According to 1 Timothy 4:7-8 the purpose of spiritual discipline is godliness.
“The present benefit of spiritual disciplines is a fulfilled, God-blessed, fruitful, and useful life...[and]...will carry on into eternity. Although many people spend far more time exercising their bodies than their souls, the excellent servant of Jesus Christ realizes that spiritual discipline is a priority.” - John MacArthur, Jr.
Nothing is greater than the worship of Almighty God. The only thing comparable is telling someone about Jesus Christ. We call that evangelism/witnessing. The two work together, because nothing glorifies God so much as His salvation of a lost soul. To communicate the Gospel to others is BOTH evangelism AND worship.
More than any other spiritual discipline, evangelism creates massive discomfort for most Christians. Still, Godliness requires that we discipline ourselves in the practice of evangelism. Every believer, each church member, regardless of ministry or giftedness, is to evangelize whether or not they are gifted as an evangelist. Consider the following passages of Scripture:
“According to the New Testament, evangelism is just preaching the Gospel, the evangel. It is a work of communication in which Christians make themselves mouthpieces for God’s message of mercy to sinners. Anyone who faithfully delivers that message, under whatever circumstances, in a large meeting, in a small meeting, from a pulpit, or in a private conversation, is evangelizing.” - J.I. Packer
A simple definition of evangelism is communicating the Gospel. What is the Gospel? It is the good news that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in His image to know Him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from Him. In His great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law Himself and taking on Himself the punishment for our sins. On the cross Jesus satisfied God’s holiness so God could extend mercy to lost sinners, and He rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted His sacrifice. Jesus now calls us to repent of our sins and trust in Him alone for our forgiveness. If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ alone we will be born again into a new and eternal life with God.
That really is good news! Do you believe that? If you do, are you afraid to share it? If you are, why? Here are a few possible reasons, some or all of which may apply to you.
- No confidence.
- Fear of man.
- Uncomfortable with a certain evangelistic methods ("Cold calls", door-to-door visits, etc.)
- Evangelism’s seriousness is frightening.
How do you gauge success in evangelism? Faithfully sharing the Gospel is successful evangelism! Some plant. Others water. Only God gives the increase. Conversions are the fruit of God alone. All Biblical evangelism is successful, regardless of the results.
The power of evangelism is the Holy Spirit—Acts 1:8. Evangelism is expected of every Christian because every Christian is empowered to evangelize. This does not mean that all evangelism must be done the same way—same method—by everybody, but it does mean that all believers have been given power to be witnesses of Jesus Christ.
You may not feel or sense the power, but it is there! This is because the Gospel is unlike any other message in the world—Romans 1:16. God blesses the message of the Gospel like no other words! God is bigger than our sins, our ignorance, and our pride. He will honor His word in our mouths.
“Sharing the Gospel is like walking around in a thunderstorm and handing out lightning rods. You don’t know when the lightning will strike or who it will strike, but you know what it’s going to strike—the lightning rod of the Gospel.” - Donald Whitney
The most powerful ongoing Christian witness has always been the speaking of God’s Word by one who is living God’s Word. Both our words and our ways are unavoidably bound together in witness. The way we live is a primary aspect of our witness, but our living God’s truth is to be coupled with telling God’s truth. The airplane of Christian witness has two wings: our lives (conduct) and our lips (conversation).
Matthew 5:16 is not a passive command. It calls for action! Discipline yourself to be an intentional instead of just an accidental witness. If you do not discipline yourself for evangelism you will find it very easy to excuse yourself from ever sharing the Gospel with anyone. Purposefully demonstrate with your lives, and describe with your lips the Gospel. Think of ways to steer conversations toward spiritual matters—not to debate nonsense but to declare Jesus! Never forget this: more flies are caught with honey than with vinegar.
Consider These Things
- Will you obey Jesus Christ and be an intentional—not just accidental—witness?
- Will you faithfully share the Gospel—by your conduct and with your conversation—and trust God to save souls?
- Will you discipline yourself to evangelize for the purpose of Godliness?
- List five people with whom you need to talk about the Lord, and then talk to them about the Lord.