A. WHAT IS EVANGELISM?
1. Here are just a few definitions of evangelism:
a. C. H. Spurgeon, the famous nineteenth-century British preacher and evangelist wrote that evangelism “is one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.”
b. English Archbishop William Temple wrote, “To evangelize is so to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Savior, and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of the church.”
2. Evangelism is bringing others to Jesus!
a. In (John 1:40-42), Andrew after learning about Jesus, went immediately to his brother Simon Peter and said, “We have found the Messiah.” And then in (v. 42), Andrew summed up what evangelism is, “He brought him (Peter) to Jesus.” The greatest thing we can do for people is to bring them face-to-face with the Christ who died for them.
b. Evangelism is not advancing the claims of the doctrines of the church, of a nation, of an ideology, but of advancing Jesus. As one person put it, “There is not true evangelism if the name, the teaching, the promises, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus are not proclaimed.”
At the time of the 1960 Olympics, a magazine carried an amusing cartoon showing the celebrated runner from a Marathon arriving in Athens and falling exhausted on the ground while he mumbles, with a blank look on his face, “I have forgotten the message.” This often seems to be the case with the church.
c. Unless Jesus Himself, who became the gospel through His death and resurrection, is the essence of our message, whatever we are doing is not evangelism.
B. WHY DO WE NOT EVANGELIZE?
1. Perhaps the biggest reason why church people are reluctant to evangelize is that they do not think it is their business to do so.
a. Some people say, "Those only gifted by God are called to evangelize (Eph. 4:11)."
(1) It is true that God has given certain people the gift to evangelize, however, all Christians are called to give testimony to the Lord they love and serve (Mt. 10:32).
b. Some people say, "Evangelism is what the preacher gets paid to do! It is not my responsibility."
(1) Sure, one of the responsibilities of a preacher is to share the gospel with others, however, it is every Christians responsibility to do the same. We are all ministers or servants of God (Rev. 1:5,6). How can one part of the body do all the work of sharing the gospel (1 Cor. 12)? It is impossible.
c. The myth has emerged that religion is a very private business and we must not talk about it.
(1) The truth is however, God expects all us to publicly proclaim the Word of God (Mt. 10:32; 28:19, 20).
2. Fear is another reason why church people are reluctant to evangelize
a. We are terrified of invading someone else’s privacy or of mentioning the name of Jesus. We are afraid of rejection.
(1) When we evangelize, we will be rejected. Jesus was rejected over half the time. 51.2 % of the people responded negatively to Jesus’ message. But the good news is that 48.8 % of the people responded positively to His message.
b. We are afraid that we will not have all the answers.
(1) We will never have all the answers. We must do the best we can and learn to say, “I do not know, but I will see if I can find the answer.”
3. Laziness is another reason why church people are reluctant to evangelize.
a. We all live in a comfort zone. Meaning that we live a life that is full of routines, with very few surprises, and minimal inconveniences. Let’s face it, we are a people who spend the majority of our time doing what we want to do and not what God wants us to do. See when we hibernate totally into our comfort zone, we become idle and lazy.
(1) One point to this story is that if we as Christians bury our time, abilities, talents, and obligations--meaning that we are so wrapped up in our comfort zone that we do not do what God wants us to do which is to tell others about Christ, then we are no better off than that “wicked lazy servant” who received no inheritance in the kingdom of God.
4. Lastly, church people are reluctant to evangelize because they don’t know how.
C. WHY SHOULD WE EVANGELIZE?
1. THE COMMAND OF JESUS.
a. If Jesus made evangelism the subject of His last command to His disciples on earth, then it must be important. If we love Him and seek to obey Him, then we must carry it out.
2. THE NEED OF MANKIND.
a. This passage maintains that without Christ men and women are dead--spiritually dead. They are lost and separated from God.
b. If people die without Christ, then their condition will be the same as the Rich Man in (Luke 16).
3. THE CLIMAX OF HISTORY.
a. The New Testament makes it clear that evangelism is in some way connected with the final return of Christ at the consummation of all history. It prepares the way for His return.
