November 7, 2010

Is Evangelism Just For A Few "Gifted" People ?

In many churches today there are very few people who are participating in God's work of reaching out to others with His love and with the Good News of Jesus. Many Christians today think that only those who have the gift of evangelism need to share the Gospel with others, and that they have a different gift so they are serving in another area of the church. There are others who feel that the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 is only for people God anoints as apostles, and that the commission and command that Jesus gave is not for every Christian. 

If you look at many churches today, you will see maybe the pastor (and maybe not) and some leaders and a small group of members that are actively sharing the Good News of Jesus with others. I emphasize the word "actively" because evangelism ought to be a lifestyle and not a series of special events that the church puts on every once in awhile. It is a lifestyle of having a close relationship with Jesus, and in the context of this close relationship with Him we seek to become more and more like Him, and we seek to please the One we love. It is a lifestyle of offering our lives to Him as a living sacrifice, and a lifestyle of seeking His heart & will above our own. When we walk closely with the Lord we learn that His passion and desire is for all men to be saved (I Timothy 2:4) and for all to come to repentance and a knowledge of the truth (2 Peter 3:9), and through His grace He places the same desire and passion into us. When Jesus touches and changes a person's heart and places His love and His passion for lost people into that heart, there will be no problem in getting that person to love others and to actively & lovingly share the Good News with others.

 Is the church today what God wants it to be ? How does the church today compare to the church in the Bible, particularly the early church in the book of Acts ? The early church in Acts is considered the model of what the church is to be like. In Matthew 4:19 Jesus says "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." In order to truly follow Jesus we must be "fishers of men" - people who activiely share Christ with others in their daily lives. In many churches today there is alot of talk about sharing the Good News of Christ with others and of making disciples. It seems that many churches talk more about the Great Commission than actually do it. How many people in the church are being true to Jesus and being fishers of men ? Some people think that Jesus was only addressing the apostles in Matthew 4:19 and Matthew 28:18-20, and this work is only for the "professionals" or for apostles or for the gifted ones.

There are some very interesting verses in Acts chapter 8 about the church. Acts 8:1 tells us that a great persecution broke out against the church, and that everyone except the apostles were scattered to other places in Judea and Samaria. The apostles, the main leaders of the church, remained in Jerusalem, and everyone else in the church was scattered. If this were a modern day church, it would be the pastors and the staff that remained in Jerusalem, and the regular ordinary people of the church were the ones scattered. Acts 8:4 tells us "Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." In the church of the Bible, it is God's design and plan for everyone in the church to share the Good News of Christ with others, not just the pastors or the staff members or the missionaries or the apostles. In most churches today only a hand full of people are true "fishers of men" that actively share Christ with others in their daily lives ("wherever they go"). With regards to the Great Commission it seems the church is falling far short of God's design for the church shown in the Bible.

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