My grandfather was saved while reading a Bible given to him by the soul-winner, Mr. Caesar Patrizio. My father was drawn to the gospel while hearing it preached outdoors. My mother was saved at a regular gospel meeting held on a Sunday night at the Gospel Hall. My brother was saved during a special gospel series held by two stirring evangelists, Mr. Lorne McBain and Mr. James Smith. My sister, as a result of what she heard in her Sunday school class, was saved reading her Bible while sitting in the back seat (yes, the back seat!) at a Breaking of Bread meeting.
Sunday school; gospel meeting; special series of gospel meetings; personal witnessing – there are many ways to evangelize, but evangelize we must. It is the commission from our risen Lord: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” We are to “teach all nations,” and are commanded to do so by the One Who has “all power … in heaven and in earth” (Matt 28:18-19). How enviable is the description of the gospel spirit that motivated the Thessalonian assembly: “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad”(1Thes 1:8)! Our personal indifference to evangelizing becomes all the more embarrassing when we read statements like Paul’s: “Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more … I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake” (1Cor 9:19-23). “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved” (Rom 10:1).
Whether as individual believers or united with others in the assembly, we are called on to preach the gospel, to evangelize, to endeavor to win souls for Christ with all the energy and vigor of a hearty herald, with all the dogged determination of a patient fisherman, and with all the joy and verve of a delivered soul.
This issue of Truth & Tidings emphasizes the importance of gospel work. It is interesting to note the various words employed in the New Testament for this vital task.
We are to “herald” the message, announcing it to all and sundry, far and wide, having no fear that its truth could ever fall on some to whom it does not apply. Since it is a message for the world, it can be generously proclaimed the way a herald announces his message (see Luke 4:19 and Mark 1:14).
We are to “evangelize,” conscious that we have the most glorious news of all to proclaim. Since it is a message intended to win souls, we can announce it as “glad tidings of great joy … for all people” (see Luke 4:18).
We are to “speak” the gospel message, not only being ready to give an answer to any who ask but seeking opportunities, even on a personal basis, to tell others the joyous news of salvation (see John 4).
At a home I visited some years ago, the woman who answered the door noticed that the invitation was to a gospel meeting in a gospel hall. She said to me, “I’ve met you people before. I was so impressed with how easily you people can speak about salvation in plain, every-day conversations. Tell me, do you have classes where you teach your members how to do that?” If the Christian that woman had met had been you, (or me), would she still have formed that impression? In Romans 1:15, Paul said he was “ready to evangelize.” Similarly, in whatever sphere we are found and with whatever ability we have, may we all be ready to preach the gospel!