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by Dr. C. L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, January 21, 2017

“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42).

The Apostles had been arrested! They were brought before the council at Jerusalem. The high priest spoke sharply to them. What was their crime? They had been doing evangelism! They were telling people “daily in the temple, and in every house” about Jesus Christ. In a few weeks they had spoken the Gospel to everyone who lived in Jerusalem. You ask, “How do you know that?” Because their enemy, the high priest, said the same thing! He said to them, “Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine” (Acts 5:28).

Why did the Apostles do this? Because Christ told them to. He said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me…in Jerusalem…and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). That’s what they were doing.

Did the Apostles win everyone to Jesus? No. Did they expect to? Of course not. Were they “decisionists”? Did they pray a “sinner’s prayer” with everyone they met? Of course not! The sinner’s prayer hadn’t been invented for 1900 years! The Apostles knew that most of the people would not trust Jesus. But thousands did!

The Apostles were Calvinists. They heard Christ say, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). They heard Christ say, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). But they also heard Christ say, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). Those early Christians knew their part in God’s plan. They knew what their job was.

It was not their job to decide who was elect, chosen by God. They didn’t know that. They couldn’t know that. That was God’s business. It was not their business. It was their business to go out into the highways and hedges and bring people in! Their part was to do evangelism. God’s part was to draw His chosen ones to Christ. They evangelized Jerusalem – and thousands came to church and trusted Christ!

The weak, modern Calvinists of today aren’t like the Apostles. They sit in their buildings and teach the church members on Sunday morning. They don’t go out to bring people from outside the church. They’re too lazy and selfish to do that. Many of them are lost themselves. You can be a Calvinist and still be lost – if you trust in doctrines about Christ and have no personal trust in Christ Himself, “the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5). Jesus is a person, not a doctrine. Jesus, the Man, will forgive your sin by His Blood if you trust not a doctrine, but HIM!

In our church we are Calvinists. We believe that “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Only the elect will be saved. But we also believe what Christ told us, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). We go after the many. We go out and bring them to church to hear the Gospel. Then God draws His chosen to Christ. But we have to bring them in the first place. We have to bring in the many to get the few. That’s why you need to do evangelism! Tonight I want to bring out two points about evangelism.

I. First, the reason for evangelism.

The reason is simple. Evangelism is the great command of Christ! After He rose from the dead Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and [make disciples of] all nations” (Matthew 28:19). He said, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). Christ did the same thing Himself. The Bible says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15). Jesus said, “The Son of man [Christ’s favorite name for Himself] is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

That’s what Jesus did. Even when He was dying on the Cross, His love reached out to one more sinner, a thief, a terrible man – and the man went to paradise that day. When a woman taken in adultery was thrown at His feet to be stoned, Christ did not condemn her. Then He sent her on, to sin no more. When a sinful woman crawled under the table and kissed His feet, Jesus said to her, “Thy sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48). In Jericho, Christ called out to a greedy, selfish man, the chief of the tax collectors, and Zacchaeus found salvation that day (Luke 19:9). That’s why Jesus went there. He said, “The Son of man [Jesus] is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

Evangelism is what you are called to do. Dr. John R. Rice said, “Soul winning ought to be the main business of every Christian” (The Golden Path to Successful Personal Soul Winning, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1961, p. 45). Again, Dr. Rice said, “Soul winning is obviously the most important matter that can occupy the mind and effort of Christians” (ibid., p. 55). He said soul winning is “New Testament Christianity at work” (ibid.).

The main business of a Christian is not making money. We earn money to pay our bills, but that will all count for nothing when we die. The main business of a Christian is not studying the Bible. We read the Bible, but learning things will not save any souls from sin and Hell. The main business of a Christian is not having fellowship. We spend time together, but that will not save anyone from sin and Hell. The main business of a Christian is not dating, marriage, and having children. We do those things, but that will not save anyone from sin and Hell. The main business of a Christian is soul winning! Never forget your main business. Never get so involved with other things that you don’t do the main thing! If you don’t do evangelism, you are not a good Christian. If you don’t do evangelism, I wonder if you are a Christian at all! The Bible says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith” (II Corinthians 13:5).

Do as much evangelism as you can, not as little as you can! Do evangelism with the church on Saturday night, on Sunday afternoon, on Thursday night and on Wednesday night if you possibly can. Make time during the week to do personal evangelism at the colleges, the malls, or other places. Bring in names and phone numbers so we can arrange a ride for them to come to church. Bring people to church yourself. Bring them in! Bring them in!

