believing in Jesus Christ of scripture (Eph. 1:13-14, 3:17-19). The Holy Spirit is the seal of God and the guarantee of our inheritance. God gives us Himself! To plead for more of what we already have reveals a lack of faith in the reality of what God has done. If you do not believe that you have the Holy Spirit in you, then this is the time to consider where you are placing your faith. If you have accepted the finished work of Jesus Christ for your salvation and hold fast to the completed Word of God, then you must believe what the words say, and they say that we are indwelled by the fullness of God…forever.
John 14: “16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you… 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you…23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
If you were to ask a Christian the order in which they share the truth with unbelievers you would likely hear something along the lines of:
Some call this “cheap grace” which is heart breaking. It is not cheap, it was paid for with the highest price, the blood of our Lord Jesus— God the Son! No, this is no simple formula prayer, it is a heart condition and it is not something man can do on his own. It is the work of God in the heart of man. To add to it is to have no faith in it to begin with.
After looking at how much Adventism adds to scripture with the visions, teachings, and writings of Ellen G. White and other Adventist traditions, it is clear to see why they would be concerned with the question of what order to present their gospel in. You cannot knock on the door of a non- Adventist and expect to have much time with them if you start with the prophet and the extra-biblical ideals and writings. The cults tend to lure people into their systems in stages. However, this is not the model given in scripture.
The Apostles spoke truth at the risk of their lives. They proclaimed the gospel and they preached repentance (not a popular sermon series). They were stoned, flogged, imprisoned, chased out of town, crucified, tortured, beheaded, burned…etc. This was not because they just had poor PR or order of operations. This is because they were up front, they were truth tellers who were not ashamed of the gospel and they knew that they had to speak truth to mankind, not lure them in with well crafted seminars.
“For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.” (2 Cor. 2:15-17).
There is no evidence given in scripture of the gospel being given in small doses over time. As we share Jesus, we are to speak boldly and with integrity, properly handling the word of God. We are truth tellers who proclaim the gospel expecting to be persecuted. We are not told in scripture to be people who lure others into our “club” only to release small doses of new information for the sake of salvation (only as they are most likely to accept it). This doesn’t mean that believers are not to be discipled, but discipleship is not about preaching salvation, it comes after man is born again through saving faith.
It is my opinion that the Adventist organization begins with Christ’s substitutionary death because it is the most similar to “apostate christianity” and the best way to begin the conversation with those they are luring into their organization. Otherwise, why not start with their version of the war in heaven as told by Ellen G. White in the Great Controversy? Usually the beginning of a story is the best place to start. Adventist evangelism promotes itself as only being different in the day they worship on, but after gaining converts they begin to slowly administer the health message, E.G. White, The Great Controversy, the Investigative Judgement, the mark of the beast (“Sunday worship”) and end time persecution events, etc.. All one has to do is look at the 7th grade “Bible class” curriculum to know that there is much to learn about Adventist doctrine which is not found in scripture. This is one of the reasons that Adventists do not advertise that they are Adventist when they hold Revelation Seminars and advertise in the local newspapers or hand out fliers in the neighborhoods. It is also why they often hold their seminars outside of SDA churches. It is all a part of the luring process and it is deceptive.
A final point, one of the marks of a true believer is that they have a beautiful preoccupation with giving God glory. There is a very important difference between giving God glory, and the authors question of manifesting God’s glory. The words chosen here, “manifest the glory of God” come from the Ellen G. White quote used in the lesson. However, had the author chosen to remain in scripture alone it would have been exceedingly clear that Jesus on the cross is the manifestation of the glory of God! Our job is not to manifest God’s glory, but to proclaim the manifestation of God’s glory and glorify Him through our praise. If you are seeking to display the glory of God, than put the glory of God on display by unashamedly proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in scripture!
I pray that you will begin to see how Adventism strays from scripture by adding in Ellen G. White and the “spirit of prophesy”. I pray that you will put down Adventist literature and will pick up your Bible alone. How can you go wrong by relying only on scripture and the Holy Spirit? I assure you that as you do it will become easier to see the holes in Adventist doctrine.
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised May 7, 2012. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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