"Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, . . . They are not
just idle words for you-- they are your life" (Deuteronomy 32:46-47).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


"God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, . . . has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ" (2 Cor. 5:18-20).

Very few professing Christians are actually engaged in consistent, intentional evangelism. Explanations are endless: fear of confrontation and rejection, insufficient biblical knowledge, busyness, lack of training, no confidence, extreme shyness, and void of spiritual giftedness just to name a few. Yet, what if the real reason has more to do with wrong expectations and misplaced burdens?

No doubt Jesus called his followers to evangelize others. Speaking to the townspeople of Lystra, Paul and Barnabas said, "We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them" (Acts 14:15). Solomon exhorted, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls" (Prov. 11:30).

The problem, however, is not is recognizing the call to evangelize others; it is in perceiving the true definition of evangelism. Christians do not have the ability to "save" anyone. Jesus himself said definitively, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day" (Jn. 6:44). Clearly, Jesus is the one who saves. However, professing Christians engaged in witnessing often burden themselves, perhaps unintentionally, with "securing the decision." Nothing less, in other words, is success except making sure the person prays to receive Christ as Lord. Although genuine repentance of sin, belief in the atoning death and resurrection of Christ, and complete surrender to Jesus is certainly the goal of evangelism, the misguided pressure to say the right words and make sure a person "gets saved" is a foolish, unnecessary, and heavy burden that Jesus never called his followers to carry.

Evangelism is a cooperative work. With love, sincerity, and passion, the follower of Jesus engages in the ministry of reconciliation by bearing witness to the person and work of Christ (Acts 1:8). He or she shares the gospel of salvation (Rom. 1:16). The nature and law of God, sin and condemnation of man, sacrificial death and miracle resurrection of Jesus, and the redemption and new life of the sinner frame the conversation. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, convinces the unsaved person of the truth being shared by the witness and then brings conviction of sin and persuasion of the need for salvation. The grace of God enables the sinner to believe, repent, and surrender his or her life to Jesus as Lord. If a person willfully and knowingly resists and rejects the grace of God that would save him, he is not rejecting the witness; he is rejecting Jesus (Jn. 3:18).

Consequently, the Christian's responsibility is to bear witness. Jesus' responsibility is to save. After Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, he ascended back to heaven. Prior to leaving, he left his disciples definite instructions: "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Mat. 28:18-20). Why would Jesus say he would be with his disciples always? Because they had no power in themselves to save any person. Their job was to disciple (lead) people to Christ by bearing witness and then teach those who become followers of Jesus how to live faithfully to Jesus. Jesus, present with his disciples always, would hold them accountable to being his witnesses and then do the regenerating work of salvation in those who believe the message of reconciliation spoken by his disciples.

So, Christian, take that foolish, unnecessary, and heavy load off your shoulders and simply go into the world, bear witness of the gospel, and depend of Jesus to save all who believe (Jn. 3:16).

No comments:

Post a Comment