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Why Evangelise?

What do preachers say?

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'Oh, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay, and not madly to destroy themselves. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.'

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Tony Merida:

'If a church is to flourish, evangelism must be central to the life of the body.'

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Tim Keller

'Doing evangelism today will take more patience, courage, and thoughtfulness than was needed a generation ago.'

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John Piper

'I think we err — I know I have erred here — in not pressing through to tell somebody, “I really want you to believe.” We share the gospel de facto. We tell them the facts. We offer it to them. And then we stop instead of looking them in the eye and saying, “I love you. I would like to spend eternity with you. I want you to be a sister. I want you to be brother of mine. Would you?” Maybe the Lord would even give you tears at that moment. Very few people ever meet a Christian who talks that way to them.'

What does scripture say?

»       Mar 12:31 Love the lost!

»       Mat 9:36-38

»       Mat 28:18-20

»       2Cor 4:13

»       Rom 10:13-17

»       Col 1:28 

»       Act 1:8

‘For the Lord’s message rang out from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place that your faith in God has gone out. Therefore, we don’t need to say anything,…’ (1Th 1:8 )

Imagine going into the streets where you live and the surrounding region, and everyone you met knew of you and had heard the gospel!

Honest Evangelism (Rico Tice)

A 30 minute video that will encourage you to be confident.

When we consider our duties in evangelism, most of us have wondered what to say and how to engage people naturally. Rico Tice addresses these concerns in Honest Evangelism: How to Talk about Jesus Even When It's Tough.

 

Tice's solutions are sensible and practical: 

  • Be a good listener.

  • Play to your strengths.

  • Use Mark 8:27-38 to explain Jesus' identity, mission, and call.

  • Remember to check for understanding, agreement, and personal application in your conversations.

 

Tice's book also grapples with the fear that Christians experience in evangelism. Paul, for example, admits to the Corinthians, "I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom " (1Cor 2:3-4a). Tice describes this as "the pain line" and says we need to learn to cross it in order to tell people about Jesus.

But crossing the pain line doesn't require what we usually think of: mastery of doctrine, rhetorical skill, and unusual extroversion. Paul had these skills and traits, but it didn't make the pain line disappear. So how did Paul get the character, conviction, and courage he needed to overcome his fears and proclaim the gospel?

 

By the grace and power of God.

 

As Paul describes it, his proclamation in the midst of so much weakness was "with a powerful demonstration by the Spirit," (1Cor 2:4b).

This is good news for fearful Christians. It means that crossing the pain line to tell others about Jesus is possible because evangelism isn't about finding ways to trust in ourselves, but about trusting in God in spite of ourselves. It also means that when we trust the Spirit in the midst of our weakness in order to proclaim the cross, the gospel message will be preached in a fitting gospel mode.

10 Things You Should Know about Evangelism (Mack Stiles)
10 things to know about evangelism

1. Our evangelistic efforts must stem from a biblical understanding of evangelism.

There are so many ways to go wrong in evangelism—impulses of fear on the one side, vain ambition on the other—that if we do not nail down a truly biblical understanding, we will quickly veer off course. So, we start by understanding that biblical evangelism is teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade.

2. Evangelism is often the label given to things that are not evangelism.

We must not confuse the gospel with the fruit of the gospel.​

Is sharing your testimony evangelism? Is defending the Christian faith evangelism? How about doing good deeds for the oppressed? Certainly, those are good things that serve and support evangelism. But they are not evangelism itself. We must not confuse the gospel with the fruit of the gospel.

3. Evangelism entails teaching the gospel first and foremost.

God teaches us the gospel through his Word; we can't just "figure it out" on our own. So, it stands to reason that we must speak and teach the gospel to others: the truth about who God is, why we're in the mess we're in, what Jesus came to do, and how we are to respond to him. It’s no wonder that Paul often described his evangelistic ministry as a teaching ministry.

4. Evangelism aims to persuade.

We want to see people move from darkness to light. Having that aim helps us know what things to talk about and what things to lay aside. Evangelism isn't just data transfer; we must listen to people, hear their objections, and model gentleness because we know that souls are at stake. And we know what it means to truly convert: a true Christian has put his complete faith and trust in Jesus, so much so that he has repented of a lifestyle of unbelief and sin. Understanding this guards us from false conversions, which are the assisted suicide of the church.

5. Evangelism flourishes in a culture of evangelism.

Much instruction is given about personal evangelism. And that’s right and good since we're each called to testify to our own personal encounter with Jesus. But when people are pulling together to share the gospel, when there is less emphasis on getting “a decision,” when the people of God are pitching in to teach the gospel together, a culture forms that leads us to ask, "Are we all helping our non-Christian friends understand the gospel?" rather than "Who has led the most people to Jesus?"

6. Evangelistic programs will kill evangelism.

We need to replace evangelistic programs with a culture of evangelism. Programs are to evangelism what sugar is to nutrition: a strict diet of evangelistic programs produces malnourished evangelism. So, we should feel a healthy unease with regard to evangelistic programs. We must use them strategically and in moderation, if at all.

7. Evangelism is designed for the church and the church is designed for evangelism.

A healthy church with a culture of evangelism is the key to great evangelism. Jesus did not forget the gospel when he built his church; in fact, a healthy church is meant to display the gospel. Think of the ways that the gathered church displays the gospel: we sing the gospel, we see the gospel in the sacraments, and we hear the gospel when we preach and pray. A healthy culture of evangelism does not aim at remaking the church for the sake of evangelism. Instead, we must highlight the way God designed the church to display and proclaim the gospel simply by being the church.

