A Systematic Expository Study of the Word of God
RECOVERING THE LOST ART OF PERSONAL EVANGELISM
Mark 16:15-20; Acts 1:8; John 3:1-7; 4:5-29
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is the person-to-person sharing of the gospel of Christ with sinners with
the aim of leading them to salvation. The primary purpose of Christ coming
into the world was to die for the salvation of man (John 3:14-18; 1 Timothy
1:15). He came to seek and to save the lost. He could not allow any other
thing to becloud His vision of saving the lost. He came for that purpose and
died for it (John 6:15; 19:37; 1 John 3:8). Christ preached to great
multitudes who came from many regions to hear him (Luke 15:2; Matthew
4:23-25). He also used the personal evangelism strategy to reach individuals
and families. He used different approaches to reach different people. (1)
With Nicodemus Christ used a direct approach: “Ye must be born
again” (John 3:1-7). (2) With the Samaritan woman, He used an
indirect approach: “Give me to drink” (John 4:5-7). (3) With
the woman caught in adultery by the Scribes and Pharisees, He used a
situational approach (John 8:2-11). He applied the same approach with the
informants who told Him of the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate had mingled
with their sacrifices. “Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye
that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they
suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all
likewise perish” (Luke 13:1-3). Jesus reached out to His twelve
disciples, whom He called apostles, through personal evangelism (John
1:29-51; Matthew 4:19-22; Luke 6:13).
For a local church
to grow, the members must go and preach the Word right where the sinners
are. Many sinners do not go to church, therefore, the church must go out to
meet them where they are: in their houses, offices, town or village square,
civic centres, playgrounds, hospitals, prisons, schools, marketplaces etc.
(Acts 20:20; 17:16-31; 16:20-34). No other business should thrill the heart
of a New Testament believer than personal evangelism. Winning the lost is a
task that must be done; failure to carry it out carries great consequences.
CONSEQUENCES OF NEGLECTING PERSONAL EVANGELISM
John 3:16-18,36; Ezekiel 3:17-21; 18:4; 33:1-16; Romans 1:14-16; Matthew
10:32,33; John 4:35-38; 9:4; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31.
Sinners cannot get
saved without the preaching of the gospel. It is the soulwinner’s duty to
preach to them. The implication of neglecting personal evangelism includes
(1) the loss and waste of ripened harvest, (2) requirement of sinners’ blood
from negligent soul-winners (Ezekiel 3:17-21; 33:1-16), (3) Christ being
ashamed of Christians that neglect to witness (Mark 8:38), (4) loss of
soul-winners’ reward (Daniel 12:3; Proverbs 11:30), (5) spiritual decline
and stunted growth of local churches, and (6) delay in answer to prayer. The
consequences of neglecting personal evangelism on the part of the sinners,
the soul-winners and the church are so great. Every believer must therefore,
wake up to this great responsibility. We must rise up to renew our first
love for Christ (Revelation 2:1-5).
COMPELLING NECESSITY OF PERSONAL EVANGELISM
1 Corinthians 9:16; Jeremiah 20:9; Matthew 9:36; John 9:4; Acts 4:20; 18:5;
20:22-24; Ezekiel 3:17-21; 2 Corinthians 5:11a; John 4:35; Romans 9:3; 10:1;
1 Corinthians 9:22; Psalm 90:12; Mark 5:18-20.
is a compelling necessity for every believer. It is not the will of God that
anyone should perish: He wants all men to be saved. The Lord Jesus Christ
was not only involved in personal evangelism but also sent out His disciples
to do so. They were to preach to every creature everywhere. Paul the apostle
said, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for
necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”
(1 Corinthians 9:16). To him, souls are more valuable than any other thing
in the world.
It is an obligation
for every believer to personally bear witness of Christ and the task is
urgent in view of (i) shortness of time, (ii) the brevity of life (Psalm
90:12; John 9:27-29), (iii) reality of eternal judgment of the lost (Psalm
9:17), and (iv) the need for believers to be free from the blood of all men
(Ezekiel 3:17-21; 33:1-16). Concern for our loved ones, members of our
families, tribesmen, friends, co-workers and neighbours requires us to
witness to them (Romans 9:3; 10:1). The vastness of the harvest field that
is waiting for labourers should compel us to assist before they are wasted.
COMMITMENT NEEDED FOR PERSONAL EVANGELISM
Isaiah 6:5-8; John 9:4; Luke 4:43; John 18:37; 1 Corinthians 9:16; Acts
4:13-20; 19:15-19; 20:20-24; Romans 1:14-16; 2 Timothy 2:3,4; Psalm 126:5,6;
1 Corinthians 15:58.
Commitment is an
act of devoting oneself entirely to a given cause until the goal is
achieved. Personal evangelism requires individual commitment. Our Lord Jesus
Christ was personally committed to it. He said, “I must work the works
of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work”
(John 9:4). Believers must be determined to preach to all men till the end
of their lives on earth. In spite of trials, hardship and afflictions, a
soul-winner must never give up.
Every spiritual effort must be made in order to sustain the zeal and fire
for personal evangelism. This could be done through constant praying,
yielding to the promptings of the Spirit to preach, regular reading of
literature and listening to messages on evangelism, making deliberate plan
to preach the gospel every day, and maintaining the freshness of the Spirit
(Acts 8:23,24; 1 Timothy 4:13; Romans 10:17; Acts 17:17).
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