As witnesses for Jesus, we often think of evangelism as what God does through us. Yet, at the same time, the evangelistic endeavor is also about the work God does in us.
Let me explain.
When Jesus gave His marching orders at the end of His earthly ministry in Matthew 28:19, to “go and make disciples of all nations,” evangelism was implied as part of that effort and from a spiritual perspective, simply a given. Why? Because you can’t make a disciple until someone first becomes a disciple, through hearing the gospel and receiving Christ. (John 1:12).
As we go and make disciples, this is the work the Lord accomplishes through us.
In contrast, when Jesus called the first disciples in Matthew 4:19, He said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Notice the Lord, speaking about the evangelistic endeavor, told them of the work He would accomplish in them.
When the Lord saved us, He saved us unto good works, including the work of evangelism:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
As we ponder evangelism and its place in the Great Commission, understand that as we followers of Jesus pray, proclaim the gospel and demonstrate God’s love through good works, we can rejoice that the Lord is working through us. Remember, Jesus said, “I will build my Church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Hallelujah.
At the same time, we can also rejoice that the Lord will accomplish a mighty work in us.
As we strive to grow as His witnesses and walk in the good work of evangelism, He will grow our hearts for the lost and will increase our compassion for them (Matthew 9:36).
The Lord will also increase our urgency to be about the “Father’s business,” which centers on the redemption of people.
As the Lord declared, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
A beautiful and exciting aspect of being a disciple of Jesus is that we never arrive in any area of our Christian walk. We all have room to grow closer to the Lord and room to grow in various areas of our walk and witness, including our evangelistic efforts.
Take heart! As you and I seek to more intimately know the Lord and strive to more effectively serve the Lord in being salt and light to a dead and dying world, know that He will do mighty works both IN you and THROUGH you – for His glory, our good and the expansion of His Kingdom. Amen.
“…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).