Evangelism

<<sharing about Christ>>

Evangelism is the presenting of the gospel with the intention of bringing others, who currently are not Christians, to salvation – variously termed as faith in Christ, conversion, being born-again, or giving one’s heart to Christ.

The evangelistic message is that God loves people, but all have sinned against Him and will be punished eternally by separation from Him. However Jesus died to provide a way back to God for us and we are commanded to repent of our waywardness (Jn 3:16; Rom 3:23, 5:8, 6:23; Act 17:30). Evangelism is not a numbers game of getting people to acknowledge an interest in Christ or filling in a decision card. Rather there needs to a clear presentation of the gospel so those who decide to embrace Christianity acknowledge and repent of their sin, accept Christ as Saviour, then live transformed lives because of their ongoing connection to Him.  

Often the unconverted are only told they need Jesus so they won’t end up in hell, and no mention is made of the fact that their sin is against a holy God and this must be addressed through repentance and a changed lifestyle (Act 3:19; 2 Tim 2:19). The seriousness of our wrongdoing needs to be confronted in an ongoing way so we can increasingly walk into newness of life as the works of the flesh are cast off (Rom 6:4; Eph 4:22-24). Salvation is not just adding Jesus to our lives; it also involves shedding the fruit and lifestyle of the carnal nature; a replacing of the old sinful qualities with the new life in Christ, the qualities of heaven (Gal 5:19-24). Don’t misrepresent the Christian life by telling people when they become Christians all their problems will be solved, otherwise people will end up disillusioned and disappointed (Act 14:22).

The command of Jesus “Go and make disciples” commences with the sharing of the Gospel (evangelism) and continues till the person is firmly established in Christ through discipleship (Mt 28:19,20).  We do not all have the gift of evangelism yet we all should share our faith in Christ with others in sincerity and love (Act 4:20; Eph 4:11; 2 Tim 4:5). There is no set formula, rather be relevant to the person and their situation, open to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

Use creative ways to get people’s attention and arouse their curiosity, just as tempting bait on a line is used to attract fish with the intention to safely land them; however, there must not be any deception or lapse of integrity. A true presentation of the Gospel must be given – the Christian life is not all blessings and joy as there are numerous trials too,

   Do I know how to effectively                                  share the gospel?

for although salvation is free there is a cost involved of denying ourselves to follow Christ who gave His all to purchase our deliverance (Mt 10:38; 16:24). We are called to sow the seed of God’s truth into people’s lives; sometimes we reap what others have sown however remember it’s God’s Spirit that draws them to Him and He is the one who is to receive the glory (Jn 4:36-38, 6:44; 1 Cor 3:6-9). Coming to Christ is normally a process that takes place over a period as different people contribute; each player instrumental by having a valued and significant part to play in the final harvest. Be proactive, don’t bring people to God but take God to people.

Friendship evangelism (developing friendship with non-believers) is one of the most effective and cost efficient methods to win the lost to Jesus. Over a period, they can observe your lifestyle and as bridges of communication are built, the sharing of personal details and the Gospel can be introduced naturally and simply. This one-to-one approach undertaken by every believer (or as a couple) is the best means of evangelism as it contributes to their spiritual maturity and they become outwardly focused, taking the good news to others (Mk 6:7, 16:15; Lk 10:1). If it is specifically one-to-one this should always be done with the same gender though. Discipling and follow-up can also be undertaken easily, as over time, we have built up a good relationship and the new convert will be more at ease to share their lives with us. Do I share Christ along the pathway of life? It is my job to speak; its God’s to save them.

Very few unsaved people are looking for church, but everyone is looking for relief from their inner pain; those things which make life difficult to live – be it the result of bad decisions they have made, pain from rejection, or the hurt from living in a world that knows little of God’s acceptance, forgiveness and love. If we demonstrate love by acts of kindness, we get their attention and so over time earn the right to share the love of Christ. By doing that which relieves their felt need, it addresses the issues most affecting them, often causing them to ask, ‘Why are you doing this for me?’ It is ‘scratching them 
where they itch’, and touches more people than any theological debate can ever do.

Although our culture measures by results (the number of conversions), do not underestimate the importance of the ground work – both the human sowing of seed and the increasing awareness of the need of a Saviour in the person’s spirit as the Holy Spirit opens their spiritual eyes in response to our intercession on their behalf (Jn 6:44, 14:6; 2 Cor 4:4). However, following conversion there should be adequate follow-up so the new Christian is securely grounded in the faith and receives care and spiritual nourishment, helping them have a robust relationship with the Lord. Opposition from Satan increases because he is annoyed another person has defected to the Kingdom of God and will try to regain their allegiance, so it is imperative the ‘babe in Christ’ is supported and grows strong, able to resist the many diverse attacks.

All believers should give financially to Christian ministries that are involved in missions focused on evangelistic efforts, both locally and overseas where the gospel is presented. Every Christian should understand the vital importance of prayer.  “The harvest is great and the workers are few so pray to God for more recruits” – however you may be the solution to your own prayers (Mt 9:37,38).

Evangelism and discipling should be by-products of each other.

See also: apologetics, disciple/discipleship, evangelical, evangelist, follow-up, gospel, salvation, sinners prayer, testimony, witnessing. 

 


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