Getting Your Hands Dirty

I recently started following a guy on Twitter who wrote in his description of himself, “I pray that when I die, all of Hell will rejoice I’m no longer in the fight.”  I thought that was awesome!  For those of us who have dedicated their lives to the advancement of the Gospel and the pushing back of the gates of Hell, we are energized by the idea of evangelism and the possibility that someone’s eternity might change forever from Heaven to Hell.  However, you’ve got to understand, if you are going to be in the fight, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty.  Will McRaney Jr. says, “Dealing with lost people will cause us to get our hands dirty and sweaty just like tending to yard work. Part of evangelism is to clear up misconceptions and misperceptions people have about the gospel. Dealing with people and evangelism is often messy.”[1]

In the eight years since Heather and I planted Southern Hills in Las Vegas, I have seen this to be true.

I.               It Takes Time

Though I have occasionally been blessed with an individual who was absolutely ready to be saved, like Lydia of Acts 16:14 whose heart the Lord had opened, the vast majority of the individuals I have had the privilege of leading to Jesus Christ for salvation needed time.  In the book Evangelism is, David Earley speaks of this as “a process leading to an event.”[2]  Just as marriage is a big commitment so receiving Christ is a big commitment and there are only certain unique individuals who jump into something like that without first putting in a lot of thought.  Therefore, be patient.  During a recent evangelism effort at Southern Hills I had a church member say to me, “Pastor, a few months ago I invited my co-worker to Easter but they didn’t come.  Do you think I should invite them again?”  I calmly replied, “No, once is enough.  If they didn’t get it the first time then they don’t deserve a second chance.”  Of course I didn’t say that!  I lovingly encouraged them to try again, and again and again.  Evangelism is a process.

 II.             It Takes Work

The great work of evangelism is already done.  The Lord Jesus Christ came to save the world through His vicarious atonement.  However, the work continues and you must be willing to do the work of an evangelist (II Timothy 4:5).  Faithfully praying for an individual soul takes work.  Sacrificing time, energy and finances takes work.  Sowing the seed of the gospel is inherently work.[3]  If a farmer is unwilling to sow the seed the Lord will never send the harvest.

 III.           It Takes Vulnerability

It is essential that you are willing to open yourself up!  You must be willing to come out as a public Christian.  It is true that this may leave you vulnerable to personal attacks, snide remarks and unwelcome criticism, but it is necessary if you are ever going to lead someone to faith in Christ.  When sharing your story of your conversion to Christ be certain to share your story.  Just as the demon-possessed man of Mark 5, the woman of John 4 and the blind man of John 9 you have a story that needs to be told.  In sharing your story be certain to clarify the gospel which is found in I Corinthians 15:3-4, Christ died for your sins, was buried and rose from the grave.  You have to open up to lead someone to Him!

________________________________________________________

[1] William McRaney Jr. The Art of Personal Evangelism. (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2003), 46.

[2] Dave Earley and David Wheeler, Evangelism is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence. (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2010), 77-84.

[3] Dave Earley and David Wheeler, Evangelism is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence. (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2010), 87.

  1. Bob Raley says:

    Evangelism takes a lot of encouragement. As a teenager I sang “I’ll shout it from the mountain top!” with every ounce of power I could as I wanted the whole world to know about God. When I fell in love with my wife I shouted the news for all to know, and I sing in my office for anyone to hear. One simple action seen or hear can encourage others to open up and others start asking questions.

  2. Alan Ladd says:

    Not always, that is why we should be well prepared in and with Gods Holy Word, some times God sends us one when we lest expect it, be prepared. Most of the time it takes time, work, and going that exture mile with also patience upon the Lord.

  3. Dawn Froehlich says:

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