Evangelism is frequently regarded as something that is done by evangelists. In finding out who or what an evangelist is, there is a definition that particularly catches one’s attention and that is “A layperson engaged in Christian missionary work.”
It says a lay person, someone ordinary like any other person. That means we all have a part to play in spreading the gospel. That’s why it’s called personal evangelism, because it starts with the individual.
There is work for everyone to do for Jesus. How many take into account the record of our works kept in the books in heaven? How many feel the responsibility of perishing souls? How many come into close connection with Jesus and sense the need of forming a perfect character after the likeness of Christ? This character is not to be dropped upon you by and by from heaven, but it is to be developed here.
And the way to develop this character is by being in the mission field labouring for Christ.
We know from Matthew 24:14 that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” The focus given on this verse has usually been on what the spreading of the gospel will do, that is, bringing about the end, but little regard has been given to the purpose of the gospel in the people who spread it. In Christ’s Object Lessons page 69 we learn that “When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” It is through trials and hardships that we see the true state of our characters and it is on the mission field as we labour with and for others that we see how we truly are. As we come in contact with people and have various experiences it is through those that God refines our characters and makes us as pure gold. And so, without the gospel and without taking an active part in spreading the gospel our characters cannot be refined and if they are not refined then they cannot be like Jesus’ and if they are not like Jesus’ then He cannot come and receive us as His own. You see,
When the Master went away He gave to every man his work. The present time is our day, our opportunity to work. We are not to live for self. It is of the highest consequence to us that we improve our opportunities and privileges to be honoured as labourers together with God. Time is precious, and should be filled with earnest work, the worker constantly improving.
It is now that we are to be like Him. When He comes, it will be too late.
Nature teaches us that the more seeds you sow, the more fruit you can expect to yield and from this could be derived sayings like “the more you put in the more you get out” and “the more you give, the more you will receive.” In receiving the gospel we are so inclined to go out and do whatever our hands find to do for the Lord and we forget that we too need to be nourished. We need to understand that we cannot give to others what we ourselves don’t have and so in order to impart to others we need to have Christ impart to us first and that which we have from Christ we can then give. Because of this it is so important to have a living relationship with Christ, a daily walk with Him, surrendering to Him moment by moment. In order to give forth fruit we as the branches need to continually be connected to the true vine. The more nourishment we receive the more fruit we can give off. But if we cut ourselves off from the vine, we cannot bear fruit and we cannot feed anyone for we will have nothing to feed them with because we ourselves would be barren. So in order to give to others, we first must receive from Christ.
Evangelism is done especially by preaching but is not only through preaching. There is so much we can do for the Lord; in fact, just being a loving and lovable Christian is in itself evangelism. In all you do, whatever it may be, however big or small, represent Jesus. Be His ambassador. Let it be said of you that in all you did, you did it to the glory of God.
Carry the light of Jesus with you wherever you go and bring Christ into your experience and when you do this there will be a loving of one another, there will be an unlocking of the hardest hearts.
Do not let fear restrict you because fear shows a focus on self instead of on the Almighty One. With Him, nothing is impossible.
God can take a worm and thrash a mountain. If we humble ourselves and have His converting power every moment, His righteousness will be our covering.
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; and the glory of the Lord shall be thy re-reward (Isa. 58:8).
So the next time God asks “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” you can boldly say “Here am I, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8).
Written by Khona Vena
*(Italicised words taken from a Sermon by EGW in Greenville, Michigan, April 18, 1891).