Mark Alan Williams
3 P’s of Evangelism
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In 2014 Carolyn and I hired a contractor and broke ground on our new house. Soon there was a foundation. But the foundation needed to be followed by framing. Walls went up and now we could see what our house would be like.
But the framing still wasn’t a house. We needed the finishing work to be done: drywall, electrical, plumbing, flooring, roofing and so on.
Finally, we had completed our house and moved in on April 11, 2015. What a joyful experience that was!
Carolyn at our house during framing when we could walk through walls
Similar to these 3 parts of construction, there are 3 parts to evangelism and all are necessary. The job of “making disciples” isn’t finished without all 3.
They’ve been called the 3 P’s of Evangelism.
The 3 P’s of Evangelism are not pressure, pushiness and pridefulness!
The 3 P’s of Evangelism are:
The vital initial work of evangelism is “Presence.”
This is the foundation of evangelism.
By “Presence” we mean:
A. Our personal example and godliness.
If you call yourself a Christian, people are watching. They want to see if you are living a truly Christian life.
Many have been turned off to Christianity by hypocrites who call themselves Christians, but live ungodly lives.
Others are just looking for an excuse to dismiss Christ, and if we live ungodly lives, we are the convenient excuse.
But no matter their motivation, if we are Christians we have a responsibility to live a Christ-like life.
“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” (Ephesians 4:1b NIV)
B. “Good Samaritan” ministries that show the love of Christ.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells of a man who cared for a helpless victim who had been robbed and beaten, while a priest and Levite (similar to an assistant pastor), had walked by uncaring.
Then Jesus applied the story: “‘Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise.’” (Luke 10:36-37 ESV)
Jesus also told about the final judgment when people will be called into account and gave these profound words:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me…Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:34-36, 40 ESV)
Finally, the book of James says “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27 ESV)
There are many ways in which this kind of “presence” can be expressed:
feeding the hungry
drilling water wells
providing medical care
educating the uneducated
caring for orphans
ministering on skid row
So these kinds of ministries are the “foundation” of evangelism. We can build the other 2 of the 3 P’s of Evangelism on this.
While “presence” is vital, it is not enough. Just being a nice guy will not lead anyone to salvation.
If you just act nice, and do kind things, people will probably think, “What a nice guy.” They will not know the Gospel of Jesus Christ unless you proclaim it.
A few years ago I came across a website called Missing Money. It searches public records to find retirement and other accounts with funds you didn’t know you have because people have moved and they don’t have a way to contact you.
I searched for my father and found several hundred dollars. It was his money, but because he didn’t know about it, he could not receive it.
This leads us to the idea of proclamation. “Proclamation” is absolutely vital. The word Gospel is from a Greek word that means “Good News.”
Good news is not good news unless you hear it!
If your rich uncle dies and leaves you a million dollars, but you never hear about it and never receive the inheritance, what good is the good news of the inheritance? The news must be communicated. So it is with the Gospel of Christ.
Scripture says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14 ESV)
The Apostle Paul spoke for all Christians when he said: “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16 ESV)
In the building of our house, once the foundation was laid, the next step was the framing. The framework of the house was the vital structure that would outline the shape of the house and hold it up.
We must proclaim the framework or outline of the Gospel.
Christian, at some point you might wonder why you are here on earth. Here’s the answer.
No matter how old you getNo matter how ill and feeble we getNo matter if the only thing we can do is talk
We have a wonderful purpose, the same as the Lord Jesus himself: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 ESV)
So what is our purpose? Jesus answered that when He said: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21b ESV)
What is the framework of the Gospel?
We are sinners in need of a solution.Jesus is the Savior who died for our sins and rose again to conquer sin and death.We receive forgiveness and eternal life when we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of our lives.
Only one verse is needed to share the Gospel: Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (NIV)
If you’d like to receive Jesus’ gift of salvation right now, click HERE.
These first 2 P’s are vital, but there is one more that is equally vital. The 3rd P of the 3 P’s of Evangelism is…
When our house was framed, we would walk through it and I mean literally walk through the walls! Jesus walked through walls and so did we—because it was not finished yet.
Would you like to live in a house with just the frame?
The framework of a house is vital, but so is the…
Likewise, the framework of the Gospel is vital, but so is the finishing: “Persuasion.”
As much as possible, we must persuade people and close the deal of salvation.
The Apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.” (2 Corinthians 5:11a ESV)
This is an example of how Paul practiced this third P: “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 18:4 ESV)
Paul also asked for prayer for persuasion:
“…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:18-20 ESV)
Paul wasn’t thinking, “If people ask, I will give the Gospel.”He certainly wasn’t saying, “Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary use words” (one of the worst Christian quotes ever!)
Please also note Paul’s location. He was “in chains.” While in prison for sharing the Gospel, he was praying for more boldness in “opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.”
The idea of “mystery” here means something unknown in the OT now revealed.
But don’t get lost in the mystery, let it impress you that Paul asked for prayer to boldly proclaim the gospel in order that he might persuade.
What does this third P mean for us?
It means adjusting our methodologies so as to be as effective as possible in each situation.
It means listening for clues to a person’s interest. If they are wanting to hear more, we jump on it.Often persuasion is simply making the offer, “Would you like to receive this gift?”
I play basketball for exercise and recreation. There are probably 20 to 25 guys that I know by name there. I have witnessed to them depending on their level of interest.
Some have visited our church.Some have made it clear they are not interested.Some are Jewish and reject Jesus for that reason.Some are mildly interested.
Their frequent disinterest is a frustration to me. But I had a delightful experience a few years ago when I was the guest preacher at a church. A guy came up to me afterwards and said, “I know you, you’re the guy from basketball that saved me.”
Of course I couldn’t save anyone. But the point was that he had been interested and I had led him in a prayer to receive Christ!
Persuasion is not about arm twisting, or being pushy. Pushiness is usually counterproductive. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate persuader.
I like this definition of evangelism from Bill Bright of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ): “Success in witnessing is simply taking the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.”
Those are the 3 P’s of Evangelism. For more help with success in Missions & Evangelism check out these links:
Five Questions for Those Who Think Many Roads Lead to Heaven
4 Great Questions to Ignite Passion for Evangelism in a Lost World