Our world today is more desperately in need of the gospel than ever before. In the October issue of this magazine, I focused on the relationship between Christians and politics, the growing moral decay in our culture and the need for believers to shine a light into that darkness. I want to elaborate on that subject and suggest another critical resolution for you to consider in this New Year; in a word — evangelism.
You likely became a Christian because someone told you about Christ, so you know how powerful the spiritual discipline of evangelism can be. Often, fear and anxiety prevent many Christians from being engaged in witnessing to someone else about the truths of Christ. It might include fear of rejection, the loss of approval, or worry that you might experience ridicule for your faith in Christ.
Like every other spiritual discipline, evangelism does not come easily for our self-centered nature. And like any discipline, practice brings improvement.
Let me share four key statements with you on this subject that I believe will encourage you to engage in God’s Great Commission:
Evangelism is a matter of life and death.
We know the end of the story, so to speak. We know that every unbeliever will one day stand before God and be tried, found guilty and sentenced. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “No one should die and go to Hell without our arms wrapped around their legs.”
Do we care about the eternal destiny of lost souls? Every person who’s ever lived is an immortal creation, with one of two eternal destinies: eternal joy in Heaven, or eternal suffering in Hell.
Jesus said in John 14, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6b). We happen to have the only cure for sin and judgment: how can we not share it with the dying?
Your example affects your evangelism.
Evangelism does not necessarily begin with the words you say, but the example you set.
Jesus exhorted His disciples in Matthew 5, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16b). If you try to share the only hope of salvation with someone, telling them that the gospel requires repentance from sin, while at the same time having a reputation for lying, cheating, arrogance and anger, why would anyone believe your message?
Your life is the first Bible many people will ever read.
Do our lives provide the evidence that salvation really changes lives? Do we give evidence of the transforming work of Christ? Our lives need to be Exhibit A on the witness stand for the gospel.
The results are in God’s hands.
We have no need to fear rejection when we share the gospel, because the results are determined by God’s Spirit. We don’t produce spiritual life — God alone can open the eyes of the lost to the reality of Jesus Christ.
God already knows the results of our evangelistic conversations from eternity past, but has chosen to use us as the vehicle — the messenger — to deliver the message. Evangelism is our part; the results are up to God.
God will open the doors and give you the words to say.
The Lord Jesus promised His disciples, “When they bring you before … the rulers … do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:11-12).
Ultimately, evangelism is dependence upon the Spirit of God who takes what we know from His Word and brings it to our minds as we talk to others. We have the life-saving antidote — our mission is to deliver it to the terminally ill human race!
So this year, ask the Lord to develop in you the spiritual discipline of evangelism. Then, get ready for your first opportunity of simply telling people how Christ saved you, and that He will forgive and save them as well.