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A Careful Study of the Office of Deacon, 5-Fold Ministry Gifts, the Ministry of Jesus, and the Ordinances of the

Church Special Section on 501C3

Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, M.Min

New Jersey Institute of Theological Studies

New Jersey Institute of Theological Studies

How the Church SHOULD Function Scriptures from King James Version NASB NIV

Mark H. Stevens, B.Th, M.Min


New Jersey Institute of Theological Studies Jan.2004 Room 104 1 Cooper Plaza Camden, NJ 08103

chaplainstevens@gmail.com

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INTRODUCTION PAGE 5 CHAPTER ONE THE OFFICE OF DEACON PAGE 6 CHAPTER TWO THE 5 FOLD MINISTRY PAGE 11 CHAPTER THREE JESUS EXAMPLE PAGE 20 CHAPTER FOUR THE LORDS SUPPER - PAGE 29 CHAPTER FIVE BAPTISM PAGE 32 CHAPTER SIX EVANGELISM PAGE 36 How to Become Tax- Exempt

CLOSING THOUGHTS

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Introduction
Acts 6:8 "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people."

Most churches especially in America are governed by one personthe Pastor! In most African-American Churches the Pastor is NOT ONLY a pastor, but he pretty much does everything in the church related to ministry. This man or woman preaches almost every sermon; many teach Bible study, lead prayer meetings, go into prisons and hospitals, and some even sweep and clean the church house. This is as ludicrous as a Basketball team that lets the point guard shoot 50 times a game and post up in the centers position. Just like a Basketball team the church was given guidance from GOD as to how to run the team called the CHURCH! In the Early Church you find that the Body of Christ functions very different from the church as we know it today. The Early Church was NOT clergy driven, it was laity driven. In fact it almost seemed like there was no such thing as laity, the saints of the Book of Acts were an active and vital part of the ministry. The Apostles could NOT have had the spiritual success they had unless they had ministry minded men and women functioning in their respective positions.

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Chapter One DEACONS

Let me give you some examples of what I am talking about. After Pentecost the Apostles chose men they called Deacons which is translated Servant-Ministers, these men where responsible for the physical aspects of the ministry while the Apostles devoted themselves to prayer and preaching the Word of God. Two of the Deacons were responsible for an explosion of spiritual growth for the Early Church. Philip was a Deacon, but he also was anointed to be an Evangelist. Today we would consider Deacon and Evangelist two separate offices or ministries, but the Word makes no such distinction. There are many people in the Body of Christ anointed to function in one of the five-fold ministries and they may NEVER be ordained or recognized by man (The Local Church). I find that too many of our churches are filled with people that are NOT allowed to function in their office because of control freaks in the pulpits called PASTORS! Phillip was led by the Holy Ghost to minister to the Ethiopian Eunuch, which led to the Gospel being spread in Africa. Philip led by the Spirit went to Samaria and preached JESUS. Devils were cast out and people healed by a DEACON! Imagine in some of our churches today if a Deacon decided to go off and minister without first checking with his pastor? Even if he did check in with the pastor, many of our pastor would tell the Deacon, wait
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until he got a ministers license or ordination papers, or they would accuse the Deacon of being overzealous or out of line for trying to be a minister. Well I have news for you Pastors Deacons ARE ministers! When I was a Deacon I was only 22 years old, I was also called to be an Evangelist. I went out on the streets on Song Tan City, South Korea and witnessed and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I had brothers try and tell me I should get the Pastors OK before I did this, well what they didnt know was I DID! He didnt think it was safe! SAFE?!?! Since when is ministry, true ministry ever SAFE! I went out by myself initially, until the Lord saved my roommate and we both would go out and win souls. I was a Deacon and my roommate was a new convert. Many souls came to the Lord because we were obedient to the Lord. Now I am NOT advocating rebellion, but as Peter said in Acts, I must obey God NOT man! Too many of our Pastors refuse to see the need for outreach and evangelism in the church, they think if they have church, folks will come. Jesus said GO in the hedges and highways and COMPELL men to come to HIM! You cant compel ANYONE from a pulpit or a pew! Phillip only called for assistance when he realized the new converts needed a pastor, Pastors and Evangelist have to work hand in hand, and they need each other like a center needs a good point guard. Remember Magic Johnson? Someone asked him why was he was as successful as a player, he said I utilized my Big Man and I got the whole team involved! Magic and Kareem were like a well oiled machine, Magic never thought about

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himself first but the team first, that means self sacrifice and sharing the glory. Too often immature and insecure pastors dont want to do either! Pastors are like point guards in that they have to see the big picture and include EVERYBODY in order to secure VICTORY!

Acts 6:1 "And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration."
We see, here, the church growing to a large number. As long as the church was small and they each were greatly needed, they were all pulling in one direction. They were working for a common cause. Now that the number has gotten so large, there is murmuring. Some of the Greeks think the Hebrew widows are being cared for better than the Greeks. It seems that the early church was very concerned about the needs of widows. Many times widows lived in the church and prayed for the church. In I Timothy 5:9, Paul tells them to not take a widow
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under 60 years.

Acts 6:2 "Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples [unto them], and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables."
These twelve disciples who seemed to be the leaders of all the rest are explaining that they should not be encumbered by trying to see to the needs of all of these widows. The man or woman of God ministering has enough to do staying in the Word of God and bringing spiritual guidance to the people. Some one else should see to the financial responsibilities of the church. If they have to stop and see to the physical needs of the people, they will not be able to care for their spiritual needs.

Acts 6:3 "Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business."
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Seven, as we have said before, means spiritually complete. We see that these seven were to be men who were very close to God. They must be wise men to take care of the finances of the body of Christ. They must be honest and of good report. This is one of the Scriptures used when churches choose seven deacons to raise the finances of the church. Many people want to be a deacon of the church until they learn that the deacons are really responsible for the financial needs of the church.

to the ministry of the word."

Acts 6:4 "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and

The twelve apostles were not to be bothered with anything, except the spiritual needs of the people. Perhaps, that is one of the problems in churches today. We have made business men out of our ministers. They learn as much about the way to raise money, to have a

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bus ministry, and to satisfy the I.R.S. as they do about the Word of God. They really should not be burdened with all of these administration duties. It takes too much of their time away from prayer and study of the Word. Acts 6:5 "And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:" Of these seven, of course, Stephen was the most known to us. These men were above reproach. They were men of high character. These men would be fair in all their dealings. Some believe that many of these were Hellenist (Greek Jews), but I believe they were a cross section of men of God, so that each one would be representing their own group. Proselyte means a new comer. In Hebrew, it meant stranger. Philip and Stephen are really the only two out of the list that the Bible tells us anything else about. These are like many deeply sincere
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people in the church today who really work in the background and do not feel the need to be recognized by others.

