Summary: "Evangelism is the ultimate goal of the kingdom focused church, and everything the church does has to contribute one way or another to reaching that goal. It’s also true that church growth without evangelism is impossible" - Gene Mims
This morning we’ll be viewing the purpose of “evangelism.” So, what is evangelism? In his book, The Kingdom Focused Church, Gene Mims (a former President of LifeWay Christian Resources) defines evangelism as “the process of sharing the gospel with the lost and winning them to Christ, thereby enabling them to enter the kingdom of God. It is asking them to repent of their sins, put their faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life, and to follow Him forever as Lord. Evangelism is the good news spoken by believers and lived out in their lives.”(1)
In The Kingdom Focused Church, Mims discusses the importance of the five purposes of the church as emphasized by Rick Warren (see chapter seven); however, concerning the purpose of “evangelism,” he stresses that “evangelism is the ultimate goal of the kingdom focused church [and also the purpose driven church, I might add], and everything the church does has to contribute one way or another to reaching that goal. It’s also true that church growth without evangelism is impossible.”(2) Now, keep in mind that evangelism is accomplished as we carry out the Great Commission.
Rick Warren says, “The Great Commission is your commission. You have a choice to make. You will either be a world-class Christian or a worldly Christian. Worldly Christians look to God primarily for personal fulfillment. They are saved, but self-centered . . . In contrast, world-class Christians know they were saved to serve and made for a mission. They are eager to receive a personal assignment and excited about the privilege of being used by God” (pp. 298-299, The Purpose Driven Life, Zondervan, 2002); and this morning, we’re going to view the commission given to each of us by the Lord.
We Are Empowered to Share His Story (vv. 46-49)
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
In verses 46-47, Jesus informed His disciples about the message they were to share with people; that Christ suffered, or rather, He died on the cross for our sins; and that He arose from the dead the third day. The content of the gospel message is best summarized in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, in which the apostle Paul stated “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” This is the message we need to be teaching believers when helping them understand how to share their faith.
The easiest way to share the gospel is by using what’s called “The Roman Road,” and there’s only three points to memorize: 1.) Every person in the world is a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 2.) Sin separates us from God and leads to death. Romans 6:23 tells us, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 3.) The confession of sin and faith in Jesus Christ leads to salvation. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” These are the three points you need to know in order to lead someone to faith in Christ.
In verse 47, Jesus explained where His message should be preached: “to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” In Acts 1:8, Jesus declared, “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Rick Warren explains that “His followers are to reach out to their community (Jerusalem), to their country (Judea), to other cultures (Samaria), and to other nations [the end of the earth]” (p. 301, The Purpose Driven Life, Zondervan, 2002). He also “note[s] that our commission is simultaneous, not sequential,” stating that “every Christian is called to be on a mission to all four groups in some way” (p. 302, The Purpose Driven Life, Zondervan, 2002).
In verse 48, Jesus declared, “And you are witnesses of these things.” Witnesses of what things? In The Purpose Driven Church, Warren elaborates that “we are to tell the whole world of Christ’s coming, His death on the cross, His resurrection, and His promise to return” (p. 104, The Purpose Driven Church, Zondervan, 1995). In Acts 1:8, Jesus echoed Luke 24:48, saying, “You shall be witnesses to Me,” and when Jesus spoke of “you,” He was referring to His disciples; however, all who believe in Him today are considered His disciples. Therefore, “it is every Christian’s responsibility” to be witnesses of Jesus and “to share the Good News wherever we go!” (The Purpose Driven Church, p. 104.)