THE NEW TESTAMENT METHOD
OF LOCAL CHURCH EVANGELISM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, February 24, 2002


"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is: but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).

Matthew Henry tells us,

It is the will of Christ that his disciples should assemble togetherAnd it seems even in those times that there were some who forsook these assembliesThe communion of saints is a great help and privilege, and a good means of steadiness and perseverance; hereby their hearts and hands are mutually strengthened (comment on Hebrews 10:25).

Nothing is more important than the local New Testament church. "And so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." There is a significance here regarding the Second Coming of Christ. It is even more important to stress local church attendance as this age draws to a close and as we see the signs of Christ's coming, and realize that the day of His appearing draws near. We must not be led astray by thoughts that we don't need to be in church. That would be a great mistake.

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is: but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).

Tonight I want us to think about the importance of church attendance.

I. First, why you need the local church.

I am repeating some of the things I said this morning under this heading. I believe that you need to come to church for three basic reasons,

1. To cure your loneliness.

2. To hear the preaching.

3. To be equipped for the ministry.

You need to come to a church like this to cure your loneliness. Notice that I said, "A church like this." If you go to Catholic Mass it will not cure your loneliness because the people hardly speak and often don't even know each other. This is also true in many new-evangelical churches. But an old-fashioned Baptist church will cure your loneliness - if you get into the church all the way. In the Book of Acts we read, "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship" (Acts 2:42). The word "fellowship" there is the English translation of the Greek word "koinonia." It means "sharing, partnership, fellowship." It refers to the love that is expressed in a local New Testament church. That's why we say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church!"

The second reason you need to be in church is to hear the preaching of the gospel. Speaking to the local church at Corinth, Paul said, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (I Corinthians 2:2). He also mentioned "the gospel which I preached unto you" (I Corinthians 15:1). Paul preached the gospel of Christ in local churches, like the church at Corinth.

You need to come to church to hear the gospel and get saved. It often takes many sermons before a person is converted. If you miss a service, you may miss the very sermon that God would have used to convert you.

The third reason you need to be in church is to be equipped. The Bible tells us that the pastor and teachers in the church are given "For the perfecting [equipping] of the saints, for the work of the ministry" (Ephesians 4:12). The church is a school where you learn the Bible and learn how to work for Christ.

II. Second, how the local church evangelizes.

Now I want you to turn to Acts 16:5,

"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5).

The evangelism in the New Testament is local church evangelism. We are told that the churches "increased in number daily." The New Testament knows nothing of evangelism apart from the local church.

Today, largely as a result of Finney's wrong methods, evangelism is often divorced from the local church, or added as a mere appendage. People often make a superficial "decision" and then the churches try to follow up on them. Often the churches find that it is impossible to "follow up" and get these people to church.

But it was not this way in the Book of Acts. There the people were brought immediately into the church, so that the churches "increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5).

Now turn with me to Matthew 28:19-20,

"Go ye therefore, and teach [literally, make disciples of] 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 alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

These words of Christ make it clear that true evangelism makes disciples who are taught "to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20).

True evangelism must be local church evangelism, because it is only in the local New Testament church that such discipling and teaching takes place. In obedience to this command of Christ, the apostles preached and taught,

"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5).

Now turn to John 17:21,

"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."

Of course, we know that this does not apply to the ecumenical movement. It is a local church verse. Christ is telling us that when a local church has unity the world will believe that God has sent Him.

Now look at verse 23,

"I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me" (John 17:23).

When a local New Testament church has unity, the lost world then knows "that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." Do you see how important love and unity is in the local church? Revival comes in an atmosphere of unity, "that they may be one." So, for local church evangelism to be effective, lost people must come into a church where the Christians love each other intensely. Then the lost will believe "that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them" (John 17:23). We can tell lost people that God loves them, but they will not believe us until they see us loving each other. Then they will believe "that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them" (John 17:23).

Blest be the tie that binds Our hearts in Christian love,
The fellowship of kindred minds Is like to that above.

("Blest Be the Tie That Binds" by John Fawcett, 1740-1817).

Now turn to John, chapter one, verse 45,

"Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see" (John 1:45-46).

Philip said, "Come and see."

Now turn to John, chapter four, verse twenty-eight:

"The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" (John 4:28-29).

The woman said, "Come, see a man." Philip said, "Come and see." I believe that this is the way the early church did evangelism. They said, "Come and see," and people came by the hundreds to the local churches to hear the gospel.

"And the Lord added to the church [at Jerusalem] daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).

"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5).

Our church grows as people come in and see how much we love each other. We can say, "Come and see," and they will come and hear the gospel and be saved.

You know, our purpose in bringing you here tonight was so that you could hear the gospel. That's why we went out on the street, and into the malls, and brought you here. I hope you will feel the love we have for each other - and for you. I hope that you will turn from your sinful life-style and believe in Jesus.

Christ died on the Cross to pay for your sins. Christ rose literally and physically from the dead. Christ is alive in Heaven, at the right hand of God.

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

Dr. John Blanchard, a British preacher, tells this true story. The day before the September 11 terrorist attack, an airline passenger noticed a stewardess breaking up ice with a wine bottle. He told her he was concerned she might hurt herself and asked if there was another way of doing this. The stewardess was impressed with his concern for her, and this gave him an opportunity to tell her about salvation through Jesus. Later in the flight she told him that six other people had spoken to her about her need for Christ in the past few days. She asked, "What does God want from me?" He said, "Your life." And then he explained that she could be saved by trusting Christ. Less than twenty-four hours later she was on the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center. Was she saved? We will never know until we get to Heaven.

But what about you? That stewardess was a young person. It seemed that she had many years to live - but it was really her last day on earth. What if your life ended suddenly as hers did? Have your sins been washed away in the Blood of Christ? Are you sure of that?

(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon: John 17:21-23; 4:28-29.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Blest Be the Tie That Binds" by John Fawcett (1740-1817).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."




THE OUTLINE OF

THE NEW TESTAMENT METHOD
OF LOCAL CHURCH EVANGELISM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is: but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).

I.   Why you need the local church, Acts 2:42;
I Corinthians 2:2; I Corinthians 15:1; Ephesians 4:12;
Acts 16:5.

II.  How the local church evangelizes, Acts 16:5;
Matthew 28:19-20; John 17:21, 23; John 1:45-46;
John 4:28-29; Acts 2:47; Acts 4:12.