Though brought up in a religious home, Charles Spurgeon described his youth in these words: “I was years and years upon the brink of hell… I was unhappy, I was desponding, I was despairing. I dreamed of hell. My life was full of sorrow and wretchedness, believing that I was lost.”
One morning, everything changed. While walking to church on a Sunday morning, Spurgeon encountered a snowstorm. After wandering into a Primitive Methodist Chapel to escape the snow, Spurgeon heard a substitute preacher give a message that transformed his life.
In Spurgeon’s own words:
“He [the preacher] had not much to say, thank God, for that compelled him to keep on repeating his text, and there was nothing needed—by me, at any rate except his text. Then, stopping, he pointed to where I was sitting under the gallery, and he said, ‘That young man there looks very miserable’ … and he shouted, as I think only a Primitive Methodist can, ‘Look! Look, young man! Look now!’ … Then I had this vision—not a vision to my eyes, but to my heart. I saw what a Savior Christ was.… Now I can never tell you how it was, but I no sooner saw whom I was to believe than I also understood what it was to believe, and I did believe in one moment.”
“And as the snow fell on my road home from the little house of prayer I thought every snowflake talked with me and told of the pardon I had found, for I was white as the driven snow through the grace of God.”
Why do we share the gospel? Do we evangelize simply in hopes that we may win to Christ the next Spurgeon? We can and should pray for such a miracle. Yet ultimately, we should share the gospel for three biblical reasons.
Obedience to Christ the King is our highest call on earth. We are only good soldiers if we instantly and unquestioningly follow His every command (2 Timothy 2:3). We are not called to fully understand, but to fully obey.
Christ assured His disciples in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
We demonstrate love for Christ by following His words. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (John 14:21).
In Matthew 20:19-20, Christ commanded, “Go ye therefore.” From God’s perspective, evangelism is a non-negotiable.
As one evangelist observed, “If we only evangelize because we see the need, we will eventually burn out. If we share the gospel out of obedience to God, we will continue no matter how difficult our endeavor is or how few the results may be.”
William Carey, often referred to as the father of modern missions, labored in India for seven years before baptizing his first convert, Krishna Pal. