Why Evangelize?

Why Evangelize?

The Christian faith is not something that is lived out in isolation. We are to continually proclaim the gospel to all souls. In doing so, we become evangelists. This word comes from the Greek adjective εὐάγγελος, which means “bringing good news”; εὖ means “good” and ἀγγέλλειν means “to announce.” The news that we are announcing is good news because it is powerful and assures sinners who deserve eternal suffering in hell that God is graciously beckoning them to return to Him, and to be reconciled with Him and spared of His wrath. The apostle Paul writes about the lost, “in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Satan is actively trying to prevent the spreading of the Gospel, because he knows the power of the Gospel, which “… is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes….” (Romans 1:16). Therefore we must be proactive to make the glory of God and His gracious offer of salvation known to all men.

Paul writes in Romans 10:13-15, “for ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’” Apart from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), there is no other way to the Father. When we keep this truth in mind, the heartbreaking reality that so many people around are headed towards destruction sets in. Completely oblivious of their impending doom, men turn in vain to false religion seeking fulfillment, worshipping gods invented by men instead of the living God, or indulging in worldly pleasures instead of sacrificing themselves daily to serve the Lord. Such a life is displeasing before God, who is angered daily by wickedness (Psalm 7:11). Ultimately, there is nothing left for these men besides eternity in hell, a place of unimaginable horrors filled with weeping and gnashing of teeth. Those cast into the pits of hell will long for a day when their suffering would be over, but that day will never come; there are no second chances in hell. Yet God in His mercy has provided a way back to Him, through Jesus Christ, who bore our sin and satisfied the Father’s wrath. If we know the dreadful fate that awaits those who are perishing– our friends and relatives and even strangers, and if we know that the solution is Christ, why should we sit around doing nothing about it? Therefore believers must be sent out to announce this good news, so that those who are on the path to destruction may be saved and be reconciled with God.

Evangelism is also a task that the Lord has prepared us to undertake: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Among these good works is proclaiming the gospel to those who are perishing. In fact, evangelism is such an important work that the Lord has even given some the gift of evangelism as their primary focus: “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13). The goal of these works of service, including evangelism, is to build up the body of Christ. Once a new soul is added to the body of believers, the next goal is to corporately strive to become more like Christ.

Another reason we evangelize is because we are commanded and exhorted to do so. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He asserts His authority and commands, “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” (Matthew 28:19-20). In the Greek, “make disciples” is the main verb phrase in v. 19, modified by the participles “going,” “baptizing,” and “teaching.” The grammatical structure of this sentence makes it clear that the act of making disciples the primary goal. Another passage that highlights the imperative nature of evangelizing is Acts 1:8: Jesus says to His apostles: “… and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” This was promptly heeded by His followers, who were eager to bring the gospel to Gentiles in lands as far away as Rome and Spain. Likewise, we also have the divine responsibility to take the gospel to wherever our feet can carry us.

Lastly, we evangelize because it brings glory to God: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples” (Psalm 105:1). The attributes of God are displayed clearly in the gospel: His perfect justice, patience, love, mercy, and power. When we give the gospel to someone, it is not only a call to action, but also a way of revealing what God has done and who He is.

So what does evangelism look like practically? In many cases, the gospel will come across as offensive and divisive: “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53). Sinners may take offense at being told they are living in sin and must repent, and the thought of submitting to the authority of God may be jarring. The gospel contradicts their system of thought that they have held onto for probably most of their lives. Nevertheless, it is important to not take rejection personally when evangelizing, as it must be done with an attitude of love: “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” (1 Peter 3:15) When we are gentle and reverent, we no longer face the risk of marring our testimony, and any opposition will not have anything bad to say about our character.  Even if the person rejects or does not respond to the gospel, this does not nullify our efforts; we are still doing the work that God commanded us to do. Ultimately, they are bringing judgement unto themselves, “for we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life…” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). All we can do is labor to give the gospel, but it is only God who can awaken the spiritually dead: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).

Post by Ricardo Kuchimpos