By Don Gentry
Evangelism gets such a bad rap in the Church. I think part of the reason why the western church has so much baggage is that we forget the “why” of evangelism. Let’s take a look at why Jesus told us that he wants us to evangelize the world.
Have you ever read Matthew 24? If you haven’t, I would strongly encourage you to do so. In this passage, Jesus makes some prophecies about a coming day. Jesus prophesies about the future destruction of the world. He prophesies about a day when people are going to believe that there are multiple pathways to get to God. Jesus made it abundantly clear that He is the only way to be saved from this impending doom.
If Jesus is who he says He is, then He gave His church a command to go and tell others about who He is.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
The good news is that even though He is expecting us to do the talking with others, He promises that He is the one that is actually going to be doing the work. He simply wants us to share His story. He says I will be with you, that means that He is right there with us. We can’t fail when we tell others about Jesus.
After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.
1 Corinthians 3:5-7 (NLT)
The seed of the Good News is simply planted and watered through our sharing of the Good News. God is the one that makes that “news” the “hope” that can grow to maturity in peoples lives. All we have to do is share it.
Here is another passage that encourages us that when people ignore us and don’t accept Christ, it isn’t a rejection of us, they are simply rejecting Christ.
Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.”
Luke 10:16 (NLT)
If we really believe what Jesus says than we need to have a sense of urgency to share the most amazing story of hope with as many people as possible. We don’t need to go stand on a street corner, we just need to learn to be more intentional about sharing the hope of Jesus with the people we already know.
Look at it this way: Even if you don’t believe that this world is going to come to an end, we are all still going to die. At that moment of death, Jesus says that the only ones that get to have eternal life are those that believe He is their savior. Penn Jillette had it right when he said, “How much do you have to hate someone not to proselytize (evangelizing).”
As we go through this sermon series on The E-Word, I hope that you will genuinely engage with the topic. One of our core ambitions at Journey is Leading, because we believe leading brings hope. As followers of Christ we have to figure out a way to share the message of hope with others. That is evangelizing.
We are all going to do it a little differently, but we all get to share the amazing message of Hope that Jesus offers. I pray that as you are reminded of why it is important to share Jesus, you will take the time to figure out how you can personally take part in humbly pointing others to hope!