Fishing like a Calvinist (6) -Finale

There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with completing a challenging task. Seeing the result of your efforts brings a certain joy to the soul.  For the evangelist, this bliss takes on a whole new meaning. It’s certainly not something that a person can say that they can experience in any other area of their lives. This isn’t just any work like a paramedic saving a life in an emergency (which I appreciate by the way), but a life that is saved through the gospel has effects in both this world and in the next. The grace that the believer embraces is an efficacious one that will bring about a true salvation from sin forever. It’s the feeling of having witnessed the salvation of a soul through the work of God and His using the gospel preacher as a means to accomplish this. You’ve witnessed the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit work through you!

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Fishing Like a Calvinist (5)

While it’s a little cliché (but certainly true), no revival can happen without an intervention from the Holy Spirit. Spiritual revivals in history happen because of an outpouring of the power of the Spirit. This was the case during the spread of the gospel in the 1st century or the Great Awakening. But when we’re talking about that mighty work in a revival, we’re focusing upon the scope and hence the quantity on conversions. What I would like to focus upon in the outburst of God’s salvation is the quality. What role does the Spirit play in salvation? To some, the Holy Spirit is nudging people towards Christ in an attempt to work gently in their hearts to believe (Prevenient Grace). To others, such as yours truly, the Spirit doing something much more radical in changing the person’s disposition and giving a new heart so that they can believe (Effectual Grace). On which side you fall in your definition will determine the quality of grace that is empowering your evangelism and, let’s face it, will largely affect your evangelism as well.

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Fishing Like a Calvinist (4)

While we experience the call of the gospel in history, we should recognize that something happened long ago to influence this calling unto salvation. We need to develop a prehistoric mindset when thinking about the path of salvation. You see, prior to heralding away, it’s good to come to a realization that there are things that happened prior to that moment, prior to the individual’s birth, prior to the fall of Adam and even prior to the founding of this world. Before all these things, God had a plan! We call this plan the decree of God and sharing the gospel is much easier if we remember this!

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Fishing Like a Calvinist (3)

Our intentions in sharing the gospel should have the same aim as our Lord Jesus. There should be no deviation from this purpose of God. Sharing the gospel has as its end to see sinners saved and freed from their sin. Of course, the fish, who don’t want to get caught in what they perceive as smooth talking’, will ask the logical question; saved from what? And the sharp evangelist will respond that they need to be saved from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin, and from the judgment for sin. Presenting the seriousness of sin is crucial to communicating the gospel but we must also demonstrate the means by which God deals with them as glorious. God has chosen to throw them a proverbial life preserver in the proclamation of the gospel. That gospel finds its meaning in what God determined in Christ. This means that the rescue mission will succeed! If Christ is the essence behind the gospel, then it must be proclaimed that He accomplishes the works of the Father perfectly. The salvation of a sinner is perfected in Him. The Father’s purpose in this salvific work is clearly identified in sending His Son. That principle is that laid out in Luke’s gospel: The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10) and indeed He did. The apostle Paul shared this truth in his epistle to Timothy It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). This was the intention of God for Him. He didn’t come to try to save anyone, but to actualize salvation in them.  The goal wasn’t just wishful thinking but was assured in the words He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:20). Christ does actually save his people and He does so perfectly.

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Fishing Like a Calvinist (2)

It’s quite valuable to do a little background check prior to entering into just about any situation. Police officers generally do a substantial amount of investigating prior to making a successful arrest and a military campaign without background on the situation, the terrain, and especially the enemy would prove to be dangerous. But this is also true in delivering a message. If the message is going to be successful, knowing the background of the situation and the recipients is essential. In the task of evangelism, it can be very useful for you to know to whom you’re heralding the good news. Understanding someone’s background can help deliver the message in a unique way especially in different contexts. We may have a different approach to preaching the gospel to a young university crowd than to the good folks at Aunt Marguerite’s crib club. But, with that said, there are traits that we can presuppose in all men. There’s a background that is common among all men.

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Fishing Like A Calvinist (1)

I want to establish from the offset that I’m not some great evangelist nor have I travelled the seven seas in the name of the Kingdom of God. I have done some work in this field locally and perhaps this writing is meant more for your truly rather than for my readers. When gathering His apostles on the shores of the sea of Galilee, the Lord Jesus chose many who were by trade fishermen. Fishermen knew quite well the challenges that come with fishing. You can run into problems such as navigating a boat through a turbulent storm, dealing with the damage or loss of equipment, and, of course, fish that simply won’t bite. These were realities that they faced daily, and they needed to be prepared to meet these challenges. His appointment of these fishermen wasn’t so that they could gather fish from the waters of Galilee but men from among the whole world (Matthew 4:19). They would gather men out of the sea of nations and help them become truly human. Fishing humans wasn’t going to be any easier, in fact it was going to present them with far greater challenges and dangers. These fishermen needed to recognize that the response from the fish wasn’t going to be welcoming. The Lord was clear “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you (John 15:18). Nonetheless, these apostles went out to the nations and gave their lives to proclaim the death, burial and resurrection of their Lord.

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