Did you know that you and I are called to do the work of evangelism? You are a soul winner, to play off the title of a book by Charles Spurgeon. So what are you doing to share the most important message ever?
The book of Acts tells us that the early church was a witnessing community; they were involved in evangelism. Acts 2:47 says that they were "praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." This verse gives us three key characteristics of evangelism:
1. It's a divine work. Earlier in Acts 2, we read that "those who gladly received [Peter's] word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them" (v. 41). Who did the adding? Verse 47 tells us: the Lord. He's the active agent in evangelism. Yes, He uses people's words, lifestyles, and bold proclamation, but He's really the one who does the work (see Romans 8:30).
The New Testament speaks of three forms of evangelism:
- Mass evangelism, where a preacher or evangelist addresses a crowd
- Personal evangelism, where a believer shares one-on-one with another person
- Local church evangelism, which is the combination of every member of the church evangelizing through any means possible
Ultimately, evangelism is a cooperation between God and people, the intersection between divine predestination and human volition.
2. It's a double work. "The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (v. 47). He didn't add them to the church without saving them, and He didn't save them without adding them to the church. In other words, salvation and church membership go together. Another way of looking at this is though not everybody in a congregation at one time is saved, all members of the true church are saved people.
3. It's a daily work. Notice the Lord added to the church "daily" (v. 47), or day by day. This tells me that the church in Jerusalem didn't look at evangelism as some sporadic event. Every day was evangelism day, and every week was missions week. It was part of the normal, natural outflow of their lives together. When Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15), they internalized that and did it daily, whether on a mass scale or personally.
When it really comes down to it, talking about evangelism won't motivate us until we start seeing unbelievers as lost souls on their way to hell. That's how Jesus saw people (see Matthew 9:36-38). There are lost people all around you, everywhere you go. And God is looking for day laborers, people who will say, "I care about this. Here's my mouth and my life—use them." Will you answer His call?