When I encourage other believers to evangelize (share the gospel) with others, I am usually met with anxiety, sweaty foreheads, and fearful expressions. Evangelism is one of the most feared commands in all of Scripture. Why are we afraid to talk to other people about our faith in Christ? Perhaps, it’s because we don’t know what to say?
Maybe we’re afraid of being rejected? Or, maybe we don’t like talking to others? We all, at one point, have felt the anxiety that comes with sharing our faith with others. But, whatever the reason(s), I hope that this post will be an encouragement to you as you think through what we, as Christians, are called to do. Here are 3 motivations for evangelism.
We are commanded to evangelize
I know that might seem like an odd way to start, but the fact that we are commanded to evangelize is an encouragement. When we think of evangelism, we often look to “The Great Commission” found in Matthew 28. We typically begin reading in verse 19,
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This is a good verse to reference. However, we do ourselves a disservice when we start in verse 19, while neglecting verses 16-18. Who is speaking these words? The resurrected messiah! He has risen from the grave and the first words are not a commission but a proclamation. He says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (v.18).” Jesus Christ, the conqueror of the grave proclaims that He has all authority in heaven and on earth; He has universal rule. Following this proclamation, He commands, yes commands, His disciples to make disciples. They go and tell because He is Lord over all and He calls them to go and spread His name throughout the nations. We evangelize because we are commanded by the risen Christ to evangelize.
It’s amazing that they witnessed the resurrected Christ, they heard his command, but they also received a last word of encouragement: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Wow! Jesus Christ, the ruler over all, is with them and us, to the end of the age! Jesus Christ is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
You may be ostracized from family for your faith, you may be mocked and scorned, you may be thrown in prison in a foreign country all alone, but take heart, you have the ruler of the world with you! You are never alone if you are in Christ. Therefore, when you are fearful of sharing your faith with others, be encouraged that God is with you. If God be for us, who can be against us? Why do we fear man when we have the conquering messiah with us? Jesus says, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul (Matt. 10:28).”
What is the worst that man can do to you? Kill you. That’s it. We can agree with Paul when he says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21).” The worst man can do to us is take our lives and send us to Christ.
It’s in the commands of Christ that we find freedom.
We often think that commands diminish our freedom, but God is a good father and He knows that prosperity is found in conformity to His will. It’s in our obedience to the Great Commission that we see the name of Christ exalted and our trust in God deepened. We see God fulfilling His promise that He is with us, and He is fulfilling His promise that His glory will spread throughout the earth.
Salvation belongs to the Lord
This idea needs to be repeated constantly. We do not save individuals. We may understand this in theory, but we fail at this practically. We fail at this when we believe that if we don’t say the right thing or answer all the questions, we won’t see people come to faith in Christ. Consequently, we attempt to cleverly word our gospel presentation so that we can lure people into faith in Christ.
We did not save ourselves. So why do we think our words and actions can save others? Our job is not to save but to point people to the One who can and does. Salvation is not the result of our clever wording or phrasing, but a result of the faithful proclamation of the Gospel being applied to the hearts of God’s people by His Spirit.
Salvation occurs when the Word of God applied by the Spirit of God makes people the children of God. God will save His people. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).” Jesus accomplishes His task in the salvation of sinners. Consequently, we must not pray for God to save and then act as if it’s up to us.
Be faithful. God’s Word will accomplish its purposes. The Holy Spirit will bring people from death to life. It’s inevitable. We are not responsible for the outcome of our obedience, but we are responsible for being obedient.
We are recipients of grace
“We cannot stop speaking of what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).” This response comes from the mouths of Peter and John as they stood before the rulers, elders, and scribes of Jerusalem. These men sought to quiet the proclamation of the disciples’ words. However, Peter and John could not keep quiet about the truths of the gospel. Why is that? Because they had been on the receiving end of God’s grace.
What we see in Scripture is that those who hear the Gospel and believe the Gospel, cannot keep quiet about the Gospel. Grace was never meant to be merely understood; it was meant to be communicated. God did not simply save us by His grace so that we would feel good about ourselves. He saved us primarily for His glory, which resulted in His love for us that leads to the spreading of His glory throughout the earth.
When we understand our sin and the depth of God’s grace which covers that sin, there is no way that we can remain quiet about it. God’s grace in our lives motivates our obedience to His call because we understand what it means to be orphans that are adopted into the family of God.
Let us be like the church of Thessalonica. They had received God’s grace and the Word of the Lord sounded forth from their region into others. Let’s let our freedom ring, knowing that we have been saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, that God will save others, and He is with us to the end of the age.
Soli Deo Gloria
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