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Catholic Priests also come to a saving faith in Christ Jesus!

Richard Bennett

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“Witnessing...That's not my calling...”

As a minister I am constantly battling this ignorant statement of lazy or uneasy Christians.  For several generations now, many church leaders and teachers while impressing the need for regular church attendance have failed to explain why we attend church.  Churches, you see, are NOT hospitals for the sick and dying.  They are not fellowship areas for social functions.  They are NOT recreation halls, entertainment facilities.  In other words, churches are to be military forward base camps NOT vacation campgrounds!  A fitting analogy presented by Brother Chesley Floyd in a revival was that of the comparison of a cruise ship to a battleship.  The church is a BATTLESHIP not a cruise ship.  It was not designed or established for any other purpose than offensive movement against the adversary's strongholds.  It was established by God to spread the Gospel. 

Many Christians now labor...correction fail to labor in the fields of the harvest because they are too busy living it up in the comfort of a luxury local cruise ship...I mean church.  Instead of their church being a sanctuary for battle hardened soldiers, a training camp for new recruits and a soul saving station, it is a social club.  That may sound harsh but if your church is not reaching out to the lost and the needy, you are nothing but a social club!  Any organization that is not spreading the gospel is a social or civil organization by definition.  Any organization that spreads the Gospel of the Christ is, by definition, part of the Church.  Which do you attend?

James said in 1:27 of his epistle, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."  Jesus demonstrated in His parable that believers are directed, "And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled," Luke 14:23.  The word "compel" in English translates the meaning of the Greek word that meant to compel or to constrain them to come in in spite of their feelings of unworthiness.  There is nothing mentioned here about programs!  There is no call to entice or lure sinners into the church through recreation, parties, events, concerts, shows, films, etc.  The other gospel say "bid" them to come in to the feast.  We are certain that disciples that were fishermen knew the Greek words such as "lure" and "bait" and any other related to their trade.  They used none of these just "compel"! 

Further we have the great commission of our Lord to us all in Mark 16:15, "And he said unto them, 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.'"

And in Matthew 28:18-20, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, 'All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 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.'"

The very title of this tract relates to the nature of the most common argument that I have encountered.  It involves a misquotation of Paul from Ephesians 4:11, "he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers".  They claim that this clause of a sentence written by Paul is stating that there is a diversity of "gifts" of ministry to various Christians just as there is a diversity of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to each Christian.  They apply this clause of a sentence of Paul's to say that not all Christians are called upon to spread the Gospel.  Is it applicable to evangelism???

NO!  Why not?  In order to apply the clause to evangelism, we create a contradiction.  In order to say that some Christians are to "proclaim" (preach) the Gospel and others to teach and some to pastor, we have to say that Jesus was wrong in the Great Commission.  You see, in order to claim that not all of us are called upon to spread the Gospel everywhere, we must make this clause supercede what Jesus has commanded us to do.  It means that we are calling our God a LIAR!  If He said "go ye" and Paul said go "some" and Paul is right, then, Jesus, our God, is lying.  That can't be right just looking at it on its face.  Let's look then to the entire passage from Ephesians 4:10-15

"He (Jesus) that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ"

UHOH..."And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers"..OK SO FAR, but, why did He give them?  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. So, we see that Paul is not talking about evangelism AT ALL.  He is talking about the educational needs of the Church and its ministry.  He is saying that there are different men and women sent to do various jobs IN THE CHURCH to prepare the Church to fulfill the Great Commission.  How can you get this to say that we don't all have to spread the Gospel?  You can't.  In fact, the verse proves the opposite.  The Church congregations exist to disciple and edify the Christians in it so that the Christians can go out and sprea the true Gospel of the Christ with confidence and a sound doctrinal foundation.

Even the argument that you are sharing your faith and evangelizing at work and that is all you have to do to fulfill your commission fails.  The argument goes like this, "Oh I share my faith at work and that's good enough."  That is not enough.  How many of your coworkers have been saved through our on the job "ministry"?  Also, haven't you shared with all your coworkers by now?  If so, your ministry CANNOT be over because you are still here.  You are still breathing.  Breath is given you to spread the Gospel not to sin.  Therefore, we know that once we have reached all the people at work with the Gospel presentation, we must then turn to other places and other people to witness.  Coworkers are just part of the people.  Plus, read again the commission.  It refers to the WORLD not your coworkers, not just your family, not just your community.  Once you have reached everyone within your sphere of reach, you must then work to reach the rest of the world.

Now before you make excuses for not traveling to the missionary field, let me impugn your work of witnessing and my work and all the churches in America!  If you have reached everyone in just your town, with a clear presentation of the Gospel...WHY HAVEN'T YOU WITNESSED THE GREATEST REVIVAL IN YOUR TOWN???  If you have truly spread the Gospel just to your town ALONE, there should have been souls saved.  There should be a paradigm shift in your community.  God said His Word would NOT return void.  He said if He be lifted up He will draw ALL MEN unto Himself.  If one tenth of the people attending churches in this country were genuine Christians spreading the genuine Gospel to everyone in their city ALONE, we should see a major revival.  At the very least we should begin being persecuted by those who reject the Gospel and fear that if they do not stop us a revival will spread and their sins will be abated.

Let's stop a moment and make clear what I mean by a "clear presentation of the Gospel".  Christians seem to think that a passing comment about our Lord is enough to share the Gospel.  IT IS NOT.  Accepting a prayer request is not.  Giving credit to God for anything IS NOT.  Handing out a contemporary "Christian" music CD or a video of "The Passion" IS NOT a clear presentation of the Gospel of the Christ!!!  In order to present the Gospel clearly, you must first explain sin and the need for a Saviour.  Only then can you explain why it was that our Lord died on the cross.  Only then can you explain what salvation is and how it can be accepted.  If you have not mentioned sin and judgment, you have not declared the fullness of the Gospel unto salvation.  A clear presentation of the Gospel provides the basic information necessary for the person's heart to be convicted by the Holy Spirit through their conscience.  Paul said, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: " Rom 3:20-24.

There Paul shares the Gospel and explains why a clear presentation of the Gospel is necessary.  Through the explanation of the law comes the conviction that we are sinners and CANNOT earn our own salvation.  It must be bought.  Then, the sacrifice of Jesus makes full sense to the sinner.  This is a clear presentation of the Gospel of the Christ.  I do not wish to get long winded on how to witness or techniques.  I am trying to remind you of your calling and get you back in the war.  There are plenty of lessons and sites dedicated to witnessing.  Please, visit www.wayofthemaster.com for more lessons on witnessing.

Decide in your heart right now whether you are a true child of God.  Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" John 14:15.  This is the same God who said, "Go ye into all the world and preach (proclaim, cry out, publish, spread, tell) the Gospel to every creature."

MORE TO BE ADDED

© 2005

A Call to Fulfill your Commission Christians! 

REMEMBER: The work is not finished yet for even

Catholic Priests also come to a saving faith in Christ Jesus!

Richard Bennett