In most secular jobs, everything is judged by the fulfillment of responsibilities. This is how the world operates because it thrives on getting the job done. When it comes to spiritual things, how can one know the job is getting done? Christ taught that those who did the Father’s will would enter into heaven (Matt. 7:21). Christ gave the Great Commission to His disciples because it was the Father’s will (Matt. 28:18-20). Evangelism was vital to the growth of the Church in the first century and Christians took Christ with them everywhere (Acts 8:1-5). The question presented in this article is what happened to the Church’s zeal regarding evangelism? Responsibilities play a key part in our everyday lives, but are we remembering our spiritual responsibilities in Christ?
Paul started by sharing with Timothy where the authority of his message came from. This message was not coming from his own thoughts, but from God and Christ (2 Tim. 4:1). If Paul, an apostle, did not preach his own thoughts and feelings to the first century; why do many feel it is acceptable today? When Christians are out evangelizing the Gospel of Christ, let them make sure that they speak as an oracle of God (1 Pet. 4:11).
Beginning his charge to Timothy, Paul declared that he must firmly preach God’s word to those who would listen (2 Tim. 4:2-4). One should be preaching the word any time there is opportunity to do so. Whether a person is at Walmart, work, or out in the welding shed; Christ should be on the tip of their tongue. Paul then focused on how we are to evangelize within our communities. Paul told Timothy, “Convince, rebuke, exhort” (2 Tim. 4:2b). As a faithful Christian we must be able to do all three. We must convince others of the faith we have in Christ. Convincing people of Christ’s deity, death, and resurrection was of the utmost importance to Peter during his sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). If we cannot convince others, it shows a lack of knowledge/effort on our part. Christians must also be able to rebuke others in kindness. Paul openly rebuked Peter when he would not eat with the Gentiles, but this did not ruin their relationship (Gal. 2:11-14; 2 Pet. 3:16-17). If Christians are to be equipped with armor that can withstand the devil, why can we not withstand a little criticism from our Christian family aimed at helping us in our spiritual walk (Eph. 6:11)? Paul’s final point to Timothy was to exhort one another. Exhortation must be a focus of the church inwardly and outwardly (Heb. 3:12-14, 1 Thess. 2:11, 5:11). Christians must build each other up so they can focus on building others on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.
We are to convince, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and teaching, meaning the job of evangelism does not stop with baptism (2 Tim. 4:2c). Time and effort must be given to building up newborn Christians in the faith. Notice that Jesus told His disciples that they were to baptize and then teach them to observe all things (Matt. 28:19-20). Many people’s idea of evangelism is baptizing people, then moving on to the next location. We have to continue helping new converts with all longsuffering and teaching, otherwise they will fall away and we will have failed in our evangelism.
Paul wrote in Galatians, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (6:10). Every person you come into contact with presents an opportunity to lead them to Christ. Will you answer the responsibility of evangelism or continue to neglect it? If we do not attempt to reach those lost in the world, those who teach false doctrine will take our place (2 Tim. 4:3-4). It is our duty to evangelize, can the Lord count on you?