July 24 I Friday
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” —Romans 1:16
A church in the United States announced they were having a seminar on personal evangelism. The man leading this seminar was one of the best salespeople in the state. They advertised, “This man will teach you how to avoid people saying, ‘No,’ through his sales techniques.” Yet, this is not what evangelism is.
What is evangelism? Paul tells us, “…you were dead in your transgressions and sins….But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ…” (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5).
Evangelism is a miracle of God, where it is resurrecting the dead and bringing spiritual life. Evangelism is not the result of persuading someone of something—it is simply a miracle of God.
Whom do we talk to about salvation? We talk to people, of course, but most importantly, we talk to God because it is a work of God when people come to faith. Whenever God is at work in the world, we will always find people praying. In doing so, people acknowledge their dependence on God saying, “God, in this situation, You work.” God’s strategy is to work through His people—His Church.
Scripture records Jesus only speaking of the church twice. The first time in Caesarea Philippi when Peter rightly identified who Jesus is. And Jesus replied, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19). The second time is Jesus’s teaching on a fault found in a brother or sister. He says, “If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”
(Matthew 18:17-18). Congruent in both contexts is the language of whatever is bound on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever is loosed on earth will be loosed in heaven; the initiative takes place on earth.
While we are given the responsibility to evangelize to others, we must remember that evangelism is a miracle by God that we cannot fabricate in other people’s lives through persuasive tactics and sales techniques. May we not be lax in our commission and intimidated to evangelize, because we know God is at work.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for Your power behind evangelism. I cannot win people by using persuasive tactics or sales techniques; only You can draw others to You. Let Your love compel me to share this amazing grace with those around me.