Evangelism: Obligation And Opportunity Of The Local Church
The church of Christ in the first century was an evangelist church. Evangelism has always been and will always be the life blood of the local church. Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16) Men and women who have committed their lives to the Lord must be motivated by love, to share the gospel with others. It is past time for all of us to carry out God’s command to bring forth fruit in the local church. (John 15:1-8) If we do not bear fruit we will be cut off, cast into the fire and burned! The word of God must be taught in a patient and persistent way. We must love people. It is our duty to teach all the lost all the truth. As Christians we must Always Be Teaching Somebody the gospel.
We will recognize our opportunity to evangelize and fulfill our obligation to evangelize when we believe in the power of God’s word. Because the word of God is "God's power" to salvation, the "word of life" and the word which brings salvation; God commanded that it be preached to all nations. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19) The world will be changed only through the preaching of God’s word! Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17) and "without faith it is impossible to please God." "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6) Let us change our world by using the word of God. As Christians we must Always Be Teaching Somebody the gospel.
We will recognize our opportunity to evangelize and fulfill our obligation to evangelize when we believe souls are lost when they are outside of Christ. There is something terribly wrong in our world. People rape, rob, steal and kill. They curse, drink, murder and molest. Man has a sin problem. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) We must evangelize because a terrible end is awaiting those who do not love and obey God's word. "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8) A soul cannot be converted without the word of God. (Psalm 19:7) God has revealed His will in the Bible. He expects us to use His book in getting acquainted with His nature and in obedience to His will. Do you have a desire to know God's will and to share it with others? "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:17) As Christians we must Always Be Teaching Somebody the gospel.
We will recognize our opportunity to evangelize and fulfill our obligation to evangelize when we believe the saved are added to our Lord‘s one church. The church which was purchased by Jesus’ death is not a denomination. The church of Christ is the blood-bought body of our Lord. Acts 20:28 says, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Denominations are man-made, but the church of Christ is divine, consisting of only the saved and of all of the saved. The church of Christ is a divine institution because it belongs to Christ. (Matthew 16:13-19) Men have built many churches but Christ has built only one. It was purchased by His blood. All the saved are added to His church. (Acts 2:38-47) As Christians we must Always Be Teaching Somebody the gospel.
We will recognize our opportunity to evangelize and fulfill our obligation to evangelize when we have enough boldness to speak for God. It is the responsibility of one Christian to teach other people about Christ. "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2 Timothy 2:2) Evangelism is a command of the Lord Jesus. (Mark 16:15) Let us have the boldness to preach Jesus. “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.” (Acts 4:29) Christians must have the boldness to teach the lost about the One who brings salvation. The joy of Christianity is in bringing others to Christ. The challenge for each of us is to spend enough time with Jesus and to have enough boldness that we can become soul-winners. As Christians we must Always Be Teaching Somebody the gospel.
We will recognize our opportunity to evangelize and fulfill our obligation to evangelize when we believe that every person is important to God. Matthew chapter 13 contains several of Jesus' parables. One of them is "The parable of the dragnet." "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind...” (Matthew 13:47-50) The dragnet was cast into the sea: God's net, the gospel, is cast into the great sea of humanity. There are multitudes of people, young and old, good and evil. The gospel net gathers "some of every kind." The gospel is publicly proclaimed to all and when this is done the gospel net draws all kinds of people. Let us learn from the parable of the dragnet: (1) A net is the instrument to catch fish. The gospel is the only instrument with which to catch men. (2) The net must be cast into the sea to be useful. The gospel must be preached to sinners before it can draw men to shore. (3) When fish are caught they are removed from the water. When men are caught by the gospel they are removed from sin and wickedness. (4) Each time the net is cast the fisherman hopes for a catch of fish. Christians should hope and pray for souls as the gospel net is cast. (5) Sometimes the net is drawn in empty. Christians may not see immediate fruit but evangelistic efforts are not futile. Never become so discouraged you stop casting the gospel net. (6) When the net is full it brings in all kind of fish. The gospel net brings in all kinds of people. Let us work to try to see Christ formed in them. (Galatians 4:19) As Christians we must Always Be Teaching Somebody the gospel.
When we use our opportunity to evangelize and fulfill our obligation to evangelize we will see people obey the gospel. (Romans 6:1-6) We are baptized into Jesus’ death; we are buried with Him through baptism; we are raised to walk in newness of life after baptism. In baptism we are transformed from death to life because we have obeyed the gospel. When people obey that form of the Lord's death, burial, and resurrection they are, at the point of baptism, then made free from the sin and they become the servant of righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18) Have you obeyed the gospel by being buried in baptism with Jesus Christ, by being baptized into His death, and by being raised up out of the grave of water with Him to walk in newness of life? The blood of Christ provides us with the hope of heaven. As Christians we must Always Be Teaching Somebody the gospel.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street,
Greenville, Alabama 36037