Acts 6:6 "Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid [their] hands on them."
This is just a ceremony to anoint these men to the job they are to do. They were installed formerly when the apostles laid hands on them.

Acts 6:7 "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."
We see, here, that, these apostles having their priorities straight caused the Word of God to increase greatly. A church is only as powerful as the prayers that go up for it. These apostles spent much time in prayer and their ministry was powerful because of it. Disciples, here, is the same as followers of Christ. This strong

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message of God's Word even convinced many of the priests and they believed, also. Lets Examine the lineup God ordained for the Church! Most teaching on the Ministry Gifts Exclude the Deacons and I believe that is to the detriment of the church that is why I opened discussing Deacons. These are the duties of a Deacon: 1. To care for the Widows and the Fatherless. The benevolence ministry in the local church SHOULD be managed by the DEACONnot the PASTOR! 2. Deacons should be the leaders of church outreach (See Phillip) 3. Deacons should be your leaders in Church Education. (See Stephen) 4. Deacons should be the overseers of church finances and resources (Not the Pastor) this goes against the mindset of most Churches! Especially in Pentecostal and Holiness churches. Many Baptist churches EMPOWER the Deacons and those churches that have Godly Deacons FLOURISH! Why because that is the way God established it! This is why it is important to have men FULL of the Holy Ghost, FULL of wisdom, and FULL of the Word holding the OFFICE of Deacon. Unfortunately we have made the office of Deacon a flunky position with NO AUTHORITY!

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5. Deacons should be father figures for the fatherless boys in the congregation. When I accepted Christ at the age of 14 in Richmond, Virginia, the church I attended had a strong Deacon board that played basketball with the teen boys, taught a youth Bible Study, Ran the Boys Scout program, and created a Junior Deacon Board. All of these things helped me make a decision for Christ because there were strong men showing me the way! 6. Deacons should take Communion to the hospitals and Nursing Homes. 7. Deacons should be at the forefront of outreach in the community. (Remember Phillip and Stephen) 8. A Deacon should be an example of male spirituality and strength in the church and the community. I remember all of the Deacons in my church were known throughout the community. Even unsaved people knew the Deacons because of the works they did in the community. (Youth Activities, Feeding Seniors, delivering groceries) 9. As the office of Deacon was slowly eroded in the church a rise in ethical problems arose. Deacons are the key to good stewardship in local churches, if they are chosen with Biblical guidelines. (Full of The Spirit Full of the Word Full of Faith)

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Chapter Two The Five-fold Ministry Gifts

Apostles are leaders and visionaries... they bring direction to the church. They have the courage and ability to keep the Church moving forward, growing, building in new directions. Apostles are also fathers, able to nurture and disciple the other ministry gifts. They have maturity and experience beyond their fellows and can give guidance as well as leadership. They wear the Helmet of Salvation, which means they walk "within" salvation. They know the mysteries of Christ's salvation. Such knowledge is only acquired through time and experience, trials and testing. An apostle is proven by his example of holiness and demeanor in Christ Jesus. The Helmet of Salvation is not a royal crown: it is the hat of a warrior general who is accustomed to putting his life on the line, for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Many who are in this office will never be recognized as APOSTLES! The reason is this, when a man is truly led by God to establish a work of any kind, it may bristle against the establishment.

The Apostle Paul is a good example of a man on a Mission from God, I laugh as I write this because I am reminded of the movie The Blues Brothers, They were the oddest of odd,
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yet they went through every obstacle because they believed they had a mandate from God. Listening to God is not easy, it can cause you to be treated like an outsider and at times even a rebel! I believe men that are in the office of Apostle are always MISUNDERSTOOD and treated like oddballs. Based upon scriptural precedence apostles are usually the recipients of dreams and visions, Apostles receive an abundance of Revelation from God, Why? They establish ministries and churches. It is quite possible to be an Apostle and NEVER pastor a church. Contrary to popular belief Paul WAS NEVER A PASTOR! Paul was a TEACHER/APOSTLE. Now another shocker is that PETER was not a PASTOR either, the PASTOR of the church in Jerusalem was JAMES (The Lords Brother); Peter was an EVANGELIST/APOSTLE. Apostles usually carry dual roles! Here is another curve for you Barnabas was an Apostle too, but he was a DEACON/APOSTLE his ministry was one of service and support yet he was counted as an APOSTLE! I do believe that there are Apostles today, Men that are SENT to establish works according to Gods divine mandate. Now too many guys are starting storefront churches and calling themselves Apostle. Real Apostles dont run around calling themselves APOSTLE! They know it, and they walk in it!

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Prophets/Prophetess has a strong sense of right and wrong, but even more than that: they have a strong sense of the Spirits leading. Their spiritual antennae start quivering when things are going off balance or in wrong directions. Their voice is important for keeping the Church on track in what the Lord wants to do. Prophets also understand justice and are defenders of what is fair and right. Prophets carry the Breastplate of Righteousness, which illustrates the passion and conviction that burns deep within their heart and soul and spirit. "Righteousness" is actually an ethereal word, a supernatural word. True righteousness flows only from the throne of God. Therefore, the insight of the prophet is a very mysterious, deep conviction that is not easily described even by those who walk in this gifting. The purpose is for guidance and revelation, so that the church can learn what it means to be the Holy People of God. The Prophet/Prophetess must maintain a level of personal holiness that is exemplary. The primary purpose of the prophet is to warn the church of apostasy and help saints press into the holiness and purpose of God. (Elijah and Ezekiel) Unlike the Office of Apostle which is male ordered, Women can function in this office as well as men. (Deborah, Huldah, and Phillips Daughters)