4. THE LOVE OF GOD.
a. God saved us even though we didn’t deserve it! I am so overwhelmed and grateful for what He has done for me that I want to bring others to Jesus for my Father's sake who has given me everything. (Dt. 15:14) “Give to him as the Lord your God has blessed you.”
b. I want to bring the lost to Jesus because it makes my Father happy.
(1) Go over the Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 16:20, 24, 32).
D. HERE ARE SOME PRELIMINARY MATTERS TO CONSIDER BEFORE WE BEGIN TO BRING OTHERS TO JESUS.
1. WE MUST DEPEND ON GOD TO BRING LOST SOULS TO CHRIST.
a. God wants us to plant the seed (the Word of God).
2. WE MUST PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE LOST.
a. We are to pray for the unsaved.
b. Before we go and share the good news of Jesus with others, we need to spend much time in prayer asking God to prepare the hearts of those we are going to talk with.
(1) We are to have public prayers for the lost.
(2) We are to have private prayers for the lost.
(3) We are to pray for our neighborhood and community.
c. We must remember that we are not just fighting against other people's beliefs and values, but we are also fighting against spiritual forces (Eph. 6:10-12, 18). We need God to help fight off Satan and his attacks on others.
d. We need to pray for wisdom and boldness.
3. WHEN EVANGELIZING, IT IS BEST TO GO IN GROUPS OF TWO.
a. In (Luke 10), Jesus send out the seventy-two disciples two-by-two.
b. In (Acts 13:1-3), the church in Antioch sent Paul & Barnabus on their first missionary journey.
c. Why groups of two?
(2) Two minds are better than one.
4. WHEN EVANGELIZING, BE PREPARED.
a. When sharing the gospel with others, use any approach or bible study method that works and fits your style. The only regulation is that whatever you use it must be biblical.
b. During the study, if someone asks you a question that you cannot answer, simply tell him or her that you do not know the answer. No one knows all the answers.
5. WHEN EVANGELIZING, WE MUST NOT ARGUE WITH THOSE WHO OPPOSE OUR VIEWS.
E. THE STARTING POINT IN EVANGELISM.
1. FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
a. Research Conducted by Church Growth Inc.
SPECIAL NEED...................................................................... 1 - 2%
WALK-IN................................................................................. 2 - 3%
MINISTER............................................................................... 5- 6%
VISITATION............................................................................ 1 - 2%
SUNDAY SCHOOL................................................................. 4 - 5%
EVANGELISTIC CRUSADE (GOSPEL MEETINGS)....... 1/2 - OF 1%
CHURCH PROGRAM............................................................ 2 - 3%
FRIEND / RELATIVE.............................................................75 - 90%
b. Although people come to the Lord through many means, the most successful way is through a friend or a relative.
2. OTHER METHODS OF EVANGELISM.
1. FRIENDS DAY.
a. Invite someone to church \ fellowship meals.
b. What did Matthew do after receiving Christ? He held a great banquet for Jesus! In other words, Matthew invited his friends to meet Jesus. We need to invite people to meet Jesus at our church.
2. MEETING NEEDS IN OUR COMMUNITY.
a. What are some ways this church can help its community?
(1) Offer pastoral counseling.
(2) Offer film series on the family (by James Dobson).
(3) Offer activities for the aged in the area.
(4) Obtain names of needy families from social services and take them food and clothing. Build on the relationship and share the gospel with them.
(5) Have the youth visit a retirement center to sing, and cheer up the lonely folks.
3. VISIT NEWCOMERS IN OUR AREA.
a. Visit newcomers in our area by obtaining lists from the Water Department or Chamber of Commerce. Extend a welcome to the community and an invitation to the church, leaving a brochure giving the times of services. If practical, include a gift item as a token of friendship.
4. SEND CARDS \ BOOKS TO THOSE WHO HAVE HAD A BABY OR TO THOSE WHO HAVE LOST LOVED ONES.
5. VISIT EVERY HOME IN THE COMMUNITY.
a. Place hangers on the door inviting people to our church along with an attractive evangelistic booklet that gives a clear presentation of the gospel.
1. I hope and pray that this lesson has inspired you to be involved in evangelism. This is the most important ministry that you can engage in. Remember that evangelism is simply bringing others to Jesus. You and I can certainly do achieve this goal. Lets start bringing souls to Jesus.