Should Christians Evangelise?

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Image by Ben White. Adapted for Redemption of Humanity. Used under licence.

Last edited on 19/Jan/2021

The Bible’s Answer

The Bible’s answer to this question is yes, Christians should evangelise. Evangelism is the act of proclaiming the Christian gospel to non-Christians. Many people feel that religion, politics, and money are the three things you should never talk about in a conversation. Others feel that faith is a personal matter that we should keep to ourselves. Jesus, however, didn’t feel this way at all. In fact, he gave the command:

Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. (Mark 16:15)

He also commanded:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19–20)

Christianity—a Missionary Religion

These commands explicitly tell us that Christianity is a faith that should be shared to all people in the world, not something private that we should hide and keep to ourselves. One of the defining characteristics of historical Christianity is that it is a missionary religion. In fact, Christianity’s missionary zeal is one of the reasons why it is currently the world’s largest religion. Others who agreed with Jesus were his own disciples and the Christians of the first century. In the book of Acts, we are told how greatly zealous the disciples were for proclaiming Jesus’ name to the public:

And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. (Acts 5:42)

Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans. (Acts 8:25)

Paul, who is one of the most faithful and devout Christians to have ever lived, spent at one stage two whole years preaching in the hall of Tyrannus in Ephesus every day:

But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. (Acts 19:9–10)

The Importance of Evangelism

So, why do Jesus and his disciples place such a huge importance on evangelism? The Bible tells us in Romans 10:14–15:

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news! (Romans 10:13–15)

Quite simply, only Jesus can save us from our sins, and only those who call on his name will be saved. So then, if Christians don’t tell others about Jesus, how will they know who he is? How will they know that they need him for salvation? How will the gospel be proclaimed if no one is brave enough to step up and accept the challenge? If we fail to evangelise, then the simple truth of the matter is that non-Christians won’t know that they need the biblical Jesus as their Saviour, and will look to other worldviews and philosophies for salvation instead.

Jesus Christ—the Only Way

Jesus taught that he is the only way to eternal life:

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

There is no other religion, philosophy, or way of life by which we can have access to God the Father other than through the biblical Jesus of Christianity. Furthermore, the Bible says:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36)

This passage tells us a harsh reality: those who reject Jesus (those who deny his deity, his bodily resurrection, his sufficient sacrifice for all sins of the past, present, and future, etc.) won’t have eternal life, and will face God’s almighty and eternal wrath on the day of judgement, when we will have to give account for our lives. That’s the fair price that everyone deserves to pay for sinning against God daily in thought, word, and deed. This may not be pleasant to some, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s the truth. Therefore, as an act of love for our neighbour, and in accordance with Christ’s commands, we should engage in evangelism with our non-Christian friends, colleagues, and communities.

The Message of Christian Evangelism

The good news of the gospel is that even though we deserve eternal punishment, God sent his Son to be the propitiation (payment) for our sins on the cross, so that we could live through him and be reconciled to God (1 John 4:9–10; Romans 8:10). Furthermore, on the third day after his death, God raised him from the dead to validate this truth and guarantee our own future resurrections (Acts 17:31; 1 Peter 1:3). This is the message that the world needs to hear—there is nothing else out there that can offer anyone real hope or salvation.

We Should Obey Jesus

Moreover, Jesus said:

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (John 14:21

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. … You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:10, 14)

Jesus said that his friends and those who love him will keep his commandments. As we have seen, one of Christ’s commandments is to evangelise the world. It’s important that as disciples of Jesus, we not only obey his commandments of loving God and our neighbour, but also of proclaiming the gospel to the world.

God Converts People to Christianity

This may seem like a daunting task, but what’s important to realise about evangelism is that we don’t evangelise by our own wisdom or power, but by God’s. The Bible says:

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:5–9)

This passage tells us that the primary agent at work in evangelism is God, not us. Furthermore, the results of evangelism don’t depend on us, but solely on God, and whether or not the non-Christian chooses to resist God’s grace. We are simply those whom God uses to sow seeds of faith in his field, which is the world, but the growth of those seeds are caused by God alone. If someone converts to Christianity through a Christian’s evangelism, it is because God has graciously appointed them to eternal life (Acts 13:48; Romans 8:29–30), and given them his Holy Spirit, who grants them faith in Jesus and regeneration (1 Corinthians 2:12–13; Titus 3:4–7), not because of the eloquence of our speech, persuasiveness, or knowledge.

Conclusion

Therefore, we need to pray to the Lord for opportunities to present the gospel to others, that he would give us the right words to say when we do so, and that he would soften and work in the hearts of the non-Christians whom we witness to. Leave the results in God’s capable hands, and rest assured, knowing that he will always do what is right.

but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practises steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:24)

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