When someone mentions “Evangelism” to you, what comes to mind?
Getting doors slammed in your face? Endless hours walking up and down
a street telling everyone they are going to hell? Endless hours arguing
with someone about where Cain got his wife?
Most people do not have a favorable view about evangelism. There are
books you can read that tells you how it is suppose to be done, but it
seems everyone has a different idea about it. We know we are suppose
to because God tells us in many places in Scripture to “go” and preach the
Gospel (Mark 16:1, Matthew 28:19,20, 1 Peter 3;15). So, with fear in our
hearts, and every eye upon us, we set out to do what we are told to do…
Evangelize. But, what does that mean? Does it mean going door to door,
or using a radio, television, or the Internet? Does “Evangelism” mean
selling everything we have an moving to a forgotten country? Just exactly
what does Evangelism mean in the 21st century.
There are only two places in Scripture that mention “Evangelist”, Acts 21:8
and 2 Timothy 4:5. The original word used in both of these verses is yoo-
ang-ghel-is-tace', and literally means “A preacher of the Gospel”. Biblically
speaking, a “preacher” is someone who “heralds” or “proclaims” the
Gospel. So, in a strict secular view, an Evangelist is simply someone who
officially brings News.
As followers of Jesus Christ, the message we are to “herald” or “proclaim”
is that through faith in Jesus Christ we can become a citizen of the
Kingdom of God. This message has not changed since Jesus sent His
disciples out and told them to preach the Gospel to the whole world. Gods
Word does not Change (Matthew 23:35), and God does not change
(Hebrews 13:8), but, how we present it does. Society changes but the
Gospel does not. Culture changes, but the Gospel does not. Government
changes, but the Gospel remains the same. Churches, people, and
customs all change, but the Gospel remains the same.
So, with all that said, and “Evangelist” is a person who heralds the good
news about salvation through Jesus Christ, and an “Evangelist” is a person
who adapts and changes his deliverance of that message, but NEVER
changes the message. An Evangelist is a person with a message that
never changes. It is a “joyful” message, It is a victorious message, and it is
a message everyone needs to hear. In short, Evangelism is “joyfully
proclaiming that the good news of salvation prophesied in the Old
Testament has come to pass in Jesus the Messiah.
This “good news” has just as much to do with the here and now as it does
the hereafter. Of course the Gospel is concerned about a persons eternal
destiny, but God is also concerned about His children here right now.
God’s Grace gives us strength not to do those things that He does not
want us to do (ungodliness), and to not do what our human lust would
rather do (worldly passions). He has given us the Holy Spirit to comfort
us, guide us, teach us, and chastise us when needed (John 14:26). He has
promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and to bless us
abundantly (John 10:10).
So, in closing this first lesson we conclude that 21st century Evangelism
must be “Bold”, and must offer “hope” for this life as well as the one to
come. 21st century Evangelism must also be “genuine” and must be
consistent with Scripture, never changing, and always focused on Jesus