By Michael Hoch
Harvest Bible Chapel exists to see lost people saved…. by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with boldness… all to the glory of God. Evangelism is a part of our Mission and one of our Four Pillars, and rightly so. Explaining the gospel to unbelievers is a biblical priority and necessity (2 Tim 4:1-5). The apostles were compelled to preach Christ no matter the consequences (Acts 5:27-42) and Paul considered himself deserving of great misery if he did not heed the call to proclaim the gospel (1 Cor 9:16). Acknowledging and affirming the importance of evangelism, however, is not the same as evangelizing. Its one thing to recognize your coworker’s need to hear the gospel; it is something altogether different to actually tell your coworker the gospel.
Let’s be honest, sharing the gospel with unbelievers is not easy. Telling an enemy of God about the holy love of God can be challenging. It is tough to tell people that the Lord made them and owns them, which means they are not to live for themselves. It is hard to speak the truth about Jesus Christ to a person the Bible describes as dead, deceived, disobedient, hard-hearted, blind, ignorant, energized by Satan and ruled by their own sinful desires. It can be difficult to explain that God’s holy wrath requires punishment for their sin. We sometimes even be reluctant to tell someone that God is love and He demonstrated His love by dying on the cross for sin. At times, we may wonder if anything could persuade us to faithfully share the gospel with unbelievers. We all know we should do it, but we may have forgotten why we should want to do it.
In general, there are two approaches for encouraging personal evangelism: man-centered manipulation or Christ-centered motivation. The former appeals to guilt and is short-lived; the latter appeals to the glory of God and produces lasting effects. The guilt version goes something like this: “When was the last time you told someone the gospel message? On average 153,000 people die everyday, many of them doomed to a Christ-less eternity. You probably don’t share the gospel often enough.” While that may be true, God does not desire guilt-driven obedience. Instead, it is the burden of this post to encourage a God-glorifying enthusiasm to eagerly and faithfully tell others about the good news of Jesus Christ.
There are numerous very good reasons to evangelize. For example, we are encouraged to proclaim the gospel out of a love for God (2 Cor 5:11-15) and our desire to obey Him (John 14:15), a love for God’s people (Matt 9:36-37) and our desire for their salvation (Rom 10:8-15), and in order to grow and strengthen the church of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:1-4). There are three reasons, however, that you may not have thought about recently.
First, explain the gospel to someone as a way to glorify God. You were created to glorify God (Isa 43:7), which means He made you for the purpose of magnifying Himself. Evangelism is one way that you portray His greatness and thus glorify Him. When you tell others about Christ and Him crucified you put God’s character on display for everyone to see, you showcase the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor 4:3-6), and you make known God’s provisions for salvation (cf. Eph 1:3-14; 2:1-10)! Sharing the good news exhibits the supremacy of Christ (Col 1:15-23) and highlights the exclusivity of Jesus as the only way (Acts 4:12). Regardless of how the listener responds, God is glorified because He is made famous among the nations (Isa 66:18-19).
Second, tell others about the good news of Jesus Christ for the purpose of making worshippers. Christian worship is acknowledging and ascribing worth to the infinitely worthy God. All people are worshippers, but only believers worship the one true God and will do so for eternity. When you proclaim the gospel to an unbeliever you are speaking the only message that can make him or her into a worshipper of Jesus Christ (cf. John 4:7-26); you are participating in the ultimate goal of the church - worship. Evangelism is motivated by and leads to worship.
Third, speak the gospel to unbelievers because God rejoices over the salvation of lost sinners. The God of the Bible is holy and happy, sovereign and satisfied, glorious and glad; He is full of joy (cf. 1 Tim 1:11)! Amazingly, God rejoices when we tell people of their need for a Saviour. There is much rejoicing and celebrating in heaven when that which was lost is found (Lk 15:1-32; 19:10). God is filled with joy when a sinner repents and that sinner experiences the joy of God at conversion, both of which you can be a part of through evangelism.
Evangelism is not a heartless duty; it’s a delight. The person enamored with the glory of God and His goodness will worship and desire others to do the same. Thus, evangelism flows out of a God-given passion for His glory, producing genuine worship and joy in heaven. There is no need for guilt-driven evangelism, because our desire to see God worshipped and glorified motivates us to explain the gospel to unbelievers. Press into Christ and drink deeply at the river of His gospel delights, and evangelism will increasingly become part of your personal mission.