“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” –Matthew 10:16
One of the most important qualities among evangelists is passion. It takes real passion to stand before a group of heathens at, for example, a Gay Pride parade and proclaim the truth of God’s word. It takes passion to go to an abortion clinic every day and plead with women not to murder their children, especially when all you get in return is a middle finger. It takes passion to preach the gospel to bypassing pedestrians on a public sidewalk only to be largely ignored.
It is comforting to know that groups of passionate believers are getting out of their house and into the streets to proclaim Christ. There is a movement that is gaining popularity among the Reformed camp, it is the primary biblical method of evangelism known as open-air preaching. However, there is a danger when we become more passionate about the activity of open-air preaching, and less about God’s truth. Many have adopted the mindset that the church needs to become more active. While that is true we must ask ourselves, active about what?
Of course, the correct and biblical answer to this is the gospel. We must be actively preaching the gospel, that man is dead in his trespasses and sins and that he needs to believe in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and trust in his resurrection. He must repent of his sins and believe upon the resurrected Savior who stands to make intercession for all that He died for. Yet, this passion for the gospel must also produce a desire for us to protect and defend this gospel from impurity. That is why there is a great need for evangelists to practice discernment.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. — Hebrews 5:14
There are many false teachers and heretics that have usurped the call to preach in the open square only to pervert and profane the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesse Morrell stand’s up and preaches a gospel of self-righteousness which is no gospel at all. He preaches in the most unloving and venomous way possible to fulfill his masochistic desires of being punched in the face. Men like Rueben Israel go out of their way to do repulsive, unloving things for shock value and Youtube hits. Montanists and Anabaptists do abortion mill ministry only to enslave mothers into a legalistic religion that is not only unbiblical but can only damn them to Hell. KJV-Onlyists are often found holding signs with only the message of God’s damnation, never presenting grace and often denying the need for repentance of sin.
It is in this hour that the evangelist needs doctrinal discernment. A preacher must be ready to tear down these false gospels that oppose the true gospel of Jesus Christ. We must be equipped as Paul says In 2 Corinthians 10:4-6:
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
If, as an evangelist, you do not practice discernment, you may very well be tempted to join with these heretics, many of whom have an appearance of godliness but instead are ravenous wolves. Ecumenism is to be condemned in all its forms, whether it be with the false church of Rome or with modern day Montanists. We should not ever partake in the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them (Eph 5:11).
Dear evangelist, be faithful to the study of God’s word and be faithful in prayer. Do as the author of Hebrews says to train the powers of your discernment that you may partake in the greater meat of God’s word (Hebrews 5:14). Submit yourself to a biblical, Reformed church and submit yourself to do ministry under them. Your pastors, who may understand theology more than you, can keep you safe from being deceived by the apostate servants of the devil who parade as preachers of God’s word but are only interested in their own selfish gain. Be discerning, and preach the gospel of our God faithfully and with purity.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. –Philippians 1:9-11
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