As Christians, we are often told to go out and share the Gospel evangelising to the unbeliever. The word ‘evangelism’ is often associated with standing out in the streets, handing out flyers, and telling people we meet about the Lord Jesus Christ. This is true enough, but that doesn’t show the full picture of what evangelism is. In this article, we will consider three questions: What is a disciple and how God works in us to make them? Why do we lack the motivation to evangelise? And what role does the Church play in evangelism? So, if you are curious about what the Bible has to say about these things, get your Bibles ready as we approach these topics from a biblical perspective.
What is a disciple?
Firstly, to understand evangelism, we have to look at the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus told his disciples to “Go” and make “disciples” of all nations, notice Jesus uses the word “disciples”. What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ? Being a disciple means that you are taking on the likeness of Christ- sharing His love, kindness, obedience and willingness to serve God our Father. A disciple does not just believe in Jesus, but their faith in him doesn’t affect anything in their lives. But a true disciple holds an understanding that true faith impacts everything they do; whether it be eating or drinking, they do it for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
How does God work in us to make disciples?
In 2 Corinthians 5:20, Paul tells us to be “ambassadors of Christ” and “God makes His appeal through us”. Being ambassadors of Christ means that we represent him in every aspect of our lives. We demonstrate His righteousness in every action we make, showing his love wanting to serve God, and wanting unbelievers to repent and have faith in His grace. Hence, the short answer would be: we make disciples by being disciples of Christ.
Organising evangelistic activities is great; going out on the streets giving out flyers is good; having the boldness to talk to your friends and family about Jesus is a blessing. But scripture tells us to be that salt and the light of this world (Matthew 5:13). Salt is not salty only when it is time for cooking, salt is always salty, and it is the same for Christians. There is no such thing as a part-time Christian. Paul tells us to be ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). This is how God works through us- using our character when we genuinely demonstrate a love for God and love for people, caring for them as individuals and not a target to evangelise to.
So why do I not feel motivated to evangelise?
You may ask yourself, “Why am I feeling so reluctant to be an ambassador of Christ? Is it because I am shy? Is it because I lack knowledge of the Bible?” Well, to answer that, we need to fix our eyes on Christ, observing what motivated Him to die for us. In Luke 22:39-42, right before the enemy captured Jesus, he went to the Mount of Olives and prayed to the Father to, “Remove this cup from me”, but He also prayed, “not My will, but Yours, be done”.
Oh, what a beautiful verse it is, Jesus, while understanding what pain, physically and spiritually, He will be suffering, was able to pray “not My will, but Yours, be done”- it demonstrates Jesus’ view of God the Father. He has a big view of God and a small view of self. He understands that God is worthy of all praise and glory, deserves full obedience, and we are to serve Him forevermore. His love of God was the ultimate motivation for Him to die on the cross.
Do we have the same view of God and self as Jesus has? Or do we have a small view of God and a big view of self? Thinking that we can do whatever we want and God is just here to grant our wishes? Let’s take some time to reflect on our view of God. And pray that God may reveal Himself to us, through His word, that we may have a right view of Him and ourselves.
What is the church’s role in evangelism?
We then ask the final question, what role does the Church play in evangelism? Let’s go to Ephesians 4:10-16, where it states that a church is where the “body of Christ is built up” until it attains “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God”, and the church is to “grow up in every way into Him”. In other words, the Church is where God makes and grows disciples, and disciples go out and make more disciples, and it becomes an endless cycle.
The Church is the heart of evangelism! It is a lighthouse in this dark age where wandering boats find their direction because of our likeness to Christ. And to be like Christ, we need to first know Christ. And knowing Christ always results in a big view of God and a small view of self. So, do you have that view? Does your Church promote that view? The Bible gives us a clear way to identify this; you identify it through the fruits produced within yourself and those of the church (Luke 6:43). Let’s all take some time to reflect on our fruits or lack of fruits as individuals and as a church. May it always bring us to Christ in repentance and love.
So, where is our passion for evangelism? Well, it is in Christ Jesus. So we must look onto Him, and may it shape our view of God. And may that big view of God and small view of self lead us not to cease to give Him praise.