February 2014

Overcomplicating Evangelism

*In this article, Pastor Greg Laurie answers the who, where, why, and when of evangelism.

We overcomplicate this thing called evangelism.

I’ve read that 95% of Christians have never led another person to Christ. Let’s look at the basics: The Who, Where, Why, and When of Evangelism.

Who is called to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel”?

Answer: We are!
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Matthew 28:19–20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” These words are addressed to everyone (not just pastors, evangelists, and missionaries, but everyone). In the original language, they are a command. You are commanded by the Lord Himself to do this. No exceptions.

Where are we to preach the gospel?

Answer: Everywhere!

Mark’s Gospel has a variation on this Great Commission: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). To personalize it, “Go into all of your world and preach the gospel.” Go into your family, your workplace, your campus, your sphere of influence.

Jesus did not say, “Go and be a good example” but “Go and preach the gospel.” Some say, “I don’t want to push anything on people!” Would it be “pushing” something if you had a cure for cancer?

Why are we to preach the gospel?

Answer: Because God’s primary way of reaching people is through people!

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). But there is another reason as well: because we care. We don’t want to see people go to hell!

When are we do to it?

Answer: All the time!
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We must always be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. You never know when the door of opportunity will open. “Preach the word of God. Be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not” (2 Timothy 4:2). Another translations says, “Be on duty at all times.” And 1 Peter 3:15 tells us, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

What is your biggest hurdle to sharing the gospel?

Missional & Relational

We should be “on mission” to love God and to love others, and we primarily do this through preaching the gospel. But in addition to sharing the gospel with our words, we can show the gospel with our works. Through our day-to-day interaction with people at school, work, or in our neighborhoods, we can be missional by being relational; we can build relationships that give us the credibility and opportunity to share the gospel, invite friends to church, and to engage in conversations about Christianity.
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The Bible tells us how we should act with other believers in the church, but it also instructs us on how we are to interact in society with unbelievers. And we see this in Paul’s letter to Titus. By way of reminder, Paul urges Titus to remind his congregation of their duty to have Christ-like conduct in a Christ-less culture. Check out these reminders for all of your relationships:

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2).

Submit to Rulers and Authorities

The first duty Paul refers to is your actions and attitude about secular government. This means that you’re to submit to the laws of your land. The early church was instructed to submit to the Roman government, which was pagan, immoral, and unjust. Nevertheless, they were to submit as unto the Lord in every aspect that did not contradict godly living and instruction. When you are “subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,” you will “put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” and you will glorify God as you are in His will (1 Peter 2:13-15).

Be Obedient

Obedience is submission on display. Out of obedience to God and His commands, you are to obey those who exercise authority of you, whether it’s your parent, teacher, or employer. And when you do this, you are actually being obedient to God. Because many young people are known for their disobedience, and it’s even become “cool” in some ways, others will be able to see that you’re different through your obedience to others—and ultimately, to God.

As you submit to the rulers and authorities in your life and in your land, it shows that you submit to the ultimate ruler and authority—the Lord.

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