The Importance of Evangelism (Part VI)

In reaching others for Jesus, sometimes the believers will be faced with opposition and difficulties. There are Christians who are being persecuted for their faith right now, but they are willing to do it because the message is too important to keep hidden.

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2Timothy 4:5

The above passage was some of Paul’s final words that he wrote to Timothy. He reminded all of us that we need to be ready in every season. Reaching others for Jesus is not always going to be easy or smooth. Evangelism is spiritual warfare and the enemy does not want people to be freed up from the darkness.

In another passage in (See 2 Timothy 2:1-4), Paul wrote that we need to be like soldiers for Christ. Soldiers have been trained to be ready at all times. They understand the significance of their mission and that they always need to remain alert. They are trained to protect the interests of the government they represent. In our case, we need to be ready to represent Christ well. We also need to be aware that endurance and long-suffering are part of the journey of reaching others for Jesus.

If we were truly focused on the interests of the Kingdom of God, we would not be so concerned about how we feel about someone or how comfortable we are in talking to a person about Jesus. Furthermore, being a soldier is hard, and it will have lonely days. If we are concerned about on being popular or likable, we may not be able to tell people the truth about their need for Jesus.

Paul also wrote that people will not endure sound doctrine and they will look for what their itching ears desire. This means that in some cases, the people of God will get persecuted for teaching, rebuking, and exhorting people. 

Persecution will come from within and from without.One form of persecution is connected to humanism that has permeated society. No one wants to hear they are sinners in need of Jesus. They also don’t want to think that they need to submit to God’s authority and the authority of His word. As a matter of fact, a large number of Christians struggle with the authenticity of the Bible. According to a Gallup poll in 2017, only 24% of Christians believe that the Bible is God’s literal word. How can we reach others for Jesus when we are not sure of what we believe!?

Another form of persecution is governmental. The government wants to take the role of a parent/savior for the people. Their goal is to indoctrinate children with their ideologies starting at a young age. They also want people to grow dependent on the system rather than depending on God or each other.  As a result, they do not want citizens to hear about their freedom in Christ. Sadly, we are experiencing both forms of resistance in our culture.

As we celebrate Resurrection Sunday, it is a reminder that the cost of entering the Kingdom of God was high but Jesus was willing to go to the cross for the salvation of humanity.  The Bible and the history are full of stories of men and women who were not afraid to take the risk of telling others about Jesus. Once their lives were transformed, they could not remain silent. This began in the book of Acts and it continues to go on to this day.

We are in a season of church history which comfortable Christianity cannot survive. Whether we like it or not, we will be forced to take a position. Let’s pray for courage and love for the lost so we can remain strong in a time of opposition and continue to be the light and salt that God has called us to be. 

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