The word “evangelize” is one which is often viewed as churchy and antiquated. Few believers use it on a regular basis. It seems as if it is something reserved for big-haired, flamboyant evangelists or pushy, judgmental, and super-spiritual types. Despite these modern misconceptions, the term is a wonderful one, and it depicts an important God-given duty.
Evangelism simply refers to the act of bringing or announcing good news. The word is a verb form of the noun which is often translated “gospel” in the New Testament. Announcing the good news of His kingdom was part and parcel of Jesus’ ministry (see Matthew 11:5). On one occasion, He announced, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18). Let’s remember our responsibility to evangelize by looking at three reasons we should be committed to the task.
It gets glory for God.
Jesus was the light of the world (see John 1:9), but His light won’t shine unless we speak up. He has chosen His children to be a conduit of His truth (see Matthew 5:16). People won’t know Jesus, unless we make Him known. In one of his letters to the church at Corinth, Paul spoke of the way in which “Jesus’ life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11). All of creation exists to radiate for the Lord’s renown (see Genesis 1:26-27), but the Lord has always used a special people to make Him especially known (see Isaiah 43:7). During this current dispensation, He has chosen to use the church. His fame won’t spread if we don’t evangelize.
It is an act of worship.
When many people think of worship, they think of singing songs. According to Scripture, worship involves so much more. The entirety of our lives — our work (see Colossians 3:23), our conversations (James 3:9-10), and the way in which we deal with enemies (see 1 Peter 2:23) — provides opportunity to give praise to God. Evangelizing is no different. It is a means of offering adoration to our Maker. The Psalmist sang, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim that He has redeemed them from the hand of the foe” (Psalm 107:1-2).
It helps others.
When Paul received a vision which instructed him to evangelize the region of Macedonia, he saw a man who cried out “Cross over to Macedonia and help us!” (Acts 16:9). Arriving in the leading city of that region, he found few believers. The practicing Jews of that city were small in number, probably less than ten. They didn’t even have a synagogue in which to gather. Their Sabbath meetings occurred by a riverside (see Acts 16:11-15). Paul went to help the people of that area, and he did so by proclaiming the gospel. He was able to lead a successful business woman, a soldier, and a demon-possessed girl to faith in Christ. Since it is the only message which provides people with eternal and abundant life, we do people a great service when we proclaim the gospel. Without our evangelizing, men ,women, boys, and girls won’t hear the truth that will give them true purpose and meaning in life.
Dr. Patrick Latham