God has accomplished nothing short of a miracle in saving us, so in response to his gracious mercy and his explicit command, he has called us to share the truth of this glorious gospel with other people. What is evangelism? Evangelism is freely, honestly, and truthfully sharing the good news of a crucified and risen savior with people, while trusting that God alone does the saving. In Acts 16, Paul is in Philippi obeying God’s command to share the good news of Jesus with people in that city. Verse 14 reveals the wonderful way evangelism works. “One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” Did you notice what happened? Paul was faithful to articulately, truthfully, and even persuasively present the gospel, but it was God alone who was responsible for opening Lydia’s heart. We can and should share, but only God can bring new life.
The problem in many churches today is that there is a lot of emphasis on strategies or methods for sharing. That is not terrible in itself, but when all the emphasis is on how to get a person to “make a decision” we might be neglecting the real meaning of the gospel. Mark Dever states it this way, “If conversion is understood as merely a sincere commitment made once, then we need to get everyone to that point of verbal confession and commitment any way we can. Biblically, though, while we are to care, to plead, and to persuade, our first duty is to be faithful to the obligation we have from God, which is to present the same Good News that He's given to us. God will bring conversions from our presenting this Good News (see John 1:13; Acts 18:9-10).”
Oak Crest, we all (myself at the top of the list) must be committed to making active evangelism a priority. God has not given us the message of life so that we can keep it to ourselves. Let’s seize any moment God grants us to share the life transforming truth of the gospel.