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By Pastor Bruce Sikes
Many believers will tell me they feel like something is missing in their Christian walk. Even though they may regularly attend Sunday worship and Bible study, donate food for the hungry, collect blankets and items for the homeless, contribute to relief efforts for disasters, orphans, disease and even sex trade victims, they still feel as though they are not doing enough for the Lord. They have an inner desire to do more and know that something is missing.
More often than not, that "something missing" comes from an unaddressed inner desire. It is a desire which resides in our heart due to the indwelling of Christ within us. It is the missing link in the vast majority of our Christian lives.
It is the call to evangelize.
It is the continual daily prompting of the Holy Spirit desiring us to share the Good News of Salvation with our lost family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances and even complete strangers. When we personally share the Gospel, we are propelled toward being all we can be for Christ in our lives. It is the link which connects our physical good deeds with our own spiritual growth.
It's true that we all have the heart-felt desire to see the lost saved, yet we know desiring is one thing, actually doing something about it is another. Witnessing by living a "good" lifestyle and by doing "good" deeds are both very important and essential for every believer; however, we must not confuse them with evangelizing. That is not sharing the Gospel. If you are not actually telling someone "how to be saved", then you are not evangelizing. The Bible plainly says,
"...how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" (Romans 10:14)
There is no way to get around this fact. Without personal evangelism, that is personally sharing the Gospel of Jesus with the lost, no matter how much you go to church and read the Bible, your Christian life is weak and incomplete. If that sounds extremely harsh and all too convicting, let me share with you why sharing the Gospel needs to be a top priority in your life and mine.
There are numerous very good reasons for making personal evangelism an active part of your daily life. I have taken these reasons and organized them into an easily read three-part series of articles on evangelism. I urge you to look over all three articles as each will provide you with a different perspective on our need to share the Gospel. Many of these reasons should be obvious to us. However, for some time now, the vast majority of contemporary preaching and teaching has spent little, if any, time at all on the necessity for believers to do evangelism. That's why it is important to for us review them and see what we have been missing. In doing so, I believe you will discover some key insights and even some new found strength giving you the freedom to fill that "missing link" in your life starting today!
To begin with, the first reason we must all evangelize is very straightforward and simple. Jesus commands us to! What more do we need? In the Great Commission of Matthew 28, He tells His followers, "Go and make disciples of all nations." The King James Version translation says, "Go ye...” which in today's vernacular means "You go"! It is a very clear and direct command given by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to His followers.
Even so, we can react to "commands" in different ways. Some of us would say, "Oh, great! It's more work that I have to do!" or "I have no choice in the matter." Others begin to equivocate and look for excuses to not obey. These are fleshly reactions to God's commands, worldly responses. The truth is God loves us and His commands are not a burden to us. They only become a burden when we make them so by forgetting who God is and what He has done for us. Look at what it says in the book of 1st John;
"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." (1 John 5:3-4)
What a great reality for us! God's commands come with the assurance of victory for those who have been born again! You see, the command to evangelize is not simply a worldly work order giving us just another job to do. That's why many translations entitle Matthew 28 as "The Great Commission" chapter. Jesus has given us a "Commission". Have you ever thought about that? In the military when you are given a commission, it is a promotion that comes with new status and authority. As believers, Jesus has "commissioned" us to make disciples. He has specifically chosen us for this task! He has personally picked imperfect sinners, you and me, saved by His grace, to do His work. It is much more than a command. He has given us the right, the privilege and the honor of sharing the Gospel.
You and I have been duly authorized and commissioned by the Lord of lords and King of kings to share the Gospel! That alone should make us stand taller and speak bolder in His Name.
A second reason it is so important for us to make personal evangelism a regular part of our everyday lives, is that it takes the focus off of ourselves. By that I mean it causes us to be less self-centered and more concerned for the spiritual welfare of others. We sometimes allow ourselves to become so focused on addressing our own situational needs, both physical and spiritual, that we do not make time for reaching out to others with the Gospel message. This is when we must remember to follow the example set for us by Jesus and the Apostles. They spread the Gospel and ministered, enduring situations of utter chaos, conflict, and of great personal need. Like them, we must not forget that our own personal needs and situations will always come and go, but the unchanging Gospel message will help keep our life focused on the Lord. That is why the Bible reminds us to:
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus..." (Philippians 2:3-5)
The key word above is "selfish". There are times we can be so absorbed with our own moment to moment spiritual state that we never seem ready enough to share the Gospel with those we know desperately need Christ. We find ourselves moaning, "I don't feel holy or spiritually mature enough right now to talk about Jesus to an unbeliever."
Ironically, this is the great thing about sharing our faith at these moments. When we share our faith from our inadequacies and humility, God's Holy Spirit fills and strengthens us, helping us overcome our personal weaknesses so that we may be used by God. Remember Jesus said,
"My Grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Through personal evangelism, we not only overcome this self-centered world, we overcome our own self-centered nature, becoming stronger and more confident as we live our lives out for Christ.
We know there are people literally all around us everyday who are dying and going to hell. We have the message that will save them and what's more, we have the tools to communicate that saving message. Chief among them is our own mouth. Yet, when it comes to mentioning the name of Jesus out loud, we are often too embarrassed or afraid to open it.
The fact is, when you open your mouth with the sincere desire to share the Gospel and see people saved, no matter how awkwardly you think you have done it, God will open their ears so that you can share the message of salvation with them. And whatever you think you might lose in your public image among friends, co workers, in business and even with family, God will more than abundantly replace your worldly image with His own image of Christ in you. After all, isn't that what we really want? Sharing the Gospel is a win-win situation, if only we are willing to trust God as much as we are asking others to.
Romans Chapter 10 says, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.”
That is the great thing about evangelizing; when we begin to do it, in spite of our fears, in spite of worries and doubts, God will start to change us, to cleanse us, to reshape us and mold us more and more into the image of His Son. We will find ourselves becoming more focused, less selfish, spiritually stronger, more secure and confident in our walk, and more filled with joy in all aspects of our life, because we are sharing the Gospel.
I hope you will take a few moments to read all three articles in this evangelism series to consider how God desires to use you right where you are to reach the lost.
"Lord, open our eyes to the lost all around us. Give us a new found confidence and boldness, so that we will strike up a conversation with someone about Jesus that will literally change their life forever. Amen"
For Christ and His Remnant,
Pastor Bruce Sikes
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