So why is evangelism important? Or why should those without the “gift of evangelism” evangelize? If you have these questions, they are reasonable. Many Christians I have spoken with do not regular engage in soul winning, and some believe that God has only called certain people to do the job, so they may be quite apathetic. But a look at the scriptures will show otherwise for we all must be involved in the Great Commission of bringing people to the Lord. Some have accused my passion for evangelism as an attempt to make them feel guilty. I wrote on the topic on a Internet discussion board and one or more posters replied and said that I was trying to make everyone feel guilty. My intent is not to make anyone feel guilty, but only to inspire others to the Great Commission of helping bring people to the Lord and I will argue that all Christians serious about the savior must engage in soul winning. If someone is in sin, and has apathy towards evangelism then the Holy Spirit will make them feel guilty. Scripture quotations will be from the New International Version (NIV), The English Standard Version (ESV) and the New King James Version (NKJV).
Matt 28:18-29 (NIV)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In Matt, 28:18-20 Jesus issues the Great Commission and that is to go out into the entire world and proclaim the gospel. The command was issued to the disciples, but the exhortation was given to all Christians. Some have a deep passion for missions, but because of fiscal issues or health issues they cannot be missionaries. So personal evangelism/soul winning within the context of their communities is what to be done. It is important to see from the text that Jesus did not command his disciples to only preach the word, but to make disciples. The KJV omits the “make disciples” clause and uses “teach all nations” instead. This can be a problem as some/many Fundamentalist churches may not be as serious about discipleship as they should and think that “preaching the word” is all that needs to be done to bring people to salvation. There are many that will come to Christ this way, but discipleship evangelism also has its place, and is quite effective. Making disciples is not easy and in some contexts preaching repentance is all that can be done. In my own soul winning efforts, do I pass out tracts and engage lost souls in conversation. Since I do this in a reasonable sized city in the streets, its not always easy to build relationships. Most of the time, the best that can be done is passing out a tract. I personally prefer tracts with a soul winning emphasis and dislike ones that beat around the bush too much by overloading people with a big long chunk of text that most people have no time to read. People need to know that they are sinners and without Christ, they are doomed.
Acts 1:6-8 (NKJV)
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And He said to them, it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Notice the phrase “you shall be witnesses
” in the passage. That phrase is written as a command and not as an option. Christ commanded his disciples to witness all around the world, and the same can be applied to us as well. Believers need to be his witnesses not only in other countries but theirs as well. According to Zondervan research, 97% of Christians are not engaged in soul winning on a regular basis. Followers of Christ should be engaged in soul winning, for everyday are lost souls dying and going to Hell without a savior. I believe that there are three reasons why many are not regularly engaged in soul winning and they are because people have a fear of failure (not communicating effectively), a fear of people (different people scare them), and are more concerned with the here and know rather than in the kingdom beyond. The Bible says, “Do not store up fro yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal
” (Mt 6:19-20, NIV). So be more concerned about the kingdom of God and witnessing to people to become kingdom citizens rather than citizens of this earth. For this is the biggest business in the world!
Acts 18:1-6 (ESV)
After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.
Paul was known for his consistency in evangelism. He never gave up, and continued to reach lost souls for the Lord no matter where he went or no matter the hostility towards the message. So many Christians can learn from Paul and follow his example. As what happened to Paul witnessing will get you enemies. Paul was opposed by the Jews in this passage and in another passage did the Jews wish to rid the earth of Paul (ch. 22:22, NIV). Sometimes effective witnessing will get you persecuted and sometimes will people be harsh and mean. In my evangelism efforts in the streets have some been rude and mean. I have not yet had anyone threaten my life, or attack me physically, but there are many faithful believers in other countries that are persecuted daily for their testimony. Also on the Internet have I received many attacking criticisms by atheists/agnostics, liberal Christians and other such types. I have tried to ignore some of them, but they never give up their criticism of me and continue to send their messages regardless of how much I ignore them. They have a passion to attack me, and that passion is rooted in their hate for me and the God that I serve. Some of them may claim to be a follower of Christ, but they are not followers of Christ. In all this I can be thankful that God has given me strength to continue to endure and witness in such harsh environments.
Effective Verses for Soul Winners
Although there are many more verses than what is listed under each category, I believe I have hit the main categories and used the most effective verses under each category. Its important to memorize some of these verses, (at least one from each category) or at least memorize the verse reference or know where to find it in your Bible.
All Have Sinned
2 Chro 6:36
1 Kings 8:46
The Sinners Judgment
God wants to save sinners
2 Pet 3:9
Hope for the Sinner
1 John 4:9