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The Prophet must have an extraordinary prayer life, If you study the life the Biblical prophet they were often solitary people. (Elijah and Jeremiah) They didnt have a lot of friends, this is on purpose! God needs those in the prophetic office to be focused on HIM! The Prophet and the Teacher are similar in this regard; Prophets focus on the inspired word (Rhema) and the Teacher more on the written (Logos). But if you look at Acts 17:11 the Bereans understood the importance of both, but they confirmed the Rhema by studying the Logos! Usually God places Prophets and Teachers as friends and companions for this reason. Teachers build the foundations of the church. They minister in the Word of God and remind us of the priorities and foundations that will keep us stable in our lives. They teach the church how to be wise in the ways of God. Both teachers and prophets have a special gift for worship because the prophet can worship in "spirit" and the teacher can worship in "truth" and those two characteristics are necessary for true worship. Teachers carry the Belt of Truth, which means they have intimate knowledge of Him who is Truth. Teachers are guardians of Biblical Doctrine (Logos), the Bereans (Acts 17:11) Exemplify the character of a Teacher. Teacher search the scriptures. I am a teacher and I study the Word more than the average person, there are times when I have stayed up all night reading entire books of the Bible because I had to determine if something I heard preached in
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church was accurate. In many cases Teachers are somewhat cold, in that they care more for truth than unity or peoples feelings. If you remember Paul in Galatians, He read Peter and the Hebrew saints the riot act for the way they allowed the Judaizers to distort the Gospel of Grace. When I hear a sermon that is off scripturally it drives me crazy. I believe Teachers are like the Scribes of the Old Testament in that they were determined that every jot and tittle would be correct. Pricilla and Aquilla were teachers and they caught Apollos preaching doctrine that wasnt correct, they pulled him aside and corrected him in love. If a church doesnt have the office of a teacher within its ranks it is in danger of falling into error. (I Tim. 4:1-4)

Without a proper foundation, buildings don't stand, civilizations don't last, and Christians don't witness well. The foundation I am talking about is the foundation of basic Christian doctrine. Do you know what the Trinity is? How many natures does Jesus have, one or two? Are we saved by grace through faith or by grace and works? For what purpose did Jesus die? Did He rise from the dead? And If so, why? Perhaps you do not believe that knowing doctrine is important. Maybe you think that we should just tell people about Jesus and let them choose to accept Him or not. Unfortunately, witnessing isn't always that simple. Knowing what and why you believe is essential. For example, if someone says he wants to receive Jesus as Savior but doesn't believe that He is God in

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flesh, is that important? If someone says that the Trinity is not biblical, what would you say? Is the Holy Spirit a force or God? Doctrine is important because it defines who you put your trust in. It is not simply that you have faith, it's who you put your faith in. Evangelists are the warriors, the foot soldiers who take the gospel to the remote areas of the world. They advance the gospel and in so doing they battle directly with the hindrances of the gospel as well. There are many more warriors in an army than there are generals and so there must be many, many evangelists in the church. Evangelists wear the Shoes of Peace because they bring news of Peace to a world that suffers in strife and turmoil. Every one of the other 5-Fold Ministers MUST do the WORK of the Evangelist, because soul-winning is EVERY ministers duty! Too many of our churches have lost sight of the office of Evangelist and have distorted their purpose by calling Revivalist Evangelist, there is difference by a mile. An Evangelist is a SOULWINNER first and foremost, they go into the streets, prisons, hospitals, and mission fields. Many of the people we call evangelist are preaching to people already saved. A revivalist preaches to people already saved to inspire and fire them up, this really more of the ministry of the Prophet, an Evangelist bottom line is REACHING THE LOST and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The motto of an Evangelist could be a quote from Paul, Woe unto me if I preach not the Gospel!

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Pastors nurture the flock and comfort them. They build up the sheep in the most holy faith. They tend to the wounded and the sick and have skills for healing. The pastor leads the healthy sheep into good pastures so they will eat well and be strong. And, the pastor looks for the sheep who have wandered away so that none will be lost. Pastors carry the Shield of Faith. Often a warrior was protected by an armor bearer who held his shield for him. In the same way, pastors will shield those who need it until they are strong again. They hover over their flock to build them and strengthen them in the faith. The pastor is not distant from the sheep. The pastor is next to them and among them, holding the Shield in order to deflect the flaming arrows, the weapons, the wild beasts that would destroy. The pastor works one on one so that his sheep will prosper. A flock that prospers is a direct credit to the shepherd who oversees them. A Pastor has to love the sheep, too often people choose Pastors because they can preach well, but eloquence is not the earmark of a great Pastor, it is LOVE. Pastors have to care for those that are hurting and broken, and at the same time be open to have the other 4 ministry offices SHARE in the ministry, I think too often it has been supposed that the office of Pastor is the most important office, but they all are equally important. A Pastor needs an Evangelist to bring souls into a place where they can be nurtured and fed the sincere milk of the Word of God.

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Chapter Three JESUS EXAMPLE

Help people understand Jesus' role as a preacher. Communicate biblical passages that describe Jesus as a preacher and tell what He preached. Ground your own preaching firmly in Jesus' preaching model - proclaiming the good news of His kingdom in terms that your listeners can understand. Don't preach about people as much as you preach about God - who He is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do. Confront pluralism. Don't be afraid to confront the error that all religions are essentially the same with biblical truth. Proclaim that eternal salvation can only be found in Christ alone, knowing that it's not intolerant, but loving, because you care enough not to let people be misled. Emphasize that God wants everyone to be saved and has made it possible for anyone to come to Him through Christ. Affirm that no human effort to earn salvation (as other religions encourage) will ever be enough to merit it, because sinful humans cannot justify themselves before a holy God. Declare boldly that the power of salvation lies in God's work - His loving gift to humans - rather than any human effort. When speaking with people of other faiths about Christianity, treat them with dignity and respect while showing humility and genuine love so their hearts will be open to hear what you have to say.

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Let the Bible drive your sermons. Make the Bible your primary source for sermon texts; don't let other sources (like news stories or psychological theories) dominate the sermon. When using other sources, filter them through the Bible passages you use so Scripture can work its unique power. Explore the Bible's meaning, seek to understand its concerns and gain its perspective, and try to get your audience to apply its truths to their lives. Get your sermon's main idea from the Biblical text you choose. Develop the idea in your sermon the way it is developed in Scripture. Reflect the purpose of the passage in your sermon, aligning your words with the biblical writer's purpose. Also make sure that your sermon reflects the mood of the Scripture you use. Connect with your congregation. Strive to demonstrate the Bible's relevance to your audience. Help your listeners adjust to the biblical message without adjusting the message to them. Help your audience understand the sermon's claims, the evidence to support those claims, and how they might best receive the sermon's message. Think through how you would like your listeners to respond to your sermon and apply its message to their lives. Keep that goal in mind as you write your sermon. Structure your sermon well. Seek to understand the biblical writer's flow of thought for the passages you're using in your sermon. Retain his natural progression of ideas rather than rearranging them into an arbitrary list of points. Put the sermon's message in a nutshell that succinctly and easily conveys a central truth your listeners can take away with

