Evangelism Is Easier and Harder Than You Think
Evangelism is EASY.
Evangelism is EASY.
Matthew 28:18–20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
“Go therefore and make disciples”
This is a simple command with far-reaching implications.
Completely provided for
It is difficult to find a place where communities are gathered where water is not available.
Saints in Africa will walk miles in some cases to get to water in order to baptize. Even in arid regions, the arrangements can be made.
Uses our natural skills
“teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you”
Communication of some sort is absolutely required to function in society.
1 Corinthians 5:9-10 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. - Plato
The Gospel applies to BOTH!
Our ability for communication is to be honed and practiced (more in “tips” section). We do this in our everyday life; can we not apply it to our sharing of the Gospel?
We are not alone in this work.
“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus is right there with us, with every success and disappointment.
Whatever we experience in evangelism, Jesus experienced it first.
We make evangelism difficult.
We make evangelism difficult.
We do not make personal evangelism a goal.
We will agree completely that this is one of the main purposes and mission of the Church, but in our personal lives, evangelism is not an everyday goal.
If I say, “I’m doing good just to hold my own” - my faith needs to increase (see following)!
Sometimes we may not be in a healthy place to evangelize. This is okay as long as it’s temporary.
The purpose and nature of a Christian is NOT just in making sure he/she is saved, but that OTHERS see God’s light.
Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
We become complacent with what we have.
Ironic: we may have declining attendance at a congregation, and be saddened by that fact... but then we do nothing to change it.
Evangelistic efforts might be put forward... but we shrug at them and assume no one will have interest.
Over time, this manifests as an attitude that we might not admit, but one that is very plain.
“We just have to hold on to what we have.”
It’s one thing to have a “down time” where we are “recharging” our evangelism batteries. It’s quite another to decide we never need to evangelize.
It is a WEARINESS that leads to complacency.
This is Satan at work. He wants us to become complacent, satisfied with half an effort, or no real effort at all. We must resist him.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
We do not have faith that evangelism will work.
2 Corinthians 4:13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak,
If I truly believe the Gospel, I will speak that message to others. If I am not making a priority to evangelize, it means I do not believe the message!
A LACK OF FAITH is why some members of the church are silent before religious error or outright sin.
2 Corinthians 5:11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men...
Consider your friends and family members. Are they saved? A Christian who studies can understand who is saved and who is lost.
If your friends, family, coworkers, etc. are not saved, it is upon your shoulders to teach them and/or help them to be taught!
If you forsake this, you are neglecting your responsibility as a Christian.
Luke 4:43 but He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent."
We do not gain the knowledge needed to evangelize.
We must know what we are teaching if we intend to teach.
James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
James does NOT mean for only a few to become teachers. The point is the STRICTER JUDGMENT laid upon a teacher.
Judgment from GOD or OTHERS? In some ways, it is BOTH!
If we treat teaching the Gospel as a trifle, others will see that and in the end judge us as having not taught them properly (“You never mentioned Him to me”).
If we teach without the proper discipline and understanding, we will be judged by God for our negligence and unfaithfulness.
It takes WORK and STUDY to properly teach others.
Some might say, “I don’t have time for that” - do you have the time to be a Christian?
Some might say, “I don’t have to do that” - you don’t have to be a Christian?!
We are unwilling to discipline our brethren.
Acts 5:14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women...
This is AFTER Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead for their deceit.
Pioneer preacher “Raccoon” John Smith was once asked, “If the gospel is so plain, as you say it is, why do you have to labor so hard to get people to understand it?” Smith replied, “I have often prepared ground in the wilderness for a turnip patch, and though I had the kindest soil and the best seed, and the sowing was easy, I never got top nor root until I first took my ax and hoe and briar knife and went in and hacked and grubbed and cleared the ground. The Lord knows I do not esteem it hard to preach the simple gospel to those who are prepared to receive it, but it is labor indeed to root out prejudice, and cut down the systems, and clear away the sectarian trash that cumbers the minds and hearts of the people.” (Adapted from "The Life of Elder John Smith") (per Jonathan Perz, http://moodychurchofchrist.com/index.php/bible-study/articles/8-preparing-the-soil)
We forget that God does the heavy lifting for us.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Tips for Better Evangelism
Tips for Better Evangelism
Make it a part of your NATURE.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Luke 19:10 "for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
It was within Paul’s nature to evangelize.
Romans 1:14-15 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.
However, it did NOT come automatically to him! He had to be taught by God.
Galatians 1:11-12 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
For Paul, there was never a choice to NOT evangelize.
1 Corinthians 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!
Recall that this is a task of EVERY CHRISTIAN.
Acts 8:4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
They did this while the Apostles remained in Jerusalem. They were not “elite”, special Christians; they were Christians who greatly desired to share with others what they had learned concerning Jesus, the Christ.
This tells us that EVERY CHRISTIAN can and should teach the Gospel. We need no special “call” or “still, small voice” to place upon us the need to evangelize. What we find within the Word, as usual, is enough.
Do not consider evangelism a burden, but a great OPPORTUNITY!
The Christian is given the ability to share the greatest message ever told. No other people can claim this.
Romans 3:1-2 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.
Not even the Jews, God’s chosen people of ancient times, can claim the oracles (the revealed word) of God, because they rejected the Messiah and killed Him. Only Christians can claim the mantle of God’s People, and it is to them that the “oracles of God” are now given.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Make use of the tools available to you.
Tracts. We might think they are outdated, but I’ve seen many visitors come in and peruse the tract rack. Some people will still take things that are of interest to them.
Study Guides. Many freely available online. Many brethren have worked hard in this field to provide adequate material.
Internet Studies. You can easily study with someone halfway across the world with the technology we have today. Evangelism is NOT about getting someone within our church building. It is about making disciples.
Others willing to go with you. We find Christians in Acts moving in groups, and especially teams like Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, etc. There is “safety in numbers”, meaning that bringing someone else to the table is good for everyone. It benefits all our outreach to have as many members involved as possible!
Pray for open doors.
Colossians 4:3–4 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Trust that God will provide these open doors.
Revelation 3:8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
Cornelius was an open door (Acts 10). There are people like that in the world today.
That open door swung both ways! Cornelius was prepared to receive with his acts of service and prayer. Can we prepare for evangelism in the same ways?
Remember that time is always a factor.
Growing up, I found that most of the “steam” in a local work when Dad was preaching would take some time to accumulate.
There were works where my Dad had to leave at a time when things just seemed to get rolling. I’ve had the same happen.
Our collective work takes time to grow, just like a garden.
Accept rejection with faith and grace.
Do NOT chase after those who are not interested.
1 Samuel 8:7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.
More scriptures to consider:
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Peter 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.