Evangelism. The Great Commission. Soul-winning. These are familiar terms to us. We hear them used often in sermons and Bible classes. Preachers exhort and urge from the pulpit for more evangelistic fervour from the members of the church. Elders and deacons call for more participation in the church’s corporate efforts at reaching out to the lost.
No one denies that the Lord’s mission to seek and save the lost (Lu 19:10) continues now through His body, the church (Eph 1:22-23). It is common knowledge that soul-winning is the personal responsibility and privilege of every saint of God.
The devil knows these too and he hates it. If it were at all possible, he would have all mankind cast with him into the bottomless pit on the great day of the Lord. He abhors God and mankind created in His image and must want to put a stop to all evangelistic efforts of the church.
The question is: have we made it easier for the devil? Our perspectives and attitudes toward saving souls either help us realise and act on the urgency of the work or they become hindrances to us doing that which pleases our Father.
An awareness of the enemies of evangelism is important for the soldiers of Christ to know where we stand with regards to evangelism.
Fear can be either a powerful motivator or hindrance. Fear of getting burned stops us from placing any part of our body too close to extreme heat. Fear of not making the team motivates the athlete to train harder. But fear of failure and embarrassment may prevent us from doing the work of the Lord.
We do not wish to belittle what could be a real difficulty for some of us. Perhaps given their more introverted personality, some Christians may experience a more acute fear or shyness in broaching the subject of religion. This is understandable.
Pray to the Father for boldness and strength, and begin by talking to someone you are comfortable with. A family member or close friend would be ideal. Fear can also be eased by taking courses on how to reach out to the lost and by sharing and discussing your experiences and concerns with brethren. Help one another in this great work of winning souls.
Lack of Interest
This is one of the most potent killers of evangelism and absolutely inexcusable for the man and woman redeemed by the blood of the Saviour. Would we have been saved if every Christian we encountered was not interested in the state of our souls?
How could we, who have been rescued at such great price from the damnation we so richly deserved, not be concerned about the souls of friends and family still in jeopardy from hellfire?
Laziness and Lukewarm-ness
These are also inexcusable. The attitude that evangelism is everyone’s work but mine, that as-long-as-someone-is-doing-it-I-don’t-have-to, is lazy and wrong. Christians must be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord (Rom 12:11),” and to “shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Heb 6:11-12).”
Bear in mind the severity of the Lord: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth (Rev 3:15-16).”
“I believe in evangelism; I believe in serving the Lord…but I will serve only at my own convenience. I will serve in areas of least labour and most accolades.” This is selfishness. Do not be shocked that such attitude can also creep into the church.
Simon desired the ability to impart spiritual gifts (Acts 8:18-19). Diotrephes loved to have the pre-eminence among men (3John 9).
These are the most common and deadly enemies of evangelism. Souls are lost and continue to be lost because Christians indulge in fear, laziness, lukewarm-ness and selfishness. Stay vigilant, saints of Christ, and to the work!
“When in better land before the bar we stand,
How deeply grieved our souls will be;
If any lost one there should cry in deep despair,
‘You never mentioned Him to me!'”