Yesterday was Grace Chapel’s last fellowship lunch of the summer. Habib had asked me to preach on the call to evangelize the lost. Thus, I preached a sermon focused on three reasons why we must evangelize. I did not argue that these are necessarily the three most important reasons – only that these are three of many reasons. This post states just one reason. I will follow up with the other two reasons with two other posts (later this week).
Q. Why must we evangelize the lost?
A. Because God’s Commands all people everywhere to believe on Jesus Christ.
In Acts 17, Paul says, “now [God] commands all people everywhere to repent” (v. 30). Notice, when Paul preaches the gospel to the Athenians, he tells them that God commands repentance. Jesus Christ is not simply the way the Athenians should turn – they must! God is commanding them and they will face judgment (17.30-31).
In Mark 1.15, Jesus comes preaching, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Jesus, as the King of kings, commands all people to believe. He is NOT simply offering himself as the best option.
In 2 Thessalonians 1.8 Paul writes that God will inflict vengeance “on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” They are punished precisely because they do not obey the command to believe upon Jesus Christ.
You may object, “But these passages teach that God commands all people to believe on Christ – NOT that Christians must evangelize.” These are two different commands.
Though these passages do not state that we, as Christians, MUST evangelize, a small dose of reason formulates at least two inferences: 1) I must actively believe the gospel; and 2) People around me must actively believe the gospel.
Therefore, first, I need to examine myself to make sure that really have all my faith placed upon Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 13.5).
Second, others must believe. (The following argument presupposes that Christians are to love others, as the Scriptures say, “Love your neighbour as yourself”). As a Christian who does NOT live in a cave, I will share three observations that, taken together, necessarily demand our evangelistic efforts: 1) most people do not obey God’s command to believe on Christ; 2) most people do not know that God is commanding them to believe the Gospel; and 3) most people do not really know the Gospel. (The three uses of “most” carry the meaning “many” and “majority”).
Without being a rocket scientist I can tell you what these observations present us. They present us with a love obligation to TELL people what the Gospel is and that God is commanding them to believe. If Christians were not commanded to LOVE, I would have no basis for my argument. BUT, we are commanded to love and to look out for the welfare of others – thus, we have this love obligation to spread the Gospel (cf. Romans 1.14).
Conclusion and Application
Therefore, we must evangelize. Now, on that point, one word of application. When God opens the door for us to have a conversation with someone about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, if we have not already made it clear, we ought to tell them that believing in Jesus Christ is NOT simply an option, but that God commands that person to believe. After explaining the Gospel to someone I will often quote from Acts 17.30 emphasizing to them that God is commanding them to repent and turn to Christ.
May the Lord help us. If you feel paralyzed in your evangelism – first things first – believe the Gospel afresh today. Think on it, chew on it and eat it. Christian, God continues to command you to keep believing the Gospel. Possibly your evangelistic neglect is rooted in your own lack of faith in Gospel. I am not saying that you are not a Christian, but maybe you are in a season of little faith (cf. Matthew 14.31) as opposed to being full of faith like Stephen (Acts 6.5). My friend, look the Cross! May our prayer be, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9.24).