How Can You Revive Evangelism In Your Church?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

If your church is apathetic toward evangelism, how can you ignite a fire under them so that they’ll have more passion and purpose for rescuing the perishing?

Half a Gospel

General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, was about the most fervent and passionate man I have ever read about in witnessing to the lost. Perhaps D.L. Moody was close, but General Booth said, “Most Christian organizations would like to send their workers to Bible College for five years. I would like to send our workers to hell for five minutes. That would prepare them for a lifetime of compassionate ministry.” Shortly before his death in 1912, he said “The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” Sadly, many pastors have watered down the gospel message making a Pablum of inoffensive messages that have no meat in them, only basic elementary statements like “God loves you,” “Come as you are,” and “Just give your heart to Jesus.” It is true that God loves us, but He loves those who have trusted in His Son, Jesus Christ, and He is opposed to all who reject His Son. By taking out the need for repentance, confession of sin, the need to live lives pleasing to God, and make the priority of our lives the glorifying God, then we’ve rendered the gospel into a Dr. “feel good” talk program that only addresses the outside and not what’s inside. Why did Jesus speak so much about hell? It was because He cared about people enough to warn them about the wrath to come. One of the most unloving things you can do is to be silent about Christ. Just “after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). The gospel is not just “believe” because the demons believe (James 2:19), but they’re by no means saved! I can believe in chairs, but if I never sit down on one, have I really trusted in chairs as something I can use and trust?

Saved From What?

Many years ago, a late friend of mine, picked up a hitchhiker and ask where the young man was going. He said he was on his way to his aunts to stay there until he enrolled in a local college, so my friend ask him, “Have you been saved?” to which the young man asked, “Saved from what?” That’s a good question. So I ask myself, and I ask you: What are we saved from? Is it only our sins that we’ve been saved from? Actually, we’re saved from God! And more precisely, we are saved from facing the wrath of God. God has not appointed us to His wrath (1st Thess 5:9), and that’s good because, “It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). The Greek word for “fearful” is “inspiring fear, terrible, formidable,” and “affected with fear,” so we’re left with this question: Who can deliver anyone out the hands of an angry God!? Jesus alone can! He can and has delivered us from God’s wrath, and He has for everyone who’s trusted in Him. Jesus tried telling the self-righteous that it was God Who they should fear and not man, and said “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 1:28). If you are not saved, imagine being called before God, and having rejected Jesus Christ, and in some cases, having insulted His character and blasphemed His name, you now stand alone before Him. You have no advocate and no one to represent you. Because you did not trust in Christ, the wrath of God will be placed on you. Either He pays for your sins or you do. Can anyone imagine a worse scenario? But this happens every day. Thousands of people die every day and are judged and condemned to eternal torment, so there is no escaping the wrath of God except through Christ.

Where is the Love?

Today, over 150,000 people will die, and that is a very conservative figure since some will die from terrorist acts or natural disasters, so using the conservative number, that’s over six thousand an hour and approximately one hundred every minute. Now I want you to consider that roughly 1/3rd of the world is Christian, which is about 2.4 billion, and represents not only the largest group on earth, but also is the world’s largest religion, although that number might be too high because not everyone who professes to be a believer really is one (Matt 7:21-23), but what this means is that today, over 100,000 people will die outside of faith in Christ; their eternal state is sealed, because after death, comes the judgment (Heb 9:27). My question is, “How can we sit idly by while so many are slipping into this hopeless eternity?” Where are the weeping Jeremiahs? Surely it grieves the heart of God to see thousands of people lost every day, and we know that God “takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezk 18:32).

Spurgeon’s Passion

Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville. Public Domain.

Charles Spurgeon is another man I greatly admire because He had a huge heart for the lost. He once said “If you are a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot be at ease while souls are being lost! I fear that it would not matter in the least to some professors whether a whole nation was lost or saved! They would be just as comfortable, whatever happened. But they who have the spirit of Christ and are in sympathy with Him, have hearts of companion, so that the loss of any one sinner fills them with dismay—and the penitence of any one sinner makes their heart rejoice with exceeding joy” (1903, Sermon #2821)! Now, you may not agree with something else Spurgeon said; “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.” I know that’s very strong, but we must preach about the wrath of God and the reality of hell because Jesus did. The lyrics of “Rescue the Perishing” by Frances Crosby should be on our lips daily, as we sing and weep, “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.”

Law to the Proud

If I was a doctor and came out and handed you some medicine, you’d probably be surprised and think, you don’t need it because you feel fine, but if I came to you and showed you some x-rays and blood tests which indicated you have a fatal disease, you’d suddenly become very interested in the medicine. That’s what the law does….it is law to the proud and then grace to the humble. The law shows us what sin is (Rom 7:7), so “we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God” (Rom 3:19). In other words, it takes our excuses away, like saying, “I’m a good person.” No you’re not, and neither am I (Rom 3:10-12). Only God is good. The law is designed to show us the impossibility of keeping it. That doesn’t mean we don’t try to live by it, but we know we can never keep it perfectly. Only Jesus did, and that’s why we needed His righteousness accredited to us (2nd Cor 5:21).

Conclusion

How well do you know the gospel? What if you had to share it with a dying person? What if you saw a man who has been in a terrible car accident and he has only about three minutes to live? Could anyone explain how they might be saved in less than three minutes? If they can’t, then they don’t know the gospel well enough to explain it. It would be beneficial to know certain Scriptures like Romans 10:9-13, Acts 4:12, and Acts 16:30-31, Romans 3:23, 6:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21. The fields are ripe, but the laborers are few. Are you willing to inspire your congregation to evangelize and seek the lost?

Here is some related reading for you: Why Don’t More Christians Share Their Faith?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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