Evangelism

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

                                                               Matthew 28:19-20

 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

 

                                                                                    1 Peter 3:15        

The topic of evangelism has been on my mind lately: a couple of times on Saturday when I playfully teased one of my best friends about her spiritual gift of evangelism and how easy it could be; and then again in the devotional Jack shared before Sunday School. As I sought to prepare for this devotional by looking up various scriptures and blogs and such, I found myself realizing that evangelism is not something I should be taking lightly.

 

I’ve often thought of the line that is attributed (erroneously) to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words” as an innocuous way to evangelize. We can demonstrate love in our acts of service to others, and we act as the hands and feet of Christ when our servants’ hearts enable us to take care of the sick, destitute, imprisoned, and hungry. And these are very good things! They are not, however, true evangelism.

 

True evangelism occurs when we share the gospel with someone else, with the purpose of convincing nonbelievers of its truth—“teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade”, according to author Mack Stiles. And it is something that we are called to do.

I’ve often railed against the concept of those who have said that if I don’t share the gospel with someone, folks will go to hell. Should that pressure, guilt, and responsibility be on me? How can my inactivity, rather than a nonbeliever’s hard heart and sinful nature, be the prevailing reason that person goes to hell? What I’ve realized of late is that I need to change my mindset about that. Instead of focusing on the negative and punitive aspect, I should be asking myself why I don’t readily share my faith with others? Jesus commands me to do it and love compels me to do it. I came across a video done a few years back with Penn Jillette, magician and avowed atheist. He shares how a man shared the gospel with him after seeing one of his shows. Jillette was touched by the man’s act of love, and offered a strong reprimand to Christians who don’t evangelize: “How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” he asked.

 

Talk about a punch to the gut! I don’t hate anyone! I love people. But…he has a point. People need to know about Jesus. Accepting Jesus into my heart was a life-altering event that has blossomed into a lifetime relationship of love, grace, and spiritual growth. Why wouldn’t I want others to experience the same?

 

I must change my mindset about evangelism. I must seek every opportunity to share the good news, and be intentional about it. I must be obedient, and I mustn’t be afraid. I’m compelled to do this because of love, not because of irrational fear.

 

Help me, Holy Spirit, to step out in faith and obedience. May You, Lord, be glorified.

 

Prayer Requests

  • For the victims of the Florida shooting massacre
  • For those who suffering emotionally from traumatic events, whose scars go unseen
  • For our Pastor Search committee
  • For us to seek and relish His will for our church’s continued development and transformation

 

Friends, as we focus our minds and hearts on the Lenten season, may we as a church share the gospel message to those who don’t know Him yet. Amen!

 

Quotes

“Broken things can become blessed things if you let God do the mending.”

 

“O, for the grace to love the rough paths, because we see His footprints upon them!” — Charles Spurgeon