Summary: Did you realize most English Bibles never uses the word "evangelism?" The Greek word "euanggelion" is actually translated "Gospel"... but what does that mean? And how can that impact how we witness for Christ?
OPEN: There’s a true story about a church down south where the preacher had been preaching about the importance of witnessing to people about Christ. One particular person took this to heart – a mentally handicapped young man – and he began telling everyone who would listen about Jesus and asking if they’d like to become Christians.
One particular Sunday a skeptic came to visit the church. He didn’t want to be there. His family had invited him and it was more out politeness than anything else that he was there. And then this boy approached him and asked if he wanted to become a Christian.
"NO!" the man responded.
The slow witted boy looked at him for a moment and then responded:
"Well, then you can go to hell,"
And he turned away and left.
For the next few weeks we’re going to be looking at several unique Christian Words.
“CHRISTIANEZE” is what we’re calling this series, and the first of those Christianeze kind of words we’re going to examine is “Evangelism”.
Now, when many people in the world hears this word “Evangelism” what they often hear Christians saying is “You’re Going To Hell”.
And there’s a reason they would think that. Many Christians believe that they NEED to talk about HELL if they’re going to witness properly. On Facebook I read this statement:
“Hell is not solved by Stop, Drop and Roll. In Hell There Is Weeping, Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth.”
On the internet I also found a Gospel tract that had this on its cover:
“Heaven Or Hell? You could die today”.
And on the inside of the tract was this phrase:
“Are You Going To Hell? Do you care for your soul?”
Then it went on to ask if the reader had ever lied, stolen, taken God’s name in vain, basically explaining that all this made it so the reader deserved to be in hell.
It’s because of statements and tracts like these that people of this world that believe that the main focus of evangelism is to tell folks “You’re all going to hell… and I just thought I’d let you know!”
HOLD THAT THOUGHT FOR JUST A MOMENT
The first thing I want to do this morning is answer a question:
What DOES Evangelism mean?
The Greek word is “eu-anggelion”
“Eu” means “good” (as in “Eulogy” where the preacher says “Good Words” about the deceased)
And “Angeelion” (a similar word “angel”) that means “message”.
Literally, Evangelism means “Good Message” or “Good News”
I examined a number of Bible translations and found that “eu-anggelion” was never translated “Evangelism/ Evangelistic” in any of them. Every time that word “Eu-anggelion” shows up in the New Testament the English word they use is GOSPEL.