There is no doubt that some Christians are very evangelistically minded, but others are not. Why is that? Is fear holding them back from reaching out to their neighbors, friends, and co-workers with the gospel? Do they believe they do not know enough to teach a lost soul how to be saved? Are they simply apathetic and unconcerned about anyone's eternal home other than their own? Or, is a rebellious spirit that resists God's command the root problem?
"Preacher, some people just aren't evangelistic because that is not their strength in the kingdom. If their strength is somewhere else, then they shouldn't be expected to be evangelistic--should they?"
That's a fair question. And in response to that, let me ask a question: Will God ever issue a command to an individual that he cannot obey? I don't believe so. There are many commands God issues that people will not obey, but that is due to their choice, not because compliance is impossible.
Now, I do understand and agree that some Christians will have more talents than others in the area of evangelism. But, even the most limited soldier in God's kingdom has a role in the realm of evangelism. Every Christian must do what he or she can to reach the lost! If you're not doing anything to reach the lost, you are wasting abilities and opportunities; you are rebelling against God's command (whether you realize it or not; cf. Matt. 25:14-30)!
As you consider this lesson, I challenge you to look into your heart and life. Are you a sower of seed for God? Or, are you content to babysit the seed sack and not share it with others? Are you obedient to the Great Commission? Or, is evangelism a great omission in your life?
I have seven points I'd like to share on this theme. These are seven reasons why I believe some people are not evangelistic (though I believe we all should be passionate about trying to save the lost):
1. We have forgotten the pity of God.
Consider these Scriptures regarding the pity and love of Almighty God:
2. We have forgotten the prayer of Christ.
In John 17:20,21, Jesus prayed - "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe You sent Me." Christ prayed for unity in His church in order that the world (i.e., those who are lost) might believe and find salvation. Admittedly, there is little an individual can do on a widespread scale to fix the division throughout the religious world that is centuries old. Such divisiveness should not exist, but it does exist and it hinders evangelistic efforts. However, each Christian can and must do his part to promote Scriptural unity and avoid division as much as is possible with him (cf. Rom. 12:18). This will enhance his ability as a soul-winner.
3. We have forgotten the preciousness of each soul.
Jesus asked in Matthew 16:26 - "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" A single soul is more valuable than all the possessions of the world. We read it, but do we believe it? For example, would we give up anything and everything to secure our children's souls? Or, is there a certain price we are not willing to pay to serve God and save souls? Jesus died to save precious souls, but I fear that many Christians are more concerned with temporal treasures and personal pleasures than priceless souls!
4. We have forgotten the purpose of the church.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost (cf. Luke 19:10). His primary function was to save souls! A primary function of His body (the church) must also be to save souls. Our aim is not to be a social club. It is true that a lot of socializing should and does happen among members of the body (this is unavoidable where people really love each other). But, if all of our focus is inward on ourselves and fellow Christians, then we have forgotten Jesus' mission!
5. We have forgotten the power of the gospel.
In Romans 1:16, Paul stated - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." James 1:21 - "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." The power to save is in the gospel; the word planted inside a soft heart can save. There is no other way to be saved than through the gospel! Let's not try to win people to the Lord with frills or gimmicks. Let's passionately preach the gospel and show our love for the lost--doors of opportunity will open!
6. We have forgotten the price of sin.
Romans 6:23 is a powerful verse - "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (cf. James 1:13-15). Those outside of Christ will not be saved since they are still in sin. Being a good, moral person is not sufficient. Our friends and neighbors will be lost without Christ, and surely we do not want that! To be saved, one must accept the gift of God on His terms. One must know God and obey the gospel or he will perish eternally in his sins (cf. II Thess. 1:7-9).
7. We have forgotten the path we were once on.
I Corinthians 6:9-11 - "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." These Christians in Corinth had sinful backgrounds (as all Christians do). They were on the path to destruction, but obedience to the gospel changed everything for them! Paul had this to say about himself in I Timothy 1:15 - "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." To have left the path of sin should cause us to rejoice and desire to share the gift freely, boldly, and with all (like Paul did)!
So, Christian friends, are you sowing the seed of the kingdom as you should be? As you could be? God is your judge (not me); only He knows to what extent you may or may not be sharing the gospel with others and whether you can and should be doing more. Do you love souls? The devil will distract us if we let him. He'll distract us with people, things, kids, jobs, spouse, cars, hobbies, houses, friends, sports, leisure, etc. Let us remember Luke 14:26 where Jesus boldly said - "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." We must love God and His kingdom first (cf. Matt. 6:33). Oh yes, we must properly tend to the matters of our physical existence (cf. I Tim. 5:8), but making excuses for failing to fulfill spiritual responsibilities (like the Great Commission) won't work before God (e.g., Luke 14:18ff). I know there are ways I can do better as an evangelist for the Lord, and I am ever striving to improve. Whether you are a preacher or not, I suspect there is more you can do to sow and water the seed of the kingdom also. If so, what are you waiting for? "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase" (I Cor. 3:6,7). "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (I Cor. 15:58).
Let's make sure the Great Commission is not the great omission in our lives! Thank you for listening, and may the Lord bless you as you strive to do His will.