Go fight the fire? Why?
Evan-ja-what? I think some believers get confused and intimidated when the word evangelism is mentioned. Evangelism is simply the preaching, proclaiming, or spreading of the gospel. When you came to faith in Jesus Christ, you believed that He suffered and died a horrible death on the cross. You believed that He rose from the dead, conquering the power of death and hell. You also believed that He died in your place, took your sins upon Himself, paid for your sins so that you wouldn’t have to, and fulfilled the debt for your sins to God the Father. You had faith that if you believed in Jesus, you would be spared the just punishment of eternal death for your sins, and granted the gift of eternal life. That is the gospel message.
The gospel is not, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” The gospel is not, “Jesus wants to make you happy if you’ll give Him your life.” The gospel is not, “God wants to give you purpose and direction for your life.” These are all nice things, but they are not the gospel. The gospel is about Jesus’ substitute payment for our sins so that we could be made right with Father God. Evangelism is simply sharing this saving message with people.
The gospel is like a package that needs to be delivered to people. When a courier is sent with an important package, it doesn’t matter what vehicle she uses to deliver the package, as long as it gets to the person it was intended for. Similarly, there are many vehicles that can be used to deliver the Gospel. You may be into art, writing, surfing, baseball, skateboarding, tennis, school, business, music, or a ton of other things. These can all be used as vehicles used to deliver the gospel to people. You can be a revolutionary for Jesus Christ, impacting the world for His glory, if you will focus your talents, energy, and resources on spreading His wonderful gospel message.
Many times believers make the mistake of thinking that evangelism is for an elite group within the church, or that it’s a task reserved for those who have “the gift” of spreading the good news. This idea is totally false, and is an idea from hell. That is exactly what Satan wants believers to think.
If someone in your neighborhood took in all kinds of stray dogs, fed them, and cared for them, you would not say, “Wow, they have the gift of caring for stray dogs.” No, instead you would say, “They really love dogs.” In the same way, Evangelism is birthed more by a love and concern for the lost, than by a spiritual gift. If you will allow Jesus to give you a burden for lost souls, YOU can make a difference in this dark world with the light of God’s gospel.
At this point you may be saying, “Okay Gabe, your right, God could use me to share the gospel. But, why should I be concerned? I’m saved. I’m safe, so why should I stick my neck out to share with others?”
Reason #1 – People are dying and going to hell. Let’s just tell it like it is. That is the sobering reality. What kind of person would watch someone get hit by a car without warning them that a car is coming? How can I watch as people that I care about slip into death without Jesus? How can I not warn them of God’s wrath against sin and the forgiveness found in His only Son Jesus Christ? Oh Lord, help me to be a bold witness. Help me to overcome fears of rejection. Help me to really care enough to open my mouth.
Readers, listen to me. I know what it is like to keep my mouth shut for fear of rejection. I know what it is like to slip into apathy and pull back from continually sharing Jesus with others, but this truth about hell never changes. We have to pray and ask God to give us a love for the unsaved that is so strong it overrides our fears. We have to pray for Jesus to give us some of His burden for sinners. I would guess that some of His burden is all we can handle. For if Jesus were to lay on us His full burden for the unsaved, I imagine that we would die in sorrow, but we must ask and receive from Him some of it. To refuse some of His burden for the lost would be wicked indeed.
Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, once said, “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.” Read Jesus’ words in Mark 9:42-48, Luke 16:19-26. He paints a picture of an awful reality full of unbearable pain and misery for the sinner who dies without receiving the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
Reason #2 – Jesus gave us orders to do so. After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to many people. At one point, he appeared to the 11 disciples as they were sitting around at a table. Mark 16:15-16 records Him saying, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (NKJV) This was a mandate not only for the 11 disciples listening to Him then, but a mandate for all believers who would ever walk on the face of planet earth.
Romans 6:16 says, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (NKJV) When you became a Christian, you rejected the power that sin had over you and became a servant of God. A servant does what his master tells him to do. A servant obeys. Being Jesus’ servants, we should obey His command to share the good news with others.
Ephesians 1:13-14 says, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.” (NIV) When you believed the Gospel, you became Jesus’ precious possession. He sealed you with the Holy Spirit, which is proof that you belong to Him. You cost Him dearly. He had to pay for you with His very life (He must love you very much to pay so high a cost). No one pays a high price for something and then doesn’t take care of it. Jesus will take care of you.
One day, either at death or when Jesus returns, He will redeem you as His rightful possession. He will not allow your soul to be swallowed in death. But for now, as His precious possession, He has commissioned you for a work. Jesus saved you so He could use you to save others. This work He has called you to is a privilege. A commissioned fireman is honored to be found worthy of rescuing those in danger. His work is not a duty but a privilege.
Reason #3 – If you don’t share the gospel with sinners, who will? 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The Church of Jesus Christ is the only group of people on earth that even care about the gospel message of Jesus Christ. The rest of the world thinks that the gospel message is foolishness. Studies show that a minute percentage of believers are sharing their faith with the unsaved. If you don’t take this mission seriously, who will? The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. God wants to use you. Don’t let Satan distract you with every Christian activity other than reaching the lost. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. He wants to use you to do the same.