The Heart of the Gospel
hen God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world, He didn’t do it to condemn the world but to save the world through Him (John 3:17). Jesus came to rescue precious souls from sin and death and to bring us hope and a future. The name Jesus means Savior, and He was totally successful in His mission!
To evangelize means simply to share “good news.” From the Greek word evangelize we get the word angel, which means messenger. When the angel announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds on that first Christmas, he came to evangelize them: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11).1
In the Great Commission Jesus called every disciple to share the Good News of Jesus Christ: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:19–20).
Early in His ministry Jesus said, “Follow me [a disciple is a Christ follower], and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). From this we see that the end result of discipleship is to be a fisher of one’s fellowmen. Later in the New Testament we see that all Christ followers have been equipped through the Holy Spirit to be witnesses of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8) and to be His ambassadors here on earth (2 Cor. 5:20).
When we have good news—whether it’s about an amazing person we’ve met, a new job, a new home, or an incredible vacation we’ve just had, we don’t have to be encouraged to tell our family and friends. We all like to share good news, and, if it’s well received, it encourages our hearers.
Throughout the Gospels, when people met Jesus Christ, they told other people about Him. Think of the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. We’re told many people believed because the woman shared what she’d seen, heard, and experienced—the transforming power of Jesus. In the book of Acts, starting with the 120 disciples in the Upper Room, the early disciples turned the world “upside down” through evangelization—sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Today we need to learn afresh how to evangelize. A recent Barna study showed that only 3 percent of sixteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds have a positive view of evangelical Christians! Instead of drawing people to Jesus, we’ve turned them away from Him!
Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ should not be something we dread. It can be something we love to do, flowing naturally from the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Where do we start a vital evangelism campaign for and in America? I suggest we ask God to renew our vision, faith, courage, and action.
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