is a tree of life; and he that
winneth souls is wise.
In this article series, we'll look at what evangelism is, what it's not and how we all can share the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the scriptures with confidence.
Simply put, An evangelist is a messenger or preacher of good tidings.
The only person ever called an evangelist in the Bible was Philip. He was a believer and so highly thought of, he was elected to be one of the first seven deacons of the church. In Acts chapter 8, Philip preached Christ to the city of Samaria and later to an Ethiopian traveler in the desert. He was specifically called an evangelist in Acts 21:8.
Evangelists are one of the many gifts given to the church (Ephesians 4:7-12). Not everyone is an evangelist by gifting, but as Paul instructed Timothy, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ is something we all can and should participate in:
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. ( 2 Timothy 1:1 Acts 4:5 )
For some, talking to people about Christ is as natural as saying, “Hello.” For others, it's as uncomfortable as pulling teeth. Some fear rejection or being laughed at for their faith. Others have never been shown how to preach Christ to others. Then there are church leaders who make things worse by heaping guilt upon a congregation for not doing more to make the church grow. I think that is a terrible mistake. Sharing Christ should never be motivated by guilt, obligation or to make the church numerically bigger. It should come from love and the leading of the Lord.
I'd like to offer some thoughts about sharing Christ that might change your perspective on evangelism. If you want to see people saved but don't know what to do or say, this article is for you! If you're struggling with a burden of guilt for not sharing your faith with your friends and co-workers, this article is for you!
First Things First. Before we think about others, let's have an honest look at ourselves. How's our relationship with the Lord, right now? Are we living a life truly devoted to Jesus Christ, day in and day out? Or are we more like Sunday Only Christians? If we want to point others to heaven, we'd should be on the way there ourselves...
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
If we love God, then we'll obey him and his word. So, how is our love for God? Are we demonstrating that love with obedience others can see? There's no point trying to share our faith if we're not living our faith.
Our Reputation. How would the people who know us best describe our current relationship with the Lord? Would they say, “Oh yeah, Bill totally loves God!” or after laughing, would they respond with, “Sally? A Christian? That's hilarious! Tell me another one.”
People pay attention to us, just like we observe others. We hear what jokes they tell, we know what they're genuinely excited about and what turns them off. We know if someone is nice or mean, honest or deceitful, patient or short-tempered, sharp or slow. We know if they act one way here and another way somewhere else.
They also know that about us.
Our actions and reputations are so important that they can overshadow our words. Ecclesiastes 10:1 says, “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.”
One off color remark, lousy work performance, an indiscreet act or a single lie can torpedo our reputations for years to come. If our friends know us as solid, godly people, then we have a foundation to preach from. If not, then we might need to go into a Witness Reconstruction Program before we do any preaching. No one likes a hypocrite. Been there, done that, and I didn't like me either.
The gospel is shared by words, but let's show it before, during, and after we tell it.
In Part Two of this article, we'll get into having a biblical perspective on salvation and how that can change our attitude toward sharing the gospel with anyone without being fearful or nervous.
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