top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureTrent Murray

Evangelism: Productivity Through the Spiritual Disciplines Pt.5


Of all the disciplines we have discussed in this series, evangelism would seem at the surface, the most difficult to tie to Christian productivity. However, we don't need to bend over backward to make it work. I contend that with a proper view of biblical productivity we can see evangelism as a fruitful act and good work to honor God. In fact, if we follow my original definition for biblical productivity as glorifying God through good works for his kingdom for the purpose of Christlikeness and the good of others, there may not be any other spiritual discipline that is as productive for the work of God's kingdom on earth. There is certainly no other act that is more good for others than to share with them the good news of eternal salvation through redemption in Jesus Christ.


This is ironic though. We often view evangelism as an interruption to our productivity. If we want to be go-getters who get things done, we certainly have no time to burden ourselves by going out of our way to share with others. D. T. Niles quipped that "Evangelism is simply one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread." When we have this view of evangelism we can be confident that we are acting productively for the Kingdom of God when we faithfully share Christ with others.


For this reason, when people are brought across our path, they are not interruptions to God's plan for our life but in His providence they are precisely part of the itinerary. We just didn't have eyes to see it before.


Our working definition for evangelism is the sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ with all people, with the aim of calling them to salvation through repentance and faith. This definition is helpful because it rules out some cheap substitutions we often equate with evangelism. Simply inviting people to church or asking if you could pray for them are incredible gestures and should be part of our regular activity as christians, but those actions are not evangelism. This also means that simply living out your faith before a watching world is not evangelism. If we have not verbally shared the story of Jesus Christ with an emphasis on our sinful condition and his sacrificial death and resurrection followed by a call to respond to such truth, we have not evangelized.


The Heart


If we are going to cultivate a heart for evangelism we must focused on three aspects:

  1. The Lordship of Christ (Mt. 28:18-20)

  2. The Compassion of Christ (Mt. 9:36)

  3. Sharing the Joy of Christ (Ps. 116:11)

Before Christ's final commissioning of his disciples he begins with his authority. We cannot and will not accomplish the evangelistic task of going to the nations with the Gospel unless we recognize and submit to the Lordship of Christ. This should convict us. As Christians we often have more conviction that we must read our bibles, yet Jesus did not once command us to "open therefore and read x amount of bible daily". He did however command us to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations." At a basic level we share the good news of Christ because all authority in heaven and earth has been given to him and "because he said so".


But just an obligation alone does not often spur us to action. This is why the compassion of Christ is necessary to take the gospel to a dying world. In Matthew 9, Jesus sees a crowd of wayward sinners and it says he had compassion on them as they were like sheep without a shepherd.


When you see lost people in the world is your first reaction irritation and judgement? I know too often such is the case for me. What if we were moved with compassion when we saw those in the world around us as sheep without the good shepherd. What if we saw them as wayward humans made in the image of God yet deceived by the evil one and desperate for hope in the Son of God. This compassion in our Spirits will go a long way to compile us in sharing the good news with all we encounter.


Finally to seek a heart of evangelism, we must share in the joy of Christ. psalm 16:11 teaches us that God has shown us the path of life and in his presence there is fullness of joy. I don't find to to be a coincidence that in our evangelistic task, Jesus declares: " I am with you until the end of the age." The bottom line is that we share about the things we take joy in. Imagine seeing the greatest movie you have ever seen but at the end of the credits it clearly states that you could never speak to anyone else about what you saw. This would be torture! We share what we love and we even have a heightened sense of joy when we share our joy with others and see their enjoyment well up and overflow into sharing the same joy with others.


Our church does not have an evangelism problem, we have a joy problem. If we loved Christ and enjoyed him fully we would share him with others. May God lead each of us to a heart of evangelism, the very heart of Christ for weary sinners.


The Mind


We must love God with our minds as we share the Gospel with others. We cannot share what we do not know. Essentially we know God and make him known.


There is an apologetic aspect to loving God with our minds as well, as we often encounter many difficult questions while trying to share Christ with others. Though we will explore apologetics in further detail at a later date, it must be said that we need to plumb the depths of God and his existence on a regular basis as we prepare to give an account to others with a reason for the hope that we have. (1 Pet. 3:15)


Think deeply about God and become fluent in the gospel as you meditate on its truth. Preach to yourself before you preach to others. Internalize the hope that you are sharing with others and know it like the back of your hand as you become fluent in gospel conversation.



The Power


Acts 1:8 proclaims that the apostles would be witnesses for Christ, but not until after the Holy Spirit arrives with power. We must be Spirit empowered in our evangelism as we ourselves are unable to fuel the vehicle to arrive at our destination. You will not have the will power to share without a movement of the Holy Spirit. Sharing from a position of personal strength is futile as we should properly share the Gospel from our weakness and in the strength of the Holy Spirit.


Not only does the Spirit empower our sharing in evangelism he also empowers the results. Your responsibility is to share the good news and to call them to a response. If you have done this faithfully, you can rest knowing you have done your part and you leave the results to God. Though we plead with men to come to Christ we do not have the power to convert anyone. Conversion is the single greatest miracle that God brings about in the life of a believer. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and the Holy Spirit empowers the results of our evangelism. This should free us and encourage us to share boldly and with great expectation that God is a saving God and he will move in hearts as we share.



The Practice


Just like all of our other disciplines we have covered in this series, we must put evangelism into practice. Though I do believe there is a gift of evangelism that certain believers possess and steward powerfully, I don't believe this excuses us from disciplining ourselves in evangelism for the purpose of Christlikeness and the good of others. Practice and repetition will help boost your confidence and ability to clearly proclaim the truths of the Gospel with others.


A key part of the practice of evangelism is placing yourself in proper opportunities and praying for awareness of opportunities you are missing.


Are you isolating yourself from the world and spending all of your time with likeminded believers? Or are you being salt and light in the world being willing to hang out outside of the four walls of the church and have conversations with those who need Christ. Are you fostering relationships outside of the church for the purpose of opening the door to gospel conversation? This is a weak spot for me and I have been looking for ways to place myself in opportunities to rub shoulders with non-believers by being engaged in the community and the businesses and establishments of the town, investing in the people God has placed in my neighborhood, school system, and city.


Finally, pray for the eyes to see the opportunities that are already present in your life. John Piper says, and I paraphrase: "at any given moment God is doing 10,000 things in our life and we might be aware of three of them." If you're like me I can often convince myself that I don't engage others with the Gospel because I don't have enough opportunities to do so. We certainly could benefit from more obvious and intentional opportunities, but don't be naive enough to think God hasn't already placed people around you who you can reach out to and engage with the Gospel. You are not in your job, social group, hobbie community, or any other situation apart from the sovereign hand of God. For this reason, if we look around us with the proper perspective we will often see that God has been bringing us opportunities to share the Good news of Christ with others, we have just been blind to it!


My prayer is that we will step out boldly in evangelism in the coming days, posturing our heart after the example of Christ, forming our mind to love God, knowing him to make him known, in the power of the Holy Spirit, as a practice and discipline we pursue daily seeking to be fruitful and productive in God's kingdom agenda.

13 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page