Back to the Bible Concerning the Need for Evangelism
By Willie Alvarenga
Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:18-20; Proverbs 11:30; Daniel 12:3; Titus 2:11; I Timothy 2:4; II Peter 3:9. All of these passages emphasize the great need to take heed to one of our responsibilities called: Evangelism. Our topic for this lesson is: Back to the Bible concerning the need for evangelism. Oh how I wish that every single Christian in this world heard this lesson today. There is a great need to go back to the Bible concerning the Great Commission, which sadly to say, has become the Great Omission in many congregations.
Brethren, it is the purpose of this lesson to encourage all of us to be more evangelistic in spirit. This is the kind of Christians that God would have us to be. In this lesson, we will discuss several reasons why you and I need to go back to the Bible and preach the gospel to every creature. Consider the following reasons:
We need to go back to the Bible concerning evangelism because…
1. It is a command from God.
2. It is our responsibility to care for the souls of men.
3. It is the only way to accomplish church growth.
4. We have what it takes to do it.
It is my prayer that you will consider all of these reasons carefully. May all of us be obedient to God’s desire concerning evangelism. With this in mind, let us consider the first reason why we must go back to the Bible concerning the need for evangelism:
THE DIVINE COMMAND
Yes brethren, evangelism is neither an option nor a suggestion given by God, but a command to be obeyed. This is what we learn in the pages of the New Testament. The passages already quoted establish the fact that evangelism is a work to be done by Christians. When God says something once (Mark 16:15), it is important. When God says something more than once (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8), then, we must take whatever God commands seriously. He wants us to obey this command because He is interested in the souls of men. According to the Bible, God desires for all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4; II Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 33:11). This truth that God wants people to know is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the only power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16; John 8:32).
It is imperative that we, as Christians, remember who we are. And, according to the Bible, we are fishers of men (Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17; Luke 5:10). We have been given a command to go out and reach out to the lost. Therefore, we must get up, and start looking for souls the way Jesus did (Luke 19:10). Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. This should be our priority! Are we being obedient to this command? Remember, not to obey will bring serious consequences (Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:48).
Also, let us consider…
WE MUST CARE FOR THE SOULS OF MEN
Yes brethren, we have a great responsibility to care for the souls of men. God has commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:31). There is no greater manifestation of love than to share the saving message of salvation with our neighbors. If we want to be in heaven some day, then, we must wish the same for our friends and family members.
Someone said the following:
“Jesus has no hands but our hands to guide people to Him. Jesus has no feet but our feet to carry the gospel to the lost. Jesus has no mouth but our mouth to tell others what He did on the cross for all men.”
There is a great need to be more like Jesus in respect to evangelism. We must have compassion for the lost (Matthew 9:36-38). The Bible describes the terrible condition of those who have not obeyed the gospel:
1. Separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2).
2. Slaves to sin (John 8:34).
3. Far from God (Ephesians 2:13-14)
4. Dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1-4)
5. Headed to eternal destruction (Romans 6:23)
These are the horrible conditions which people who have not obeyed the gospel find themselves in. What are we doing to help people change this sad condition? God has given us a responsibility to fulfill. This responsibility consists in teaching the gospel to a lost and dying world. We have the solution to the sin problem. This solution is called the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16).
If we don’t fulfill this responsibility, we will find ourselves having someone singing to us:
“When in the better land, before the bar we stand, how deeply grieved our souls will be; if any lost one there should cry in deep despair, “You never mentioned Him to me. You never mentioned Him to me, You helped me not the light to see; You met me day by day and knew I was astray, yet never mentioned Him to me” (Church Gospel Songs & Hymns, p. 561).
Can you imagine so many people being lost because we did not take our responsibility to preach the gospel seriously? Brethren, let us go back to the Bible and preach the gospel the way God would have us to preach! We have a great responsibility to fulfill, let us not ignore it.
Having considered these points so far; now let us consider another reason why you and I need to go back to the Bible concerning the need for evangelism.
