Editor’s Note: The following post was adapted, condensed, and then expanded upon by Pastor Belobaba from an article titled, “Evangelism: Getting The Church Ready” by Ron Halvorsen in the January 1993 edition of Ministry Magazine. For further information please reference the following link: https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1993/01/evangelism-getting-the-church-ready.
Luke 19:10… “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (KJV). This was Jesus’ mission, to seek and to save the lost. He found Zacchaeus sitting on a sycamore tree, went home with him, and led him to salvation. He saved him in the face of criticism from other people. People murmured because Jesus was a guest of a man who was a sinner. In John 20:21-22, Jesus said to His disciples, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” Christ acted to use his disciples to win the world. This has not changed. Every believer must be a disciple. When a warrior called Hannibal died, his nation placed an inscription on his tomb that read, “He was very much needed in battle.” In our day, we must write these words in our heart. As Christians, you and I are very much needed in the battle.
Evangelism is a passion. For evangelism to succeed, it must be a passion within us. It was the passion of Moses. Exodus 32:31-33: “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book” (KJV). It was the passion of Jesus. Matthew 23:37-38: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” It was the passion of Paul. 1 Corinthians 9:16: “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” It was the passion of Philip. Acts 8:5-8: “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city.” It was the passion of John Knox. “Give me Scotland, or I die.” In the midst of such passion, evangelism is a necessity rather than an option. There has always been a cost to evangelism. Remember the story of the four friends of a paralyzed man? They had a passion to reach Jesus by tearing an opening in a roof. Someone had to pay for the roof…
Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (KJV). Evangelism does not enjoy good press these days. The word simply means “sharing the good news; to bring good tidings,” but for most Christians there is very little passion for evangelism, and so very few are involved in it. This is the day for every believer to take witnessing a little more seriously. Godlessness is running rampant in our society. Evangelism is more than just filling the pews. It is more than having a visiting preacher preach a sermon. It is more than just presenting a heart-wrenching passionate plea so that someone can make a decision for Christ. It is more than wearing a T-shirt with a smart phrase that generates laughter. Evangelism is not just for the clergy. Evangelism is simply telling someone the good news that salvation is found in Jesus Christ.
People are waiting to be liberated from many different types of bondage. The New Testament shouts at the world, “Now is the day of salvation [liberation, healing]” (2 Corinthians 6:2, KJV). To evangelize is to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit so that the hearer will come to trust in God, be committed to God through Jesus Christ, and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The greatest thing we can do for people is to bring them face to face with Jesus Christ who died for them.
Evangelism is good news about Jesus. While the believer’s work is to proclaim Jesus Christ, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict people of their sin (John 16:7-11). It is the work of the Holy Spirit to show people the path of righteousness. It is also the work of the Holy Spirit to convict people’s heart by telling them that there is a judgment to come. We can share the good news, we can speak, we can pray, we can urge and encourage, but it is the Holy Spirit’s work to transform them from darkness to light (Colossians 1:13-14).
Finally, evangelism challenges people to make a decision. The hearer must decide to “accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.” Then he or she must become a disciple of Christ. A disciple is a learner and follower. A disciple is directed to go “Christ’s way” all the days of his or her life. Christ’s way is the way of holiness, a way of separation.
Footnote… In witnessing, the results are not always seen right away. In 1 Kings 18:43-46, after Elijah’s great victory on Mt. Carmel, Elijah turned to pray for rain. Elijah prayed, then asked his servant to “go and look” (v. 43). The servant returned and said, “There is nothing” (v. 43, KJV). And Elijah said, “Go again” six more times. Sometimes when you see that “there is nothing”; i.e., there is no response, “Go again.” We should never think unbelief when we are witnessing Jesus to an unbeliever. We must hold on to our faith. If you see nothing, i.e., no results, “Go again.” Don’t be crushed by disappointment. “Go again.” Don’t be dismayed. “Go again.” Keep watching and be in prayer, and “Go again.” Let these words burn in your spirit…
Pastor George Belobaba
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