Path of Evangelism X: What Is a Christian?

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Last week we laid the foundation for understanding what sanctification is. In this week’s episode, John and Matthew get to what Samuel Walker says about the issue. We open this week with the question we merely touched on last week: Why is sanctification included in a discussion on evangelism?

The careful evangelist must understand his responsibility does not end at a person's conversion. We are called to walk alongside and disciple the new Christian. But how do we do that? To bring it closer to home, how do we pursue sanctification ourselves?

There are two aspects to sanctification, using the means of grace and mortifying sin. The first is pleasant and easy. We desire to fill up on great books and sermons about Christ. We enjoy spending time in Scripture. But we cannot draw close to Christ in those means unless we are also busy killing sin.

Killing sin is certainly the harder of the two aspects. Who wants to kill their favorite sin that has been alongside them since they were children? It is hard work. But for love of Jesus, we must kill it.

In the end, John and Matthew ask a question worthy of great meditation: What is a Christian? Walker says, “Conviction, faith, and its fruit in conversion and daily sanctification constitute a Christian.” Do we see that in church members today? Do we see that in ourselves?

There are many ideas to absorb in this week’s episode. To make it easier for you to digest, we have a detailed summary and links to resources mentioned during the episode under Show Notes.

 

0:00 As we mentioned briefly last week, why does Samuel Walker, and why would we, want to include sanctification in a discussion about evangelism? Isn’t evangelism about getting a person to accept Christ? And isn’t sanctification the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life? John turns the question around: Do we have the same understanding of the gospel that Paul or Samuel Walker did?

3:00 This is not to diminish the work of salvation. But the job of the evangelist goes beyond salvation and include discipleship. Do we present a gospel message that includes both freedom from sin and freedom to walk with Christ as our treasure?

5:00  What is the motivation to progress in sanctification? What is the motivation to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit born in us at regeneration? Spoiler alert: it is an evangelical sight of God.

7:00 There are two aspects to sanctification. The first is the killing of sins. The second is feasting on the means of grace. Feasting on His grace is certainly easier and more pleasant, but we must also be busy with the harder work, killing sin.

10:00 We mentioned the Means of Grace a few times already, but what are they? If we only focus on killing sins but not on enjoying the means God has given to draw us closer to Him, our efforts will be in vain. John gives two quotes that have helped him pursue Christian growth and the use of the means of grace.

14:00 John and Matthew come back from the break to point out the fact that some people become discouraged in pursuing Christian growth because they see their sin in an even clearer light than they did before conversion. Walker has great encouragement for those in that situation.

17:00 Sometimes we are frustrated by our own growth. But new believers can be discouraged by what they perceive as slow growth in Christians around them. Walker offers a warning against the twin sins of ingratitude and doubt. Matthew looks at the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith.

20:00 We are not saying Christians should be complacent about sin. We are called to kill all sin. There ought to be a yearning and grieving over sin. But there should be a healthy, biblical anthropology.

22:00 Walker mentions consolations for the Christian grieving over sin. The first type of consolation he mentions are the ordinary. These are what God gives us through Scripture. Then there are what Walker calls “gracious visits” of the Holy Spirit where there is an extraordinary degree of comfort poured out on us.

24:00 Along with these sweet visits come some dangers to be aware of. Don’t let these special times of reviving take the place of Christ in your life. Don’t let them become a source of pride or the source of security for you. This is because Christ alone is our Savior, not experience or emotions.

26:00 After all these weeks on discussing evangelism, do we understand what a Christian is? What is it we are leading people to become? Matthew reads Walker’s short summation of the fruit of evangelism.


  

 Last Sunday John preached a sermon from 1 John 1:1-2:2. It is part of a series he is taking his flock through on Sunday mornings, but it hit on so many points connected to this and last week’s podcast episode we felt it would serve you better than a regular Supporter Appreciation EpisodeEveryone can listen to John's sermon via Sermon Audio. Because this is a sermon John preached to his local flock, it is available to everyone, not just Media Gratiae supporters.

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Show Notes

Other episodes in this series:

Evangelism I: Privilege and Command

Evangelism II: Warnings and Promises

Evangelism III: More than Conviction

Path of Evangelism IV: Sufficient and Willing

Path of Evangelism V: Jesus Alone

Path of Evangelism VI: The Object of Faith

Path of Evangelism VII: Sovereignty and Responsibility

Path of Evangelism VIII: The Fruit of Faith

Path of Evangelism IX: Sanctification

Podcast Resources:

A Cornish Revival: The Life and Times of Samuel Walker of Truro by Tim Shenton

The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith in Modern English

Soul Heights and Soul Depths by Octavius Winslow

Supporter Appreciation Episode Resources:

1 John 1:1-2:2

Psalm 119: An Exposition by Charles Bridges