What is Evangelism?
Today’s Discipleship topic is Evangelism. Dictionaries vary in their definition of Evangelism, such as “the zealous advocacy of a cause,” “the winning or revival of personal commitments to Christ,” “a militant or crusading zeal,” “spreading the gospel,” or “telling the gospel message.”
I suppose these definitions depend largely on whether or not the one making them is a believer. Things most usually look different from their inside than they do from without. But perhaps the more important question is “What did Jesus mean by evangelism?” Or, even without the word altogether, “What does He tell us to do?”
We know He had in His heart the desire that through Himself His disciples, indeed all believers “…be brought to complete unity” in order that “…the world will know that You [the Father] sent Me [the Son] and have loved them [the believers] even as You [the Father] have loved Me [the Son].” (John 17:23). We know His parting command to all believers was “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). We know that the need is great, “The harvest is plentiful,” and “the workers are few,” and we know His command to “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matt. 9:37-38).
We know also that He blessed His Church with persons especially gifted in this: “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:11) and that these ought not shirk their duties. “Do the work of an evangelist,” Paul adjured Timothy (2 Tim. 4:5). Yet we know we are all “Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Cor. 5:20), salt and light to a dark and tasteless world. And we know too that we must “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet. 3:15).
Our job is to testify (tell), to witness (what we know and have experienced ourselves), along with the many other testimonies which enter the courtroom of each individuals heart, to add our bit to sway them to faith, away from the sentence of death which otherwise bears down upon them. We need not be lawyers for their defense. The Holy Spirit will do that.
What is the definition of evangelism? Perhaps the best I know is the one I learned in Bible College many years ago: “Evangelism is simply sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results with God.” It is “One beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”
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