Connie and I have noticed this more and more lately. We hear this all the time. “I just don’t have the gift of evangelism”. Hearing this is so discouraging because nowhere in the Bible is evangelism described as a gift. Yes, there are some who have an extra burden to “equip the Saints”, as described in Ephesians 4:11-12, but this is an office in the church like the Pastor/Teacher. These Evangelists are present in a healthy church to EQUIP THE SAINTS to evangelize. We are all called to be His witnesses to everyone we meet (Acts 1:8). Jesus said that we are ALL called to go! Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”! All authority was given to Jesus(vs 18) and He commands us to GO! If this was specifically targeted at just the disciples, Jesus would have said it was just for them, and the church would have died out after they died. We do not need a special leading from the Holy Spirit to evangelize, as we already commanded by the Lord Jesus as described in this passage, and many others. Sure, we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in leading us to speak a certain way with someone, or to go somewhere he wants us to go. Even Jesus said in John 4, that He MUST go through Samaria on His journey North from Jerusalem to Galilee. We must follow our Lord Jesus’ example to be intentional, for if we are not, we will never follow through in our evangelism efforts. We cannot ignore Jesus’ promise in John 4 that the fields are white for harvest! We should not wait for some time in the future to do this. Jesus explains in John 4:35 “Do not say there are yet 4 months, then comes the harvest. Look I tell you, lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white for harvest!” So let’s not delay, as God commands us all to go NOW. Today is the day of Salvation!
Another thing we hear a lot, is this; “I just need to be friends with everyone, and when they see the way we live, they will ask me about God”, or “you cannot share the Gospel with someone unless they give you/ or you earn the right to”. Excuse me? We have the right because we are “ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us”(2 Cor 5:20). Jesus earned the right we have to share the Gospel for us. We are just broken vessels “jars of clay” that the Bible describes in which we have a treasure in, so show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not us. This is all about God and not us, by the way. This is the truth and not our opinion. If we had the cure for the terminal eternal disease they have, and we do not give it to them, we certainly do not love them. Yes, we proclaim the Gospel out of brokenness for the lost and with compassion and joy, but without guilt or the need of some artificial approval of the lost person, who is headed to an eternity in hell without Christ. We follow the example of our Lord as described in John 4. He was intentional and got connected with the woman at the well right away. He developed a relationship with her right away in a few minutes. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we need to build some kind of long term relationship with someone before being able to share the Gospel. I am sorry, but although not necessarily a bad idea, almost all the time this is just an excuse for not evangelizing anyone. Yes, we can make some friends, and it might lead to a Gospel conversation in the future, but they could die tomorrow and be in hell for eternity. How much of a friend are we, if we put that day off into some possible distant future, when they could die tomorrow? If we truly loved that person, we would tell them the truth right away and then be friends with them. I am sorry, but putting off this conversation just makes it more difficult if you have befriended someone, and then springing the truth of the Gospel on them might even break this relationship, which most people are not willing to do. Really, if you think about it, if you really loved this person and did not warn them of the consequences of a life without Christ if they died without Him, they would wonder why you took so long. If you really believed it, you would have told them right away, and they would be rightly offended.
Another thing we hear is that evangelism is all relational. Does it bother any of these people that say this that around 85% of all evangelism in the Bible is done in a lovingly “confrontational” way among strangers? Yes, there is nothing wrong with relationships, and God can use this, but mostly it is an excuse to not share the Gospel, in my opinion. This can be an excuse not to hand a Gospel tract out to someone, as they do not have some kind of relationship with them. In Acts 8:26-40, Phillip called out to the Ethiopian Eunuch(who he did not have a relationship with), if he had any questions on what he was reading. No relationship. No follow up. We are commissioned to plant the seeds of the Gospel. It is about God and not about us. Let’s quit making excuses and be what God wants us to be…sold out people for Him who want to know Him more, and make Him known. To the glory of God.