Unsplash: Javier Quiroga

The Urgency of Evangelism

By Anthony English, Jan 31, 2023

A doctor lived on the outskirts of town, working furiously to find the cure. The town was plagued with an extremely contagious disease; everyone there had it. It was killing many daily. Sun up to sun down, the doctor could be found writing new formulas, testing possible antidotes, and praying that something, anything, would work. He went without food and water, desperately running around his laboratory, knowing that time was short. Finally, after many restless days, the doctor’s hard work paid off and a cure was created. The doctor ran to town as quickly as his two feet would carry him and shouted at the top of his lungs that he had the cure. Many came to him, took the cure, and were healed.

Are We That Doctor?

I want you to imagine with me a different scenario with this same doctor. The doctor, knowing the deadly situation of the townspeople, finds the cure but instead of rushing to the townspeople with understandable urgency, he decides to keep the cure to himself. All the while, the townspeople continue to suffer and die. We would rightly be filled with anger and call that doctor cruel and irresponsible as the doctor would be betraying the very title he bore. He would be ignoring his calling to help bring physical healing and flourishing to others.

Here’s the question for all of us: How often are we like the negligent doctor? We know that there truly is an extremely contagious disease called sin. Every single person inherits a sin nature the moment of conception (Ps. 51:5) and it expresses itself in our thoughts, motives, words, and actions (Rom. 3:10-20, 23). We don’t love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and we don’t love those around us the way we love ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40). The fact that every person is a sinner by nature and choice means that we are rightly under God’s wrath (John 3:36). The consequences of this deadly disease called sin result in our physical death (Ezek. 18:4), spiritual death (Eph. 2:1-3), and eternal death in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15). This is one reason why the author of Hebrews writes in 10:31: “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The Cure

Yet, God doesn’t leave His image bearers, whom He created and loves, without a cure! He sends His Son, Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, to Earth. Jesus lives the only perfect life in our place. He never sins. He loves God and others perfectly and is the only one who can say, “I always do what pleases Him [God the Father]” (John 8:29). When Jesus is nailed to the cross, He does it for us. He pays for all our sin through His broken body and shed blood (John 3:16). He lives the life we can’t, dies the death we should’ve, and on the third day, physically rises from the dead so that, through trusting in Him alone, we can be made right with God (Rom. 4:25). This is the good news of Christianity! This is the eternal cure to the horrific disease of sin! That God has made a way for humanity to be reconciled to Him through the person and work of Jesus Christ!

Our Urgent Responsibility

But again, how often are we like that negligent doctor? As Christians, we know that people are dying every day due to sin. People across the street and across the sea. And we have the cure of the gospel. King Jesus commands us in Mark 16:15 to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” And yet, are we obeying our Lord? Like the doctor in the first story, are we taking the cure of the gospel to those across the street from us? Our relatives, neighbors, colleagues, friends, and even those we don’t know? Are we taking the cure of the gospel to those across the sea from us, the nations? To those who have never heard the name of the One who died and rose for them? Or, like the doctor in the second story, are we content to keep the gospel cure to ourselves, thankful that we are now reconciled to God, all the while those locally and globally are dying in their sins and spending eternity under the wrath of God?

Now, we don’t evangelize out of guilt or shame. No. We verbally share the gospel out of love for God and our neighbors, both those locally and globally. We lovingly and humbly go to others to see God glorified. We go because the thought of anyone dying unforgiven by God should terrify us and break our hearts. We go to others because Jesus, who came to seek and to save the lost, first came to us (Luke 19:10).

Why do we go to the spiritually lost with such urgency? Because we know that it is appointed for people to die once and after this, comes the judgment (Heb. 9:27). We want every single person we encounter to come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. So we go and proclaim to all who are willing to hear that anyone, no matter who they are and what they’ve done, can receive forgiveness of sins, eternal life, adoption into the family of God, and the gift of the Holy Spirit through repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).

Two Challenges

I leave you with two loving challenges: one local and the other global. For the local challenge, ask the Holy Spirit to show you who He wants you to verbally share the gospel with and then, in His strength and love, go do it. For the global challenge, ask the Holy Spirit how you can be involved in global evangelism. He may guide you to pray for the nations more. He may guide you to financially give to the work of global evangelism. He may guide you to go on an MTW mission trip, participate in a one- to 11-month global internship, or serve longer-term and verbally share your faith internationally.

Whatever He guides you to do, in His strength and love, go do it. There’s truly no time to waste. Eternity is real and people desperately need the Lord Jesus Christ. We have an urgent task given to us by the King and remember that when you go, you go with the person, presence, and power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

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Anthony English
Anthony English is the assistant director of Mission to the World’s West Coast Hub and national diversity mobilizer. He is currently enrolled at Birmingham Theological Seminary where he's pursuing a Master of Arts in public theology. He has a heart for evangelism and apologetics as well as helping Christians of color find their place in what God is doing among the nations. Anthony and his wife live in Northern California with their three boys and are members at New City Fellowship of Sacramento.
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