The Message and Purpose of Evangelism
While there are many kinds of evangelism and even more many methods within each kind; evangelism has only one message and purpose.
The purpose of evangelism is to make the plan of Salvation (the Good News) plain to every person on the earth. The definition of evangelism must be specific in identifying which gospel is to be told. True evangelism must have the gospel of God as its message. No other message is adequate since no other gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and only in this gospel is the righteousness of God revealed (Rom. 1:16-17).
The message of evangelism is called many things in the New Testament. It is called the "gospel of God" (Rom. 1: 1; 1 Thess. 2: 2, 8, 9; 1 Tim. 1:11) because God is the ultimate source of it; the "gospel of Christ" (Rom. 15:19; 1 Cor. 9:12; Gal. 1:7) because Christ is the subject, object and the very life of it; the "gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24) because it is the medium of God's grace to man; the "gospel of peace" (Eph. 6:15) because through it man makes peace with God and self; and the "gospel of your salvation (Eph. 1:13) because it brings salvation home to us. It is this gospel and this alone which must always be the message of Evangelism.
To reconcile men back to God. The greatest need man has is to be reconciled to God. The word "reconcile" means to change from enmity to friendship. The one thing that stands between man and God is sin, "for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23), and "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). God who did no wrong and has no need of being reconciled to man took the initial step to bring man, the offender, back to him. He "commended his own love toward us, in that we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). Christ's death not only abolished the law which was contrary to us, but it made it possible for us to be reconciled unto God in one body (Eph. 2:13-16). The "Word of the Cross" (1 Cor. 1:18) is the "Word of Reconciliation" (2 Cor. 5:19) by which sinful men are brought back into friendship with God. Thus, to reconcile men to God by "the Word of the Cross" is the primary purpose of Evangelism.
THE COMMISSION OF THE CHURCH IS RIGHT
Matt. 28:18-20 "And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
The "Great Commission" is our marching orders in evangelism. It is worldwide in its scope, sin-deep in its reach, leaven high in its hope, and eternity long in the duration of its results.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations." This does not presuppose world conversion. By preaching the gospel, the disciples were to see others become learners or followers of the Savior – from every nation, tribe, people, and tongue.
This means that our job is not to save anyone; that is Jesus job! He said "that if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me." Nowhere in this commission did He said save; only to make disciples! Once they are converted, then we are to make disciples, not the other way round.
When someone accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior it is our job as Christians to help make disciples out of them.
Baptize "them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." The responsibility rests on Christ's messengers to teach baptism and to press it as a command to be obeyed. In believer's baptism, Christians publicly identify themselves with the Triune Godhead. They acknowledge that God is their Lord and Savior, and that the Holy Spirit is the One who indwells, empowers, and teaches them.
Teach "them to observe all things that I have commanded you." The Commission goes beyond evangelism; it is not enough to simply make converts and let them fend for themselves. They must be taught to obey the commandments of Christ as found in the NT. The essence of discipleship is becoming like the Master, and is brought about by systematic teaching of, and submission to, the Word.
Then the Savior added a promise of His presence with His disciples until the consummation of the age. They would not go forth alone or unaided. In all their service and travel, they would know the companionship of the Son of God.
Notice the four "all's" connected with the Great Commission: all authority; all nations; all things; always.
Thus the Gospel closes with commission and comfort from our glorious Lord: Twenty centuries later His Words have the same cogency, the same relevance, the same application. The task is still uncompleted. WHAT ARE WE DOING TO CARRY OUT HIS LAST COMMAND?