The Necessity of Evangelism (By Sonny Hernandez)
To be a faithful Christian, you must tell others about your faith in Christ. If a man becomes saved, and is spiritually fed every week by the preaching in his church––but fails to share the good news with the lost––he is no different than an obese man who travels to one of the poorest countries in the world and gorges himself like a pig, but offers none of his food to the starving men, women, and children who are around him. Therefore, if you claim to have been saved and given the gift of faith––but fail to share the gospel with others––you need to question whether or not you even have the gift of faith, and what good your faith is if you do not put it into practice.
Based on the testimony of Scripture, it is evident that one of the reasons professing Christians do not witness to the lost is because they are lost themselves. Born-again believers obey the voice of their Savior who said to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15; emphasis mine), while lost individuals do not. It would be absurd to hear a story about a young man who aspired to be a firefighter––but when offered the position at a local fire department––he would not pick up a fire hose to put out a house fire. It would also be absurd to hear about a professing Christian who claims to believe in the good news that saves, but refuses to tell unsaved individuals about the good news that can save them.
If professing Christians have no desire to tell the lost about Christ, they are sending a message to the world that they are either ashamed of the gospel; they do not believe the gospel is mighty to save; they really do not care about the lost; and they are afraid of what men will think, and not what God has commanded. Instead of witnessing to the lost as commanded, professing Christians who do not evangelize will boldly do what they do best: They will make excuses for why they do not put their faith into practice.
Out of all of the reasons I can come up with to explain why many professing Christians do not evangelize, I would argue that the blame may need to be placed on their pastors. Pastors who do not make evangelism a priority in their churches will inspire church members to not make evangelism a priority either, and pastors who do not put their faith into practice will lead church members to follow the same practices. Sadly, many pastors will argue that they have put their efforts into discipleship, but not evangelism. This is absurd. If men in the local church are discipled biblically, they would evangelize faithfully, but since the practice of evangelism has become scarce in many churches throughout America, it is obvious that men are not being discipled biblically by their pastors. It is important to note that one of the marks of a true church is evangelism. Therefore, churches that do not practice evangelism, in my opinion, are not sound churches, but rather, social clubs.
The list of excuses is never ending for pastors who do not disciple their congregations to witness to the lost. Since the entire Bible is a large evangelistic book that is absolutely true and never fails us, many pastors are forced to come up with reasons on how they can profess to be an evangelical, but not put evangelism into practice, in order to soothe their Christian conscience.
I have heard many pastors, who do not practice evangelism, argue that they do not support open-air preaching or street evangelism because there are a lot of things they see online or in person that they either do not like or fully agree with. I find it ironic how men––who do not evangelize––love to tell evangelists what they are doing wrong, and what they need to be doing right. And these same pastors will complain that they do not support evangelism because of all the “unloving and hateful” evangelists they see on the internet, without realizing that there are also a lot of “unloving and hateful” pastors who are saturated on the internet. This does not mean that every pastor should resign his position from the church, and encourage their congregants to not support the local church since the internet is filled with “unloving and hateful” preachers. Do you know what is just as worse as the “unloving and hateful” preachers whom these kinds of pastors fail to realize? It is pastors who are supposed to lead their churches to witness to the world, but are silent and do not evangelize at all!
Pastors must be encouraged to make evangelism a priority in their local churches. It is a dangerous practice for pastors to tell others to do something that they themselves do not do. Since pastors are commanded to teach the Bible, it is impossible for any faithful preacher of the Word to avoid preaching on evangelism. If a pastor does not evangelize, how can he tell his congregants to do something that he does not practice himself? This is not heroism––it is hypocrisy. In Matthew 23, Christ warned about certain men, hypocritical Pharisees, who told others to do things that they themselves would not do. Since many pastors have ignored the practice of evangelism, and they have chosen to tell their congregants to do the work of the evangelist, while they do not evangelize at all, many of their members will repeat these same practices. As a result, many professing Christians have abandoned the practice of evangelism for excuses.
Witness to the lost. The Gospel message is their only hope.