Scripture shows us four aspects of evangelism I call the ‘P’s of evangelism. These aspects are found in Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19-20. Before I explain these four aspects of evangelism, let me briefly define evangelism. Evangelism, put simply, is the proclaiming of Jesus Christ to God’s people. This involves telling those who do not believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior about Him as well as teaching Christians to live as God instructs. Having briefly defined evangelism, allow me to describe the four ‘P’s of evangelism.
Power of Evangelism
Acts 1:8a (NASB) – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…”
Jesus tells us the power for evangelism–the ability to proclaim Christ, the strength by which we share our testimony, the enabler of witnessing–is the Holy Spirit. God Himself, through His spirit, is the power for evangelism.
This passage shows us the two steps by which the Holy Spirit’s power works in evangelism:
- Allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen you
- Tell others about Christ
Step 1: Receiving Strength from the Holy Spirit
Doing this requires we each, individually:
… Submit to the Holy Spirit
… Depend on the Holy Spirit
… Be usable by the Holy Spirit
In order to be able to evangelize, you must submit to God as Lord, depend on Him to strengthen and guide you, and be willing to do what He asks you do to (be usable). This requires, as seen in Acts 1:14, being dedicated to a healthy prayer life. You must prayer regularly, spending time with God.
Step 2: Telling others about Jesus
We are witnesses for Christ. A witness:
… tells what they know
… proclaims to others the truth
I have heard people say they do not need to tell others about Jesus. Rather, their life is their testimony. How they live is a witness to what they have seen, experienced, and believe. I am reminded of an illustration I heard from a retired seminary professor, Dr. Malcolm McDow. He illustarted the falacy of the ‘my life is my witness’ excuse this way:
Imagine a prosecuting attorney trying to convict a criminal. The prosecution has one key witness as their primary evidence, so they call the witness to the stand. The man takes the stand, raises his right hand, then swears to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
The attorney, knowing what the witness saw, asks the man, “What did see happen on the day in question?” The witness sits silently with a proud smile on his face and says nothing. After a few seconds, the attorney repeats, “Please tell the jury what you saw.” The man continues to sit silently, but continues to smile.
Becoming a little upset, the attorney asks the judge to instruct the witness to answer the question. The judge looks at the man on the witness stand and sternly says, “You will answer the question and tell the jury what you saw.” The kindly man smiles at the judge and replies, “But your Honor, the jury knows what I saw by the way I live, the way I sit here, the way I act. My life is my witness, and it is plain to see.”
What would happen to this man on the witness stand? He would be found in contempt of court and face possible fines and possible jail time. How much of a witness was this man? He wasn’t a witness at all. Christians who say their life is their witness for Christ are not witnesses at all. Your live is the evidence that you believe what you say. Your life shows you are what you preach. You must tell others about Jesus to be His witness.
Plan for Evangelism
Acts 1:8b (NASB) – “…and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Evangelism begins at home and spreads from there.
While we don’t live in the time of Jesus’ day and nations have changed over 2,000 years, there is a modern application of these regions.
Modern application of this order:
- Jerusalem = family, friends, neighborhood
- Judea and Samaria = city, regional area, and nation
- Remotest part of the earth = the rest of the world
We are to begin by telling our friends and family about Christ. We must then spread outward with the message of God’s love.
Purpose of Evangelism
Matthew 28:19-20a (NASB) – “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;”
God’s purpose is to make disciples. This means He wants to bring man back into a close relationship with Him. We have sinned and, hence, pulled away from God and severed that relationship. God, though, still sent his son, Jesus, to die and be resurrected in order to pay for your sins and my sins. Because of this, we can be forgiven and the relationshp restored. It is an act of God to restore what we broke. Will you allow God to restore your life and relationship?
Dr. McDow defines evangelism this way, “God’s redemptive work in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the reconciliation of man to Himself” (emphasis added).
Making disciples is a two-step process:
- Saving the lost
- Teaching the saved
Saving the lost means telling those who do not know Christ about Him. Teaching the lost, often called “discipleship,” means teaching those who are saved how to live as a Christian. Both of these are part of a full evangelistic process. Evangelism is about reconciliation and relationships. It begins with forgiveness and salvation, then continues with discipleship.
Promise of Evangelism
Matthew 28:20b (NASB) – “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus promised he would be with you when you evangelize. Whenever you tell someone about Christ, Jesus is with you. The Holy Spirit is right there at work strenthening you and calling the other person to Him.
Jesus did not say, “Good luck to you as you witness to others, ’cause I’m out of here!” Instead, Jesus said “I am with you.” What a wonderful promise!