EVANGELISM IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN.Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church
The most happy Christian is an evangelistic one. The believer in Christ refuses to go to heaven alone. So he makes it his glad thought and incessant mindset to be a soul-winner. Every Christian, without exception, must see it as his blessed task to be a disciple of Christ and be a disciple-maker for Him! So, what exactly does evangelism look like in the life of the Christian? It will never look exactly the same because God has placed people in different settings in life where they can share the gospel but a few principles can guide one to a proper understanding of evangelism. The gospel message never changes but there are many different ways that believers can — and should! — take the gospel to the lost.
1. The JOY
Evangelism should spring from a joyful heart. The source of Christian joy comes from the believer’s union with Christ and the unchanging reality that one’s name is recorded in heaven, in the Lamb’s Book of Life. This unshakeable reality gives joy to the Christian’s soul and catapults him to a life of proclaiming the great deeds of the LORD!
2. The CONFIDENCE
Because God is absolutely sovereign over all things including the salvation of souls, Christians can evangelize with joyous confidence. Knowing that God has elected some to salvation is a glorious and freeing comfort when proclaiming the gospel to the spiritually dead and calling them to repent and believe in the gospel. Confidence comes from God and His regenerating power; not from us and our evangelistic methods. So, Christian, proclaim Christ! Speak of Him confidently! Speak of Him urgently and passionately!
3. The MESSAGE
All true born-again Christians can and should evangelize. Sharing Christ with the lost is not reserved for the missionaries only, or for the pastors, or for the full-time traveling evangelists. Rather, proclaiming the gospel is a blessed privilege that God has happily given to every one of His followers. If one is a Christian, then he knows enough to evangelize. The gospel is the simple message of God’s grace revealed in Christ who saves sinners by dying in their place and rising from the dead triumphantly. Every Christian who is truly a Christian understands the gospel message. Growth in knowledge is important and necessary, but evangelism does not require the knowledge of all the facts before one begins to evangelize. The simple gospel must be proclaimed and pressed upon the souls of sinners. Every true Christian can be proclaim the message that he himself has believed for the salvation of his own soul.
4. The BURDEN
Every sinner who dies without repenting of his sin and trusting in Christ alone will forevermore suffer in the Lake of Fire. Every true Christian loves God and loves his neighbor and does not want others to agonize under God’s wrath in hell. Thus, believers have a burden; a burden for the souls of others! Whether young, old, rich, poor, and whatever the cultural and religious background, Christians long for souls to be won to Christ! A love for one’s neighbor and the desire for their soul to be saved from wrath should prompt Christians, with a God-given and Christlike burden, to proclaim the gospel to anyone and everyone so as to snatch them from the fires of divine judgment to come.
5. The READINESS
Believers must live with a constant readiness to proclaim the gospel. Christians benefit greatly by rehearsing the gospel to their own souls every day to remind themselves of God’s great grace, Christ’s great sacrifice, and the Spirit’s glorious power. And in speaking this truth to one’s own soul, Christians stand prepared and ready to give the gospel to those that God brings across his path. A believer must not merely wait for people to ask about the Christian message, though this is a blessing when it happens, but Christians must be ready and eager to initiate conversations with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers and lovingly strive to present the character of God, the pervasiveness of sin, the condemnation that awaits sinners, and the gracious work of Christ at Calvary, and the need to repent and believe the gospel. Be ready! Be prepared! Be eager! Be hungry to win souls for Christ! Pray for these opportunities!
6. The METHODS
The gospel never changes. The message always remains the same. The truths of the good news never are altered. But the way in which that message reaches the lost takes a variety of forms. Evangelism refers to the speaking and presentation of the good news of salvation. This is not merely done by living a good life and people seeing Jesus in us. Nonbelievers cannot see Christ in Christians. This message must be told. It can occur through the handing out of gospel literature (tracts, pamphlets), the writing of letters with gospel truth to friends, neighbors, coworkers. The message comes to sinners when fathers and mothers instruct their children in the Word of God and impress the gospel truth to the hearts of young sinners. It happens through the sitting at a coffee shop and proclaiming the gospel to strangers. It can occur through the public proclamation of the gospel outdoors. The gospel goes forth as folks hold gospel signs that proclaim the gospel in a public venue. The gospel goes forth from the pulpit as faithful men expound God’s Word faithfully in a local church. The good news can be told in the writing of blogs, letters, articles, handouts, tracts, and distributing those to others. It happens through verbal conversations that Christians have with others and urging the hearer to repent of sin, trust in Christ, and follow Him. The message does not change but there are many ways in which that gospel message can reach the lost.
7. The DUTY
Christ commissioned all of His followers to go into all the world and make disciples. Every Christian is enlisted in the service of soul-winning. The blessed duty and joyous delight of every Christ-follower is to obediently, confidently, courageously, and patiently proclaim Christ and His crosswork to any and every sinner and urge them to die to self, take up their cross, and follow Christ. This is not reserved merely for the seminary graduates, or the pastors, or the professors. This is not a duty given only to missionaries or evangelists or the super-committed Christians. The duty to speak of Christ and His gospel rests upon every single Christian for this is what Christ uses to snatch sinners from the fire and bring them to heaven. How will people hear without someone giving the gospel to them? So, Christian, joyously and dutifully proclaim Him!
8. The LABOR
Toward the end of Christ’s ministry, He sent out 70 laborers and told them that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Therefore, believers are to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest. Amazingly, they were the answer to their own prayer! Christ commissioned and sent them out into His harvest as laborers. Every Christian is engaged in the labor of soul-winning. No greater blessing exists in all the world than for Christians to labor for souls! Nothing is as worthwhile and nothing is as eternally profitable than fishing for men’s souls by speaking of God’s holy character, and man’s vile sinfulness, and Christ’s sufficient redemption, and the Spirit’s sovereign grace! The labor is to speak much and speak often and speak tirelessly of Christ!
9. The URGENCY
Countless millions right now, at this moment, as you read this, scream in torment in the fires of hell because they did not believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thousands and thousands die every day. Hell swallows up religious people, churchgoers, intellectually astute, arrogant self-righteous, and those caught up in false religion. O the urgency is great! And every Christian knows the fear of the Lord, the terror of the Lord, the holiness of the Lord, the righteousness of the Lord, and the wrath that is soon-kindled. Let believers emulate the Apostle Paul who persuaded sinners to be reconciled to God. He attempted to press home gospel truths upon the hearts, minds, consciences, and souls of sinners! He endeavored to win souls for the cause of Christ! Let us urgently speak of Him! Let us plead with sinners to see their helplessness before God, their condemnation that awaits them if they persist in unbelief, and the available redemption found in Christ alone, and the necessary response to repent of sin and trust in Christ and follow Him! If sinners be damned, let them at least leap over us into hellfire as we urgently plead with them to embrace Christ! Time is short! Life is soon-passing! Eternity is near! Hell and heaven are real! Dear Christian, urgently, faithfully, compassionately, tenderly, and earnestly plead with sinners to turn to God from idols to serve the Lord Jesus Christ who rescues from coming wrath!