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them. Connect the sermon's points to your audience members' everyday lives so they can see how its message applies to them. Capture your audience's attention. Realize that many people today are biblically illiterate, so don't assume that they have any prior knowledge of the stories and characters you mention in your sermons. Explain the context of what you say. But rest assured that today's people are similar to the ancient people of the Bible in that they have the same basic needs and desires. Respect personality differences, but know that every human being on the planet needs Christ. Listen carefully to people when they share their thoughts and feelings with you. Help your audience members feel their need for Christ by showing them how their unique needs and desires can only be truly fulfilled in Him. Before writing each sermon, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in prayer so you'll know what specific goals God wants you to accomplish with it. When you speak, be authentic. Preach to the whole church. Don't worry about trying to focus on particular groups of people (men, women, singles, spouses, young people, the elderly, etc.) with different sermons. Realize that every person in your church is looking for the same type of message - one that acknowledges sin and calls for conversion, describes the realities of people's struggles, and motivates brothers and sisters in Christ to love God and each other. Offer hope for hurting people. While being careful not to let your preaching become merely a group therapy session of selfhelp techniques, strive to reach out to people who need counsel
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and healing. Identify the critical problem the sermon will address (such as the pain of divorce). Speak in a conversational style. Help your audiences recognize and take ownership of the problem. Diagnose the problem. Then outline a plan to either prevent or treat the problem. Adapt your sermon to the postmodern mind. Seek to understand postmodern people so you can speak their language. Make your preaching personal, holistic, and interactive. Be open, honest, and vulnerable to establish intimacy with your listeners. Help your audience get to know you, respect you, and like you so they'll open their hearts and minds to your message. Give people opportunities to share their personal testimonies in your worship services.

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Ministering Like Jesus - Key to Church Growth 38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. 39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. Where did Jesus and His disciples preach? a) In Synagogues b) In Cities and Villages (Matt. 9:35) c) Outdoors (John 8:1 / Matt. 5:2 / Luke 8:1) d) Everywhere (Mark 16:20) 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (Mark 16) How did they preach? a) Under the anointing (Luke 4:18 and Acts 1:8) b) With authority - 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matt. 7) c) With Compassion (Mark 6:34) d) Without Fear

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29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. 30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. 31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. Church Growth! Why dont we experience it ? 1. The Aquarium Syndrome - Churches have become aquariums, or holding pens for Christians. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. (Luke 5) 2. Not Realizing Our Potential 29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were
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assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4) 3. The Violent Take it by FORCE! Time to get in the devil's face. 48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. (I Sam. 17) 4. Evangelism doesnt work from pulpits very well. Works better in the street. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matt. 28) 5. Pentecostal Prayer and Praise 7 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1) 32 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4)
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6. Must have a STRATEGIC PLAN 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. 7. Discipleship vs. Membership - Disciples beget disciples, members come once a week. 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

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Jesus Evangelised with a Commitment Philosophy The following chart shows how Jesus evangelised people at the various levels of commitment.

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Chapter Four The Lords Supper

A study of the Lords Supper is a soul-stirring experience because of the depth of meaning that it portrays. It was during the age-old celebration of the Passover on the eve of His death that He instituted a new significant fellowship meal that we observe to this day, and is the highest expression of Christian worship. It is an acted out sermon, remembering our Lords death and resurrection, and looking to the future for His return in glory. The Passover was the most sacred feast of the Jewish religious year. It commemorated the final plague on Egypt when the firstborn of the Egyptians died and the Israelites were spared because of the blood of a lamb was sprinkled on their doorposts. The lamb then was roasted and eaten with unleavened bread. Gods command was that throughout the generations to come the feast would be celebrated. The story is recorded in Exodus 12. During the celebration, Jesus and the disciples sang together one or more of the Hallel Psalms (Psalms 111 118). Jesus, taking a loaf of bread, gave thanks to God. As He broke it and gave it to them, He said, Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you. In the same way He took the cup, and when He had supped and gave the cup to them, they drank of it. He said, This cup is the New Covenant in My blood; do this whenever you drink of it in remembrance of Me. He concluded the feast by singing a hymn and they went out into the night to the Mount of Olives. It was

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there that Jesus was betrayed, as predicted, by Judas. The following day He was crucified. The accounts of the Lords Supper are found in the Gospels in Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:17-25, Luke 22:7-22, and John 13:21-30. The Apostle Paul wrote concerning the Lords Supper by divine revelation in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29. (This was because Paul was not, of course, in the upper room at its institution.) Paul includes a statement not found in the Gospels: Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself (11:27-29). We may ask what it means to partake of the bread and the cup in an unworthy manner. It may mean to disregard the true meaning of the bread and cup, and forgetting the tremendous price our Savior paid for our salvation. Or it may mean to allow the ceremony to become a dead and formal ritual, or to come to the Table with unconfessed sin. In keeping with Pauls instruction, each should examine himself before eating of the bread and drinking of the cup so as to heed the warning. Another statement Paul made that is not included in the Gospels is For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lords death until He comes (11:26). This places a time limit on the ceremony until our Lords return. From these brief accounts we learn how Jesus used two of the frailest of elements as symbols of His body and blood, and initiated them to be a monument to His death. It was not a monument of carved marble or molded brass, but of bread and grape juice. He declared that the bread spoke of His body which would be broken there was not a broken bone, but His body was so badly broken that it was hardly recognizable (Psalm 22:12-17, Isaiah 53:4-7). The
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grape juice spoke of His blood, indicating the terrible death He would soon experience. He, the perfect Son of God, became the fulfillment of the countless Old Testament prophecies concerning a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15, Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, etc.) When He said, This do in remembrance of Me, indicated this was a ceremony that must be continued in the future. It indicated also that the Passover, which required the death of a lamb and looked forward to the coming of the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world, was now obsolete. The New Covenant took its place when Christ, the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), was sacrificed (Hebrews 8:8-13). The sacrificial system was no longer needed (Hebrews 9:25-28).

