To strengthen our evangelism, it is good to understand our responsibility to evangelize.
We may tend to think that evangelism is not for us, that it is a task for a select few who are especially gifted and called to it.
Certainly, there are some who are primarily gifted and called as “Evangelists.” The Apostle Paul says, “And [Christ] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:11–12). So no doubt some people will really excel in evangelism.
However, as we will see in just a moment, we are all called to and can participate in evangelizing the lost. Even though it may not be an area of strength for you, you can and should still participate in evangelism.
By the way, we might compare this tension between gifting and responsibility to the gifting/responsibility of teaching. As we just read, Paul says some are gifted to be teachers (Ephesians 4:11), and yet all of us are responsible to teach and admonish one another with scripture (Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another…”). So also with evangelism: though we may not be capital “E” Evangelists, we still have a responsibility to share in the work.
So, to close this post, let me share with you several verses that issue a broader call to Christians to be part of the work of evangelism:
Jesus to his disciples:
- Matthew 28:19-20 “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
- Mark 16:15 “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.’”
- Luke 24:46-47 – “and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’”
- John 20:21 “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’”
- Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Apostles to the Church:
- 1 Corinthians 10:33-11:1 “…I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
- Colossians 4:5-6 “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
- 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
- 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”