TBMB Evangelism Team
The crowds had gathered to hear Jesus and He spoke about such things like beatitudes, being disciples, personal relationships, giving to the poor, prayer, fasting and true treasure. In one of His most popular sermons (Sermon on the Mount), He stated: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 NAS). Jesus describes a way to focus, care and invest in eternal matters. For disciples, Jesus lays out how we can create a desire to follow Him.
The first evangelistic inch is “the desire.” Before we can equip, train and give tools for evangelism, we must diagnose and help cure “the desire” problem. I have noticed that we do not evangelize (reach out to our communities) most often because we do not “want to.” There is no desire. We are living in a time where you can be a regular church attender, sit on committees, teach/preach God’s Word and simply not care if your neighbor is going to hell.
How do you care? A few ideas to consider:
(1) Posture: Check your spiritual pulse. Are you sure that you are totally surrendered to Jesus Christ? We have fabricated a Christianity in today’s America that allows us to check so many Christian-like boxes and still allows us not to follow Jesus. Reread passages such as in Luke 14, Matthew 28, etc. that call for discipleship to be more than comfort and pleasure. Here is a test: How much/often do you suffer for His name? In all reality, do you think that you can emulate a suffering Savior and never suffer for Him? Let us be clear. It is one thing to suffer for Jesus and it is another to suffer for “dumb.” Just because you are suffering for a “dumb” decision does not mean you are suffering for Jesus. You are simply suffering for “dumb.”
(2) Treasure: Where is your treasure? When you look at your monthly financial budget, time spent through the week, thoughts throughout the day, what do you see? Where is your life primarily focused? Do you know that your treasure (time, talent, resource, etc.) is where your heart will be (Matthew 6:21)? If your treasures are placed in yourself, then that is where your “desire” will be. Place your treasures where you desire to care and invest. If you spend time praying for your neighbors (www.Pray4TN.com) then you are investing your treasure in their lives. When you invest treasure in something, eventually your heart will follow along.
(3) Community: The community that you spend time will “tattle tell” on your character. If you spend time in a community of people that care about other people then either you also care about other people or you will begin to care about other people. Loving your neighbor and sharing Jesus is contagious. If you spend time in a community that does not care about sharing Jesus, then you will tend to not care about sharing Jesus. Invest time with people who care about other people so that you can “catch what they’re contagious with.” Such groups will be able to model, mentor and motivate you to go beyond yourself.
The following are “Evangelistic Inches” to help someone move from zero activity to gospel conversation and beyond:
(1) The desire
(2) The tool
(3) The opportunity
(4) The disciple.