Evangelism is not confronting “Sinners” and telling them to repent. It’s not coercing someone to recite a prayer so they’ll escape the fires of hell. It’s not even thumping someone over the head with a King James Bible and exorcising their demons.
Evangelism is teaching people about the great news, that Jesus Christ has died (as a worthy sacrifice in the eyes of God) and rose again (as proof that His claims are true) so that all who come to Him – be they hungry, thirsty or weary – will not suffer condemnation and will receive pardon from their sins and eternal life in His glory.
But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.
Evangelism has become twisted in these modern times. It has been turned into a sport hunt where “holy Christians” look for “sinners” they can convert then have stuffed and mounted over their fireplace. These “hunters” suit up in their expensive clothes, load up with Bibles (which they call swords) and head to the places they believe they’ll find the most ‘Sin-iest’ looking people. As soon as they zero-in on a target they swarm, paralyzing their prey with fear of hell-fire and then they confusingly coax them into reciting a prayer that i’m sure you’re all familiar with (Dear Jesus, i’m a sinner, come into my heart…) called “The Sinners Prayer”. This, they believe, is how to take the gospel into the world and make disciples and “evangelize” the nations but the only problem is, they’re going about it all wrong. It’s not that Jesus doesn’t command us to make disciples and spread His word, He does in fact command this! It’s the way they approach it; Their tactics are terrible and ineffective. These people think they’re doing good but in reality are seeking nothing more than a notch for their belt and a trophy for their wall.
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
If the above methods aren’t it, what then is true evangelism? What does it look and feel like? When evangelism is spoken, how does it sound? When evangelism is performed, how does it taste and feel? When evangelism is lived out in the ways it was intended to be, what is the impact it has on the world? I want to become so acquainted with true and authentic evangelism that I can feel it’s heartbeat in my hand. I want the blood of evangelism to stain my fingertips and the sweat of it’s labor to drip down my brow. What does it take to realize this kind of evangelism?
Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other.
1 Corinthians 13:2
If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing
1 John 4:20
If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
The greatest summation of what evangelism looks like is LOVE. We are called to love God, love our neighbors, even love our enemies – but not just called, commanded to love! It is not an optional part of being a Christian to love, but it is the life-blood that pumps through our veins. It is the very essence of our existence and is what separates us from the cold and barbaric world.
Any form of true evangelism will abound out of a deep well of love. The actions taken, gestures motioned and words spoken for the sake of evangelism will all have one goal in mind ‘How can I show this person the love of God?’
The love of evangelism can be lived out in many ways – small or big. Serving others, volunteering your time or money to someone in need, listening, comforting, or assisting. Passing out food to homeless, offering to pray with someone who appears sad or crying, keeping your promises no matter how insignificant they may seem (people will pick up on that!) And don’t just do these things for people you know or like, or people you know will be able to pay you back. Go out of your way to help anyone who has a need that you know you can meet, regardless of who they are or their capabilities to repay you.
Evangelism is love!
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life
The second greatest summation of evangelism is SACRIFICE. Christians are a people born out of great sacrifice; without it we wouldn’t have the most important gift offered to the human race. Without it we would have no need for evangelism, as it is the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross that is the good news we are sharing in the first place.
The entertainment industry in the U.S. is booming. Movies, music, video games – together they rake in BILLIONS of dollars a year. Consider that the average price of a movie ticket is $9. A CD around $15, video game systems can cost several hundred dollars not including the games which are around $30 – $60 each. Consider the health clubs, gyms and spas – places we dump money into in the name of vanity so that we can look and feel better about ourselves. Consider our closets; We fill them with new and expensive outfits and shoes, again so we can look and feel better about ourselves.
But what if we chose to cut back. What if we placed the $60 video game back on the shelf and bought groceries for a family whose primary income earner has been laid off? What if we cancel our gym memberships and donate the money to a struggling teenage mother? What if we were able to think of ourselves less and of others more? Those are the types of actions that impact an unbelieving world.
Evangelism is sacrifice!
The third greatest summation of evangelism is COMMITMENT. When a person commits to something, they agree to do whatever it takes to see a process through to completion. A commitment is consistent. If Jesus wasn’t committed to the cross, He may have well chosen not to die. Maybe He could have bought a nice house up in the hill country, picked a hot wife, had a bunch of kids and made a good living selling custom design wood furniture… But that’s not what happened. Jesus was committed to one thing, redeem mankind through His death. It wasn’t going to be fun or pleasant, in fact it would be excruciating, draining, lonely, gut-wrenching and agonizing; But He saw it through to the finish. He did everything He had to do to complete the task. Because of His commitment we are given the offer to join Him and partake in His inheritance, in His glory. He will blot out our sins and make us a new creation then seal His holy spirit inside of us as confirmation that we belong to Him. This is the good news that His commitment brought and this is the good news that we are evangelizing the world with!
What does commitment in evangelism look like? It’s people who don’t give up on others, regardless of how many times they’ve been wronged. It’s people who are consistent with their prayers for the sick, the needy, the homeless, the forgotten. It’s people who won’t stop loving, won’t stop sacrificing, won’t stop putting others above themselves. People committed to true evangelism are the ones we hear about the least. They’re the ones who stay quiet and refuse to be acknowledged for their good deeds; They’re the ones who place themselves at the bottom so they can show God’s love to others; They’re the ones who sacrifice and deny themselves worldly comforts so that those in need don’t have to go without; They’re the ones who carry God’s love into the most vile and broken parts of this world because they’re willing to do whatever it takes to see it through to the end.
Evangelism is Commitment!
Take these words to heart so as to show the world true evangelism and just maybe somebodies life will be genuinely changed.