1 Corinthians 9:11
June 8, 2002
Evangelism is a spiritual gift which not all people have. I have the gift of Evangelism, but the gift of evangelism is not preaching the Gospel. Preaching the Gospel is the loving responsibility of anyone who claims they believe that a person without Christ will go to hell forever. That is why God wants us to use our free time to go out and share him with others. Some people God calls to do this full time and these people we call evangelists. So does the Bible, but sharing the Gospel is not a spiritual gift, but the calling of all true believers. Paul didn’t have the gift of evangelism. He tells us in 2 Timothy 2:11 “I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.” However, he said about why he preached the Gospel in 2 Corinthians 4:13 “But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak.” Paul said he shared the Gospel because he believed! Not because he had a special gift to do so.
I got saved as a result of reading the Bible while studying to be a priest. Eight months later the Lord begin to deal with me about my responsibility as a believer to share the Gospel. At first the idea petrified me, so I went into my room and closed the door for two weeks. I prayed earnestly for His Holy Spirit grace, strength and power to witness to others. At the end of two weeks he did not hit me with a wand and say “Go out and witness super Christian!”, no that is not what he did. What he did was lead me into the path of a Christian who had gone through a training program in evangelism to learn how to share his faith with others. I went through that training program (I went through several others later). I learned what the Gospel was and what it was not and how to present it in love. I discovered I had a worse problem than fear, it was ignorance.
I was 17 at the time. I have been using my free time to share the Gospel with others ever since. After faithfully obeying God for 8 years as a believer in sharing my faith with others, God then gave me the gift of evangelism. Why did he do this? Not to share the Gospel. I was already doing this. Not to increase my effectiveness. That came with time and with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which came 3 years later. He gave me the gift of evangelism so I could teach other’s like yourself to share the Gospel with others. That is what the gift of evangelism is: teaching and training Christians in how to share their faith with others. Paul wrote,
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Note that this is the purpose of all gifts in the church.
Sharing the Gospel with others is not a spiritual gift, it is the most loving thing you can do for another person. That is why I spend my free time going out and sharing Christ with others, not because I have the gift of evangelism. The gift of evangelism didn’t give me this ability, being trained in how to share my faith with others did.
The gift of worship is not so you can worship better, the gift of worship is to teach and lead God’s people in worship. You say you have the gift of worship. Does that mean that if I didn’t have the gift of worship I am supposed to just sit dumb in the pew and do nothing? Sally, you deceive yourself because of your fear of man, fear of rejection or fear of loss. I knew this about you when I first met you. I knew this about you when you never said anything about evangelism, brought it up in our conversations on line, never showed an interest in my gift to your benefit. Sally, if you aren’t taking time in your week to go out and share Christ with other’s here, what makes you think you are going to do this in South America? The Bible says “He who is faithful in little, will be faithful in much.”
The Apostle John wrote, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” (1 John 4:18). What does John mean? Does he mean that when we consider doing the most loving thing we can do that we won’t feel fear in the process of doing it? No. I feel fear every time I go out and share my faith with others. It means whether I feel fear or not, I won’t allow fear to keep me from doing the most loving thing I can do which is to go out and share Jesus’ love and forgiveness with men. It means I cast the fear aside. Do you think Jesus felt no fear at the prospect of going to the cross to save us from our sins? Do you think this was a pleasant experience for Him? Luke wrote about his agonizing while at the Mount of Olives praying:
“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, Saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Your's be done.’ Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” (Luke 22:41-44)
Jesus said “O boy! O boy! I get to go to the cross and suffer!” No He didn’t say that. The Bible says he was in so much agony over the fear of it that he sweat blood. But His love for His Father and for us caused Him to throw aside His fear and face the cross. Why? What gave him the strength to do this? The writer of Hebrews writes in Hebrews 12:1-2,
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Jesus threw aside his fear and faced the cross because of the millions and millions of people who would come to Christ and be saved and be with him in heaven forever, because of the joy this would bring him forever! This is exactly why God wants us as believers to do evangelism, because of the eternal joy it will bring us in heaven forever, knowing that that person and that person are their because we allowed Jesus to draw them to himself through us and that that is why they are there and not in eternal hell suffering instead forever!
God brought you into my path Sally for one reason and one reason only, because he wants you as a believer to go out and share Christ with others, but before doing this he wants you to go through some evangelism training to learn how and how to do it lovingly. That is where a program like mine comes in.
