Getting People to Think and Be Evangelistic.
by Missionary David R. Cox
This is a constant priority that as a pastor, we cannot ever “let slide.” Evangelism is at the heart of gospel, it is what motivated Jesus, and it was his constant concern and activity. To despise or slight this is the greatest insult to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Where to focus
I think that the principle focus for getting people straight on this is to remember that our salvation is a public proclamation of our faith in Jesus Christ as our Saviour.
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Matt 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Public confession of Christ as an expression of our true heart-felt belief in Christ as our Savior is all part of a true Christian’s life. We are never saved by works, but that does not mean works are unimportant. EVERY true Christian will publicly seek to profess Christ, as well as witness or evangelize.
The problem: Christians who refuse to incorporate public confession
While on the one hand, witnessing is not a requirement for salvation, on the other, true Christians will always want, desire, and love to tell others of their salvation. If they do not, they do not fully understand the importance and preciousness of what they have (which may well be the case).
As a preacher, this would direct me to preach on the great price Christ paid for our salvation, trying to make my members to understand its eternal value. Helpful here are sermons focusing on the extreme holiness of God (which was violated by Christ in becoming sin to save us), and the fact that angels have no “second chance” to be saved after having sinned, and also by showing our people that the entire focus of the Bible from beginning to end is our salvation.
To analyze what I see as common problems and thinking that reflect this, I would identify the following:
(1) laziness – most people don’t want the theological debate that results from witnessing.
(2) timidity – many people simply are not able nor willing to enter into debates and arguments on religion.
(3) Calvinism – the horrible unbiblical position or thought that election means you don’t have to do anything like witnessing, evaneglism, prayer, work (see laziness above) is very common among the hardness core Calvinists. Calvinism attracts certain types of people because it provides them with a theological viewpoint so that they “don’t have to witness”.
(4) unspiritualness – Many people realize that when they witness, these people will be watching them, and every hypocrispy in their own lives is another reason to refuse the religion they are offering. Because people are hardened in their sins, as a consequence, they don’t want to witness.