A Christians most powerful weapon in evangelism is a persuasive personality and lifestyle characterized by good deeds. Right? If you were to look at some of the most prominent evangelical figures and “evangelists,” you might come to that conclusion.
But if its true, I’m in trouble. I’m not much of a salesman, and I’m sure if someone knows me long enough, my own sin will undermine the very gospel I desire to model to my neighbors. Too many Christians have fallen into this salesman trap, and they try to sell people on the “benefits” of being a Christian, but their message lacks authority and does not produce conviction. The idea is if you flash just the right smile, surely unbelievers will see how genuine and wonderful you are.
Yet, Scripture is clear that the means God uses to convict souls is Scripture itself through the work of the Holy Spirit, not our personalities. We think the preacher should preach from the Bible, and we know we should use it for private devotions and study groups. But evangelism?
The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” The Bible is the primary weapon of the Christian in everything, and the only one guaranteed to produce a result (Isa 55:11). An interesting example of this is found in Acts 8. Philip is sent away from a revival among the Samarians to find a lonely eunuch reading Isaiah 53 (what an amazing picture of how personal God is; from a revival to one individual). And according to Acts 8:35, “beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” Philip began with Scripture and expounded on the work of Jesus. This is a good model, because when the evangelist is using Scripture, he is spreading the very Word of God. And he can know that God will take a special delight in showing the power of His Word as He uses it in individuals’ lives to bring them to Himself.God will use His Word in ways no one can plan. Mark Dever writes:
Introduce a non-Christian (or a whole group of them in a Bible Study) to the person of Jesus Christ as He is revealed on the pages of Scripture. Let them interact with the primary sources. Watch the power and majesty and love and penetrating conviction of Christ come through the stories, the works, the teaching.
This also will give authority to the things that the evangelist is saying. Using Scripture is a way to show that what one is trying to communicate is not a private idea or a way to promote some hidden agenda. It is the Spirit’s work through God’s Word that brings about conversions.
There has been a rightful call for the church to return to expositional preaching. But it could be equally argued that there should be a similar call for expositional evangelism. As Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom 1:16). Faith comes by hearing the Word concerning Christ (Rom 10), so forget about Bible “thumping” stigma and find someone and begin to proclaim the Word.