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Chapter Five BAPTISM

One of the most nagging questions in Christianity is whether or not baptism is necessary for salvation. The answer is a simple, "No." But you might ask, "If the answer is no, then why are there verses that say things like . . .baptism that now saves you . . . (1 Pet. 3:21, NIV) and . . . Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins . . ." (Acts 2:38, NIV)? This is an honest question and it needs a competent answer. But, before I tackle this I need to lay a foundation of proper theology, then I'll address some of those verses that are commonly used to support the idea that baptism is necessary for salvation. God Works Covenantally First, you need to understand that God works covenantally. A covenant is a pact or agreement between two or more parties. The New Testament and Old Testaments are New and Old Covenants. The word "testament" comes from the Latin testamentum which means covenant. So, the Bible is a covenant document. If you don't understand covenant you cannot understand, in totality, the issue of baptism because baptism is a covenant sign. If you don't think that God works covenantally then look at Heb 13:20 which says, "May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep" (NIV). The Eternal Covenant is the covenant between the Father and the Son before the creation of the world, whereby the Father would give to the Son those whom the Father had chosen. That is why Jesus says things like, "All that the Father gives me
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will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37, NIV). And, "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day" (John 6:39, NIV). And, "I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours" (John 17:9, NIV). If you fail to understand that God works covenantally and that He uses signs as manifestations of his covenants (rainbow, circumcision, communion, etc.) then you will not be able to understand where baptism fits in God's covenant system. Second, you need to know what baptism is. It is an outward representation of an inward reality. For example, it represents the reality of the inward washing of Christ's blood upon the soul. That is why it is used in different ways. It is said to represent the death of the person (Rom. 6:3-5), the union of that person with Christ (Gal. 3:27), the cleansing of that person's sins (Acts 22:16), the identification with the one "baptized into" as when the Israelites were baptized into Moses (1 Cor. 10:2), and being united in one church (1 Cor. 12:13). Also, baptism is one of the signs and seals of the Covenant of Grace that was instituted by Jesus. It is in this sense a sacrament. A sacrament is a visible manifestation of something spoken. It is also said to be a visible sign of an inward grace. For example, the communion elements of bread and wine are called the sacrament of communion. When we take communion we are partaking of the sacrament. The Covenant of Grace is the covenant between God and Man where God promises to Man eternal life. It is based upon the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the condition is faith in Jesus Christ. As the Communion Supper replaced Passover, baptism, in like manner, replaces circumcision. "They represent the same spiritual blessings that were symbolized by circumcision and Passover in the old dispensation" (Berkhoff, Lewis, Systematic Theology, 1988, p. 620.). Circumcision was the initiatory rite into the Abrahamic covenant; it did not save. A covenant is a pact or agreement between two or more parties and that is exactly what the Abrahamic covenant was. God said to
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Abraham, "I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you" (Genesis 17:7, NIV). God later instructed Abraham to circumcise not only every adult male, but also 8 day old male infants as a sign of the covenant (Gen. 17:9-13). If the children were not circumcised, they were not considered to be under the promissory Abrahamic covenant. This is why Moses' wife circumcised her son and threw the foreskin at Moses' feet. (Ex. 4:24-25). She knew the importance of the covenant between God and her children. But at the same time we must understand that circumcision did not guarantee salvation to all who received it. It was a rite meant only for the people of God, who were born into the family of God (who were then the Jews). An important question here is how is it possible for an infant to be entered into a covenant with God. There could be a lot of answers given but the point remains: it was done; infants were entered into a covenant relationship with God -- through their parents. In the New Testament, circumcision is mentioned many times. But with respect to this topic it is specifically mentioned in Col. 2:11-12: "In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead" (NIV). In these verses, baptism and circumcision are related. Baptism replaces the Old Testament circumcision because 1) there was a New Covenant in the communion supper (Luke 22:20), and 2) in circumcision there was the shedding of blood but in baptism no blood is shed. This is because the blood of Christ has been shed. If you understand that baptism is a covenant sign, then you can see that it is a representation of the reality of Christ circumcising our hearts (Rom. 2:29; Col. 2:11-12). It is our outward proclamation of the inward spiritual blessing of regeneration. It comes after faith which is a gift of God (Rom. 12:3) and the work of God (John 6:28).
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Third, the Bible says that it is the gospel that saves. "By this gospel you are saved..." (1 Cor. 15:2). Also, Rom. 1:16 says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." What is the Gospel? It is clearly the gospel that saves us. But what exactly is the gospel? That too is revealed to us in the Bible. It is found in 1 Cor. 15:1-4: "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." The gospel is defined as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for our sins. Baptism is not mentioned here. Paul said that he came to preach the gospel, not to baptize: "I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel..." (1 Cor. 1:14-17). If baptism is necessary for salvation then why did Paul downplay it and even exclude it from the description of what is required for salvation? It is because baptism isn't necessary for salvation. Additionally, in Acts, Peter was preaching the gospel, people got saved, and then they were baptized. Acts 10:44-46 says, "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with

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water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.' So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days" (NIV). These people were saved. The gift of the Holy Spirit was on the Gentiles and they were speaking in tongues. This is significant because tongues is a gift given to believers, see 1 Cor. 14:1-5. Also, unbelievers don't praise God. They can't because praise to the true God is a deep spiritual matter that is foreign to the unsaved (1 Cor. 2:14). Therefore, the ones in Acts 10 who are speaking in tongues and praising God are definitely saved and they are saved before they are baptized. This simply isn't an exception. It is a reality.
Let's Suppose... Another way of making this clear is to use an illustration. Let's suppose that a person, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), believed in Jesus as his savior (Rom. 10:9-10; Titus 2:13), and has received Christ (John 1:12) as Savior. Is that person saved? Of course he is. Let's further suppose that this person confesses his sinfulness, cries out in repentance to the Lord, and receives Jesus as Savior and then walks across the street to get baptized at a local church. In the middle of the road he gets hit by a car and is killed. Does he go to heaven or hell? If he goes to heaven then baptism isn't necessary for salvation. If He goes to hell, then trusting in Jesus, by faith, isn't enough for salvation. Doesn't that go against the Scriptures that say that salvation is a free gift (Rom. 6:23) received by faith (Eph. 2:8-9)? Saying that baptism is necessary for salvation is dangerous because it is saying that there is something we must do to complete salvation. That is wrong! See Gal. 2:21; 5:4. All right, so this sounds reasonable. But still, what about those verses that seem to say that baptism is part of salvation? I'll address those now. But, because this subject can become quite lengthy, in fact,

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sufficient for a book in itself, I'll only address a few verses and then only briefly.

