In the Bible, Matthew 28:19 commands Christians to go and make disciples of all nations and to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This is a verse quoted quite often among Christians who have a desire to see the lost saved.
What is evangelism? The word “evangel” means the good news. What good news? It is the good news of the saving power of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:2). We can also describe evangelism as simply communicating the good news of the saving power of Jesus Christ.
But the question remains, why is evangelism important? Evangelism is important because the Bible says that our faith comes by hearing the message of Christ through the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). God uses the good news of Jesus to save His people!
Why We Don’t Evangelize
If Christians posses the greatest news on earth, then why are most of us not excited about sharing our faith? There are many reasons why people do not share their faith. The most common reason for not sharing our faith has to do with fear.
One summer as a youth minister, our church sent some youth to Lookout Mt. GA to summer camp. One afternoon while attending camp, we decided to take our youth group white-water rafting during our free time. While rafting down the river, I felt as if I should say something about Jesus to our river guide. Even though I was a youth minister and attending Bible college at the time, I had no idea what to say, and I was afraid. I thought that I should say something in order to “look good” in front of our youth. I asked the river guide if he attended church anywhere in the area. He responded that he did attend a church down the road from the river outpost. He then proceeded to tell me that he was a missionary working at the river outpost over the summer. He mentioned that I was the first person with a youth group to ask him about his faith all summer. He said that there were many churches that came through the outpost but did not attempt to share their faith – at least with him.
We may never know why someone does not share their faith, but we do know why we do not share our faith. Listen to some of these excuses and see if they sound familiar…
1. I don’t know what to say
2. My coworkers might not like me if I share my faith with them
3. I don’t know any non-Christians
4. I don’t have time to share my faith
5. I am scared to share my faith with my neighbors
6. I do not have the right training or enough Bible knowledge
7. I am not a missionary or an evangelist
As I mentioned before, these are just excuses based on unjustified fears. Who are we wanting to please more, God or men? Be careful that we do not become like the Pharisees who would not confess their faith because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43).
Why We Should Evangelize
As believers, why would we not want to share something so powerful and life transforming? If you, along with others, were about to be burned alive, and someone told you the secret code to escape from the flames would you not want to tell the others? Of course we would!
The first reason for evangelism is to consider what God has done for us in Christ. When believers lose their focus of what Christ has done for them, their motivation for evangelism becomes stagnant. Christians must always remember and reflect on their own salvation. Jesus says that out of the overflow of the heart, our mouths speak (Matt. 12:34). How does your heart reflect your own salvation? Is there any gratitude? Do you have hope for others?
Second, Christians have a responsibility for evangelism (Matt. 28:19). 1 Peter 2:9 speaks of believers as being a chosen and holy people belonging to God. The verse continues by saying that we are to declare the praises of God who has called us out of the darkness into his marvelous light. This verse teaches that all Christians are responsible to declare the praises of God – not just missionaries and evangelists.
What Is The Gospel
What is the message that Christians are to proclaim? What are the key components that make up a gospel presentation? One of the clearest gospel presentations can be found in 1 Corinthians 15:2-8. The gospel consists of the preached word that has the power to save (1 Cor. 15:2). This message was passed along by Paul and others which consisted of Christ’s death for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3), His burial and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:4), and His resurrection appearance to the apostles and others (1 Cor. 15:5-8).
Of course, there is no clear statement that says, “the gospel can be defined as…” However, there are other places in Scripture where the elements of the gospel are mentioned (Rom. 1:2-6; 16-17; 1 Thess. 1:4-5; 2 Tim. 1:9-10; 2:8-13; Titus 3:4-8).
The Gospel Must Be Clear
The gospel must be preached with great clarity. There are times when sharing the gospel will be hard, awkward, and challenging. At other times, gospel sharing will be easy and smooth. Do not be discouraged. Be faithful. When sharing the gospel there are three issues that should be clearly explained.
First, a gospel presentation must include the reality of sin (Is. 59:1-2; Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Titus 3:5). The Bible says that no one can escape from this reign of darkness. This is the bad news. But, there is good news! The good news is that Christ came to save us from our sins by breaking the power of this bondage (Rom. 5:8; 6:17-18). Before we can truly understand the good news, we must first know the bad news. Let us not let this bad news make us despondent. The good news is that there is hope and power in the message of the cross!
Second, a gospel presentation must include a clear explanation of Christ’s death (Matt. 26:28; Gal. 3:10-13; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18). Christ became a substitute for the sinner. In other words, Christ took my place…and your place on the cross. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23) But, God gave the sinner grace by sending Christ to pay the penalty for sin, and to do away with the condemnation that was appointed for the sinner (Rom. 8:1). What a humbling truth for those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ.
Third, a gospel presentation must include a call for repentance of sin and a response of trust in Christ (Matt. 11:28-29; John 1:12; 3:16). Repentance simply means to3:16) Repentance means to turn and move away from sin in a direction toward God. Repentance leads to salvation (2 Cor. 7:10). Our faith must also include trust. Trust means to place our faith in God as the sole author of our salvation. These two concepts, repentance and trust, make up a believer’s faith.
The Bible says that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Rom. 10:13). All you have to do is confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved (Rom. 10:9). Do not wait any longer! Take this good news and share it with everyone. Do not be afraid. Instead, have courage that God is using you for glory of the Kingdom of God!