Evangelism Isn’t Sales; It’s Life

Evangelism is one of those issues that immediately makes everyone feel guilty. This graph of a recent study shows our discomfort. We all know we should do it, but few do.

The interesting thing about evangelism is that there are not many verses that talk about doing it. This is mainly because of two reasons:

1) Do you have to be told to talk about yourself at any other point? Do people say to you, “Hey, you know, you should really talk about your love for the Packers more.”

2) Evangelism, which has come to be known as selling the Gospel, isn’t what biblical evangelism is anyway. We don’t take our cues from salesmen and conversion is not our product.

I am a horrible salesman. I tried being one once and it was dreadful. I’m an author with a book published that no one buys because I hate self-promotion and selling. Best selling authors are best selling authors, they aren’t necessarily best writing authors.

Since I am uncomfortable with sales, and social skills in general are lacking in me, I hate the modern notion of evangelism. Guilting me to do it does not help either, it just makes me more forced, stilted and disingenuous.

The Bible does speak about telling people about Christ. The Great Commission is the best example. Romans 10 also ranks up there–how will they hear unless they are told?

But in both of these cases the issue is sending out someone who is an evangelist to go evangelize. There is a gift of evangelist, yes, even those gifted otherwise should do the work of an evangelist, but for the common Joe Christian, what does evangelism look like?

Outside of the verses listed above, there really aren’t many more verses that tell us to talk about the Gospel. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t (see point one above), but modern evangelism is all about giving the sales pitch.

The Bible is filled with verses that tell us to stop sinning and do good and how this shows the love of Christ and silences ignorant men. The problem is that we then wig out and say things like, “Share the Gospel as much as possible, use words if necessary.”

At some point you have to share the Gospel with words–faith comes by hearing, but quite frankly, the way most Christians live, I’m glad 61% never say anything about the Gospel. To say stuff that doesn’t ring true doesn’t carry weight. If you aren’t living it, don’t talk about it, you’re only hurting the rest of us.

Live the Gospel. As we live it, we will demonstrate that we are different, that we have hope. When the time comes, be ready with the Gospel. You won’t have to slick it up with marketing or sales tactics, all you’ll have to do is give a reason for the hope your life displays to shame the unbelieving accusers.

If your life does not display hope, don’t bother trying to show someone else the Gospel, get it for yourself first.

One thought on “Evangelism Isn’t Sales; It’s Life”

  1. Very appropriate thoughts.

    Jesus said “you are the light of the world.” (Matt. 5:14). “Let your light shine.”

    He didn’t say strive to make it shine. If we have light in us, then it can’t help but beam out.

    Well we could try to hide it (under a bushel) or hinder it, like Peter when he denied his Lord.

    But otherwise, it is our task to make sure we actually have the light. If we don’t, then the work of evangelism has to start with our own soul. Expose it to the light of the word, until that light has burned up the dross and is beaming from within.

    One other aspect to this is that there can be times when the Lord specifically sends out His people with a message. For example, Jesus was a light in the world even when he was working at the carpenter bench. He didn’t fret himself with thinking, “shouldn’t I be doing something more…shouldn’t I be out winning souls?” I’m sure in small ways He was winning souls, but it was not full-time public ministry.

    But then the time came for public ministry, and He put down the carpenter tools. How did he know that it was time? By the prophecies, since the apostles were sent out preaching “the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand.”

    But which prophecy indicated that the “time was fulfilled”? Particularly the 70 weeks of Daniel 9:24, of which the first 69 reached to the beginning of His public ministry. In many prophecies, a day equalled a year, so the 70 weeks (490 days) equals 490 years. The the prophecy indicated (vs. 27):

    “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”

    This last week would be the last 7 years of the covenant with the Jewish people. In the midst, or three and a half years into his ministry, he “caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease,” by the offering of His own body on the cross. Three and a half more years were spent offering the invitation to the Jewish people and then, with the stoning of Stephen, and beginning of the ministry of Paul, it was written:

    Acts 13:46 – Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

    I think the prophecies also indicate that there will be a similar time of refreshing by the Holy Spirit which closes the work of the gospel, just as there was one that opened it. So a good understanding of these prophecies will help us know, just as Jesus knew, when the time is fully come for laying down our secular work and putting our hands full-time to the gospel ministry.

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