The Privilege of Evangelism: By His Wounds We are Healed
Over the course of the next several months I want us to look together at nine aspects of evangelism.
Along the way we will look at the purpose of, perspectives on, and principles for evangelism. Today, we will begin with our motive in evangelism.
Privilege is a special right or favor granted to someone. That’s the very essence of the Christian life!
God grants sinners the “right to become children of God” to those who are strangers to God’s covenant, enemies of the cross of Christ, disobedient to God’s law and rebellious in their hearts (John 1:12).
How did we arrive at such blessing and privilege?
Isaiah 53:5 tells us, “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”
What man brings to a relationship with God: transgression and iniquity. What God brings: healing, peace, absolution.
We bring things that evoke God’s wrath and judgment, not His pleasure.
But we were given the Suffering Servant to be the object of God’s wrath and judgment on our behalf. Our punishment is placed upon the righteous Jesus.
He was pierced and crushed, and we receive peace. He was wounded, and we are healed.
The great privilege of the Christian life is that I deserve nothing but hell, but I am given eternal life.
I deserve judgment, but I am offered justification.
I should be isolated from God, but instead He brings me near.
I am reconciled to God, made the object of His blessing, given His name, and made His very own!
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are” (1 John 3:1).
You might be thinking at this point, “That was a good lesson on the gospel and my salvation, but what does this have to do with evangelism?” The answer: everything!
The message of the gospel is our motivation for sharing the gospel with others.
Barriers to sharing our faith include fear, lack of training, misaligned priorities, and apathy.
The greatest barrier to evangelism, however, is lack of motivation. The other barriers are merely symptoms.
Our bigger problem is that we have lost the wonder and amazement of our own salvation.
Paul declares he is an “ambassador for Christ,” not because of his love for Christ, but because Christ’s love compels him (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
He has found a love that compels him to die to self and live for Christ.
Evangelism is not simply a duty, but an exercise of abundant joy fueled by our salvation.
Peter and John were inspired in evangelism because they “[could not] but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
They evangelized out of the gratitude that filled their hearts as the conviction of life eternal flowed through their veins.
Speaking to others about Christ was not an option, but a contagion of their soul that could not be contained. They could not stop speaking of what they had “seen and heard.”
Evangelism is not an activity just for advanced Christians. Telling others about the joy within us is the most natural and basic expression of our own salvation.
But somehow, we lose this joy and with it the motivation to share the gospel with others.
How do we become so deeply convinced of the love of Christ for us, gripped by God’s grace, and thus motivated to share Christ with others?
Find it in the cross.
Looking toward the cross, we see God’s love displayed in high definition.
At the cross we see the facets and contours of God’s love expressed for us in the most meaningful and personal way.
At the cross our self-life is crucified with all of its demands, pride, and sense of entitlement.
The granting of our salvation strips us of the mentality that we deserve and replaces it with the mentality that we are privileged.
We share Christ with others out of deep gratitude for what Christ has done for us on the cross.
Make a daily habit to “Survey the Cross” in your quiet time with the Lord. Deepen your understanding and affection for what Christ has done for us.
Here are few ways to help us deepen our understanding and affection for what Christ has done for us on the cross:
- Sing hymns and choruses that focus on the cross and the atonement of Christ. They are rich with language and contemplation to help you more adequately understand and express your thanksgiving to the Lord.
- Memorize and meditate on scripture passages that focus on the cross and the atonement of Christ. Personalize these passages in your prayer time and let them guide your thanksgiving.
- Read books and articles that help you go deeper in your understanding of the gospel and working out your salvation.
If you’re finding you are unmotivated to evangelize, make it a priority to meet Him at the cross and restore the joy of His salvation.
To continue my series on evangelism, read The Priority of Evanglism Part 1.