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EVANGELISM
By Vernon Dunning

Luke 19:1-10, "And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."

I wish again to focus attention on evangelism, which is the activity of Christians announcing the message of the good news of the gospel of Christ to save mankind from sin. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave us a great job to perform. It is called the great commission, teaching the world how the power of God can save man from his sins through the sacrifice of Christ. Matt. 28:18-20 tells us, "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 alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Christians must understand that association, interaction, and communication with sinners is necessary to bring them the message of the good news of Jesus Christ. Matt. 9:9-13 tells us, "And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

In Luke 19:7 we learned when the Jews, saw Jesus went to be a guest with a man that was a sinner, they murmured and made complaint. But they did not understand that Jesus was not associating with him to be likened to the character of the sinful practice of many publicans of the day, but He was trying to save Zacchaeus and his house as shown in Luke 19:10. We may associate with sinners but we must not join them... The Bible teaches us we are not to be united with unbelievers and their sins. 2 Cor. 6:14-18 relates, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

It is implied in the text that I read at the beginning that Jesus taught Zacchaeus that he must repent of his sins to obtain salvation. Repentance is being sorrowful of our sins which brings about a change of action in regard to sin. Zacchaeus expressed his penitent heart over his sins by giving half of his goods to the poor, and restoring anyone he wronged in his profession fourfold. We must focus our goals in our lives at finding ways that will effectively communicate in the spirit of love the saving gospel message of Jesus Christ.

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