John Mark Terry defines evangelism as “presenting Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit so that people will become His disciples” (Terry 1). Unfortunately, for many Christians today, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ has become optional. Perhaps the Church has bought into the postmodern belief that faith and religion are personal pursuits. On the contrary, there is a clear Biblical mandate to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. It is a mandate that was exemplified and passed on to Christians by Jesus Christ Himself. This post will examine the Biblical mandate to share the gospel as it applies to all Christians.
Christ’s directions to His Church are found in the first chapter of Acts. Verse six depicts the disciples asking Christ if the time has come to restore His kingdom. In Christ’s response, we find a clear mandate for His followers, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8 NASB). Christ’s instructions are clear. Though we may not completely understand the timing of God’s eschatological plans, in the mean time, we are to share the gospel of Christ with other people. These instructions are echoed in Christ’s Great Commission to the Church, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Surely, if Christ Himself thought it was important to instruct Christians to share His gospel, we should take His instructions seriously. Fortunately, Christ also provides a model of evangelism for us to emulate.
Richard D. Phillips writes that the John’s depiction of Christ as evangelist “… proves to us that the gospel is for everyone. Jesus came to save not a certain class of type of person, but all kinds of people, each of whom must receive him only in faith” (Phillips 108). Phillips asserts that the Gospel of John juxtaposes the stories of Nicodemus and the woman at the well to demonstrate that both people at the top of life (Nicodemus) and the bottom of life (the woman at the well) are in need of Christ’s gospel (Phillips 108). In fact, it is of Jesus’ encounter with the sinful woman at the well that Phillips writes, “… here the Lord Himself sets us an example of speaking the truth in love” (Phillips 109). In his encounter with the woman, Jesus acknowledged the woman’s sin and provides her with the truth of the gospel. It is this example that Christians are called to follow. However, can Christians truly be expected to follow Christ’s example? Certainly, some of us simply aren’t gifted with the ability to evangelize, right? Wrong, people of all personality types can follow Christ’s example.
Mike Bechtle writes that both extroverted and introverted personalities can follow Christ’s example of evangelism (Bechtle). For those introverts who find it difficult and intimidating to boldly evangelize, Bechtle recommends they mimic the pattern of Colossians 4:6, “Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person” (Bechtle). The point for Christians who hope to evangelize is that their words should always pave the way to make sharing the gospel possible. If we are continually generous and gracious with our speech, opportunities to share the gospel will eventually present themselves. These opportunities are sure to appear because “Evangelism isn’t our job – it’s God’s job” (Bechtle). God paves the way for Christians to participate in evangelism regardless of our personality type. As Christians, all we need to do is patiently await God to present us with an opportunity to share the gospel of Christ. Once God’s provides opportunities for evangelism, Christian’s can rest assured there are a variety of methods at their disposal.
One common method of sharing the gospel has been dubbed the Roman Road. Walking a person through salvation as it is presented in the Book of Romans “is a simple yet powerful method of explaining why we need salvation, how God provided salvation, how we can receive salvation, and what are the results of salvation” (gotquestions.org). Without leaving the Book of Romans it can be demonstrated that all of us are sinners (Romans 3:23), the wages of our sin is death (Romans 6:23), that Christ dies for our sins (Romans 10:9), and all we need to is confess Christ as Lord to receive salvation (Romans 10:9 and 10:13). There are other methods of evangelizing at the Christians disposal. For instance, Karl Bastian has created a system using different colored pages to represent different stages of salvation called the “Wordless Book” (Bastian). This particular means of sharing the gospel has proven to work particularly well for children. The wide variety of methods to evangelize makes it obvious that it is possible for any Christian to share the gospel with anyone.
In conclusion, it has been shown that there is a clear Biblical mandate for Christians to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. In fact, the mandate originates from Jesus Christ Himself. As such, Christ provides the inspiration and example of evangelizing for each of us. It has also been shown that the gospel is a message intended for everyone. It can be shared by people of all personality types – extroverted and introverted. Finally, there are a variety of methods at the disposal of a Christian who chooses to share the gospel. As such, Christians are left with no excuses for not accepting Christ’s mandate to share His gospel with the world.
Bastian, Karl. “Using the Wordless Book to Share the Gospel.” Kidology. n.d. Web. 26 October 2012.
Bechtle, Mike. “Evangelism for Introverts.” On Mission Magazine. Retrieved on 26 Oct. 2012 from http://www.caseresources.org/whatcanido/evangelismforintroverts.htm
Phillips, Richard. Jesus the Evangelist. Orlando: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2007. Digital.
Terry, John Mark. “Accept the Biblical Mandate of Evangelism.” Faith Baptist Church. n.d. Web. 26 October 2012.
“What is the Romans Road to Salvation?” gotquestions.org. Got Questions Ministries, n.d. Web. 26 October 2012.