Because God Calls Us To!
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12
Are you apprehensive at the prospect of going out to witness? Have you done evangelism with all of your heart and passion with little to no results? Well, so did Paul! Although he had no fear, he did have little results with his own people at times, yet continued to obey God anyway. We are all called to do evangelism, yet so few do because so few Christians actually respond to God's call. Perhaps it is anxiety that holds us back; perhaps it is because we have seen so few results. The key is to see our call as to obedience and faith. This is about having a firm, trust relationship with Christ who bridges our gap of sin so we can have an intimate relationship with God, then tell others about it!
Obedience precedes exhortation! We are to work out our faith and our lives in Him so we can be the net builders and fishermen He has called us to be. He is our awe and relevance; He is our motivation and reason. As God is working in us, other people will see His work in us, and, along with the work of the Spirit, we will be used to help compel them. Now, we are going to get into the "nitty-gritty" of how to do evangelism effectively. We learned about faith; now it is time to learn how to put our net of faith to work. We are going to look at two principle passages in Scripture that tell us why and how we should evangelize. One is Romans, chapter 10, which tells us why evangelism is important, and the other is Matthew, chapter 10, which tells us how to do evangelism.
The questions we need to ask ourselves are what is our motivation? Are we evangelizing people because we feel guilty? Are we witnessing because our church is doing a big program and we do not want to be left out? Or, are we witnessing because we love the Lord Jesus Christ and also people, and we want people to hear and know about Him as we do? Our motivations will unveil our sincerity. And, if we do not have the right motivations, we will be insincere and thus ineffective because no one likes an artificial or insincere witness. We will just be wasting our time and theirs; our motivations must rest on what Christ has done for us. That is why the first part of this book is so imperative for learning and knowing before we can venture on to how to witness, because we must have the why, we must have something to say, and we must be honest and sincere.
We are to do our best to witness, pray, evangelize, do missions, and put forth every effort we can to expedite His Word. And, as Christians saved by His Grace, we have to remember that we still need to repent, even though He paid it all, because we love Him and want to obey His decree.
Romans 10:5-21: Real Evangelism Takes Consistency and Time
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Romans 10:14
This is a great and essential passage for all those who do evangelism. (If you get anything from this book, please realize we are ALL called to do it, yet so few do because so few respond!) Paul, with all of his passion, love, and zeal bats a near zero in witnessing to the Jews. He defends himself that he is just preaching what Moses taught which is now fulfilled in Christ. Then Paul gives them the Gospel, that to know who Jesus is and confess Him as your Lord is the only way of salvation now, the only way to be right with God. So, when you are discouraged and find so few people responding to your efforts to witness, remember; even Paul did not do so well at times, especially with his own people. So, be encouraged; continue in obedience, and keep your feet beautiful!
Over the years, Jews have not only turned their backs on the Gospel, but also on their own faith. They have become agnostic, antagonistic, and bitter, holding onto their culture while rejecting truth and faith. They hide behind the faith of their ancestors and use persecution as an excuse to "pew-sit" and do nothing. Then the Messiah comes and they reject Him, the Apostles come and they reject them, we regular Christian folks come and so it goes, rejection. But, we never give in or give up because we are to live Christ and then are further called not to stray in our hearts. As people who are called to make Christ known, we must identify with God and what He had to do with His Son. We must also be aware of our witness and how we are characterized by others. Our integrity and character are the most important things we have to offer to a non-Christian. With this said, our focus becomes to honor our Lord and continue the practice and projection of our faith.
The true Believer is the one who bases all his or her life-ALL OF IT-upon Christ, with full trust, assurance by faith, and obedience. There is a big difference between "self-imposed" righteousness and obedience to righteousness. Then we are witnessing, really, truly witnessing with our mouths from the words of our heart. God calls this beautiful; that is, to have "beautiful feet" to bring the Good News (Isaiah 52:7). This is why (Romans 10: 14-15) we send missionaries and evangelists from our churches. We have Him in us; now, we make Him known from our heart with our mouths and feet. These are the further marching orders from Matthew 28:19-20 to evangelize and disciple, yet so few Christians ever do it; so few churches do it. What an extreme insult we must be to Christ to ignore His call!
Remember, it is not our efforts that save; however, it is our responsibility to preach and witness, regardless of results. Christ is the true preacher and witness. This point is so important to understand, because if we do not, we are likely to get depressed and give up. We are not responsible for results; we are only responsible for obedience. Why do I keep repeating this? Because, too many Christians just do not get it. That is, we are called to tell others about Christ, but we are not responsible for how they respond. If they reject us, they are truly rejecting Christ. We are only called to preach and disciple. We cannot convert anyone; that is the role of the Holy Spirit. He uses our voices and words, but only He can change a person's soul. We must obey by being His voice and words. If you ever feel discouraged because you pray and witness but see no results, remember Paul and Jesus. That should keep your fear from binding your feet. Keep it up; keep your feet beautiful.
People, especially the Jews, reject God because of misunderstandings about righteousness, as did Israel in Jesus time. They did not understand what God really required. Be aware that we have no excuse not to know Him or to make Him known, or not to evangelize. We will be judged, regardless of our understanding or beliefs. Remember, your efforts are never a waste of time. It may take years for the message God uses you to convey to "hit" someone so that they respond. Paul appealed to the Jews using Moses as an example, saying that the Patriarch exemplified both obedience and faith, and the law does the same. He kept it up. Real evangelism takes patience, care, consistency, and time.
"I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, 'Here am I, here am I.'" Isaiah 65:1
We will face misunderstandings. These make good plots for "sitcoms" on TV, but in real life, it hinders many from knowing the Lord. Misunderstandings are mostly the fault of the hearer; the one who receives has the responsibility to receive the message. We still must make every effort to make our words and deeds clear and contagious. People have made up their minds what they think of Christians from the wrongs they have observed and have used this to rationalize away their convictions. So, we need to be aware and take our time; take it slowly with careful care, careful love, and careful consistency, and then you will have built a way to them with the net of your faith.
Never rush through with people; they need to feel special and that someone is listening to them. Just as we are never to just rest our faith in a simple sinner's prayer and nothing else, we are also never to just give it and nothing else. Christ's Grace gets us admission to the "club" of eternity, but what good is the club if we never use it? That is why discipleship is essential. Our faith and practice must be real, so use the club but do not just rely on its privileges. Give people the membership to the club, but do not just give them the card; let them in, let them use it and try it out, answer their questions, even clean up their mess.© 2006, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org