Why Should we Evangelize?
Why evangelize? We are commanded to. We tend to minimize this as a reason, we would often prefer to operate from emotion, confusing that with passion. Yet this is a foundational principle behind evangelism. For if God had not commanded it, then we would not place such an emphasis on it. It is precisely the command that puts us in disobedience for not obeying it. There are people who say Christ’s command to evangelize is not the only reason we should do so, as if there were an equal or higher motive. What if God were to forbid one to evangelize an area, should he rebel and evangelize anyway. Yet if our motives are man-centered and emotionally driven then we will do what we think is best or what makes most sense to us. You may say, “This would never happen, as He told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel!” Yet this very thing happened to Paul “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.”
( Act 16:6-8 )
A runner keeps his eyes on the prize, so when our motive for evangelizing is man-centered our eyes are on the prize – “Conversion” of men. Although we do desire to see The LORD convert sinners, for our eyes to be on this is idolatry as it puts man as the all consuming reason for evangelism. Idolatry is fuel for pragmatism. When our evangelism is man-centered, we will base the success of our evangelism on decisions made, and since that becomes our measure stick we will do what generates our desired results. Scripture tells us that it is God that converts men, not us or any prescribed formula that we walk them through. The idea that if we get them to make a decision or pray a prayer asking Jesus into their heart, when God has done no work in their heart, accomplishes nothing but mass deception in attempts to achieve our man-centered goal, and alleviate our consciences. This pragmatism will cause us to “offer God” as a way to get out of hell, or to a utopia of an eternity. We have a mass of people who have “made their decisions for Christ” but there is no repentance involved. They simply “chose Him” because it’s naturally more desirable as opposed to burning for eternity, but since there is no conversion, there is no true repentance and faith. Our conscience is eased because we declare them to be saved, and we deceive them because we instruct them to put the certainty of their “conversion” upon an act they committed at a point in time. Jesus becomes nothing more than a ticket we make sure we have to board the train for heaven.
What about compulsion?
Am I saying we should evangelize out of mere duty, with no passion or fervency? Absolutely not! We should find no higher motivation to evangelize than the fact that it is commanded by The Almighty God! For our heart should cry with the Psalmist, “I delight to do Thy will” oh, LORD! Because He has commanded it, we should long to do it. Because He has a people He calls to Himself, and does so through the preaching of His Word, our hearts should be aflame with longing to see Him call out His own. Yes, we rejoice, along with heaven, when one sinner is brought to repentance, but we also can rejoice if none are. For Scripture says, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” (II Cor. 2:14-16). Every time we give the gospel we exalt God, and for this we can rejoice. Every time we preach the gospel it is successful. We are an aroma to God, and He is glorified. We desire to see God save men, for as He does there will be more true worship offered up to the King of Kings.
So there is a biblical compulsion to evangelism, but it is not a man-centered compulsion. All things with man at it’s center will fail. Bruce Parsons, in speaking of ministry as a whole said, “Without God at the very heart of ministry, ministry is not only a fool’s errand but it is impossible…” So it is with evangelism [a part of ministry]. The compulsion we have is generated by the command. We do what we do because God has told us it pleases Him; and our happiness is found in HIM. We should be so enthralled with Him that when He is pleased, we are pleased. Nothing should bring us any greater pleasure than His pleasure. This is worship!
When our motives are biblical, so will be our methods and message.
Why should we evangelize? Soli Deo Gloria!