We Christians get a lot of hostility thrown at us whenever we attempt to share the good news about Jesus with some who have never heard it, some people in other religions, or some people who have chosen to not believe. From the perspective of a Christian, one who has shared my faith with family, friends, co-workers, and people in the community in various ways (anyone who will listen), I have really tried to understand this backlash.
There have been a number of reasons over the last twenty centuries that people were hostile, and there have been various forms of persecution including torture and death. Though this article is not about persecution, it is about the activity of evangelism.
For Christians, evangelism means to simply share the good news about Jesus.
So why should we Christians even bother sharing the good news of Jesus with a world that responds with hostility? We have our reasons.
1) God’s love. Jesus tells us to share the good news because God loves the world. Telling others about Jesus is a part of our faith. If telling people about Jesus was ever outlawed we would continue to do so, obeying God rather than men. It is woven into the very fabric of Christian belief.
Paul writes, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15b).
2) Love for others. If we love our fellow human beings we should absolutely tell them about Jesus. How could we not if we really love them? True Christians have compassion and love in their hearts for those around them.
Penn Jillette, a famous atheist, spoke to this point, “I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all…” Hear him in his own words below. I’m glad he understands.
Jesus said, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
For me, I know that I have eternal life in Christ Jesus when I trust Him. If I didn’t know about Jesus I would want someone to tell me about this good news! Love me enough to do so! Don’t leave me in darkness where I will surely meet my death and God’s wrath.
3. Obedience to God. God has told His people to tell the world the truth about what happens when we die, and what will happen when Jesus returns. By obeying and telling people the truth, even though it is offensive to them, we are doing something that is right and good. If we were to remain silent, and they die in their sins, God would hold us responsible. Notice what God tells Ezekiel about his work in speaking God’s words to the house of Israel during his life.
God spoke to Ezekiel saying, “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul” (Ezekiel 33:7-9).
Note: Do not misunderstand. Remember God is talking to Ezekiel during Old Testament times when the people were bound to the law. The new covenant is based on grace alone. We are not saved by works (including obedience in sharing the good news), and we must remember that even if we fail in telling people about Jesus, Jesus will not fail. He will lose none given to Him by the Father before the foundation of the world (John 6:39). Jesus is saving people Himself through dreams and visions. See this blog entry.
Jesus promised, He gave His word that all we have to do is trust Him for our salvation and follow Him. Saved by grace alone.
4) Love for our Christian brothers and sisters. Everyone who believes in Jesus, trusting Him for their salvation, is part of our family. Jesus makes it clear that we are the children of God, and we are to love one another like He loves us. They are out there waiting. They may not be aware of it, nor will they be born again as of yet, but they are still God’s children. They will believe, be reborn, and be part of our family.
John writes, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
When the enemies of Jesus in the Sanhedrin were plotting, John writes, “And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.’ Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad” (John 11:49-52).
Jesus died for the nation of Israel, and He died for all nations (Rev 5:9-10).
The children of God are scattered over the face of the Earth, and He gathers them all into one family. Our brothers and sisters are out there, its our job to find them. To tell them the truth. When they believe we are to be there to help them to learn more, to grow, and to do the same for others.
5) God uses evangelism (preaching the word) as one of His tools. Evangelism is a tool by which God saves His people. It is the preaching of the word that the Holy Spirit uses to do His work in people’s lives.
Romans 10:14, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?”
These reasons are why we bother to tell others about Jesus.