By Don Gentry
Evangelism is simply a word. But as you just read it, you may have had some very negative thoughts pop into your mind. If you had any negative thoughts pop into your mind than try to stick with me. I have no intention of changing your mind. I just want to encourage you that evangelism doesn’t have to be a dirty word.
Jesus says this about Himself in the book of Luke.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:18-21 (NKJV)
This is Jesus saying he was sent to preach the gospel and that He is the gospel! That phrase preach the gospel in Greek looks like this – euangelizō. Do you see any similarities?? This is where we get out word evangelize. It literally means to announce/declare the good news. What is the good news? He says He came to preach to the poor. Let me first suggest to you that He is not talking about a financial poverty but a spiritual poverty. Those who are spiritually poor (all humanity) get to hear about how Christ brings healing to the brokenhearted, liberty to those who are captive to sin, sight for those who are spiritually blind, and freedom to those who are oppressed spiritually.
Here is how evangelism works and why it is not a dirty word. When you have been healed, set free, given sight, and experienced freedom that is really good news. Jesus declares that He is the only way to really experience those things. The way that others are going to hear about it is that He, Jesus, God, has charged His church (those who have say they have received what He brings) to TELL others about the good news. Who would want to keep all these good things a secret?????
Evangelism shouldn’t be dirty, scary, or intimidating. Evangelism is literally learning how to tell others the good things that Jesus has done in your life. If you don’t feel you have anything to tell then let me strongly suggest to you that you have never received Jesus. When we receive what Jesus has promised, I guarantee you have a story to tell. Maybe you don’t know how to tell it yet, maybe you have seen others do it poorly and you don’t want to be lumped in “with them,” but if you have genuinely received Christ and you believe in what He says, you have a story to tell.
I look forward to you learning more about how your story and the story of God intersects and how we the church can better declare that story to those around us!
Hope to see you all on Sunday!