Skip to main content

An answer to the question

(If you don't know what the question is, read: An Important Question)

The answer that immediately sprung to mind was FOCUS.  If we want to see fruit from evangelism, we need to be focused on the gospel.

When I was at university there were some very big evangelical churches with very large numbers of students in attendance. These churches were growing because people were being saved. These churches ran Christianity Explored courses. They had regular evangelistic events. Moreover, they encouraged their members to be involved in personal evangelism. They preached expository sermons through books of the Bible which proclaimed Christ crucified from all the Scriptures. These churches were gospel focused.

We also had one of the country's biggest Christian Unions.  It too was very gospel focused. Our slogan, which appeared on all our posters and flyers was simply this: CICCU exists to make Jesus Christ known to students in Cambridge. We had gospel talks every week, as well as regular special evangelistic events in our colleges and faculties.  Our Bible Studies focused a lot on the importance of evangelism. Every year we had a big university-wide mission.  On Saturday nights at BT (Bible Teaching - CICCU was notorious for its acronyms) we had Christ-centred expository preaching through books of the Bible. At our prayer meetings, we prayed for evangelism. Hundreds of students hear the gospel each year through the faithful witness of CICCU and many are saved.  If CICCU is anything, it is focused on the gospel.

Unfortunately, it seems that Pentecostals are not always so focused. Rather we seem to be often quite easily distracted.  Not everyone, not always and not necessarily, but we do seem somewhat susceptible to that particular problem. I'm sure it plagues evangelicals as well; not every evangelical church is as gospel-focused as the big student churches in Cambridge. Yet Pentecostals seem to be particularly easily distracted. Often the distractions are good things in themselves, but the problem is that they keep our focus away from the gospel. Sometimes it's revival, Israel, intercession, the prophetic, spiritual warfare, or the end times; rightly understood, these are all good in themselves. The problem is when they take the place of the Cross and become our highest priorities. In that case they have become distractions.  A right focus on the Cross will allow everything else to take its proper place.

However, our biggest distraction can often be ourselves. When we become focused on personal blessings rather than the Cross, then we can have some major problems. As I wrote a few weeks ago, some pentecostals seem to understand the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as nothing more than a personal blessing. If we think like that, then it is no wonder we don't see the evangelistic fruit that should accompany the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. If the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is given in order that we might be powerful witnesses of the gospel, that means that it is not given primarily to bless us, but rather to bless others through us, by making the gospel known to them.  It should be something selfless, rather than selfish.

If we allow ourselves to forget about the link between the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and evangelism, then we won't see the evangelistic results. If we allow something other than the Cross, the Gospel, to be our focus and priority, then, as a logical consequence, our evangelism will suffer. If we want to see the fruit of evangelism, then lets keep our focus on the Cross.

Don't let personal blessing, fascinations with the miraculous, or desire for revival distract us from the Cross. After all, it is only through the Cross that we can be blessed, the miraculous testifies to the power of the Cross, and true revival can only flow from the Cross.  Let's not be distracted, whether by something bad or something good in itself. Let's keep our priorities straight and keep our focus on the Cross.