Here is Jesus’ Great Commission to His followers after His sinless life, atoning death, and bodily resurrection from the grave for us: 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. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Tell Others. These are Jesus’ last words in Matthew’s Gospel, so they are especially important. Based on Christ’s command, John Piper urges us: Don’t wait for a feeling of love in order to share Jesus with a stranger. You already love God the Father, Son, and Spirit, and you know that this stranger is created by God, but separated from God because of sin. So take those first steps in evangelism because you love God our Savior. It is not primarily out of compassion for humanity that we share our faith or pray for the lost. It is first of all that we love God and gratefully obey Him by witnessing.
It’s amazing how the Lord Jesus uses us to bring others into His kingdom! Christ promises to enable us and be with us in a special way as we help others follow Him. God’s Son says similar things in the Old Testament books of Proverbs and Daniel: The fruit of believers is a tree of life, and whoever wins souls is wise….Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who turn many to God’s ways of righteousness will shine like stars forever.1
Reflect Jesus. Alistair Begg says that if we can’t shine for Christ, at least we ought to twinkle for Him. When Jesus’ Holy Spirit is truly in us, we will reflect Jesus’ light to others who are walking in spiritual darkness. Many of our friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors are living in darkness—estranged from God, following Satan (even when they do not realize it), and doing wrong. Wrong living offends the Lord and hurts us and others. Do we care for people enough to show and tell them about Jesus? Everyone is flailing through this life without an owner’s manual and Christ is the only safe Guide to follow through this fallen and confusing world.2 How can we remain silent?
Jesus’ Great Commission above is addressed to all believers, not just pastors and missionaries. That includes teachers, students, artists, engineers, business, financial and medical professionals, oil and gas industry workers, homemakers, and home builders. All of Christ’s followers are to be witnesses, pointing others to Christ. “People who don’t believe in missions have not read the New Testament. Right from the beginning Jesus said the field is the world. The early church took Christ at His word and went East, West, North and South.”3
It’s a Joy Not a Burden. Please don’t consider it drudgery to share Jesus’ gospel; that kills our happiness in serving Christ. Drudgery means hard, monotonous, routine, plodding, grinding donkey work. Biblical evangelism isn’t supposed to be like that at all. Telling others about Christ is one of the most joyful, reviving, exciting, and fulfilling things we can do. The treasure of eternal life in Jesus is meant to be shared, not hoarded. A Jewish legend says that Abraham kept the flaps of his tent up, all the time, so he could tell everyone who passed by about the Lord who had graciously befriended him. That tradition depicts Abraham as unselfish, wanting others to worship Christ, wanting others to be reconciled to God in Jesus.4 Abraham understood that he was blessed by the Lord to be a blessing to others.5 We are too.
Do we desire the salvation of many? Charles Spurgeon challenged: If we don’t want others to be saved, then we’re not saved ourselves, be sure of that!6 When we don’t share with others, we stagnate. When we do reach out to others with Christ’s good news, we are revived. A. W. Pink asserts that we have a clear choice, evangelize or fossilize. As a bonus for witnessing, the Lord promises: Whoever refreshes and satisfies others will themselves be satisfied and refreshed.7
I’ve proven this to myself. When I tell others of Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, Jesus reassures me that He loves me. When I recount how He was forsaken on the cross in place of His followers, Christ reassures me that He keeps on restoring me and will never leave or forsake me. When I tell others how His resurrection was so real, physical, and historical that you could have filmed it, Jesus expands my confidence that He will empower me with newness of life now and raise me from the grave if I die before His Second Coming. As I spread the riches of Jesus’ gospel, I am always enriched myself! Haven’t you experienced that too?
Being Christ to Others. Martin Luther echoed the Savior by saying, “It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to our neighbor.” Jesus commands:
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, our generous Father in Heaven.8
Evangelism is simply sharing with others what we know about Jesus. We don’t go around talking about ourselves. We tell others that Christ is Lord and we are their servants for Jesus’ sake.9 We are not to trick, deceive, or push religion on others. We speak Jesus’ truth, His whole truth, nothing but His truth, in Jesus’ love. Then we leave the results of our evangelism with Him. Salvation comes from the Lord.10 That’s the only way it can ever be.
It’s not our task to force God’s truth on those who His truth detest, But we are called to share Christ’s love and let God’s Spirit do the rest. (Dan DeHaan)
Go in peace, beloved. Walk with King Jesus today and be a blessing to others!
To be continued. You can read Part 2 here.
Notes (various translations): 1 Prov 11:30; Dan 12:3. 2 language borrowed from Anne Lamott. 3 J. Howard Edington. 4 see John 8:56. 5 Gen 12:1-3; 18:18-19. 6 see 2 Cor 5:11-21. 7 Prov 11:25. 8 Matt 5:14-16, The Message. 9 2 Cor 4:5. 10 Jonah 2:9.