Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do You Have the Gift of Evangelisn't?

Christ commanded us to go and preach it and Paul says we should not be ashamed of it. What was the one message Paul defended vehemently, so much so that he pronounced a woe on himself if he did not preach it (1 Corinthians 9:16)? It was the gospel. Why? Because the gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. Without the foolishness of preaching, unbelievers will not hear the good news, and by not hearing it they cannot be saved. Therefore, the proclamation of the gospel was Paul's priority, and it should be of most importance in our lives too.

Yet, there seems to be much confusion over what it means to fulfill the Great Commission. Some say its discipleship while others say it’s about feeding the poor and clothing the naked. I think a simple look at the actual passage can clarify the issue.

Mark 16:15
Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation

GoWhat is God’s will for the Christian’s life? Well it begins here with Jesus commanding us to go.

Into all the worldAnd where has He commanded us to go? Not just into our own neighborhoods and communities but into all the world.

And proclaim
What is it we are to do when we go into the world...we are to proclaim. This means we must open our mouths. Many Christians have obeyed the command to go but are instead going and feeding, picketing, etc. This is all done under the veil of outreach, missions, evangelism, etc.

The gospelWhat are we proclaiming? Jesus tells us it is the gospel. Some are going out and preaching but they are not preaching Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).

To the whole creation
Who is it we are to proclaim it to? Our family? Friends? Neighbors? Jesus commands us to proclaim the gospel to all creation. We are to be indiscriminate and not pick and choose who we share it with.

In light of this passage, we can clearly see what true evangelism is and we can address some of the popular forms of evangelisn't in the church today.
It is not political activism

  • picket signs, legislation, and calling senators attempts to clean the outside of the cup by modifying the behavior of a society (Matthew 23:25-26)

  • it does not address the sinful nature of human beings

  • society as a whole can only be changed when the power of the gospel through the Holy Spirit regenerates the individual that makes up that particular society

    It is not social activism

  • ministries devoted to taking care of the poor puts an emphasis on the horizontal problems of men (hunger, nakedness, etc.) rather than the vertical problem (sin, wrath, judgment, etc.)

  • without the gospel, it simply makes a man's present life more comfortable but does not prepare him for the afterlife

  • man's greatest need is not food, clothing, money, etc. but forgiveness of sins (Acts 3:6)

    It is not apologetics

  • apologetics, or answering questions to defend the faith, submits to the agenda of the question-asker rather the the agenda of Christ and the Great Commission

  • apologetics can create a rabbit trail or distraction from the priority of sharing the gospel

    It is not praying for souls

  • praying for souls is of extreme importance but it should never be a substitute for obedience to the Great Commision

    It is not church invitation

  • the church represents the fruit of evangelism and not the work itself

  • the church was never meant to be used as a tool to evangelize the lost but to equip believer's to evangelize the lost

  • due to man's sinful condition and impending eternal judgment, the priority is to get him into the kingdom and not the church
    It is not your personal testimony

  • personal testimony is personal and not universal and most unbelievers will like to keep it that way

  • without a clear presentation of the gospel, you are only telling others what the demands and claims of Christ are in your own life

  • it ultimately puts you, and not Christ, at the center of your witnessing (2 Corinthians 4:5)

    It is not discipleship

  • to disciple someone, one must become a disciple first by hearing the gospel

  • if we confuse discipleship with evangelism, we make the error of discipling goats

  • only those illuminated by the Spirit can discern the things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-16)

    It is not telling people, "Jesus loves you."

  • people must first understand the bad news if they are ever to grasp the good news

  • there is much more to the gospel than the love of Christ such as sin, law, wrath, judgment (Acts 20:27)

    It is not about results or decision

  • we are ambassadors for Christ whom simply deliver the message that has been entrusted to us...a message that must not be tampered with based on it's reception (2Corinthians 5:20)

  • emphasis in evangelism should not be on numbers but on faithfulness to share the gospel

  • while we may plant or water the seed of the gospel, it is only God that can give it growth (1 Corinthians 3:7)

    “To evangelize is to declare on the authority of God what he has done to save sinners, to warn men of their lost condition, to direct them to repent, and to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ."
    -John Cheesman

    So whether we feed the hungry or clothe the naked, we must open our mouths and declare the message that God has entrusted to us and fulfill the call to go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation.


    It is the gospel alone that can take a wretched and dead sinner and give him life. It is the gospel alone that can gives sight to the blind and unstops the ears of the deaf. It is the gospel alone that sets the captives free from their bondage to sin and Satan. And it is the gospel alone that can take a sin-loving, God-hating, rebellious sinner that longs to glorify himself and make him a sin-hating, God-loving Christ follower that longs to obey and glorify God.

    All these other methods do not have the power to save sinners but that is precisely how Christ will be exalted and God will be glorified!

    So if you’re a Christian and you are concerned about God’s glory and the salvation of sinners, will you go out and declare the good news to all of creation? Or have you been duped into thinking that you have the gift of evangelisn’t?