When last we met, I told of some of the adventures we had that week, galavanting through the country. However, this time, there was something in one of the classes that really stuck out to me recently. So here it is.
Evangelizing. Matthew 28:19-20, known as the Great Commission, tells us that we are to go and make disciples. The Gospels of Mark, Luke, and John echo this, and in Acts 1:8, Luke tells us of Jesus’ declaration, that we will be His witness in “Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (ESV). So Christ commanded us to evangelize. I’m sure most of us knew these passages and this command. It wasn’t these verses that stood out to me, but there lay the foundation for what I am going to say.
What stood out to me was not in our Reformed Evangelism class, but in a book Ethan and I were reading for the Christian Ministry class, a book titled The Christian Ministry: with An Inquiry into the Causes of its Inefficiency. This book is written mainly about the office of the minister, his responsibilities, things that can cause his preaching to not be productive, and sections about how he should build his sermons and preach them. Now, I have no plans of being a minister. I loathe speaking in front of people, and I’m terrible at it. I think the professor of my Intro to Communications class was being merciful to me when he passed me with a high grade. So when I started this book, I wasn’t very interested because I wasn’t going to be a pastor (also because it was hard to read at first, as it was written in 1829). I didn’t realize how applicable it was going to be for me.
The part of the book that really impacted me was in the fourth section: “The Public Work of the Christian Ministry”. This part focused on the actual preaching of Scripture: the preparation for composing and preaching sermons, how to preach God’s Law, the different aspects of preaching the Gospel according to Scripture, the types of preaching, and the spirit of preaching. The types of preaching, whether on specific topics or a whole book of the Bible, or whether it was written out or preached without notes, didn’t really mean that much to me but the rest of the section I realized I could apply to my own evangelism.
“The Scriptural preaching of the Gospel” and “The Spirit of Scriptural preaching” were very applicable, as they spoke about preaching the various doctrines, as well as the spirit and the attitude behind the preaching. Preaching in boldness (being unashamed), wisdom, plainness (making it clear to someone who wouldn’t understand the words we normally use), fervency (showing our passion and that it is important to us), diligence (not slacking off), singleness (solely for the glory of God), and love (love of God and love of others). I looked at these and thought to myself, “Wow. This book was a lot more applicable than I originally thought.” It’s true what they say: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Even if you don’t like an assigned reading, that doesn’t mean that you should just disregard it. There can still be beneficial knowledge that you might otherwise miss.
Philosophical thoughts from the American Mathematician,