THE ONLY WAY TO ACCOMPLISH CHURCH GROWTH: EVANGELISM
According to the Bible, evangelism is the only way to accomplish church growth. There are many methods and ways that are being presented today in order to accomplish church growth. Most of them are not in harmony with the New Testament teaching concerning church growth. I am convinced that the best method to accomplish this is through the preaching of the gospel. We must go out and teach the lost about what Jesus did for them on the cross. We must get up from our pews and go into the community to proclaim the gospel of Christ. This is the way the early Christians did it; and this is the way we must do it today. The church needs to have a 20/20 vision. This means Acts 20:20, going from house to house preaching the gospel.
As we consider the New Testament, we can see how quickly the church of Christ grew in number. We ask the question: How did they do it? Answer: They went everywhere preaching the Word (Acts 8:4). Let us consider briefly the growth of the church of Christ in the first century:
1. 2:41 – About 3,000
2. 4:4 – 5,000 men
3. 5:14 – The number of the believers multiplied
4. 5:28 – They had filled all of Jerusalem with the gospel of Christ
5. 6:7 – The number of the disciples multiplied
6. 11:24 – Much people were added to the church
7. 12:24 –The Word of God grew and multiplied
8. 17:6 – The world was turned upside down
Why did they accomplish this? I believe they had the right attitude towards evangelism. They considered a Great Commission not a Great Omission. They had compassion for the lost souls of this world. They were convinced that people were lost without the gospel. They wanted to bear much fruit for the Lord. Notice that these brethren went everywhere preaching the Word; even in the midst of persecution. We can see a clear lesson here:
First Century Acts 8:1-4 21st Century
Persecution = Evangelism No Persecution = No Evangelism
I am convinced that if these attitudes are not in our hearts; we will never accomplish the same results they had in the first century. Brethren, if we want to grow in number, let us do the same thing. Let us not be ashamed to preach the gospel; even in the midst of persecution. Let us prepare ourselves to go out and teach people about the gospel plan of salvation. Let us continue to invite our friends and family to hear the Word of God. It is my conviction that this is what God would have us to do.
Now, let us consider another very important point from our lesson:
WE HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE IT
Yes brethren, we have what it takes to preach the gospel. With God’s help, we can go out and proclaim the message of salvation. Notice some of the things that we have in order to accomplish this very important task.
1. We have God’s help and protection (Matthew 28:20; John 16:33; Hebrews 13:5).
Preaching the gospel of Christ is not an easy task. Nevertheless, we can do it! Jesus has promised to be with us, even until the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). He was with the early Christians, and will be with us if we do His will. Satan will try to discourage us from doing this. But, remember, God is with you (I John 4:4).
2. We have God’s Word with us (The Bible, the gospel).
As we go out to preach the gospel, we must realize that we have the Word of God with us. If you have a Bible, then you can teach someone about what Jesus did for them. Teaching the gospel is not difficult. If you notice, the apostle Peter, Paul and others, preached the gospel, which consists in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (I Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 1:16). This is the message Peter proclaimed to thousands of people on Pentecost day (Acts 2:22-47). This same message can be proclaimed by us today. Therefore, be familiar with the gospel message of salvation, and proclaim it to the lost with conviction and love.
3. We must realize that we have Bible tracts, literature and other means to share the gospel.
Today, more than ever, we have so many tracts and literature that we can share with people. All of this literature is available for us. We have no excuse whatsoever to not teach the gospel to the lost. Notice some of the ways we can share the gospel with the lost: We have Television (In Search of the Lord’s Way, Gospel Broadcasting Network, The Truth In Love, and many more.), the Internet, Radio, and other Scriptural ways to share the good news of salvation. We can point people to Christ using these teaching tools.
Let us take advantage of these ways to preach the gospel. I’m pretty sure that this is what God would have us to do.
In this lesson we have considered the reasons why you and I need to go back to the Bible concerning the need for evangelism. May God give us the wisdom, the desire, and the strength to accomplish this task that is before us. Remember that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Let us do the same thing through the preaching of the gospel.