HOW TO BE INTERESTED IN EVANGELISM
by Dan Goddard
The Bible is a book of “whats.” It is also a book of “ways.” The “ways” behind the “whats” are just as important as the “whats.” When one says, “Let us preach the gospel to the whole world in our generation” that raises the question-Why? Sound reasons must be given to justify the time, effort, and expense in fulfilling such a fantastic and phenomenal undertaking.
We need to be interested in evangelism because all of heaven is concerned about lost humanity. Paul referred to God the Father as our Savior (I Timothy 1:1). He saves us by His love (John ), mercy (Titus 3:5), grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), and patience (Romans 2:4). God the Son is also portrayed as our Savior (Matthew ; Luke -11). He saves us by His blood (Revelation 1:5), love (John ), authority (Acts ) and gospel (Romans
). The Holy Spirit is vitally interested in the saving of souls. By means of the word of God, He convicts men of their sins (John 16:8; Acts ). Those thus convicted are invited by the Spirit to drink of the water of life (Revelation ). The Spirit of the Lord takes up His abode in the hearts of the saved (Acts ; ; Romans 8:9; Galatians 4:6). As an Indwelling Guest, He helps Christians to live faithfully (Romans -16, 26; Ephesians ). Angels are also concerned about the salvation of sinners. They have participated in the providential activity of God in bringing gospel teachers and lost people together (Acts -40; 10:1-48). They rejoice when a sinner is redeemed (Luke 15:7, 10). They are ministering servants for those who are heirs of salvation (Hebrews ; Matthew ). In light of this information, it is obvious that one cannot be God-like, Christ-like, Spirit-like or angel-like unless he is consumed with a desire to help save the unchristian world.
Real Christians are concerned about evangelism because of God’s command found in the great commission. According to the accounts given in the New Testament, we are obligated to preach the gospel to the whole world, to every nation throughout the whole world and to every creature in every nation in the entire world (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47). There is far more material in the New Testament on our responsibility as teachers than on our duty to be baptized. The ratio is something like eight to one. Suppose one of our preachers failed to preach on baptism? What would be our reaction? We would wonder about his soundness. Suppose that some preacher said little or nothing about evangelism. Likely, most of our people would never question his soundness! Our preaching emphasis should always be biblically centered. Perhaps we ought to preach eight sermons on evangelism for every one on baptism.
The Bible has a great deal to say about obedience. Children are to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-2; Romans ). Citizens are to obey civil authorities (Romans 13:1-7). All men are to obey God (Matthew ; Hebrews 5:8-9). If the gospel is to go into the entire world, we must stress anew the meaning of obedience. Apparently, some think this approach is legalism. Anyone who contends that keeping God’s commandments (which involves right motivation and right action) is lifeless and legalistic and has abandoned biblical authority. Those who truly love God will keep His commands (John , 21, 23, 24; I John 5:3). Away with the maudlin sentimentalism which says that all we must do is “love God back” (without doing exactly what He said). Robert E. Lee once said, “Duty is the most precious word in the English language.” We need to teach the word of God because it is our duty to do so! The real basis for evangelism is the authority of Christ. If the Lord’s command to preach the gospel to the whole world will not move us to action, there is not anything under God’s heaven which will motivate us to do it. We need to submit to the Lordship and reign of our master.