Baptism Verses John 3:5, "Jesus answered, I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.'" Some say that water here means baptism. But that is unlikely since Christian baptism hadn't yet been instituted. If this verse did mean baptism, then the only kind that it could have been at that point was the baptism of repentance administered by John the Baptist (Mark 1:4). If that is so, then baptism isn't necessary for salvation because the baptism of repentance is no longer practiced. It is my opinion that the water spoken of here means the water of the womb referring to the natural birth process. Jesus said in verse three that Nicodemus needed to be born "again." This meant that he had been born once--through his mother. Nicodemus responds with a statement about how he can't enter again into his mother's womb to be born. Then Jesus says that he must be born of water and the Spirit. Then in verse 6 He says that "flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.." The context seems to be discussing the contrast between the natural and the spiritual birth. Water, therefore, could easily be interpreted there to mean the natural birth process. I would like to add that there are scholars who agree with the position and some who do not. Some believe that the water refers to the Word of God, the Bible, and others claim it means the Holy Spirit. You decide for yourself. Acts 2:38, "Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." This verse is a tough one. It seems to say that baptism is part of
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salvation. But we know, from other scriptures that it isn't, lest there be a contradiction. What is going on here is simply that repentance and forgiveness of sins are connected. In the Greek, "repent" is in the plural and so is "your" of "your sins." They are meant to be understood as being related to each other. It is like saying, "All of you repent, each of you get baptized, and all of you will receive forgiveness." Repentance is a mark of salvation because it is granted by God (2 Tim. 2:25) and is given to believers only. In this context, only the regenerated, repentant person is to be baptized. Baptism is the manifestation of the repentance, that gift from God, that is the sign of the circumcised heart. That is why it says, repent and get baptized. 1 Pet. 3:21, "and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also -- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." This is the only verse that says that baptism saves. But, the NIV translation of the verse is unfortunate. A better translation is found in the NASB which says, "and corresponding to that, baptism now saves you." The key word in this section is the Greek antitupon. It means "copy," "type," corresponding to," "a thing resembling another," "its counterpart," etc. Baptism is a representation, a copy, a type of something else. The question is "Of what is it a type?", or "Baptism corresponds to what?". The answer is found in the previous verse, verse 20: "who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you" (NASB). What does baptism correspond to? Is it the flood? Or, is it the ark? What was it that saved Noah and his family? Was it the water or the ark? Obviously, it was the Ark. Noah built and entered the ark by faith and was saved (Heb. 11:7). The flood waters destroyed the ungodly. Peter, when referring to the flood waters, refers to them as the means of
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destruction of the ungodly (2 Pet. 2:5; 3:6). It was the Ark that saved. Noah entered the ark by faith. Baptism here, in my opinion, refers to the Ark, not the waters. That is why the rest of the verse says, "not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God" which is consistent with what Paul said in Col. 2:11-12 where He equates baptism with being circumcised of heart. Acts 22:16, "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name." Is the washing away of sins done by baptism, the representation of the circumcised heart (Col. 2:11-12) which means you are already saved, or is it by the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:14; Rom. 5:9; Eph. 1:7)? Obviously it is the blood of Jesus and the washing here refers to the calling on Jesus' name. Rom. 6:4, "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." Because the believer is so closely united to Christ it is said that the symbol of baptism is our death, burial, and resurrection. Obviously we did not die--unless, of course, it is a figurative usage. Titus 3:5, "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit." The washing of rebirth can only be that washing of the blood of Christ that cleanses us. It is not the symbol that saves, but the reality. The reality is the blood of Christ. Gal. 3:27, "for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." This is speaking of the believer's union with Christ. It is an identification with, a joining to, a proclamation of loyalty to, etc. In 1 Cor. 10:2 the Israelites were baptized into Moses. That means they were
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closely identified with him and his purpose. Baptism is not necessary for salvation. It is the initiatory sign and seal into the covenant of grace. As circumcision referred to the cutting away of sin and to a change of heart (Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Jer. 4:4; 9:25,26; Ez. 44:7,9) baptism refers to the washing away of sin (Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:21; Tit. 3:5) and to spiritual renewal (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:11-12). The circumcision of the heart is signified by the circumcision of the flesh, that is, baptism (Col. 2:11-12). One last thought: If someone maintains that baptism is necessary for salvation, is he adding a work, his own, to the finished work of Christ? If the answer is yes, then that person would be in terrible risk of not being saved. If the answer is no, then why is baptism maintained as being necessary the same way as the Jews maintained that works were necessary? Should we baptized "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" or "in the name of Jesus"? The proper form of baptism is in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as Jesus designated in Matt. 28:19, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." The clear command of Jesus is to baptize this way. But, if that is so, then why do we see so many instances in the New Testament where people were baptized "in Jesus' name"?

Acts 2:38, "And Peter said to them, Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 10:48, "And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days." Acts 19:5, "And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."

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The reason they were baptizing "in the name of Jesus" is not because it was a formula, but because the phrase, "in the name of" means "in the authority of. We can see proof of this in Acts 4:7-10,

"And when they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, 'By what power, or in what name, have you done this?' 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, 'Rulers and elders of the people, 9 if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10 let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the deadby this name this man stands here before you in good health.'"

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CHAPTER SIX Evangelism


Why Should We Witness? Have you ever asked yourself, "Why should I witness?" Several reasons should come to mind. First, because Jesus commands you to: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," (Matt. 28:19). Also, Ezek. 3:11 says, "and go to the exiles, to the sons of your people, and speak to them and tell them, whether they listen or not..." Second, you must witness because you love the unsaved (if you don't, you should). The most loving thing you can do is present the gospel in hopes of bringing others to salvation. Galatians 5:22 lists love as one of the fruit of the Spirit. It is love's nature to give. Take for example John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." Love gives, and if you have only a small portion of His love, you will want to give to others. Third, witness because it is a wise thing to do. Prov. 11:30 says, "...he who is wise wins souls." Now, I know I am not a very wise person. But, since God says I'll be wise to win souls, or try to, then great, let me at it. I want to be wise in God's sight. Fourth, witness to keep people out of hell. Hell is a terrifying place of utter anguish and eternal separation from God. Those who are not saved go there. Witnessing is an attempt to keep them out of hell. Fifth, witness because it pleases God and brings glory to His name. And finally, witness so they may find the love and fellowship of God (1 John 1:3), the greatest of all treasures. I can think of no greater gift than salvation. It frees the sinner from sin, it delivers the lost from damnation, and it reveals the true and living God to those who don't know Him. The angels of heaven rejoice greatly when anyone passes from
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judgment into salvation (Luke 15:10). Shouldn't we as Christians rejoice too? Shouldn't we weep over the lost? Shouldn't we ask the Lord of the field to send laborers into His harvest (Luke 10:2)? Certainly! The salvation of others is the goal of your efforts. The love of God is your motive. Is there anything greater? So, give. It is time for the church to MOBILIZE and go outside of the safety of the four walls! If we are as filled with the Holy Ghost as we say we are we should WITNESS!

