Summary: 4 Reasons to Evangelize...1. It is commanded. 2. It is connected to our love for God. 3. Connects our love for unbelievers. 4. It is a movement by God.
Introduction: Last week we began talking about the core values of our church. The “Christian Ministry and Education” committee (CM&E) met a number of times with the specific purpose of determining these values. Today we will be considering the second of those values. It is an aspiring value of our church, a value that we hold in high regard, but one that we do not regularly or effectively practice; the value is evangelism.
When I say the word “evangelism” what comes to mind – a tent, a preacher on TV begging for money, guys riding bicycles and knocking on your door? What about past experiences you have had evangelizing? Seriously, what is evangelism?
Certainly the word evangelism carries much baggage in our society. For example, think of a time when you were driving down the road and you saw two people in black pants, a white shirt and a tie riding a bicycle. What came to your mind? Do you think, “Mormons! I sure hope they do not come to my door.” Then about an hour later there is a knock on your door. Who is there? You guessed it! It is the duo wearing the black pants, white shirt and tie you saw earlier riding their bicycles. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses doing their door-to-door evangelism, spreading their version of the “good news” has given many people a bad taste of evangelism. Let us be honest, how many of you want to go knock on every front door here in Mooresville? If you do not want to, why not? Is it out of your comfort zone? Is it that you do not like when they knock on your door, so you do not want to bother people the way they have bothered you in the past?
What about those preachers on TV known as “televangelists.” You know, those men who preach to large congregations halfway across the country; the men who are known and introduced as “The Evangelist so-and-so.” They preach for a while, maybe they even say something that connects with you, but at the end they are begging for your money. I do not know anyone who likes that. But the fact remains, evangelism has heavy baggage in our society, therefore not many Christians want anything to do with it.
Evangelism is simply the act of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whether is it through a sermon, conversation at work, text messaging, Facebook, or whatever! Evangelism does NOT have to be going door to door, on TV, or only from the pulpit on Sunday mornings! Evangelism can be done anytime anywhere because all it is is stating the facts of the Gospel – Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for our sins, and giving an invitation for someone to begin to believe.
1 Peter 3:15 gives us an imperative, “…always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…” So today we focus on four reasons for evangelism, for sharing of our faith.
I. Evangelism is Commanded By God (Matthew 28:19)
“19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”
The very last sentence recorded in the Gospel of Matthew is a direct commandment given by Jesus. He tells His disciples, “Go, tell everyone about Me.” You must understand the disciples had been with Jesus for three years now. They had watched His miracles and listened to Him teach on a daily basis all over the Promised Land. This account, here in Matthew 28, is after Jesus’ death and resurrection, so it is as if He is saying to the remaining disciples, “All of the things you have seen me do, all of the things I have taught you, it is time to put it into practice…go, tell everyone about my death and resurrection, and the forgiveness of sins and eternal life available to those who believe in Me.” It is as if this command culminated His teaching ministry.
Illustration: A church in Des Moines, Iowa had perhaps the largest and most successful evangelism outreach in the state. One day per week the congregation had 40-50 people out knocking on doors and witnessing for Christ. Someone asked “Why are so many people involved in the programming?” It turned out that the pastor was scaring them into witnessing. Basically, this commandment was used as fear as a motivation. He told his people if they did not witness they would be committing willful sin, God would be angry at them, and they would be the reason people were going to hell.
We are commanded to share the Gospel of Christ and can be driven by many motives, but the greatest motive for witnessing should not be fear of temporal or eternal punishment.
II. Evangelism is Connected to Our Love for God (John 14:15)