“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” – Matthew 28,18-20.
Seeing new believers come into the Assembly and their zeal for sharing their new found faith is indeed an remarkable sight. However, as time goes by, a couple of years or perhaps even a matter of months, we see some of these very same brothers and sisters in the Lord lose the fiery zeal that they once carried.
What is the definition of evangelism? What does it mean to share the Gospel? Who has been authorized to go out and share their faith with others?
The American Heritage Dictionary says that evangelism is the zealous preaching and dissemination of the Gospel, as through missionary work. Websters Revised Unabridged Dictionary says that evangelism is the preaching or promulgation of the Gospel.
Sharing our faith involves many things. First of all it entails having a basic, essential understanding of ones own faith and a strong relationship with our Lord. We can not stand on our own strength to share our faith with others. We must rely on Messiah and we do this by first of all having a close and secure relationship with Him and His Word.
It is certainly heartbreaking to see countless Believers come to sit in the pews on the occasional Sunday morning or on Easter to simply rely on the pastor to be responsible for evangelism. This is in fact wrong thinking and the pastor should not allow the congregation to think in such a manner. It is the accountability of all Believers and Followers of Messiah, lay and clergy alike, to share their faith with others. Sitting in the pews tranquil and listening to a sermon or homily for thirty minutes to an hour is not the only part of our Holy Faith. There is much more!
Yeshua the Messiah gave His disciples a commission, a divine charge; this commission was a commandment for each and every believer no matter what their status is in the Body of Messiah. Whether he or she is a lay person, a deacon, an elder, a priest, a bishop, it is the responsibility of every single person who call themselves by the name of their Lord to share their faith with others. There is no way that this commandment can be fulfilled if you believe that evangelism is exclusively the duty of the pastor or other clergy. The clergy can not do this for you and no one else can either. You have been given a job. Your employer is Yeshua the Messiah.
Our Lord said, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28,18-20.
To make disciples we must first share our faith of not only Messiah’s birth and resurrection, but the true meaning of His birth and subsequent resurrection, His work on the Cross including the Apostolic Traditions, essential faith, and the miscellaneous doctrines and customs that each person has come to know in the particular part of the Body of Messiah in which they are a member of. These disciples are then to be baptised as per Messiah’s divine instructions. Messiah makes it clear that we are to teach all that He has commanded us. (2 Thessalonians 2,13-17).
For many people it can be difficult for the first time to simply walk up to a stranger and speak to them “out of the blue” about the saving grace of Yeshua the Messiah and the Gospel in general. By trusting God and doing His will in sharing our faith with others we have the assurance of Messiah’s presence with us. Messiah promises that He is with us always. We should not allow any unfounded fear of our neighbour or passers by to withhold us from fulfilling our God-given commission.
“What is the use, my brethren, if a man says, I have faith; and he has no works? can his faith make him live? Or if a brother or sister is without clothing, and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, Go in peace, warm yourselves, and be full; and you do not give them the necessary thing for the body, what is the use?
So, likewise, faith alone, without works, is dead. For a man may say, You have faith, and I have works; show to me your faith that is without works; and I will show to you, my faith by my works.
You believe that there is one Alaha; you do well; the demons also believe, and tremble. Would you know, weak man, that faith without works is dead?
Was Abraham our father not justified by works in offering his son Yitzkhak upon the altar? Do you see that his faith aided his works, and that by the works his faith was rendered complete? And the Scripture was fulfilled, which says: Abraham believed in Alaha, and it was accounted to him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of Alaha. You see, that by works a man is justified, and not by faith alone.
So also Rahab, the harlot, was she not justified by works when she entertained the spies and sent them forth by different way? As the body without the spirit, is dead; so faith without works, is dead also. ” (James 2,14-26)
All clergy and lay persons should vigilantly reflect on the meaning of Messiah’s commandment recorded in Matthew 28:19-20 and should reflect on how they can unreservedly and wholeheartedly apply the significance of this commandment within their individual personal lives and if they have family living within the same household, how they as a family unit can fulfil their responsibility to Messiah.
It is every believer’s responsibility, whether they are clergy or not, to share the Good News of Yeshua the Messiah with their neighbours, friends, family, class mates, co-workers, and any person with which they make contact.
By means of today’s technology and literally billions of printed pages of the Bible and Scripture study helps, no one has any justification as to why they are not sharing their faith through evangelism with others. It can be as simple as writing letters, sending email, having your own updated website with Biblical and doctrinal information, word of mouth, and many other means available to you.
Today we have an overabundance of published Bibles, Scriptural literature, electronic materials, etc. and many of these Bibles and other materials are available in hundreds of different languages so that anyone in the world can have a knowledge of what God’s Word says. The Apostles never had a copy of what we refer to as the bound New Testament to redistribute to Messiah’s newly made disciples. They did not have thousands of different tracts to distribute to others. What they did have however, was their unwavering faith in Messiah and zeal, enthusiasm, and eagerness for God’s righteousness and saving grace. Anyone can carry tracts in their pocket and dispense them to people they meet when shopping, travelling, on vacation, etc.
May the true evangelical spirit of the first century Church return to the modern day Church so that we are able to reach as many souls for our Lord as possible. Do you share this vision?
Given at the Patriarchal Residence in Mishqana
On this 10th Day of January in the Year of Our Lord 2004