Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Call of Evangelism

       Is it legitimate to speak of being “called” into a particular ministry as though one has received something special that other Christians haven’t? Is there anything supernatural, spectacular, or mysterious about the way in which God calls us to service? Have you been called to evangelize?
     The process of becoming a Christian is succinctly described in the New Testament as God’s “call” (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:17-24). When good news was proclaimed on the Day of Pentecost, convicting the hearts of those who heard it and prompting an obedient response, the receptive hearers were divinely instructed: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remissions of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38 NKJV). Peter then gives assurance that this promise is available to “as many as the Lord our God will call” (v. 39). Notice that the Lord takes the initiative and issues this call by way of the gospel message (cf. vv. 40-41). 
     This is further illustrated in 2 Thessalonians 2:14, where Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy remind their readers that God “called you by our gospel” (i.e., the inspired message these missionaries preached). The gospel is heaven’s invitation to the world to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ and is the means by which we are called. All who have responded to the Lord in obedient faith are regarded as “the called” (Romans 1:6; 8:28; 1 Corinthians 1:24). Among other things, we have been called in one body (Colossians 3:15) and in one hope (Ephesians 4:4), out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9), and into God’s kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12).
     While every Christian may not be suited to fill the role of a front-line, soul-winning evangelist, each has been called to participate in some way in the evangelistic enterprise. “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). Neither the blessings nor the responsibilities are limited to only ministerial professionals. Granted, Christ's body is comprised of individual members, each having particular talents, functions, and consequent duties, contributing to the integrated work of the entire church (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). But every member must solemnly evaluate whether or not everything is being done within his/her God-given capabilities to fulfill his/her God-given ministry of reconciliation.
     To be evangelistic, one must have a willing predisposition to evangelism’s call. Like Paul, every follower of Jesus ought to be driven by a convicted heart (1 Corinthians 9:16), a grave sense of responsibility (Romans 1:13-15), a genuine concern for souls (Romans 9:1-3), the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14), and a deep appreciation for heaven’s grace (1 Corinthians 15:9-10). Evangelistically-minded people need no “direct supernatural guidance” to obey God’s revealed will and to respond to the spiritual needs of this world. To be among the ones called into evangelism, all that a faithful child of God needs is willingness, availability, training, and commitment. The question isn’t whether or not God is calling. The question is, are you and I listening? May more of us be ready to respond with confident faith and obedient hearts to the call of sharing Christ with those all around us still lost in sin.
--Kevin L. Moore

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