Theme: Christian Living — Evangelism
For many Christians, the initial response to the term “evangelism” is negative. It conjures up emotions of inadequacy, guilt, failure, embarrassment, and a few others. If such is the case—or maybe we should say “when,” not “if”— it is indicative of the fact that Satan has been quite effective in his work.
After all, at its core, evangelism is sharing good news. What could (should) be more natural and simple? That’s not how we tend to think about it, though.
From another vantage point, our Master’s parting charge was to evangelize. If we, as His body, have relegated evangelism to any place other than the highest priority something is surely amiss—and it is. Again, Satan’s opposition and his effectiveness in implementing it are evident.
Perhaps it is time to step back, clear our minds, and once again be impressed by God’s word with this critical theme. Maybe some old ways of thinking, attitudes, and conclusions need to be freshly replaced with God’s own expressed will. If what we are thinking is negative and if our response is one of reluctance then change is in order. Nothing is more effective to affect change than God’s word.
The place to begin is understanding the place to begin. To the surprise of many, that place is not with the Great Commission. The Bible is not a book that happens to record Jesus’ instruction to make disciples of all the nations. Rather, that command is but one expression of a theme that is the overall current running throughout the Bible from start to finish. If we start at Matthew 28 and Mark 16, we are already far behind, very far.
Readings and Introductory Comments
Genesis 3:14-16; 12:1-3; Luke 24:44-49; Acts 26:19-23
Two principles are laid out very early in the Bible. It is the carrying out of these two principles of which the remainder of the Bible is the record and explanation. The first of these is the victory of God over the antagonism of Satan against His plan. In the aftermath of the debacle in the Garden, God said that the woman’s seed would be the victor—through suffering (He would be bruised)—over the serpent (Gen. 3:15).
The second principle is found in the great promise made to Abraham. To him it was promised that the blessing that would come through his seed (notice “seed” in both of these instances) was to extend to all families of the earth (Gen. 12:3).
Both Jesus and Paul state that not only is the Savior’s suffering, death, and resurrection an Old Testament message, but so also is the proclamation of the good news of salvation to all people (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 26:22-23). It’s tragically ironic that both of these were lost on 1st century Judaism.
Mark 1:35-39; Luke 8:1-3; Mark 1:16-20; Matthew 9:35-38; 10:1-42; 24:14; 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16
Preaching and teaching dominate the ministry of Jesus—that is, evangelism. It even took priority over healing the sick. He recruited and trained others to do the same. Of course, His parting charge to His disciples was to continue the work He came to do.
Acts 8:4-8; 11:19-26; 13:1-14:28; 19:1-20; 3 John
The history that is the book of Acts focuses on Jesus’ instructions being followed. His disciples went everywhere preaching and teaching the gospel message. The little letter of 3 John provides some interesting insight into people devoted to spreading the gospel and how they were supported in that work
Romans 10:5-17; 15:7-12, 14-16; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; 2 Corinthians 4:7-15; 5:11-6:13
Paul’s letters say much about salvation’s message being spread. He speaks of how those who might call on the Lord’s name for salvation must first hear that word, how Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, how he was willing to become all things to all men for the sake of the gospel, how this great treasure of salvation’s message was entrusted to weak and feeble men, and how his was a ministry of reconciliation to God. Evangelism was never far from the mind and heart of Paul.
Mark 5:18-20; John 1:40-42, 43-51; Philemon 4-6
On its simplest level, evangelism is caring people sharing God’s love with those whom they love. So Scripture tells of Jesus sending a healed man to his own family and friends to tell what He had done (Mark 5), men, who having been introduced to Jesus, going to their own brothers to tell what they have found (John 1), and individuals sharing their faith with others (Philemon). Evangelism is not the concern only of apostles and missionaries and preachers.
- What would the serpent do to the woman’s seed? (v. 15)
- What would the woman’s seed do to the serpent? (v. 15)
- Whom did God intend to be blessed through Abraham (v. 3)
- Who wrote about Jesus? (v. 44)
- What else was written that should happen? (v. 47)
- To whom was the message of Christ to be delivered? (v. 23)
- What did Jesus say needed to be done next when it was suggested He return to the waiting multitude? (v. 38)
- What did Jesus do in the cities and villages where He went? (v. 1)
- What did Jesus propose to make of Simon and Andrew? (v. 17)
- For what did Jesus say to pray? (v. 38) Why? (v. 37)
- To whom did Jesus send His disciples to preach? (v. 6)
- What did He encourages His disciples to be? (v. 16)
- Where was the gospel of the kingdom to be proclaimed?
- From whom are disciples to be made? (v. 19)
- To whom is the gospel to be proclaimed? (v. 15)
- What did those who were scattered by persecution do wherever they went? (v. 4)
- To whom was Jesus preached at Antioch? (v. 20)
- Who designated Saul and Barnabas to be sent out from Antioch? (13:2)
- What did they report that God had done through them upon their return? (14:28)
- From Ephesus who heard the word of the Lord? (v. 10)
- What happened with regard to the word of the Lord? (v. 20)
- Whom should we support and what do we become when we do? (v. 8)
- How are people to believe on Him of whom they have not heard? (v. 14)
Romans 15:7-12, 14-16
- Who should glorify God for His mercy? (v. 9)
- To whom was Paul a minister of Christ Jesus? (v. 16)
1 Corinthians 9:19-27
- Why did Paul become all things to all people? (v. 22)
2 Corinthians 4:7-15
- What do I do since I believe? (v. 13)
2 Corinthians 5:11-6:13
- What do we do since we fear the Lord? (5:11)
- What do we not do so that no fault be found in our ministry? (6:3)
- To whom did Jesus send the healed man? (v 19). For what purpose?
John 1:40-42, 43-51
- Whom did Andrew find first? (v. 40)
- What did Paul pray for Philemon? (v. 6)
Why is evangelism important?
In what ways can I support the efforts of evangelism? How can I, even if I don’t see myself as a “teacher,” engage in evangelistic activity?
It is said that if I know what to do to be saved then I know enough to teach someone else the same, do you agree? Why or why not?
“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 4:15)