When was the last time you evangelised? What comes into your mind when evangelism is suggested by your church? Do you feel the urge to evangelise? To rephrase a popular statement made by A.W. Tozer, what comes into your mind when evangelism is discussed? In a world where sensitivity is at an all time high, evangelism is considered to be an intrusion on a person’s freedom to believe what they choose. In the West it’s becoming increasingly unpopular to proselytise and Christians are having to find innovative ways to share their faith, lest their accused of being intolerant. There are appears to be many obstacles to evangelism, how do we overcome them so the world may know that Jesus was sent for them (John 3:16; 17:23).
Before Jesus ascended, He commissioned his disciples to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptise them and teach them to observe all that God has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). Whilst evangelism is at least preaching the gospel, it’s not only preaching the gospel. To avoid the necessary follow-up often required when doing evangelism, we can settle for leaving a track or just shouting in the town square, hoping that the gospel seed lands on fertile ground (Mark 4:1-20). Has this method of evangelism fanned the flames of apathy? How we evangelise should be fueled by why we evangelise. When we proclaim the gospel we aren’t just throwing good news into the atmosphere and hoping it materialises into something useful. Instead we are inviting people to be transformed by the good news that Jesus Christ came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). One the day of Pentecost, Peter declared the gospel t (Acts 2:14-36), called the people to repentance (Acts 2:37-41) and then committed to discipling the saints. Preaching the gospel should not be discouraged, after all how will they know unless they hear? (Romans 10:14). However, we don’t just want people to hear, but to know, believe and obey God.
Harvest And Labourers
Everyone needs the gospel. The world is under sin due to our parents Adam and Eve (Genesis 3) and as a result all people live in rebellion to God (Romans 3:9-12). The world needs to know that due to sin they are eternally separated from God. There is nothing that they can do to clear the debt that they have accrued (Romans 3:20). They need God. They need God, in the person of Jesus, to live for them, die for them, raise for them and ascend for them (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). They need to know their sins can be forgiven, they can be righteous, they can be changed and they can be loved (2 Corinthians 5:17-19). Jesus states that the problem isn’t the harvest but the labourers (Matthew 9:37-38). In other words, the issue isn’t whether there are people that need to hear but whether there are willing people to proclaim. The temptation for churches may be to spur their congregants up to go out and evangelise within their city, but that’s not the solution that Jesus gives. Jesus says we ought to pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers into His harvest. God is sovereign over His harvest. Therefore, the most important factor for evangelism is not willing labourers but the Lord of the harvest. Before we embark on proclaiming the gospel, let’s realise that it is the Lord’s efforts not our own that will make disciples out of all nations.