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).
Without a proper foundation, buildings don't stand, civilizations don't last, and Christians don't witness well. The foundation I am talking about is the foundation of basic Christian doctrine. Do you know what the Trinity is? How many natures does Jesus have, one or two? Are we saved by grace through faith or by grace and works? For what purpose did Jesus die? Did He rise from the dead? If so, why? Perhaps you do not believe that knowing doctrine is important. Maybe you think that we should just tell people about Jesus and let them choose to accept Him or not. Unfortunately, witnessing isn't always that simple. Knowing what and why you believe is essential. For example, if someone says he wants to receive Jesus as Savior but doesn't believe that He is God in flesh, is that important? If someone says that the Trinity is not biblical, what would you say? Is the Holy Spirit a force or God? Doctrine is important because it defines who you put your trust in. It is not simply that you have faith, it's who you put your faith in. What are you called to do?

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You are called by God to accurately know His word, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). You are called by God to grow in your walk with Him, "Therefore, leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity..." (Heb. 6:1). You are called by God to search the scriptures daily, "Now these were more noble minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). How good is your foundation? Are you like the people in that church? Are you weak in your basic Christian foundation? Can you defend the Trinity biblically? Can you show someone in the Bible that Jesus is God in flesh or that salvation is by faith only and not by our works? Do you know if Jesus rose from the dead in the same body He died in or was it a different spiritual body? These questions are crucial and you need to have the correct answers. Do you? If your foundation is weak, then you need to strengthen it. Without a good foundation you won't be able to stand against a breeze of opposition. That is why you must first establish your foundation: you must witness in the strength of truth, not the weakness of error.

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Three Important Verses in Witnessing

"So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).
If you only study one page on this section on evangelism, this page is it. Why? Because here is where you will learn three of the most important verses of evangelism: Isaiah 55:11; Rom. 1:16; and John 12:32. Isaiah 55:11 Isaiah 55:11 says, "So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." God's word is unique. It was by His word (speech) that God created, "God said,
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Let there be light'; and there was light" (Gen. 1:3). "By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God..." (Heb. 11:3). Jesus is called the Word, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God... and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." (John 1:1,14). When Jesus was on the earth, He taught. He taught with words and His words had a very strong effect on people. They angered some and broke others. But when Jesus spoke, things happened. Jesus forgave sins by speaking, "And seeing their faith, He said, Friend, your sins are forgiven you'" (Luke 5:20). He raised the dead by speaking, "Lazarus, come forth" (John 11:43). He calmed the wind and sea with words, "Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm" (Matt. 8:26). He cast out demons by speech, "And He said to them, Begone!' And they came out..." (Matt. 8:32). He healed by speech, "And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, I am willing; be cleansed.' And immediately his leprosy was cleansed" (Matt. 8:3,13). God's words are powerful. The Word (the Bible) is described as having many qualities:

"All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for It is teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in inspired: righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16).
It is "The sum of Thy word is truth" (Psalm 119:151). truth:

"...If you abide in My word, then you are truly It makes disciples of mine; and you shall know the truth, and free: the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
It "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the produces word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17) faith: It judges: "For the word of God is living and active and sharper
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than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).
The Word of God is a mighty weapon. That is why you should memorize! Romans 1:16 Rom. 1:16, "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." What is the Gospel? 1 Cor. 15:1-4 says it is the sacrificial death and physical resurrection of Jesus for sins. It is the powerful message of salvation to sinners. If you know that the Word of God will accomplish what God wants it to and if you know that the gospel has power to save, then it should ease your mind to know that in witnessing you are using two very powerful weapons: God's Word and God's Gospel. The Word of God is the Bible. The Gospel of God is His revelation or redemption.

John 12:32 John 12:32, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." Here Jesus speaks specifically about His crucifixion. It is He who draws to Himself all who are to be saved. When you present the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4), the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus for sins, Jesus draws the sinner to Himself. He does the work, not you. As a Christian, you are to witness with truth, honesty, and integrity. As the Lord provides the opportunity, you should respond in a humble and gentle spirit (2 Tim. 2:24). And in that, you should point people to Jesus.

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It is He alone who saves. If you know that God's Word will accomplish what God desires, that the gospel is powerful to save, and that it is Jesus who draws all men to Himself, then you should realize that the responsibility of salvation does not rest on you, but on God. You are the teacher, the deliverer of good news. "How shall they believe in Him who they have not heard?" (Rom. 10:14). You help them hear! These three verses should help you to gain confidence. You witness; God saves. You plant the seeds; God waters. He uses you. It is His Word that accomplishes salvation. It is His gospel that is powerful. It is His Son Jesus who draws. You witness in power when you witness with the Word of God. Salvation is God's work

"Salvation belongs to the Lord" (Psalm 3:8).


When someone appeals to God and seeks forgiveness in Jesus, his sins are removed, he is cleansed, his relationship with God is restored, and he is made a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). All of this is the work of God, not man. The Bible has a phrase that describes the non-Christian. It is 'natural man'. In 1 Cor. 2:14 Paul says, "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." Our human condition can be compared to a drop of poison in a glass of water: all the water is poisoned but it is not as bad as it could be. The water is incapable of being good. We, too, are incapable of really being good. When Jesus' disciples asked Him who can be saved, He replied, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26). That is why salvation rests in God alone by grace through faith (Eph. 2:850

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9).

About now you are probably wondering what this has to do with witnessing. Why do you need to know all this? I am glad you asked. It is helpful to know because you must realize it is God who saves people. Specifically, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts the sinner of sin -- not you. "And He [the Holy Spirit], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment" (John 16:8). Remember, the gospel is preached after sin is made known. Because the sinner cannot come to God on his own, he must be convicted of his sin, and thus be made aware of his need for salvation. The conviction of sin is beyond our control. It is the work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). Prayer is essential in witnessing It is, then, vital that you pray and request God to convict as well as save. Prayer is an essential part of witnessing. When you witness you must pray. Then you are free to spread the gospel as effectively as you want and to trust God to give the increase (1 Cor. 3:6-7). Ask Him to send the Holy Spirit; ask Him to convict the world of sin. The work of the Holy Spirit is essential in salvation. The Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit works in two types of people during witnessing: the saved and the unsaved. In the saved, He dwells within (Rom. 8:11), teaches (John 14:26), anoints (1 John 2:27), guides (John 16:13), and sanctifies (1 Pet. 1:2). Without the Holy Spirit we would be like ships without rudders, unable to live as Christians and certainly unable to witness effectively. In the unsaved, He convicts of sin (John 16:8). Sinners come to Jesus to have their sins cleansed. They do this after they discover their guilt before God. This too is the work of the Holy Spirit. Since the natural man is separated from God because of his sin (Isaiah 59:2), the Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures (that you quote) to convict him of his sinfulness, convince him of his need for salvation, and
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convert him through the Word. When a natural man (or woman) is aware of his sinful condition then the gospel message of deliverance from sin is preached and becomes effectual.

