Reposted from Rooted Thinking.
We need a God-centered, faith-filled expectancy as we pursue Gospel ministry. There are many reasons why we as believers in Jesus Christ should serve Him with a spirit of expectancy that God will work through us in evangelism. We looked at two reasons for such expectancy in a previous article. Now let’s look at three more.
We should have a spirit of expectancy because we have experienced the power of the Gospel
- “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”* (Rom 1:16a).
- “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18).
This good news of Jesus Christ is the most powerful message in the universe—for those that believe it! No believer in Jesus Christ would ever question the power of the Gospel, would they? We know what the Gospel of Jesus Christ has done for us. We remember how our lives were changed and how we have escaped the power of sin because of God’s grace. We now know God and have a relationship with Him! We have hope of eternal life and purpose in our lives! But somehow over the course of time we can forget what God has done. If God can save me, He can save others! If he saved you 20 years ago, He certainly has that same power right now!
Maybe one reason for our forgetfulness is because we have not recently shared our testimony with others. How many believers in your church, or how many of your unsaved family and friends know your testimony? The very act of giving my testimony reminds me of God’s power to save.
We must remember that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17). The heard Word results in faith for some. We must live and speak the Word in faith, believing that some will hear and be saved, even as we were.
“Winning souls” is a process, not an event. We must look for opportunity to add to someone’s understanding of God and their need of salvation. The focus many give on quickly teaching through a series of points and then pushing for a decision has greatly handicapped effective evangelism. We need more trust in God to work. We need to detox our witness from any form of manipulation.
We should have a spirit of expectancy because this is the special age of grace/the Church age before Christ returns.
- Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18).
Referring to the Gentiles Jesus says, “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd” (Jn 10:16). Gentiles will and must come in.
Paul, explaining that God’s judgment is now on the Jews and that only a few will be saved until He returns, explains that this is now the day of grace for the Gentiles “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom 11:25). Has the fullness of the Gentiles come in yet? No! Since Jesus has not yet come, then there are yet more who will come to salvation in Christ.
If you know Jesus Christ, YOU are a part of the fulfillment of this prophecy! And God intends to use you to keep fulfilling this prophecy until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in. The Church is God’s instrument through which He brings His sheep into His fold. What a privilege! What a responsibility!
John described a scene in heaven, a prophecy of what it will be like in heaven just before the tribulation begins “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev 5:9).
Christ’s church is global and will include all peoples! This will be because God used His church, and she prayed and gave of her time, energy, and resources in obedience to His Great Commission.
Is your heart encouraged through these prophecies? Does your heart burn to be somehow used of God and be a part of what He is doing in this world? Believe that God desires to work through you! We do not know exactly how or to what extent God will use us, but we should have a spirit of expectancy that He will!
We should have a spirit of expectancy because our co-laborer is God Himself
Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his own labor. For we God’s fellow workers”( 1Cor 3:6-9a).
Paul had preached the gospel first in Corinth, sowing the seed of the Word of God. His main labor was introducing the Gospel to them, and some came to Christ. Apollos came and sowed and “watered,” meaning, he continued to preach the Gospel there and many more came to Christ. Paul draws our attention to the fact it was God alone that gave these new converts life. Paul and Apollos were just instruments. We are honored with being God’s voice as He brings salvation to others!
Gospel ministry is usually a group effort. All of our prayers, acts of service and mercy, verbal witness, our repentance when we fall, our “body life” as a local church—God uses all of this and more. We labor with God in all of these ways. His will is to work through us.
Technology has greatly increased the group effort aspect of gospel ministry—television, internet, phones, apps, publications, travel, etc., make the sowing and watering aspects of ministry intertwined. God in His sovereignty is using all of this to bring people to Himself. Often there are other Christian co-laborers watering where we have sown.
We have seen this dynamic in Cambodia. We planted a church where most of the believers were first introduced to the Gospel through a family member who came to Christ as a refugee in America. A Chinese medical doctor doing malaria research where we lived became a friend. As we gave him the Gospel, he told us that his family back in China were Christians and had urged him to believe the Gospel. Three other families in other parts of our province came to Christ, and all three of them had been introduced to Christ through other Christians in other parts of the country. We have also witnessed to many other foreigners living in Cambodia, and most of these had already been given Gospel seed earlier in their lives in another country.
Evangelism is meant to be a corporate task. The primary way by which God brings people to Himself is through the combined witness and testimony of God’s people throughout their normal lives and relationships.
We are responsible to co-labor with God. If we are not working, God is not going to use us. God has bound His working to this dynamic of our co-laboring with Him. We must labor in order for God to work—by His design! NO ONE COMES TO CHRIST APART FROM LABOR! Our reward from Christ will be according to our faithful labor, not visible results that we can measure with our eyes.
We must have a spirit of expectancy concerning the work of the Gospel! A God-centered, faith-filled view of evangelism gives this attitude of expectancy. We must not allow ourselves to be held captive by unbelief or man-centered thoughts about evangelism. Our focus must be on God and what He is doing and will do, not on ourselves, others, or the times in which we live.
If we believe God’s Word about these things, we will have an expectancy about us that honors Jesus Christ. An expectant spirit is worship of our God, greatly honoring Him.
* All Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.
Forrest has served as a missionary in Buddhist Cambodia in Southeast Asia since 2000. He presently serves as the Asia/Australia/Oceania regional director for Gospel Fellowship Association missions. He enjoys writing and teaching on missions and the Buddhist worldview. He and his wife, Jennifer, have 4 children.