Jesus, the Master Evangelist
I once met a man who recently fell out with his wife. He has a very bad temper, which his wife could not live with. He claimed that he once went to church for a few year and was saved there. However, he grumbled against God for being unfair to him. Upon closer examination, I realized that his understanding concerning salvation never involved repentance or turning from self-centered living towards a God-centered life. He never knew the values of Christ and how he should live like Him. Hence, he has never altered his lifestyle except for going to church on Sundays. He said he has kept his part of the bargain but God never kept His. To cut the long story short, this man never really entered God’s Kingdom or experienced its goodness and blessings. He was sold a dream, but was never told how to get there.
Evangelism is the act of turning people from darkness towards the truth and receiving God’s saving grace. Evangelism is not just about getting people to believe in the forgiveness of Jesus; it must necessarily involve a decision to turn back from their self-centered living towards a God-centered life. The Buddhists endeavored to live according to a set of values system that teaches love towards others. However, it is quite impossible to live a life of truth and love without divine empowerment.
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12).
Hence, evangelism is about getting people to walk in the Light of life by depending on God’s grace. Put in a nutshell, it is to live as Christ lived. As believers endeavor to live in the manner of Christ empowered by His grace, they will begin to experience peace, health and the wealth of the Kingdom. The believer’s life goal is to live a Spirit empowered life and to inculcate God’s values system into the community through evangelism.
How should one evangelize effectively? By observing Jesus, the Master Evangelist at work. What did Jesus do?
1. He evangelized by speaking and walking according to the truth. Everywhere He went, He taught the people how to be reconciled with God and to live according to the truth. He taught the truth and walk in the truth, and never giving in to the threats of others. People were attracted to Jesus’ life of truth, as truth itself has the power to draw all people towards Him.
2. He imparts grace and forgiveness of sins through healing the physical and emotional wounds of the people. He was a friend to sinners and tax collectors and remained pure at heart. Hence, we draw people towards God by actively healing the sick and ministering to their needs through the gifts of the Spirit.
If we imitate Jesus and live like Him, we are effectively doing evangelism in our world. Hence, believers should first learn to be a true friend to another and being genuinely interested in their lives. As they see the truth lived out through our lives, they will begin to open themselves to us and the ministry of the Spirit can begin. At the same time, believers should be honest and secure concerning their own weaknesses. While we make known the blessings of the Kingdom, but we need not be overly zealous to convert people by enticing them with its blessings. If one is not ready to turn from their ways to walk in the light, then there is no salvation even if he agrees to the fact that Christ has the power to forgive sins. Many people were eager to experience blessings and have their problems solved, but were not ready to part with their self-centered lives. One can only experience enduring blessings when they yield their lives to the Spirit and to live according to the truth.