God expects the believer to tell others of His saving grace in their lives.
HYMN: MUST I GO, AND EMPTY HANDED?
TEXT: Luke 9:59-62; 1 Corinthians :16-23; John 4:27-30
The Lord Jesus shortly before He departed this earth commanded His disciples to go into the entire world and preach the gospel to every creature. For this is the purpose of His suffering and death on the cross. The message of redemption must be proclaimed all over the world to everyone. God is not interested in the death of any sinner, 2 Peter 3:9, but that all should come to repentance. This has become the number one task for the church. This task should be more of an individual duty than that of a group. Thus, believers as individuals must be involved in personal evangelism as a matter of course. The tendency however is for most believers to depend on the church-organized group activities to bring the sinner to the church and to Christ. While this is acceptable and should be encouraged, we tend to neglect the most effective method which is the personal touch.
The one-on -one contact gives room for frank discussion devoid of repentance and suspicion. It is easier to win with confidence of the sinner. The atmosphere developed on friendship is more successful in leading the sinner to Christ. The sinner needs a friend who can come to his or her level and appreciates his state. It is easier to demonstrate love in personal evangelism that in mass program.
Personal evangelism requires a dedicated and committed believer who will be ready to give his time and other resources in order to reach out to the lost. There is a great sense of joy and fulfillment in that believer who regularly participates I his exercise. Let us use every opportunity we have to make friend with the sinner with the aim of leading them to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The objectives of this study are:
- To understand what personal evangelism is.
- To appreciate the necessity for personal evangelism.
- To know that it is a priority with God.
- To know the dangers of indifference to personal evangelism.
- To explore the reasons why some believers fail to participate in personal evangelism.
- To know that there are rewards for the believer who is committed to personal evangelism.
- WHAT IS PERSONAL EVANGELISM?
In the above scripture, Jesus told the man who was formerly possessed by a legion of demons to go and tell members of his household what had happened to him. We also observe that the woman at the well in John 4:20-21 went into the city telling everyone she came across about her encounter with Jesus. In Mark 8:2, Jesus told the man healed of leprosy to go and show himself to the priests. In Acts 26, Pal testified before Festus and Agripa of his encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ on his way to Damascus. The lesson here is that all these people spoke of their personal encounter, or revelation, or knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is personal evangelism.
Anyone who is born again must have had a personal encounter, revelation or knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This knowledge could be one spontaneous indelible experience or a gradual revelation, but what is significant is the impact it has had on that life. It is this life-changing experience which we encounter at the new birth. We received this transformation when we heart and believed the gospel message. Others readily notice the effect of the new birth in our lives. It is the sharing of this experience that is personal evangelism. Thus, we tell our relatives, friends, colleagues at school or workplace what the Lord has done in our lives.
Has the Lord done anything for you? Then go and tell others that which He has done for you just as it is. It does not need to be spectacular like the delivered maniac or like Paul who heard audibly the voice of the Lord. Just tell it as simple as it is. What is important is your faithfulness in doing it. We have a story to tell of God’s love, favor and abundant mercies. No one in his right senses finds a treasure and keeps it away from his friends. The knowledge or revelation of Christ is more than a treasure.
Another aspect of personal evangelism is the individual being personally involved in telling other that salvation from sin and its consequences is only through the Lord Jesus Christ. He is God’s provision for man’s liberation from this scourge.
2. WHY IS PERONAL EVANGELISM IMPORTANT?
The commandment to go into the entire world and preach the gospel to every creature is as much to individuals as it is to the whole church. Thus, individually we must take seriously this great commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must make it a personal matter. It is a demonstration of our commitment to the Lord.
Personal evangelism offers us the opportunity to share with another person our personal experiences as believers. Personal witnessing is done under a more relaxed atmosphere. Usually the believer would have spent some time praying for the person he is reaching out to. Thus, a friendship in most cases would have been developed thereby making it possible for both to discuss very freely. Most believers have some personal questions, which they will not usually discuss openly. There are those who have doubts about spiritual matters. What is important is that these can be discussed in his friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
Participation in personal evangelism is a demonstration of love and concern for people. Paul said, “…woe is me, if I preach not the gospel”, indicating the amount of burden on him for soul winning. Thus, if we are not participating in evangelism, it simply means that we do not care about those who are perishing. Those around us are in need of the gospel and we are the vessels that God is depending on. We must have a compassionate heart as our Lord Jesus Christ who could not but preach the message of the kingdom to the people. We must pay attention to the needy souls that are perishing daily around us by getting involved in personal evangelism.
3. WHY IS PERSONAL EVANGELISM IMPORTANT TO GOD?
Ezekiel 33:11, 18:23 & 32; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9
For us to fully appreciate why evangelism is of so great concern to God, let us recall the consequences of sin. When Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, he died spiritually. He lost the glory that God gave to man and became a slave to Satan and all his manipulations. We read in the Scripture that the soul that sins shall die, Ezekiel 18:4, and that the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23. By the singular act of Adam’s disobedience passed sin to all generations of humanity, Romans 5:12. Thus all became sinners and missed God’s mark, Romans 3:23. Sin condemned him to death.
God in His love and mercy, not willing that any should perish sent His Son, Jesus Christ to redeem man from this curse by shedding His blood on the cross. The process of making man become aware of God’s provision for his salvation is evangelism.