II. Second, the result of evangelism.

The result is simple. People will be saved! No, it won’t be everybody. Christ said, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). There’s comfort in that verse. The elect will be saved. They will be converted. Christ said that some “are chosen.” You say, “But we go out and bring many names, and only some of them come into the church and get saved.” Let me answer that. You are right. Some of them come in and trust Christ. I don’t know who’s elect. Neither do you. But some of them are. We have to bring the many to get the few. Go out and get more names! Go out and bring more people in!

And I’ll say something else. Some of them come in and trust Christ. But if you don’t do evangelism – if you don’t go and get names – if you don’t bring people in – nobody will come in and trust Christ. No one! I like some better than none, don’t you?

You have to use your mind when you do evangelism. Look for people who might stay in the church if you brought them – long enough to hear and understand the Gospel and be converted. Why? In today’s post-modern society, people usually need months or even years for that. Some people’s minds are ruined by drugs. Many young people are distracted and confused through playing hours of video games, or by watching pornography on their computer.

Most young people have been to church only a few times. If they have gone to church, they may have learned wrong ideas. Many of them have not gone to church at all. They don’t understand the great truths of the Bible. They don’t understand that they are sinners in their actions, and more important, in their nature, ruined by the Fall of Adam. They don’t understand that Jesus loves them, that He died on the Cross to pay for their sin and shed His Blood to wash their sin away. They don’t understand that Jesus rose from the dead and that He is in Heaven now. They don’t know that He is a man, not a spirit. They think He is angry with them, not that He loves them though they are sinners. They don’t think they can be saved forever by trusting Christ Himself.

Most people today need to come to church for months, or even a year, before they are saved. That’s why you should look for the kind of person who could stay in the church, understand the Gospel and trust Christ. Don’t bring someone who is drunk, or high on drugs, or mentally disturbed. If you are Chinese, look for a Chinese high school or college student. If you are Hispanic, look for a clean-cut Hispanic who is working or in school. Look for someone like Daniel Barahona, praise God for him!

Today people usually need to hear the Gospel for months or a year before they are converted. How foolish it is when churches baptize people immediately after they come forward! No church should do that. We talk to people who come, and make sure they understand the Gospel. When they have hopefully trusted Christ, we wait for a while. Then we examine their testimony and we look at how they live. We wait before we baptize them.

Most people need to hear the Gospel for months or a year before they are saved. That’s why you need to love and care for them after they come to church. They’re not done yet! They’re not in! Talk to them. Be nice to them. Spend time with them. Get to know them. If the person has a problem, or is committing a sin, don’t argue with him. Instead, tell the pastor. He will know what to do. Your part is to bring as many names as you can – as many people as you can – and love and care for them when they come.

Don’t give up if someone seemed to be converted, but later turns out not to be. We can talk to people, but we cannot see inside people’s hearts. Yes, some will fall away. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful [lying, tricky] above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Some people don’t really want to trust Christ. They only want to be “passed” in their testimony so they can be left alone and accepted in the church. That is lying to God. They are even lying to themselves. What a terrible sin!

Some people are like that. They will fall away, showing they were never converted. But some will have a true conversion and stay! Jesus said that some “are chosen.” There is comfort in that verse. You say, “Are you sure? How do you know that is true here?” Look around you! We’ve added dozens – almost a hundred – people since the bottom of the church split. There they are!

None of them would be here if we didn’t do evangelism. Our church would have died in the split if we weren’t doing evangelism. And since all but three people in our church were converted here, the church wouldn’t have started in the first place without evangelism! It all comes down to evangelism. Do the main business of the church – evangelism! “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in” (Luke 14:23). Bring them in! Do evangelism! Do more evangelism! And keep on doing evangelism!

Dr. Hymers, please come and close this service.

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Bring Them In” (by Alexcenah Thomas, 19th century).



by Dr. C. L. Cagan

“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42).

(Acts 5:28; 1:8; Matthew 22:14; John 6:44;
Luke 14:23; I Timothy 2:5)

I.   First, the reason for evangelism, Matthew 28:19; Luke 14:23;
I Timothy 1:15; Luke 19:9, 10; 7:48; II Corinthians 13:5.

II.  Second, the result of evangelism, Matthew 22:14;
Jeremiah 17:9; Luke 14:23.