Everyone and every institution has a list of needs. Each congregation has its lists of special needs. Whether churches or individuals, evangelism is our most pressing need. The Greek term euangelizo means to proclaim glad tidings. Euangelion is the good news we proclaim. Euangelistes is the messenger who delivers good news. Evangelism is the act of teaching men the gospel and bringing them to Christ.
REASONS FOR INVOLVEMENT IN EVANGELISM
* Being grateful for what God has done for us, we should want to tell others of Christ. Like Paul, we are debtors, both to Greeks and Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. Paul was ready to preach the gospel to those in distant Rome (Rom. 1:14). We should be ready to teach the man next door. To Timothy, the apostle wrote, “I thank him that enabled me, even Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he counted me faithful...though I was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious...” (I Tim. 1:13). If we but think of where we were and where we were headed when Christ waved us, then we gladly will give ourselves to spreading his gospel.
* We evangelize in obedience to God’s commands. Jesus laid the responsibility on every Christian when he said, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them...” (Matt. 28:19). Our obedience to Christ’s commands is proof of our love (John 14:15). Failure to share Christ with others reflects a lack of love and dedication.
* Out of pity for those who are lost, we strive to teach them God’s word. Paul had “great sorrow and unceasing pain in (his) heart” for his fellow-Hebrews who were yet in sin (Rom. 9:2). His “heart’s desire and ...supplication to God...(was) that they may be saved” (Rom. 10:1). Even as our compassion is stirred when we see little children cold and hungry, so should we be stirred to snatch the souls of lost men from the fires of hell (Jude 23).
* We evangelize lest we displease our God. Only those who do the will of the father will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21). The Lord is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). To please the Father we seek to save his lost sheep.
* The world is made a better place in which to live as a result of our evangelism. Salvation in Christ washes, sanctifies and justifies extortioners, revilers, drunkards, thieves and the immoral (I Cor. 6:9-11). Enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions and parties are works of the flesh which the child of God repudiates (Gal. 5:20). No law is needed to restrain those who bear the fruit of the Spirit in their lives (Gal. 5:22-23). The peace and happiness of a community is in direct proportion to the influence of the gospel in the lives of its citizens.
* We evangelize because there is great joy in bringing souls to Christ. Paul preached the gospel in Philippi and planted the church in their midst. He later addressed those disciples as “my brethren beloved and longed for, my joy and crown...” (Phil. 4:1). To lead a friend or loved one to salvation is a joy comparable to parenting a child (I Cor. 4:15). A world of eager people are anxiously waiting for us to knock on their doors and teach them about the Savior. Men of Macedonia are still pleading, “come over...and help us” (Acts 16:9). Field white unto harvest are waiting for gospel reapers to gather them into Christ’s garners (John 4:35). Even here at home our buildings would soon overflow if the saved would accept their responsibility to the lost. In Africa, Asia and India, South America and the Islands, people are storming the gates of the kingdom seeking admission. We cannot leave them to perish at the gate.
Our Primary Duty
Evangelism is the first and most important duty laid upon the church by her Lord. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). If this is neglected and omitted, all else is of little consequence. Should we be ever so benevolent to the poor but save not their souls, what does it profit? If we be unquestionably sound in doctrine, and manfully resist every false teacher and erroneous doctrine but save no souls, what does it matter? If we erect a notable edifice for worship and have outstanding programs but fail to evangelize it all is vain. Should we worship correctly and be edified thereby; if we have beautiful sermons, scriptural and true, but win no souls, we fail.
