The Workers are… FEW!
I want to introduce this lesson by giving the reader a “wake up call” with some hard-hitting facts concerning the state of churches in the US:
- 95% all of Christians have never won someone to the Lord!
- 80% of Christians never even share their faith!
- Only 2% of all Christians are active in evangelism ministries at their church!
- 63% of the leadership, including deacons and elders, have not led one stranger to Jesus in the last two years through the method of “Go Ye” evangelism!
- 49% of the leadership ministries spend zero time in an average week ministering outside of the church!
- 89% of the leadership ministries have zero time reserved on their list of weekly priorities for going out to evangelize!
- 99% of church leadership believes that every Christian, including themselves, has been commanded to preach the gospel to a lost world (notice the hypocrisy: “they know and teach, but don’t do it or live it!”).
- 97% believe that if the leadership had a greater conviction and involvement in evangelism, that it would be an example for the church to follow.
- 96% of the leadership believe their churches would have grown faster if they would have been more involved in evangelism.*
* Stats taken from http://bible.org/illustration/evangelism-statistics
I would like to draw out from these numbers a few bottom lines as to why Christians do not evangelize:
2) Fear of man
This article will be taking that first roadblock head on: Apathy simply means you don’t care. The Kingdom of God, heaven, hell and eternity all seem to have very little relevance to your daily life. You have wept over your home team losing but haven’t wept for your lost loved ones. You have become frustrated over who didn’t come to your dinner party, but the devil’s work of destroying lives doesn’t bother you nearly as much. You lose sleep over money woes, but God’s glory and the Judgment Seat are way in the back of your mind.
Is that you I described? That’s also me at times. We all experience apathy in different seasons. The cares of this life consume us to where we lose sight of what’s really important. When that happens, however, the Spirit often convicts us, we repent, and God refreshes our hunger and restores our vision.
But for some, apathy is a way of life. There are Christians who read the Bible, attend church, and listen to Christian radio, but seem oblivious to the effects of sin and the lostness of people around them. They think that random acts of kindness and kicking God a “tip” in the offering bucket is helping the problem. Such apathy often stems from bad theology. These are the kind of teachings:
- That make the Christian into a “victim” and not a “victor”, constantly looking inward to their hurts and problems but never overcoming them.
- That stopped calling people “sinners” and now calls them “unchurched” so as to downplay their condition and make them feel better.
- That invent doctrines to support their own unbelief and discouragement, such as: denial of healing and spiritual gifts, and claims that the world and the Church will only get worse before Jesus returns.
- That treat Christianity more like Eastern religion in that it focuses on mystical experiences but are not very practical.
- That makes the pastor into the star of the show as the only who preaches, and the congregation as mere spectators.
- That have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof!
I write the following appeal in hopes that “cold-hearted Christians” will get a plain understanding of what the Bible says and what the world needs so they can be “on fire” and win a world for Jesus!
I can give you a theological summary of Jesus dying for our sins and our preaching to others about it, but I want to give you a much simpler reason why we are to evangelize: God loves people!
First, I want to make something clear to you: the human race gives God no reason to love them. In fact, each person has strayed so far away from God that they only give him reason to punish them. Don’t think we’re that bad? Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, countless millions of babies have been slaughtered in abortion mills; and many people regard that as a good thing (they call it a “woman’s right”), while still more look the other way with coldness. This is on top of all the war, starvation, and chaos man has produced since the beginning of the earth. Yet the Bible still says:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life– John 3:16.
Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends– John 15:13.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us– Romans 5:8.
How could God love us so much? The Bible teaches us that God is love, and so God has perfect love. When we evangelize to people, we are expressing God’s great love for them. We are saying: “Even though you’ve sinned against him, God still loves you. He wants to forgive you and give you a new heart! The Maker of the universe became a humble man (Jesus) and died a brutal death to make this possible! Come to him!”
The Bible teaches that God loves us like any good parent should. In some ways, he loves us like a father (Psalm 103:13); in other ways, he loves us like a mother (Luke 13:34). Whether you are a parent or you have parents (which we all have), you know it breaks their heart when their children do wrong. I remember when I was 14 years old and my mother wept bitterly because she found out I was smoking pot and cigarettes. There are two reasons she was saddened:
1) Because I was smoking, even though I knew my mother was against it. This showed her that I didn’t love her enough to respect her wishes.
2) Because she wanted the best for me; but smoking is harmful to my health, and drug use could have eventually destroyed my life.
