Thoughts on Evangelism

Matthew 28:16-20

Before Jesus went back to heaven, He left us with what we now know as the Great Commission. This is a direct command from our Lord to proclaim the Good News of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.

If there are motivations for doing evangelism, I believe this ranks among the top. God commanded us, and the most proper response must be joyful obedience. That is, we go and share the Gospel because it is our joy to fulfill our Master’s desire.

Only when we realize our standing before the Lord– that we are nothing and He is everything –will we appreciate this command. When we realize that He bought us with His own blood, that we are now slaves of the Righteous one, owned by the One True Lord, I believe we will not take the command lightly. Instead, out of pure gratitude, we willingly offer our all to fulfill it.

Philippians 3:7-9 is a wonderful reminder of dying to self for Jesus:

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
Despite this wonderful encouragement, I know that a sizable number of Christians will still evade evangelism. I think the reason for this is a wrong understanding of our role in the process. Yes, the more I do evangelism, the more I am convinced that it is a process.

Let me explain why it is a process and what our role is using 1 Corinthians 3:5-9:

5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
We can think of a person’s life as a faith journey. It is like a chain with several links leading to the cross of Christ. We can look at each link as any experience, person, message, literature, music, dream, vision among others which God uses to lead a person closer to Himself, until the day he or she crosses over from death to life by grace through faith.

In the 1 Corinthians passage and the Great Commission, we can see that the power for evangelism, comes from God alone. We rely on Jesus’ authority as we go and preach the Gospel. In fact, it is His Good News that we share so the message is not our own invention.

Furthermore, God alone can make the seeds sown in people’s hearts grow. Paul repeats it twice in the passage, emphasizing our utter dependence on God’s grace for the success of any evangelistic effort.

This is very important to remember so that we will not fall to pride the moment God blesses our ministry. The enemy will always be working to pull down God’s workers. He  does this effectively by using the deceitfulness, selfishness and self-centeredness of the human heart.  For this temptation, I recommend John the Baptist’s encouraging words, “He (Jesus) must become greater; I must become less.”

When we realize that God’s power and authority are our sources of strength in sharing Jesus, it becomes clearer that there’s nothing to fear. He will empower us and sustain us and give us the words  to make Jesus known.

What, then, is our part in this process? We are called to faithfully and completely proclaim the Good News of Jesus. How we do this can be in words, deeds or the whole of life. Instead of looking at evangelism as a break from our normal everyday routine, we must actually integrate it with our daily lives.

And because evangelism is partnering with God in adding links to people's faith journey towards Christ, we must seize every opportunity to help them move closer in their knowledge and relationship with Jesus.

We can do this in our everyday conversations with people. We can casually but intentionally lead the topic towards spiritual issues. For friends whom we meet everyday, we can take them through the Gospel one step at a time. We may discuss God's holiness today, man's sinfulness tomorrow and so on. We do this until they fully understand the Good News. For strangers whom we may never meet again, we can share a prepared Gospel message, or give out evangelistic tracts.

We can also do acts of service then point people to Jesus. We can visit a dormmate and just pray for him or her in the Name of Christ. We can build relationships with as many people as possible, and ask the Lord for Gospel opportunities. There are many ways to share Jesus. We can start with words, with actions, with an event, a relationship, a question, or a challenge. It’s limitless. We may have one method, a myriad of methods or no method at all– simply spontaneous.

We just have to bear in mind that our goal is to help a person move closer to Christ. When we understand this, we will always be on our toes, knowing that anytime a Gospel opportunity may arise.Or we may also be encouraged to intentionally start the Gospel opportunity with the end goal of adding a link to bring our friend closer to Jesus.

There will be people who will respond. There will also be people who will reject us or plainly ignore the message. When these things happen, we go back to God’s sovereignty and find peace in the truth that He knows what He’s doing.

Remember that we’re called to faithfully deliver the message. A person’s salvation is beyond us. This is God’s work now. So, let us not lose heart when people do not respond or they respond slowly. Trust that God is working in them and adding more links through several other means until they are ready to cross from death to life.

And even if we may never meet them again, let us trust in the unity of God’s Church. We have brothers and sisters who may not belong to our church or organization but God can use to continue watering the seeds we have planted until He makes them grow.

And when He does, we once more witness the miracle of new birth.
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