If we have a name that we live and a sparkling reputation but do not seek the lost we are sinners. Should we grow by gathering members from sister congregations and those who move in from afar, but do not reach out to our neighbors in Christ’s name, we will be pleasing to God. Jesus chose us to go and bear fruit (John 15:16). No other accomplishments, however noble, will compensate for failure in this crucial area. Oswald Smith wrote:
“O Church of Christ
What wilt thou say
When in that awful day
They charge thee with their doom”
Consequences of Evangelistic Failure
* When evangelistic zeal is lost, serious consequences befall the church. Evangelism is essential to the survival of the church of future generations. If we stagnate or decline while population grows, our influence will be drastically reduced. We soon will be swamped in a sea of paganism, unbelief and false religion. A diminishing church will not adequately salt society with Christian morals and ethical standards. Evil men and impostors will wax worse and worse, corrupting the community with them (II Tim. 3:13).
* Declining interest in evangelism is the root cause of most of our internal problems. When we are busy seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10), we have no time for scrutinizing and dissecting fellow-Christians. Those who spend all their time deciding who cannot come in or stay in the church have no time to rescue those who want to be saved. Only when we are busy saving the lost can we see our “internal problems in proper perspective.
* When a congregation ceases to be evangelistic, she will soon cease to be faithful in other areas. Once God’s will is spurned or ignored on such a fundamental point, it is easy to transgress in other areas. Like a progressive disease, disobedience spreads it numbing influence over the entire body.
* John Mott observed that “when the church cannot send forth her members to propagate the gospel, she has reached a state where she has nothing worth propagating.” Evangelism is the heartbeat of the church. When it stops we are spiritually dead!
Risks of Evangelism
* There are certain risks inherent in evangelism. There will be the problem of having lots of spiritual babes in the church. These novices will be limited in knowledge, weak in many areas and far from perfect (I Cor. 3:1-3). Those who are spiritually mature and strong in faith will find it necessary to pay special attention to their spiritual problems (Gal. 6:1-2).
* We will run the risk of having some folks in our midst who will be struggling with serious moral and personal problems as at Corinth (I Cor. 6:9-11).
* When we evangelize we will be confronted with people in the church who are confused in their thinking about doctrine, having just come out of sin or false religion.
* We will find ourselves spending much time on spiritual babes who are easily discouraged or offended.
* There is the risk of criticism from those hot engaged in evangelism and consequently are not growing. Such brethren devote their time and energy to watching those who are growing to discover some mistake in their methods. An ugly cynical attitude is sometimes seen: “If you are growing, something must be wrong. If you are stagnant or declining it is because you are preaching the truth and few people want to hear the truth these days!” The real root of this problem is envy, that “rottenness of the bones” (Prov. 14:30). Sadly the disease is widespread in the body.
* We will risk quickly outgrowing our present facilities and then having to expand our seating capacity and classroom space. But who would complain?
Benefits of Evangelism
We would be amiss if we failed to note the numerous benefits of evangelism.
* Evangelism always results in lost souls being saved. Some of those we salvage will be special to us such as our parents, our mates or children, brothers or sisters. O what joy that will be.
* Soul winning makes one feel valuable and responsible, productive and happy. The fish is happy when swimming, the bird when flying and the Christian when sharing Jesus with others.
* Teaching the lost will drive you to your knees in prayer. It will make you examine your own life and read your Bible. You dare not approach a neighbor about his salvation with your house out of order.
* Commitment to evangelism will heal and revitalize a congregation that has suffered from internal problems and strife. It will renew dead or dying churches and stimulate growth that will soon fill our assemblies.
* Evangelism is the secret to both material and spiritual strength in a congregation. It provides bonafide growth and strength; not an artificial growth or swelling. Souls won in your neighborhood add to the real growth of the kingdom of God. New converts bring with them a high degree of zeal and enthusiasm born of new found love for Christ.
* Soul winning is a direct blow to Satan’s evil head. Every soul saved is freed from his evil domain (Mat. 12:29).
Evangelism is hard work, costly and time consuming. We will have a revival of growth and spiritual prosperity only when we are prepared to pay the price. “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matt. 28:19-21). “And ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Here are our marching orders. Remember, “Christ alone can save the world, but Christ cannot save the world alone.”
By Unknown onlyl known by JHW
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