To “evangelize” means to proclaim the good news (the gospel) that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who died for our sins, was buried, and raised from the dead and lives today (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

 

Because of Christ’s Person and work, we urge, appeal to, and command people of all nations (people groups) to repent of their sins (Acts 2:38), to believe (trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31), and to follow Him in lifelong obedience (Luke 14:26).

 

Evangelism is purposeful and intentional. Its aim is not simply to communicate information, but to persuade unbelievers to turn from their sins to Jesus Christ in faith, and to make lifelong commitments to follow Him.

 

If people repent and believe in Christ, they will be saved and forgiven of their sins, receive eternal life and the gift of the Holy Spirit. However, if a person disobeys the gospel, God’s wrath remains on them and they will experience His judgment (John 3:36; 1 Peter 4:17).

 

Evangelism is Part of the Christian Life and a Priority of the Local Church

 

Sometimes we treat evangelism as an addendum to the Christian life or the church experience. However, evangelism should be the natural outgrowth of the believer’s walk with Jesus Christ and a way of life for the believer. Also, evangelism should be a priority of the local church because Christ made it a priority for His disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).

 

As we cherish Jesus Christ and the gospel more and more, as we glory in our salvation, desire to see God glorified and worshiped among the nations, and love lost people as ourselves then by God’s grace we will increasingly desire to proclaim Jesus Christ and to persuade people to follow Him.

 

Evangelism is Substantiated by Godly Living

 

Believers must bear witness to the saving power of the gospel with their “lives and their lips” i.e., their ways and their words (see Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:5). While we must proclaim the gospel, we must also live Spirit-filled, holy lives that add credibility to our words. As John Chapman states:

 

“…whatever the opportunities and however varied our gifts, our ultimate aim is that evangelism will become a way of life. Any and every situation is one in which we are to witness, by the way we live to the fact that Jesus is our Lord.[1]

 

Evangelism is Local and Global

 

Individual believers as well as one’s local church should endeavor to evangelize people of various nations as a lifestyle and to incorporate new believers into the local church through baptism and teaching (Matthew 28:19-20). Furthermore, evangelism is to be exercised locally and globally, meaning believers are to evangelize the nations near and far, locally and globally, domestically and internationally. Therefore, in addition to individual evangelism, the local church (collectively) endeavors to evangelize the nations by equipping and sending forth believers (missionaries) who go out for the sake of Christ's name (3 John 7). 

 

 

[1] John Chapman, Know and Tell the Gospel (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005), 93-94.

Image by Félix Besombes

What is Evangelism?