8. Evangelism is undergirded by love and unity.

Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). In that same discourse, he prayed that his disciples would be unified “so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20–21). Jesus says the love we have for one another in the church is evidence that we are truly converted. And when we are unified in the church, we show the world that Jesus is the Son of God. Love confirms our discipleship, and unity confirms Christ’s deity. What a powerful witness!

9. A culture of evangelism is strengthened by right practices and right attitudes.

We need to make sure that we see evangelism as a spiritual discipline. Just as we pray for our non-Christian friends, we must be intentional about sharing our faith with them. Furthermore, we must never assume the gospel in conversations with non-Christians lest we lose it. We need to view the gospel as the center of how we align our lives to God as well as come to God in salvation.

10. Evangelism must be modeled.

One of the greatest needs in our churches today is for church leaders to boldly model what it means to be an ambassador of the gospel. Pastors and elders must lead the way in sharing their faith, teaching others how to be ambassadors for Christ, and calling their congregations to do the same.

Fear That Freezes Evangelism (Elliot Clark)

 

When it comes to evangelism, Christians tend to view fear as purely negative. Many of us have come to believe that fear is the primary factor that keeps us from speaking the gospel to others. Fear freezes us. When we sense the Spirit leading us to talk with our neighbor, friend, or family member, we get the same feeling that many of us experienced on a Friday algebra exam. We struggle to focus. Our hands perspire. We don’t even know where to begin.

Some of that physical response comes from a fear of failure. Like when taking a test, we don’t want to mess up. We don’t want to give someone the wrong answer. So, churches often respond by providing evangelism training. Education is the solution. We help people prepare, supply them with resources, and even give them, as it were, the opportunity for practice tests. And this information is truly important. We must be able to proclaim the gospel clearly and truthfully.

Such an approach in evangelism training, however, might assume that the way we address fear in evangelism is primarily through increasing our accuracy and ability. But I’m not convinced, because I believe the fear that freezes us would more accurately be labeled as shame (Luk 12:8–9; 2Tim 1:8–12).

The Fear of Rejection

 

I suspect the greatest hindrance to bold witness is not the fear of getting it wrong; it’s the fear of being rejected. We don’t want to be ostracized or shunned. We don’t want our friends to think we’re narrow-minded, unscientific, bigoted, intolerant, or just uncool. If we’re honest, we’re often too embarrassed to evangelize. We’re ashamed of Christ.

Education will never overcome that kind of fear. Instead, we need to encourage bold witness by dealing with the emotional and social dynamics of shame. Shame’s power is its ability to disgrace and divide. Shame humiliates and separates from others. Which means the antidote to shame is glory and community — and we find those in the gospel.

The good news of Jesus promises us both honor and a home (Mat 10:32; Joh 14:1–3). Only when Christians recognize this will they be able to overcome the shame that silences their witness. Because they’ll be more confident in the praise and glory that God himself promises them on the final day (1Pet 1:7; Rom 2:7). They’ll fear rejection less, because they’ll have experienced the welcome of Christian fellowship, the earthly foretaste of the heavenly home that God gives his chosen exiles.

Fear That Fuels Evangelism

 

Realizing the social and emotional dynamics of fear can also help us see how it can be a positive motivator for mission. In recent years, there’s been such an experiential increase in a particular kind of fear that the phenomenon has been given a pop-culture label: FOMO — the fear of missing out.

FOMO is understood as people’s anxiety, largely fueled by viewing social media, that they’ll miss out on some exciting event, important relationship, or salacious news. But this particular fear doesn’t generally stifle people. It drives them to constantly check their phones. It leads them to follow more people, make more friends, be more active.

Now, I’m not suggesting that FOMO leads to positive or healthy behavior. What is helpful to see, though, is how fear can powerfully move us into action. If we experience a fear similar to FOMO with regard to evangelism, we can see how it could lead us to pursue our neighbors and open our mouths with the gospel. Once we have tasted of God’s goodness in the gospel, we will want others to experience the same. We will fear them missing out on the glories of heaven, the wonders of Christ, and the most spectacular news of all. Such fear is not antithetical to love; it’s a demonstration of Christ’s compassion for them (2Cor 5:14).

But there’s more to understanding how fear should fuel our evangelism. Jesus said, “Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luk 9:26). There it is. The solution to the shame that silences our witness is our fear of missing out on glory and honor with the heavenly host. If we are embarrassed of Christ and his gospel, if we avoid evangelism as a way to protect our reputation and maintain our relationships, we will lose the honor he promises. We will miss out on the community of glory, with the Father and all his holy angels.

More Fear, Not Less

 

This means that fear is not the greatest hindrance to evangelism. Our lack of fear is. Instead of being ashamed before others, we need to be concerned about being ashamed before Christ at his coming (1Joh 2:28). Instead of fearing what others will say about us or do to us, we need to fear God, the one “who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat 10:28). Shame isn’t purely negative. “Knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others” (2Cor 5:11). Fear can be a positive force.

My son realized that taking the ACT is the means to college admission, a potential scholarship, and a future career. The results also have a profound emotional and social dimension — just wait until the scores come back! He knows the stakes are high. But recognizing the weight can be a motivating factor, and not necessarily a debilitating one.

So it can be for us. As we grow in an appropriate fear of God and for others’ eternal well-being, we will be moved to speak the gospel with more urgency and care. And as we sense the honor and home that God promises us in Christ, we will fear less the humiliation and rejection of others. We will not be ashamed of the gospel.

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