How Do I Get Tax-Exempt Status?

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What is 501(c)(3) Church leaders are often confused by their friends (or their Attorney's), when they are told they must "Get" a 501(c)(3). What they mean to say is, "Do you have a favorable "Ruling Letter" from the IRS." When a church chooses to file the IRS Form 1023, they will receive this letter. The Church must meet both the organizational and operational test. Whereas Section 501(c)(3) of the US Tax Code (and its various sub sections) describe the various organizations exempt from paying taxes, and requires specific (organizational) IRS terminology written in their Articles of Incorporation. The tax code does not define a "church." The IRS has been careful not to ever officially in any way endorse any definition of "church," or any list of criteria. The Courts have adopted a 14 point (operational) test as a matter of common law. The IRS has implicitly followed this test without ever officially adopting it. A church would have to "substantially" meet this test, (but would not have to meet every one of the 14 points) to be tax exempt. The 14 points are listed below. Deductibility of contributions is determined under sections 509 and 170. Section 508 speaks to reporting requirements, and 508(a) requires all new non-profit organizations to file Form 1023 for recognition of exempt status within 15 months of their organization. However - 508(c) exempts churches from the requirement of filing the IRS Form 1023. Is A Church Subject To Federal Income Tax Without An Exempt Ruling Letter? NO! Churches are immune (exempt), as long as they meet the 1) organizational and 2) operational test found in the Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3), that is "organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes," (and this "purpose" must be so stated in the churches Articles of Incorporation), and the 14 common law criteria. "IRS News Release 1930" issued to IRS agents, lists guidelines for determining whether an organization is a church. An organization would
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have to "substantially" meet this test, but not all of the 14 points have to be present. Following is the 14 point list: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. A distinct legal existence. A recognized creed and form of worship. A definite and distinct ecclesiastical government. A formal code of doctrine and discipline. A distinct religious history. A membership not associated with any other church or denomination. 7. A complete organization of ordained ministers ministering to their congregations. 8. Ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of study. 9. A literature of its own. 10. An established place of worship. 11. Regular congregation. 12. Regular religious services. 13. Sunday School for the religious instruction of the young. 14. School for the preparation of its ministers. If the church is structured and functioning according to the above IT IS a 501(c)(3). For more specific information, contact an Attorney or C.P.A., who fully understands these issues. THE PURPOSE OF THE 14 POINT CRITERIA The IRS uses this criteria to screen out the phony "house church," often designed as a means of tax evasion a money laundry scheme. This statement is not, in any wise, meant to cast aversion on the many great outreaches of todays churches, which meet in the homes of their members, or for that matter are in the beginning stages of a new church. But situations do exist where "churches" were established by anti-tax activists for the sole purpose of avoiding taxation. Then having paid
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$25.00 for a sham Ministerial Credential from the Universal Church of the Whatever; incorporated as a "church;" invited all their friends and neighbors to join and donate their income in exchange for tax deductible receipts. Having purchased a hunting lodge or duck pond for their "religious retreat," they now pose as a tax exempt "religious organization." They will likely not "measure up," when screened against the required "purposes" clause of the Articles of Incorporation, and the above 14 point list. It is also worth noting, that it is not only the Church that is tax exempt but the Synagogue, Wicca (organized witchcraft), and all the other "Religious Organizations," who deny Jesus as the Christ, are also exempt. So you see it is not a "church" issue, it is a "religious" issue. You can easily determine this fact for yourself by looking at the instruction sheet on how to fill out this Form. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1023.pdf Look carefully on the first page of the instruction sheet, lower right hand side. See: PURPOSE OF FORM. - Below that read: 1. "Completed form 1023 is required for section 501 (c)(3), unless it meets one of the exemptions in 2 below:" 2. "Organizations not required to file Form 1023, - The following types of organizations may be considered tax-exempt under section 501 (c)(3), even if they do not file Form 1023: 1. Churches, including synagogues, temples and Mosques

2. Integrated auxiliaries of churches and conventions or associations of churches .... "

Note The author has underlined the points above for emphasis only.

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SUMMARY: As shown in the IRS own printed word the church is exempt of all taxes, even if they do not file the Form 1023. The church is automatically 501(c)(3).

CONCLUSION

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There is a need for unity amongst believers; this is difficult because each of the groups I mentioned has its good points and strengths, yet they are all flawed in some way. The Word of God has no flaws, and this is where we must meet. I was raised in the Baptist church, I went to a Lutheran School (middle school), I have had fellowship with different groups within the military chapel system, and I worked with foreign missionaries in Korea for 2 years. I helped start the first Church of God in Christ in Korea. During Operation Desert Storm I lead 2 Muslims to Christ with an Assembly of God brother and an apostolic brother. (This was not easy but it happened) I have preached in Honduras, Turkey, and Somalia. Now why am I sharing all of this? Everywhere I went God teamed me up with people from nearly every group I mentionedAND IT WORKED! It worked because in the military we didnt have the luxury of always finding Christians just like you. My first assignment overseas I was teamed up with a Southern Baptist Caucasian brother. He was from Forsythe County, Georgia. This is one of the most racist areas in America, yet we worked together like brothers. The demonic walls of separation in the Protestant church MUST come down. How can we preach to the Catholic about the mote in his eye, while we the Protestants have a beam in our own? The saints of God must gather at the foot of the cross of Jesus. The Word of God must be all of our training manuals. Salvation by grace through faith is what caused Martin Luther to start the first reformation; we have departed from this in a great way. The doctrine of salvation through grace and faith has to be the preeminent prime directive for the church. Paul said it best in Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and to the Gentile. We must rally around the Gospel of Christ as our anthem and battle cry. Paul also said, Woe unto me if I preach not the Gospel. What is the Gospel? It isnt politics, it isnt prosperity, and it isnt divine healing or speaking in tongues. These things have their place but they cannot replace the simplicity of the Gospel. Jesus came to save the world! Salvation is a free
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gift that is for all that desire it. This is what Martin Luther nearly died to protect. Paul did die to protect this doctrine! All of the disciples died for this message of hope in Christ. Let us not stain their memory by dividing over things that dont impact salvation.

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