August 22 I Wednesday
1 Corinthians 5
“…‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?” —Romans 10:13-15
In the opening verses, there are six links to the evangelistic chain. A person first has to call on the name of the Lord, and then is saved. They call when they believe, believe when they hear and hear when someone tells them. In order to be told, someone has to be sent, but this is often the weak link in the chain. As Christians, we are sent to preach the Gospel, but not all who are sent want to tell.
Many of us think the work of evangelism should be left to people with the gift of evangelism. The resulting model is evangelism by addition, which, even at its best, is limited. For example, if Billy Graham had been the only Christian on earth, assuming he preached every night to a crowd of 100,000 and they all came to Christ, the numbers would start out impressively. After 10 days, 1 million people would know Christ. After a year, there would be 36.5 million Christians. Multiply 36.5 million by 70 years of preaching, and we would have 2.555 billion Christians in the world. With a current population of over 7.6 billion people, it would take over 208 years for one person to evangelize the world—an impossible feat given the average lifespan is 70 years.
The point of the above scenario is that we realize the need for every Christian to evangelize. Evangelism by multiplication is one believer telling another person, who in turn, tells another. If that first Christian led someone to Christ over a six-month period, there would be two Christians. If they both led someone to Christ over the next six months, there would be four Christians in one year, and eight Christians after a year and a half. At the end of five years, we would have 1,024 Christians. Jump ahead to 16½ years and there would be exactly 8,589,934,592 Christians except that this number exceeds the world’s population.
We see this strategy of “each one reach one” played out in the first chapter of John. John the Baptist points Andrew to Jesus, who in turn finds Peter. Jesus then bumps into Philip and says, “Follow me,” and Philip seeks out Nathanael. Not everyone is cut out to be an evangelist, but as Christians, we are all witnesses for Christ. It is word of mouth that first created a great following for Jesus by people like us who heard a life-giving message and were eager to pass it on. Evangelism by multiplication, though a slower start, ripples out like a stone tossed in still water and makes leaps and bounds in reaching the world for Christ!
Prayer: God in Heaven, thank You that it is not any one person’s responsibility to evangelize the world. May I be a confident and faithful witness for You wherever I go.