Personal evangelism is therefore important to God because it is the major avenue by which humanity is made aware of God’s provision for their redemption.
4. WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF THE CHRISTIAN’S INDIFFERENCE TO PERSONAL EVANGELISM?
Every Christian must know that evangelism is a direct command from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Failure to partake in it is disobedience to the Master. A lot of us who are believers were converted through personal evangelism. We are saved to serve and the perishing must be reached through our efforts. When we refuse to evangelize, we will not receive the rewards reserved for those who win souls to the Kingdom of God.
As long as the gospel is not preached to sinners, wickedness will continue to abound. Sorrow will increase and peace will continue to be more elusive in our society. Should your classmate at school, co-worker in the office or neighbor at home die an unbeliever? God will require their blood from you if you failed to tell them about the saving grace in Christ, Ezekiel 3:17-18.3
Personal evangelism is a mark of Christian commitment and enhances our growth in grace. Our faith is strengthened by our witnessing.
The Bible says in Matthew 24:14, that the end of the world will not come until the gospel has been preached to the whole earth. This calls for more zeal in personal evangelism.
5. DISCUSS THE FACTORS THAT MAY HINDER BELIEVERS FROM PARTICIPTING IN PERSONAL EVANGELISM.
As important and effective as personal evangelism is, it is sad to note that quite a number of believers shy away from it. Not only is this a mark of disobedience but also an attitude of lack of concern or compassion for the perishing souls around us.
One of the reasons often given is fear. The individual is afraid to own up that he or she is a believer or that the person concerned will not listen. There is also the fear that they do not want to disturb the person they desire to witness to. It must be said that fear is an instrument of the devil to ensure that we do not partake in this all-important task. The Scriptures tell us that we have not received the spirit of fear but of power, and of love and of a sound mind, 2 Timothy 1:7. Some believers also claim that they are too busy with their work, home or study to have time for personal evangelism. Others still are peer conscious and do not want to be ridiculed should they take a stand for the Lord Jesus Christ. They forget the words of Christ in Mark 8:38, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he commeth in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Quite a number of believers have a feeling of inadequacy. They claim that they are not versed in the Scripture and therefore do not know what to say. This is a usual argument that have been put forward ever since. Moses claimed that he was slow at speech and as such could not appear before Pharaoh, Exodus 4:10. Gideon complained that he was from the weakest family in Manasseh and least in his family, Jude 6:15. Jeremiah also said that he was a youth and did not know how to speak, Jeremiah 1:6. The Lord’s answer to these apparent inadequacies was His comforting presence and He would give them what to say. Jesus told His disciples not to think of what they will say when brought before councils but that the Holy Spirit will tell them what to say at that instant, Mark 13:11. Similarly we must depend on the Holy Spirit when we embark on personal evangelism. The Holy Spirit when we embark on personal evangelism. The Holy Spirit will teach us what to say and how to say it.
The presence of sin in the life a believer will incapacitate him from taking an active part in personal evangelism. It is hard to tell others the consequences of sin when we ourselves are living in sin. Therefore, if we are to be effective and confident in personal evangelism, we must endeavor to live holy lives. Only then can we have a clear conscience to participate in personal evangelism. Otherwise people will point to out hypocritical lifestyle.
Finally, a lack of willingness to be involved might be due to uncertainty in our hearts about our own conversion. In other word, we have no message to proclaim. Personal evangelism is telling someone else about our personal experience in Christ.
Q6. WHAT ARE THE REWARDS FOR BEING INVOLVED IN PERSONAL EVANGELISM?
God is a rewarder of those who faithfully obey His commands and the believer who participates in personal evangelism surely will be rewarded not only in this world but also in that to come. Such a believer will live a fulfilled and victorious life.
Other rewards of involvement in personal evangelism include:
-We will receive eternal inheritance, Luke 18:30.
-We shall shine as the brightness of the stars, Daniel 12:3.
-We have wisdom that is pure and from above, Proverbs 11:30.
-There will be great joy and a feeling of fulfillment in our hearts that God has used us to do His will, Romans 10:15.
-There will be great joy in heaven as a result of one sinner turning away from his sins, Luke 15:10.
DAILY LIVING APPLICATION
Evangelism being “our supreme task” is in total agreement with our Master’s parting words on earth to His disciples. These words are as significant and relevant now as they were in the days of the Apostles. To this call every believer in Christ must answer. There are always dying souls around us and they need the gospel to give them hope of eternal life. God expects us all to be involved in this rescue mission.
We must endeavor to overcome all possible barriers mounted by the devil to prevent us from obeying our Lord’s command to evangelize. Let us tell others what Christ has done in our lives. There is an inner sense of accomplishment and spiritual growth when we evangelize. There is joy in heaven when on sinner repents.
“Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
DAILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE
MON: The commandment is also to the individual.
TUE: God desires everyone to be saved.
Ezekiel 33:11; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9
WED: There are grave consequences if we fail.
Ezekiel 3:17-18; James 4:17
THU: Tell the story of your life in Christ.
FRI: No excuse is good enough.
Exodus 3:11, 4:10; Jeremiah 1:6-7; Matthew 25:24-25
SAT: The joy of winning souls. Daniel 2:3; 2 Timothy 4:8; John 15:16