Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Evangelism: What Is and Must We Evangelize?

There is so much to say about evangelism, sticking to these guidelines I have given myself will be no easy task.  Some future topics may include, Preparation for Evangelism, Effective Evangelism, The Need for Evangelism, and so on.  These are all important evangelism sub-topics but tonight let us simply define evangelism and decide whether or not it is commanded of us to evangelize.
            I can still remember sitting in chapel services listening to our evangelism passionate teacher tell his stories of street ministry in L.A., quoting Ezekiel 33:6 “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman's hand.”  This Scripture has always stuck with me; it not only shows us the requirement to proclaim the good news but the urgency to do so as well.  Justin Martyr quotes this passage when writing about evangelism and the motivation behind it, ““His blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn him, you will be innocent.” For this reason, out of fear, we are very earnest in desiring to witness according to the Scripture- but not from love of money, of glory, or of pleasure. (Justin Martyr 160 AD)  Here we something worth noticing, “out of fear” maybe this quote will be used another day, for another topic.  In Matthew 28:19-20 we read, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  It becomes obvious that those who follow Jesus must be obedient to the Will of God and evangelize the world just as He has commanded through his Word.
            I suppose it is okay to work backwards this time, now that we have covered our need to evangelize I must explain what this word means.  It is very simple the Greek word euaggelizo is used over 50 times in the New Testament and is most often translated “preach”.  The definition is, to preach; to proclaim glad tidings; to tell the good news.  This definition is sufficient; in it we see public proclamation of the Gospel and private sharing of the Gospel.  Basically, sharing the Gospel is evangelism whether crying out from the rooftops or at a coffee shop with another person. 
            Telling people (regardless of method) the true and only good news is commanded of us, we have to do it.  Not evangelizing is just as disobedient as murdering the innocent, we must take this seriously.  2 Corinthians 6:2 tells us, “for He says, ‘at the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’  Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation.’”  We have to get out there; we have to proclaim the only way to eternal happiness is through Jesus Christ!

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