Church Education Resource Ministries
Why is evangelism important? Or why should those without the “gift of evangelism” evangelize? If you have these questions, they are common and will be addressed briefly in this article. Many Christians I have spoken with do not regularly engage in soul winning because they may be apathetic (do not care) which makes them disobedient to the Bible's clear commands to regular engage in Soul Winning (Mt 28:18-20, Mk 16:15, Lk 14:23, Acts 1:6-8, 8:4,18:1-6, Pro 11:30, Mt 9:37, 22:9-10, Eze 3:17-19, Acts 20:26-27). And there are others that believe God has called certain people to do the work of an evangelist and therefore regular involvement in soul winning is not required of those who lack the gift and calling to evangelism. Some have accused my passion for evangelism as an attempt to make them feel guilty. I wrote on the topic on an 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 must engage in soul winning. Jesus said "He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" (Lk 10:2, NIV). If someone is in sin, and has apathy towards evangelism then the Holy Spirit will make them feel guilty. Dr. Bob Jones III of Bob Jones University says that "the most sobering reality in life is that people are dying and going to hell each day." God calls all of His servants to soul winning and to not do so would be sin.
Ezekiel 3:17-19 (NIV)
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
This passage is perhaps the clearest of all scripture of the continuous command to evangelize and reach lost souls. Ezekiel is told that he is a watchman for the house of Israel and he needs to warn unbelievers of their evil ways in order to save them from God’s judgment. God says to Ezekiel that He will hold him accountable for those that he does not evangelize whom die in their sins. Sadly, there are many Christians that could care less about warning the wicked of their evil ways and telling them the good news of Jesus Christ. Consequently will many Christians have bloody hands when they get to Heaven and are judged for their failed efforts to evangelize! Some claim that unbelievers generally do not repent after reading a tract, or having a sermon preached to them as many rather argue against the existence of God, the authority of the Bible, and make other such attacks against the Christian faith so therefore there is no need to evangelize. I am a presuppositionalist and I believe the best way to evangelize is clearly to “preach the word” and let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest. Therefore when evangelizing, I usually tell unbelievers (kindly and respectfully) that they are lost and headed to an eternity in the fire if they do not repent. I at other times get more creative and ask unbelievers if they have ever sinned (told a lie, stole, thought an evil thought, slept with someone they were not married to,etc). Unbelievers are usually aware of their sin, and do realize the error of their ways for they know who God is (Rom 1:19) but sadly they so often do not repent. Therefore, God has given them over to their sinful ways and many of them will die in their sin (Rom 1:24). However, God will not hold me accountable for not evangelizing to them. So if all Christians read & interpreted Ezekiel 3:17-19 seriously I believe that many more would be saved from Hell, as that many more would be soul winning on a regular basis and showing compassion on the lost (Jude 22, KJV).
Matt 28:18-20 (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 or health issues they cannot be missionaries. So personal evangelism/soul winning within the context of their communities is what they can do. 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 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, it's not always easy to build relationships. Most of the time, the best that can be done is passing out a tract. People need to know that they are sinners and without Christ, they are doomed. This truth must be spoken with gentleness and with respect (1 Pet 3:15) and must not be shunned (Acts 17:30).
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” 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 empowered by the Holy Spirit need to be His witnesses not only in foreign countries but in their city streets, marketplaces, work environments, schools, baseball games,etc.. But the sad truth is that 97% of Christians are not engaged in soul winning on a weekly basis (according to Zondervan research). 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 people are not regularly engaged in soul winning.
The Bible says, “Do not store up for 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). We need to 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! People need to realize that everything they have will perish, and all that matters for eternity is one's status with God. In a thousand years from today it will not matter what kind of car that one owns, all that will matter is whether or not you know Jesus.
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 and no matter what the hostility towards the message was. Christians can learn from Paul and follow his example. Witnessing was not easy. Paul was opposed by the Jews in this passage and in another passage the Jews desired to rid him from the earth (Acts 22:22, NIV). Sometimes effective witnessing will get you persecuted and sometimes people will be harsh and mean. In my evangelism efforts in the streets I have experienced this to an extent. 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 I have received many attacking criticisms by atheists/agnostics, liberal Christians, Charismatics, and Third Wave 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. In all this I can be thankful that God has given me strength to continue to endure and preach the truth in such harsh environments.
JESUS IS GOD
A. Jn 10:30- I and the father are one
JESUS IS HOLY
A. God is perfect and Holy (Isa 6:3), and he cannot approve of evil (Jas 1:13).
B. Jesus was God in the flesh and he embodied all the fullness of the Godhead (Col 2:9).
C. He was tempted yet did not sin (Heb 4:15).
D. God requires Holiness from us. 1 Pet 1:16-“You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
JESUS IS THE SAVIOR
A.1 John 4:9- In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
B. Rom 5:8- But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
C. 1 Pet 3:18- For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God..”
ONLY JESUS CAN SAVE YOU
A. Jn 14:6- I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the father, but by me.
B. Jn 10:9- I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
JESUS IS THE JUDGE
A. Failure to obey God will result in severe judgment 2 Thes 1:8-9- “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”
B. Heb 9:27 “It is appointed for man to die once, and then to face judgment.”
C. Rev 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?
A. Read Romans 10:8-14
B. Repent and believe!
SANCTIFICATION COMES NEXT
A. If you truly love God then you will walk with him, and show evidence that you are saved and are pursuing to be changed into his image (2 Cor 3:18).
B. Eph 4:22-24- That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
C. 3 John 11-Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God
D. 1 Jn 1:6-7-If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin
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. It's important to memorize some of these verses, (at least one from each category) or at least memorize the verse reference and know where to find them in your Bible.
Holiness of God
1 Pet 1:16
Definition of Sin
1 Jn 3:4
1 Jn 5:17
All Have Sinned
2 Chro 6:36
1 Kings 8:46
The Sinners Judgment
God wants to save sinners
2 Pet 3:9
Sinners have the law of God & eternity written on their hearts
Hope for the Sinner
1 John 4:9
Jesus Christ is the only way to Salvation
1 Jn 5:20
Diety of Jesus Christ (Helpful when witnessing to cults)
Sinners are convicted by the Holy Spirit & the Word of God
1 John 5:13
Regeneration (Being born again)
2 Cor 5:17
Justification (God makes you right with him)
Sanctification (Separation from Sin)
2 Pet 1:2-3
3 John 11
1 John 1:6-7
Doctrine of Illumination (Work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer)
1 Cor 2:6-16
Tracts & Gospels
League--Fundamentalist Tract ministry. All tracts are 100%
free as the Lord provides
Pocket Testament League--Gospel of John's 100% free as the Lord provides
Nothing but the Truth--John MacArthur
The Gospel & Personal Evangelism--Mark Dever
Share Jesus without Fear--William Fay
So What's the Difference?--Fritz Ridenour
More than a Carpenter--Josh McDowell
Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die--John Piper
Soul Winning Challenge--A challenge for all Christians to engage in Soul Winning
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