What is Evangelism?, Part 3
October 5, 2023 | by: John Lee | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
This week we conclude our 3-part series on what evangelism is. As a way of reminder, Timothy Beougher defines evangelism as: “the compassionate sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ with lost people, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of bringing them to Christ as Savior and Lord, that they in turn might share him with others.” (pg. 9)
Within this jam-packed definition, Beougher lays out for us the spirit of, the method of, the content of, the recipients of, the power for, and the purpose of evangelism. So, let’s unpack his definition:
The Spirit of Evangelism: Compassion
Far too often Christians can have a cold heart towards those who are unsaved. Beougher believes that the culprit for why people don’t evangelize may be due to a lack of compassion for those around us. If we are honest with ourselves, we could all grow in our compassion for those around us. We do well to remember Jesus, who had compassion for the multitudes who lived like sheep without a shepherd (Matt. 9:36). You see, the starting point of what propels the Christian to evangelize is to first remember Christ and his compassion toward us. In fact, our lack of compassion for others may reveal ways in which we have not grasped the depth of God’s compassion toward us in Christ. Let us first marvel and start with the deep, deep love that Jesus has toward us and for those he came to save.
The Method of Evangelism: Sharing
Beougher helpfully points out that sharing entails both verbal and nonverbal communication such as talking and listening (pg. 11). We see the importance of both talking and listening in Scripture. We see in Acts 8 how Philip tells the Ethiopian eunuch about Jesus and in places like Proverbs 18 we are reminded that it is wise to listen. In truly listening, we are able to better understand what the other person really believes and we can more wisely communicate verbally the good news of Jesus Christ to their particular contexts in wise and winsome ways.
The Content of Evangelism: The Good News of Jesus Christ
Oftentimes, we confuse “pre-evangelistic” content such as our personal testimonies, arguments and reasons in favor of Christianity, or invitations to church as evangelism. As important as our testimonies, reasons for the faith, and personal invitations to church are, evangelism’s content is specific to the good news of what God has accomplished in Christ and in turn calls for someone to respond with repentance and faith in Christ. The gospel is the greatest news this world has ever and could ever know! Yet, sometimes we present the gospel with a “drag-our-feet” sort of attitude. Let us be unashamed of the gospel and boast boldly in Christ. It is truly good news that God saves, reconciles, and redeems sinners through the person and work of Jesus Christ which we receive freely through faith in Him.
The Recipients of Evangelism: Lost People
Evangelism deals with so much more than what people do with their Sunday mornings. Those who do not know and love Christ are currently dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). They are walking in the course of this world and are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:2-3). Praise God that he reminds us that Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). The lost and unsaved are all around us (sometimes even within our church walls), so we ought to be prepared to “go and tell” the gospel to all wherever we may be. Let’s pray for their ears, eyes, and hearts to be opened to Christ, who is the light of the world.
The Power for Evangelism: The Holy Spirit
For many of us, the fear of being inadequate makes us recoil at the thought of actively and intentionally sharing our faith. We can too easily slip into a way of thinking that the power of our evangelistic efforts stems from us, but this is simply not true. In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells his disciples that they will be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. But, this fact is spoken after the assurance of the power of the Holy Spirit who will embolden, empower, and energize them for this task. It is also the Holy Spirit through God’s Word who is able to change the heart of the lost to rest and receive Christ as he is presented in the gospel. We do well to remember that God supplies all things necessary for the tasks he calls his people to. Let us trust and depend upon him.
The Purpose of Evangelism: Bringing Them to Christ as Savior and Lord
Evangelism is not simply about winning an argument. Oftentimes, when someone rejects the gospel of Jesus Christ, we find our hearts frustrated and angry. We should check our hearts continually as we continue to share Christ with others. Our hearts should break for those who reject Christ and our hearts should be spurred to pray all the more for our friends and family who have rejected Christ up until this point in their life. Pray that they would come to know the goodness and kindness of God who saves according to his mercy (Titus 3:4-5).
As those whom we share Christ with come to saving faith in him, we mustn’t end there. The Great Commission reminds us that the task to make disciples of Christ is not only seeing people come to saving faith in Christ but also teaching them to observe and follow all of God’s Word. Part of being a whole disciple of Christ is that they would also then share Christ with others around them. In all of this, God, through his church sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, is gathering a people from every tribe and language and people and nation (Rev. 5:9).
As we have considered what evangelism is, won’t you pray for God to increase your heart for those he has placed in your life? Take some time this week and ask God to give you wisdom, opportunity, and boldness to share the hope of Christ with the people in your life.
Soli Deo Gloria,