But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
In a story where Jesus heals a man
from demon possession,
we discover where Jesus
wants us to begin with our evangelism.
Why are Bible readers so adamant to tell others about Jesus? Yes, sometimes they can be obnoxious, or insensitive, or talk about him in a way that feels like they’re selling something. Sadly, sometimes they don’t even have the right motives.
But by the Bible’s own testimony, it’s genuine love that compels Christians to talk to non-Christian about Jesus.
Love? You say. Yes, followers of Jesus tell others about him because we have come to know and love God, and because we love and care about non-Christians so much that we are willing to risk our reputation and comfort to tell them the truth so that they also might experience the love of God.
Here are three reasons we evangelize, that will help you understand how evangelism is all about love.
First, we tell others about Jesus because Jesus is worth telling about.
In other words, evangelism is all about publicizing the love of God.
In the Bible, we discover that we are all in great danger—that we have rejected the God who created us and choose to live in rebellion against him. Thus, eternal judgment awaits our offenses against our eternal God (Romans 6:23).
In the Bible, we also discover the loving character of God, and repeatedly witness his reflex of mercy towards our sin. We read that God made a way for us to escape his just punishment at a cost to himself in the death of his own Son (John 3:16).
In the Bible, we discover that God offers to remove the punishment for our sin so that we can have a loving relationship with him once again (2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 2:13-14). Part of that relationship includes God working in us a new heart that can know, love, delight in, and follow him (Ezekiel 36:26). Having a relationship with God through Jesus also includes the hope of spending eternity with him (John 14:2-3).
The Bible tells us that there is a God in heaven who not only is love but has proved his love to us in time and history through the life, death, and resurrection of his son Jesus, who went to the cross not out of compulsion, but out of joy at the thought of redeeming us (Hebrews 12:2)! Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (ESV).
We tell others about Jesus because we have discovered in the Bible the exciting news that God is love, has shown his love to the world, and invited us to enter into a loving relationship with him (1 John 4:8).
We also tell others about Jesus because we have come to love Jesus.
In response to God’s love, we love him (1 John 4:19). Jesus tells us that our love for him will compel us to trust his Word and keep his commands (John 14:15). Before Jesus left earth, he commanded all of his followers to call other people to follow him. That means they must forsake their sin and believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for them, identify with him, and know God through a lifelong relationship with him (Matthew 28:18-20).
Christians want to obey Jesus, and so we publicize the goodness and grace he has shown to humanity. This isn’t a burdensome task, or a Christian to-do list item. The more you know Jesus, the more you love him and want others to know him too.
Jesus tells us to tell people about his life, death, and resurrection—that they can be forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God (1 Corinthians 15:3). He tells us that God has chosen to actually change people when they hear the message about Jesus (Romans 1:16). And he’s invited us to participate in saving souls out of judgment into eternal life (Jude 1:23).
Finally, we tell others about Jesus because we love the lost.
Part of this wonderful news about Jesus includes some scary news we often find offensive. God demonstrated his love radically because we needed serious rescue. This life is not the conclusion of reality. God will judge the world—every person—before we enter an eternal existence (Acts 17:31; Romans 2:16). This is also part of the Bible’s message.
Having believed God’s love for us shown in Christ, and learned to trust Jesus, we take him at his Word that every person needs salvation from their sin, or else they will suffer eternal consequences (Romans 6:23).
To think that those who don’t know Jesus will suffer his wrath for all eternity makes us shudder, and even weep. Because we are deeply convinced that God is serious about his coming wrath, we warn others, no matter how uncomfortable we may be. We tell others about Jesus because we love them, wanting what’s best for them now and in eternity.
Anything God asks us to do falls under one of two categories, which help us understand his will for our lives—loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:35-39). This is true of evangelism—or spreading the good news. We do it out of love for God and love for others, because we believe that through proclaiming the gospel message, people will come to experience the love of God.