Apart from Him we can do nothing

The Privilege of Evangelism

A man outdoors holding a bible and preaching - he is exercising the privilege of evangelism.

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Throughout all of history and peoples, only the Church possesses the privilege of evangelism. So let’s treat evangelism as the privilege it is.

Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (Matthew 9:35-38)

Simply defined, Evangelism is the activity of Christians spreading the good news of the gospel to the world. To share the message to others that Jesus Christ, the Son of God came to this earth to do what we cannot do for ourselves – pay the penalty for our sins so that we might have an opportunity to spend eternity in the presence of our Heavenly Father.

Doing the work of spreading the gospel was so important to Jesus that He made it his last instruction to His followers before leaving this world.

Clearly, this tells us the importance of engaging in evangelism. But how often do we ever consider the privilege of evangelism? The work of evangelism is not merely an instruction or even a calling – it is a privilege carried by every single follower of Christ.

Let’s spend a few minutes appreciating why we as Christians have the privilege of evangelism.

The Privilege of Evangelism is Unique to the Church and the Church Age

Something vital to understand regarding the privilege of evangelism is that it is solely the responsibility of the church. Evangelism was not practiced prior to the church age and will not be practiced after the church age. I know that some people are going to have trouble believing this, so let’s walk through it together.

No Evangelism in the Old Testament

I can almost hear your heads shaking vigorously at this statement. Why there are multiple examples of evangelism in the Old Testament!

Clearly if I am saying the privilege of evangelism is solely for the Church age, I have to say that Israel did not evangelize. So did they?

I will even broaden the definition of evangelism to simply be any externally communicated message on the part of a follower of the one true “I Am” God to attempt to persuade a non-follower to convert. Did Israel go to other nations to proclaim that their faith was the one true faith and they wanted other nations to convert?

You can’t get more opposite from that, as to what actually happened. When you read Deuteronomy chapter 7, you see that God wanted Israel to have nothing to do with the nations who occupied the land given to them once they arrived there from Egypt.

God told Israel to “completely destroy” these nations and not to make any treaties with them or show them mercy (Deuteronomy 7:2). The Israelites were not to intermarry with them.

Why? Because Israel was a “holy people” who were chosen and set aside by God to be pure – God called them His “holy treasure” (Deuteronomy 7:5). And these are just a few examples. Read Deuteronomy 7 in full to see what I mean.

Next, you’ll think about some of the non-Jews who came to acknowledge or worship God in the Old Testament – people like Rahab (Joshua 2), the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10), Naaman (2 Kings 5), and Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4). I challenge you to read their accounts and see where they were evangelized. Even with the last 2, they were told about God and His power, but at no point did anyone attempt to convert them to the Jewish faith. None of the four I have just related were told to start worshipping God. They did it on their own initiative once they learned who God was by their own experiences.

Even what some cite as the most evangelistic Old Testament book, Jonah, is not an example of evangelism! Jonah proclaimed Ninevah’s pending doom to the city at God’s hands, but it does not appear that Jonah preached repentance to them – Ninevah took it upon themselves to repent, and God chose to withhold His judgement. A great example of God’s love in the face of His justice, but not of evangelism.

No, the privilege of evangelism did not exist for Israel prior to Christ. Non-Jews could convert to Judaism, but it was not Israel’s emphasis to add people from the outside to their faith. Quite the opposite.

No Evangelism in the Millenium

The privilege of Evangelism will end when Jesus returns to the Earth to begin his 1,000-year literal reign over the Earth following the 7-year Tribulation (this is premillennialism, a view which follows the most natural, literal translation of scripture). Regardless of whether you believe in a pre- mid- or post-tribulation rapture (or none at all), The Book of Revelation alludes to evangelism continuing on the earth right up to the end. Your end-time view will impact who you think will be here to do the evangelizing.

Since Christ Himself will rule the Earth from Jerusalem during the Millenium, there will be no doubt of His existence or His identity. All the nations will recognize Jerusalem as Earth’s capital and will apparently spend time going to Jerusalem to worship Christ (Zechariah 14:16-17). The knowledge and glory of the Lord will fill the earth (Habakkuk 2:14).

Given that Satan will be bound (Revelation 20:1-3) and there will be constant righteous instruction on the Earth, there will never be an easier time to walk in God’s ways since the Garden (Isaiah 30:21-22).

Therefore, evangelism will no longer be necessary. Christ’s culmination of the Church age will confirm everything the gospel speaks to. It will be general accepted knowledge in the Millenium, because our salvation will live among us.

The Privilege of Evangelism Belongs to Every Christian Alive Today

Picture of a man sharing the gospel with the passage "If you are a Christian, evangelism is not an option. It is a privilege." Part of the post "The Privilege of Evangelism". Hopefully, understanding that evangelism is unique to the Church and the Church Age helps you see that we as followers of Christ truly have the privilege of evangelism today. Every day that we wake up and go about our daily lives, we enter a mission field that, as Jesus describes in today’s passage, reveals a great harvest.

God’s purposes were not served by evangelism in the time of the Old Testament. God’s purposes will not need to be served by evangelism in the Millenium. But God’s purpose for the Church in the Church Age is fulfilled through evangelism. The privilege of evangelism is uniquely ours. Jesus Christ has entrusted us with this privilege.

Since Jesus is no longer here on the earth and has instead equipped His followers with the Holy Spirit, it is now our duty, privilege, and necessity to be Christ’s ambassadors and share the gospel with as many people as we possibly can, even when sharing the gospel comes with sacrifice or persecution.

Let me reiterate; if you are a Christian, evangelism is not an option. It is a privilege.

The Privilege of Evangelism Needs to be Honored

Jesus Christ was so moved by those He saw who needed the good news in today’s passage that He implored His disciples to pray for more workers (disciples) to share the gospel. Ironically, it is through evangelism that we grow disciples who can make more disciples. So, Jesus’ plea points to the need for evangelism to continue.

Today the need for workers to spread the gospel is greater than ever, given that our planet is as populated as it has ever been and, should the Lord delay His coming, should continue to grow until it peaks around the end of this century.  And yet sharing the gospel, at least in America, is on the decline. Instead of being unenthused about evangelism, the opportunities to share the gospel should excite all of us that we have the privilege of evangelism. It is a blessing to share in the work of calling a lost and dying world to eternity with God. A blessing that is doubled as we are also storing up treasures in Heaven for ourselves.

Sharing the good news of the gospel is up to you, me, and all Christians around the world and throughout the centuries. Otherwise, how will the world know of Christ’s great sacrifice on their behalf (Romans 10:14-15)? The world actively stands against Christ and the gospel message. We must answer the call of Christ to engage in the privilege of evangelism in the world.

Please, as a follower of Christ, partake in the privilege of evangelism as often as you possibly can. Because it is a privilege. And the results of your engagement could mean the difference between eternal life and eternal separation from God for those around you. The world needs to know that Jesus is the way of salvation for us all.

More Bible verses about the privilege of evangelism:

Acts 1:8; Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 9:16; Colossians 4:2-6; 2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Peter 3:15; 1 John 1:1-4

All Biblical reference links courtesy of Bible Gateway, a searchable online Bible tool hosting more than 200 versions of the Bible in over 70 languages.

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