Living on Purpose: A burden for souls is the heart of evangelism

Published 3:00 pm Wednesday, April 12, 2023

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By Billy Holland

Everyone has their thoughts and interpretations regarding sharing the gospel, but there’s no more terrifying word among the average Christian than evangelism. Just ask a believer when was the last time they verbally shared the love of Jesus with an unbeliever, and the answer will probably be a moment of silence. Evangelical Christianity is widely known, but maybe we should briefly explain what it means. This sect believes the world is separated into two groups, those who are lost and those who are saved. They believe Christ died and was resurrected so that all who believe can be spiritually born again and dedicate their lives to following Him. This is summed up in John 3:16. They also have the highest regard for and obedience to the Bible as the ultimate standard and authority.

Thirdly, they are called to express and demonstrate God’s love at all times, which makes them “In season and out of season” certified and bona fide missionaries to proclaim God’s message whenever they hear His directions. And lastly, they develop an awareness of God’s presence and are focused on this “good news” and how to explain the sacrifice of Christ is the only way anyone can be redeemed and made righteous. These distinctions and theological convictions, for the most part, define the movement. It’s also noted they are not controlled or influenced by political, social, or cultural trends. Many evangelicals rarely use the term evangelical to describe themselves, focusing simply on listening and obeying the instructions of the Holy Spirit. Though it varies, most devout evangelicals believe in the Armenian doctrinal system that emphasizes personal choice as the means to salvation, while reformed theology or Christian Calvinists are convinced that Jesus came to earth to pay the debt of sin for those who are referred to as God’s elect.

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A story was told of two men waiting in line at a coffee shop. One was a pastor who began a conversation with a young man. After they received their order, they sat at a table, and the pastor told him a story about a lonely boy who was afraid, but one day someone said to him that Jesus was always with him even when he could not see him. The young man became a little fidgety but finally gathered the courage to admit that he could relate to this story. He said the world was becoming scary and that his anxiety often made him uncomfortable. This allowed the pastor to share the gospel with what is commonly referred to as a divine appointment. This means that God knows everyone who has come to a point in their journey where they are open and receptive to learning more about God’s love and mercy. What a great example of how every Christian can make a difference in the world just by being spiritually discerning. If this Christian had not been sensitive to the Holy Spirit, this young man would have walked out the door, and the opportunity would have been lost. However, a brief connection was made because of spiritual awareness, and the perfect moment for a simple chat was accomplished. Did this young man accept God’s invitation for eternal salvation? According to the story, he did not receive Christ at that moment, but the seeds were planted. Hopefully, the life-changing words of truth were watered by other mysterious occurrences that the young man would eventually realize were not coincidences.

When one considers why it’s so difficult to share the gospel with others, many answers are given. Still, the common excuse is usually being afraid of looking weird, awkward, and a religious extremist. In our celebrity-obsessed culture, looking uninformed, nonintellectual, and unattractive is the highest social humiliation. However, since Jesus was not afraid of the shame or persecution that came with dying for us, His followers should lose their pride and not ignore their responsibility or be intimidated to suffer being uncomfortable for Him. Christians are not called as Christ’s church to proclaim our integrity or lofty reputations as we have none, but rather to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light” 1 Peter 2:19. The bottom line to being a bold witness for the Lord’s amazing grace of salvation is having such love and overwhelming burden for souls, that you would rather risk being made to look like a fool than to live with the guilt of being ashamed of God.

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