What is Evangelism? Zion’s Characterization of Evangelism
“Evangelism is the Proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ by words, deeds and signs, empowered by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of making Disciples for Christ.” The Bureau of Evangelism of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, July 2009
Evangelism (telling others about Jesus) is not a great idea…it is a COMMAND issued by Christ Himself. It’s not easy, it does cause us to get uncomfortable, people will think you are crazy, and following the command of Christ will create tension at times.
Nonetheless, we are still called and empowered to do this! So today, I hope you will take a little time to read Acts 8:4-8 and then Acts 8:26-40 and let’s think about six things together.
- Evangelism Is the Proclamation of Jesus Christ–PERIOD! (Acts 8:4-8)
One of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard in my life is, “preach the Gospel all of the time and, when necessary, use words!” DUMB! Because…God said in Romans 10:14-17, it’s through The Word that people are saved.
Listen, good deeds are never a bad thing…but please don’t try to convince me that cutting someone’s grass or paying for their coffee is evangelism…it’s NOT! The biblical definition of evangelism is when we proclaim Christ…and unfortunately, a cowardly church culture has turned it into a whole lot of things that Jesus never intended it to be. The Bible says in Acts 8:5 that Phillip proclaimed CHRIST…Acts 4:12 says there is no other name by which we must be saved…I Timothy 2:5 says there is ONE mediator, and we’ve been commissioned and commanded by Jesus with this calling/responsibility! (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:45-48, John 20:21, Acts 1:8, II Corinthians 5:17-21!)
- Evangelism Will Disrupt Our “Normal” Routine!
In Acts 8:4-8 Phillip is declaring Christ to the masses, but notice in Acts 8:26, God specifically speaks to his heart and leads him in a different direction. One of the things we’ve got to do is beg God to disrupt our “normal” routine and make ourselves available to do whatever He wants us to do. (I HIGHLY recommend Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels, the best book I’ve ever read on the subject of evangelism!)
- God Is Preparing the Hearts of the People He Is Prompting Us to Share Christ With!
Check out Acts 8:27-28. The reason God sent Phillip down this road is that He was working on the heart of a man who desperately needed Him! Please understand that we never know what God may be doing in someone else’s life. They may portray that they have it all together and they are not interested, but you never know what God is doing in their hearts. If God is prompting you to share Christ with someone, then He has gone ahead of you and is preparing them as well!
- Be Normal!
Please notice in Acts 8:29-30 that Phillip did not say, “Hello, hell-bound sinner, did you know that unless you repent of your sin and give your life to Jesus, you are going to fry like bacon in a devil’s hell?” He did not scream, yell, or hold up signs.
He simply listened to the Spirit, ran up to the chariot (it does take effort), and asked a simple question, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
It’s amazing the opportunities that God puts in front of us every single day…and when we see them and embrace them, we simply need to be normal, engage them in conversation, and communicate that we are interested in them.
- Evangelism Must Come Back Around to a Conversation About Christ.
I said it in point one…I will say it here…we are called to PROCLAIM CHRIST! Notice in Acts 8:31-35 that Phillip began where the eunuch was and brought the conversation back around to JESUS! It HAS TO come back to Christ…we can’t allow the conversation to get sidetracked with political and sociological issues…no one EVER surrendered their lives to Christ because they had all of their questions answered!!! Always bring it around to JESUS!
PLEASE understand this…if Phillip had simply said, “I am not going to share Christ with him…I’m just going to buy him a cup of coffee and give him a warm smile,” then we would have had nothing more than a story about a caffeinated eunuch who felt good about himself for a moment but NEVER HEARD ABOUT JESUS! BAD STORY!
- Evangelism Isn’t a One-Time Deal.
Notice Acts 8:36-40 (one of the coolest sections in the Bible…God literally teleports someone)! The eunuch receives Christ, is baptized, and then God moves Phillip somewhere else to KEEP proclaiming Christ. We are NEVER done with this…God has strategically placed each one of us in places of work, in neighborhoods, and in certain social situations NOT for our comfort…but rather He placed us there with specific relationships so that we can literally tell others about Jesus! It’s NOT a one-time deal…it’s a core value that we must embrace in our lives if we are going to follow Christ!