Okay Sally, you can’t overcome your fear of going out and sharing Christ with others. When I teach evangelism for the first seven weeks I don’t take my students out to do evangelism except to observe others who have been trained doing it. Most people’s fears about sharing the Gospel are in their head, not in reality. so I have them spend the first seven weeks in class sharing the Gospel with each other until they become so familiar with it and so comfortable in doing it, that when they do go out on the field they won’t have to think about what they are going to say. However all the training in the world doesn’t free a person of the fear of what they might encounter on the field. I had one student once when the seventh week came she called me in tears petrified with fear at the idea of going out and talking to a total stranger about Jesus. I said to her in response that she didn’t have to. I wouldn’t have accomplished anything by trying to force her to do something that caused her so much fear. It only would have driven her from it forever. So I said to her, “You don’t have to go out and share the Gospel, but do this instead, go out with me and observe me sharing the Gospel with others.” She hadn’t yet been out with a trained person to observe how it was done. She did agree to that and went out with me. I shared with four people that day. No one came to Christ, but she saw that not only did her fears have no basis in reality but that people are actually curious and asked questions and wanted to know what the Bible said, even if they weren’t yet ready to make that decision. As a result the next week she went out with another fellow student and the two of them together led two teenagers to Christ. As a result of the joy they experienced in doing so, they will be sharing Christ with others the rest of their lives. Neither of them have the gift of evangelism. What do they have? Love! They are compelled by love to go out and share Jesus with others so they too will be saved and go to heaven forever.
Sally, when you die, you cannot take anything with you, you leave everything behind forever! Therefore, anything this world has to offer or can give us is irrelevant, not important. There is only one thing you can take with you: it is the men and women you allow Jesus to draw to Himself through you by taking unselfish time during your week to share His love and forgiveness with others. The reason why the Lord brought you into my path was to help you overcome your fear of witnessing by experiencing and benefiting from my gift of evangelism which is not preaching the Gospel but teaching you how to preach the Gospel. To not respond and submit yourself to this gift Sally is a sin and grieves the Holy Spirit just as I would sin and grieve the Holy Spirit if I did not receive the gift of worship and join in worship. However, people don’t get into heaven through worship, they get into heaven by what they do with Jesus, therefore evangelism is more important than worship. Evangelism is not having an emotional experience. That usually follows after you have led someone into saving faith in Christ. There is nothing more wonderful than seeing a person’s face light up after they receive Jesus into their heart as Savior and Lord.
Evangelism is explaining, educating, a person about what it means to be a Christian and how to become one. We can’t save anybody, only the Holy Spirit can do that, but the Holy Spirit can’t even begin to do His job until we do our job which is to share God’s word with men and women. The sword of the Holy Spirit is the word of God, so our part is just as important, of first importance, as the Holy Spirit’s job is, because the Holy Spirit can’t even begin to do His job until we do our's.
Sally, while worship is important as we as Christians come together to seek God and learn more about him, it is secondary to the importance of taking time to go out and share Christ with others. Why? Because people aren’t saved and delivered from eternal hell through worship, they are saved and delivered from etertnal hell by what they do with Jesus. Evangelism is more important than anything and is the foundation of the church that all other gifts are built on, and Evangelism is the most loving thing you can do. Evangelism is the loving responsibility of anyone who claims to be a believer in Christ.
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. GO THEREFORE and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to You, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” (John 4:35)
“And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain—for He says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you’; behold, NOW is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, NOW is ‘The day of salvation.’” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)
“Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” (1 Corinthians 15:34)
“But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak.” (2 Cor 4:13)
Note, Paul said “Having the same spirit of faith.” It was Paul’s faith that motivated him to share Christ with others, not a spiritual gift. When someone claims to be a Christian, but comes up with every excuse in the world to not do the most loving thing they can do: Share Jesus with others, one has to question whether that person knows Jesus at all. The issue isn’t your calling Sally, but your fear. God’s word says love cast out all fear, doesn’t allow fear to determine what you will or will not do. Love tells fear to take a hike, tells fear “Fear, you are not going to stop me from doing the most loving thing I can do: Share Jesus’ love and forgiveness with them.” Sally, I have been doing this every time I go out for 33 years, fighting off and casting away fear. Fear is the opposite of love. To respond to and submit to fear is a sin because it is selfish and self-centered. Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-4,
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
The greatest interest you can show to another person is there need to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord so they will be saved forever and in heaven forever! Jesus wants you, Sally, as a believer to do the same. First, however, he wants you to learn how and that is where my gift of evangelism comes into your life. Receive my gift of evangelism so Jesus can use you to bring other’s to Himself also. Go through my training program of evangelism. Receive and benefit from why Jesus brought you into my path. Go to this link and read the first four chapters. They will explain to you how this training program can benefit you:
Sincerely in Jesus,
Dale P. Kruse