Fear and Eveangelism

One thing that keeps church leaders and Christians from evangelizing their lost family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, you name it, is fear; fear of not knowing what to say or how to say it, or of rejection. The bad news is that we will always be afraid. The good news is that we do not have to wait to overcome fear in other to bring Christ to the spiritually dead. In 1 Corinthians 2:3 Paul says when he came to Corinth he was in weakness and in fear and much trembling “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.” The apostle brought Christ to the Corinthians lost and dead in their sins and trespasses in weakness and in fear and much trembling. Notice that Paul did not wait until he was no longer afraid before he brought Christ to the lost Corinthians. He did not wait until he was strong to bring Christ to the lost Corinthians. He did it in fear and weakness. If Paul the apostle to the Gentiles evangelized most of the Gentile world in weakness and in fear and trembling it means you and I can do the work of evangelism even when we are afraid, amen! We can evangelize our family, friends, and foe even in our weakness, in our fear, and in our much trembling. The obvious question is how did he do it and can we learn something from how Paul did evangelism - brought Christ to the lost?

The first principle we can glean from Paul is that he kept the message simple. That is interesting given that Paul was well learned in the Roman culture and in Judaism. Regardless of his learning, Paul demonstrates to us that it is not ones education or lack therefor that matters when it comes to bringing Christ to others. What church leaders and Christian alike should do when it comes to evangelism is what Paul did - keep the message simple and clear. We read in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 “And I, when I came to you, brothers, (sisters) did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty speech or wisdom, for I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” “Paul consciously decided to only discuss with the Corinthians what Christ did for them. Paul is not suggesting that he lacks a wider knowledge base or that he has somehow given up what he knows; rather, he is emphasizing that Jesus’ saving work is more important than anything else.” The reason why Paul emphasized the importance of Christ work for the Corinthians is given n v. 5 “So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” Whether it is in much fear and trembling or in confidence, we are to tell the lost about the death of Christ which in Paul’s theology also means his resurrection and second coming. When Paul talks of the death of Christ he means the totality of the efficacious gracious finished work of Christ for sinner.

As educated as Paul was, he teaches us the lesson that keeping the message of the gospel simple is the way to bring Christ to the lost. You may wonder what this simple message of the gospel is, and the answer is simple: Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead that sinners who draw near might find grace and forgiveness for their sins. The death of Christ demonstrates the power of God’s love for sinners. There is no other god in the whole world powerful enough to love and show sinners love the way God our Father has done. There is no other god who has shown his love for sinners the way the Christian God has. That is the simple, yet profound message of the gospel that saves. Even when our knees our giving way under us and our body is trembling and shaking with fear, even when everything in and about us is creaming do not say anything, we must with trembling voices and bodies tell others about God’s love for them through Christ. When it comes to evangelism we do not need to defend God or his word, we only need to declare the truth in simple clear words. Paul might have been unimpressive before the Corinthian philosophers, but the simple clear message of the gospel has power to do impressive things.

That is the first of three simple principles that we can learn from the apostle Paul how to do evangelism. And when you do evangelize remember it is all about Christ and what he has done for sinners. Let people see the beauty of Christ and not the beauty of the speaker. In the next issue of Victory Newsletter we will examine the principle of obedience. As you make plans for the summer, plan to bring Christ to others with the simple clear life transforming message of the gospel. Give faith and not fear a chance, and then sit back, watch and see what God would do. Amen!

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