It is the same way God’s heart is broken when people live sinful lives. It shows that they love sin more than God. Sin is also the cause of all suffering on earth and ultimately leads us to hell. With so much sin in the world, it only makes sense that God our Father is heartbroken. Of course, like a loving parent, God can also forgive and restore no matter what the child has done (Luke 15:11-40).
The problem is that God’s unconditional love is lost on people. People hear “God is love” all the time, but they rarely understand what that truly means. So when we evangelize, we are reminding them of this fact. In order for us to properly transmit the message, we must understand it ourselves. We must share God’s heart.
There comes a time in our walk with God that he shares with us how he feels. This might happen when we pray or read the Bible, or even during our morning commute to work. Any time that God shares his heart, it is intense. Here are a few verses about people like you and me who had been given a glimpse of God’s heart for the lost:
Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed– Psalm 119:136.
Every time a person is murdered, God’s law is not obeyed. In every home that is broken by adultery and divorce, God’s law is not obeyed. Wherever a young woman is pressured and deceived into aborting her baby, God’s law is not obeyed. With every life that is crushed by drug and alcohol addiction, God’s law is not obeyed. The psalmist here was horrified at the thought of people who chose ugly sin over the perfect ways of God.
Many people in our day know God’s commands but do not think it necessary to keep them. How do rebellion, sex, drugs, and violence being sold to our young people make you feel? Does the atheistic influence of the media on our families bother you at all? Does it offend you that Jesus died brutally under the wrath of heaven to save people from their sin, yet most people love their sins and boldly commit them? Today in America, God’s law is broken more than it is kept; and because of this, God’s judgment is not too far off.**
Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears. I would weep day and night for the slain of my people– Jeremiah 9:1.
Jeremiah was a prophet whom God sent to warn the people of Judah that their sin would be judged. Because Jeremiah spoke from the heart of God, he was unpopular with all the people. They mocked him, placed him in stocks, and even threw him in a sewer at one point. Still, the destruction that would overtake them caused him to cry ‘til his tears ran out.
Jesus said for us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. Is it okay with you that the enemies of God are going to hell forever? Do you even believe in hell?
God is not an unstable, violent god who kills people when he has temper tantrums. He is loving, merciful, and very patient with people. His judgment comes slowly but sudden because sinful people and whole nations will not repent after many warnings; they leave him no choice.
“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?” declares the Sovereign LORD. “Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:23, 32.
With as many churches and Christian organizations as there are today, it would be a great failure on our part if God had to pass judgment on America. It says to me that Christians have missed the heart that Jesus had for a lost and sinful world. Read this passage and see the world how the Lord sees it:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:36-38
When Jesus saw the people, he saw their need for salvation. They were like lost sheep in a world full of wolves, and they needed a good Shepherd who would lay his life down to save them. Compassion gripped him, and he felt their pain, even if they were numb to it.
Next time you leave the house, look closely at each person you see on the street and remind yourself that “Jesus died for them and wants to touch every single one of their lives.” Your city is full of lost sheep, harassed and helpless.
Oh, if only someone would show them the way to life! When Jesus saw the lost sheep, he wished for workers to go and gather them. He knew that he alone could not gather so many people, so he told his disciples to pray for more workers to tell them all the Good News.
Remember, “the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which is lost (Luke 19:10).” He sought out the lost and hurting; he did not hold back his life-saving message from the people. Jesus preached in the Jewish Temple and in the synagogues, but much of his ministry was out in the open, where the ungodly sinners were. That’s where the greatest need was.
The Bible calls the Church the Body of Christ. That means we are his hands and feet; we are his voice crying out to a lost and dying world! Today, God is calling us to go out and touch the world. The only way to truly change the world is if we change people’s hearts, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can do that (Romans 1:16).
The question is not “Why are we supposed to evangelize?” No, evangelism is so important that the question is “Why aren’t we evangelizing?” Why are we sitting around, keeping the Way of eternal life to ourselves while the devil destroys our friends, family, and communities? Today, we get back in touch with God’s heart and see the reason we evangelize. For “God our Savior… wants everyone to be saved and understand the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).”
**God’s judgment has been known to fall through famine, disease, natural disaster and war overtaking cities and nations. The author is not trying to prophesy about God’s judgment on America; he is only basing his statements on biblical patterns of God judging nations in the past (2 Kings 24:20).
Photo credit: NatalieMaynor (Creative Commons)
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