God is Worthy to be Praised
God is worthy to be praised by all peoples of the earth. Yet there are many in the world today who do not know him. The Bible promises that the “gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations.”
But how is it going to get there? How is the gospel going to make it to the people in the hardest to reach places around the world? And what are we to do about it?
This is the first in a series of evangelism on evangelism using Will Metzger’s book Tell the Truth as our guide. If you don’t have this book we’d highly encourage you to pick up a copy of your own.
There are billions of people around the globe that need to hear the good news of the gospel that God might be glorified in them and that they might be satisfied in Him. So what approach to evangelism holds the best promise of reaching the ends of the earth with the gospel?
What does the Bible call individual believers to do to get the gospel to the whole world?
The Bible’s method of evangelism is where every Christian shares the content of the gospel with those around them.
Because the Bible is our sole authority for faith and practice any time we have questions about God and the commands that He has given us, we turn to it. Although we may have the right desire to do evangelism, we can dishonor God in the way that we seek to carry the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth if we do not evaluate our methods in light of Scripture. This should cause us to ask, “does the way that we’ve been sharing the gospel truly honor God?” There should be no approach that is above evaluation to Scripture.
Common Methods of Evangelism
Let’s look at a few common methods of evangelism that you are familiar with and examine them briefly in light of Scripture.
I think one of the most common forms of evangelism, especially if you’re young in your faith and don’t feel confident in being able to share the gospel with others is friendship evangelism. This method of evangelism has the right motive of becoming friends with people and living a life that is pleasing to God that others “might see your good deeds and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
But you’ll find pretty quickly through experience and, more importantly, through reading the Bible that simply becoming friends with others is not enough.
We see in Romans 10 that in order for someone to become a Christian they must hear the gospel. Paul asks: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” In order for people to believe and come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, the content of the gospel must be shared.
Inviting People to Church
You may be wondering, “Well then, can’t I just invite others to join me in a small group or a church service so that they can hear the gospel preached?” This is another common method of evangelism and on the surface, this is by no means a bad thing to do. It would be great for many Christians to invite those around them to a church gathering that they might see the effects the gospel has on a community and clearly hear it explained. In fact, we would encourage you and I also challenge myself to find ways to do this more. But we have to be careful not to think that if we have done this we have done evangelism.
We must realize this is still relying on others to do the talking and misses out on the clear commands of scripture for every Christian to “make disciples, teaching them to obey everything that [Jesus has] commanded [us]” as we see in the Great Commission in Matthew 28. We also see this in Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, John 20:21, and Acts 1:8. All these references are in the description below for you to look up and study on your own.
So friendship evangelism is not enough because the content of the gospel must be shared. And simply inviting people to church or a small group does not hold up to the biblical standard of evangelism because every Christian is called to share the good news.
The Bible’s Method of Evangelism
Ultimately then, the Bible’s method of evangelism is where every Christian shares the content of the gospel with those around them. As Carl Henry contends “a one to one approach initiated by every believer still holds the best promise of evangelizing the earth in our century.” And as one historian notes, “The chief agents in the expansion of Christianity appear not to have been those who made it a profession… but men and women who carried on their livelihood in some purely secular manner and spoke of their faith to those they met in this natural fashion.”
So for the gospel to get to the ends of the earth, every Christian is called by God to know and share the gospel with those they meet in their daily life.
But we have a great problem. Many Christians have forgotten the content of the gospel and their responsibility to accurately share it. As James Montgomery Boice said we need a “rediscovery of the doctrines that shook the world.” And that’s why in the next article we will begin to look at the importance of doctrine and getting the content of the gospel right.
As Will Metzger closes his preface “together let’s make God’s name famous.”