I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5
A healthy ideal for church, no matter how large or small, would be to aspire that every member be trained and ready to share the gospel, as a way of life. We must not allow ourselves to lose the zeal for the welfare of other people’s souls that accompanied our own salvation.
“Do the Work of an Evangelist”. In other words, give other people the gospel at every possible opportunity. Not all are called by God to be Evangelists, in the sense of Ephesians 4, “He gave some Pastors, some teachers, some Evangelists and Prophets and Apostles…”, but all Christians have a call on them to share their faith with others.
Pastors and teachers should seek to equip the saints in the congregation, by making the Gospel itself the primary study subject, in all of it’s aspects.
It is familiarity with the gospel, and love for it, in fact it is being immersed in it, that prepares us to be able to share it in the course of life. We never outgrow the gospel. There can be no subject that is deeper than the gospel itself. The good news is so powerful, Paul called it “the Power of God unto Salvation”.
What is the Gospel? The Gospel in it’s simple form is given in 1 Corinthians 15,
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.( I Corinthians 15:1-9)
As usual in scripture, there is so much Truth packed into so very few Words, one could ponder on this and grow in it forever.
- Christ Died for our Sins- But His death was in accordance with Scripture- ie Prophecy
- How do we know He died? Because He was buried…
- Christ rose again from the dead on the third day- Also in accordance with the Scriptural Prophecies
- How do we know that He was Raised? Because He was seen by the Apostles…
But one could go deeper in this- for example, Who is Christ? Why did He have to die? What Scriptures predicted His death? What scripture predicted His resurrection? Who were those who had seen Him? Why is it significant that Peter saw Him? Or James(His half brother), or Paul ?
But in it’s simplest form, the Gospel is that Christ died for our sins, and rose again.
Every Christian should know the joy of sharing that simple truth with unbelievers, whether it is received or not. Early on I memorized a scripture that is one of the many encapsulations of the gospel, 1 Peter 3:18,
“Christ died for sins, once and for all, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God, He was put to death in the flesh and made alive in the Spirit…”
But there are so many other aspects to the gospel, to be explored, expounded on, and to immerse our souls in. There is a passage in 2 Corinthians 5 that I preached on recently, which I called a “Grand Central Station of Gospel themes…”,
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.( 2 Corinthians 5:14-21)
Briefly, consider the themes raised here, which are all aspects of the gospel;
- The Love of Christ-
- Our co-Death and co resurrection with Jesus
- The New Creation Gospel
- The Gospel of reconciliation unto the Father through Christ
- Substitution as the meaning of the Cross- Jesus took our place!
Anyone of these can be an aspect, one could meditate on, ponder, and present in the right situation to those who do not know Christ. I do not know how many times I have had the joy of telling someone, that Jesus loved them, and gave himself for them, or that we can be a New Creation, and participate in a New Creation that God is preparing. How many know they are estranged from God, and need to hear that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself”?
Every believer needs to be equipped with the gospel and to have a prayerful mindset to share their faith wherever they go. I know this is an ideal, but think of what a church would look like if all engaged in Evangelism, shared the gospel, used their home for it, saw the need and moved into it.
In the next session I want to share two other powerful aspects about Evangelism that believers can be trained in; Sharing the fulfillment of Prophecy, and the use of the Law of God, to promote conviction of sin.