But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. II Timothy 4:5
Evangelism is the fuel that ignites the engine of God and maintains the growth and health of the body of Christ. Winning the lost, making them disciples and training and equipping them is a full time job that requires the entire body to be involved. The word evangelist really means preacher, a person who preaches the gospel of the kingdom.
Because of tradition and the fame of many well known evangelists the church has stopped witnessing to the lost and has relied on the pastor to do it or maybe a big name preacher if he comes to town. The results of our apathetic view is a church full of lost invited guests because the preaching of the gospel of Christ has been replaced with an invitation to attend and not repent! When was the last time you saw someone come under the Holy Spirit's convicting power and cried out for mercy to be saved from eternal damnation? If the gospel of the kingdom is not preached and sin is not exposed, men won't be saved and they end up with a false sense of eternal security being lulled back to sleep without Christ!
The lost must be convicted in their heart that they are indeed lost and perishing in their sins in order to be saved, but because preaching repentance isn't fashionable or politically correct we have ceased to do it, primarily because it runs the poor seekers away and scares the living daylights out of the rest who don't want God! Because of the fear of upsetting a big tither or some other pillar of the church we have backed off and allowed the churches to fill up with millions of lost members unwilling to submit their life to Christ! The American church has swelled even to the point of being tagged "Mega," but like a dead dog on the side of the road that doubles in size after a few days in the sun, it is still a dead dog!
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. II Timothy 4:2-4
FISHERS OF MEN
"Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19
Jesus began His ministry by preaching repentance to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and the first men He chose to be His disciples, and ultimately apostles were fishermen. Common, untrained and most likely illiterate they wouldn't fit in our modern, highly educated society of seminary graduates or professors of religion, they were just ordinary laborers in the fishing business.
The ministry of Jesus revolved around the preaching of the gospel and the performance of miracles that solidified the message of salvation to the lost. The ministry of the twelve involved going out and preaching the same message, and the harvest began as men and women heard the gospel and repented of their sins and gave their lives to Jesus! Imagine the joy that would flood the church if everyone was involved in the discipleship of newly saved exited converts coming out of darkness into the marvelous light of God's glory! The power of Holy Spirit would fill the hearts and minds of everyone, and miracles,signs and wonders would become common place.
Thirty two years ago and several months after my miraculous conversion to Christ the pastor of the church I was attending was preaching in a revival that broke out in Indiana. Several elderly ladies began to pray for God to show up in their dead Southern Baptist church, and show up, He did! At first people began to experience supernatural healing without the laying on of hands because no one knew how, they were just ordinary unbelieving Baptists. Upon hearing the news of this phenomenal outbreak of God's power I decided to visit the church and experience what our pastor was sharing with our congregation, who were also unbelieving Baptists for the most part.
The night I arrived I fasted trying to be super spiritual and nothing out of the ordinary happened, the second night though was different, the choir of a hundred or so was singing and I had never heard such glorious sounds in all my life. Next, my pastor preached and all of a sudden he got down on on his face and began to weep and then many in the congregation began to weep also, and then I made my way to the altar and I began to weep uncontrollably. Then a gold cloud of glory began to descend over the entire congregation and the weeping began to die down as the Holy Spirit fell upon us all. The next thing I knew, I was praising God but it wasn't me who was speaking, it was the Holy Spirit speaking through me and if He had not lifted from my body I knew for certain that I was going to die, and what a glorious death it would have been! I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and forever changed!
After the Holy Spirit began to lift up, the peace of God permeated the place and His glory rested upon His people of whom many were healed and transformed that night by His awesome presence. The next day people would come to the church to pray and then go out in the streets knocking on doors and witnessing to people and many were being saved and healed and many in the church were quitting their jobs so that they could minister to those being transformed by God's mighty power. What a glorious experience of God's divine grace and mercy to descend upon a people and transform them just as He did in the book of Acts.
After my arrival to Texas the revival seemed to follow the testimonies of my pastor as he shared the message and told of God's power to our church and many began to be saved. When I was baptized there was a hundred or so that were also baptized in the lake where we lived and the revival continued until the church split because of those who refused to believe in the power of God's miracles and left in unbelief! Needless to say I was changed forever and have never forgotten those powerful three days that transformed my life, but the one thing that stood out that really got my attention was the people who quit their jobs to witness. Total abandon for Christ, no concern for their own lives, only the calling of something much more precious than their own livelihood, the souls of the lost!
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. Acts 4:31,32
ITS NEVER TOO LATE!
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who enlisted him as a soldier. II Timothy 2:4
The other night on TV Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son was promoting a world wide evangelism strategy that was producing the salvation and discipleship of literally thousands of souls. On a map of the world it showed the areas of harvest where people had accepted the Lord Jesus and many countries were colored in where the gospel was preached, everywhere that is, except America!
What impressed me about this promotion was a spot showing Billy Graham at almost 95 years of age sharing his heart about reaching the world and especially America with the gospel. At that age and with all the souls he has won wouldn't he want to kick back and just rest? Absolutely not! The reason being that there is no retirement for the man of God who is called to go and make disciples, only the promise of eternal glory! Its not too late for the church of Jesus Christ to again take up arms and get back into the battle for souls, preaching, teaching and making disciples. The harvest is waiting and millions are dying without Christ, looking for hope yet finding none they perish without the Savior's love.
Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. II Timothy 2:10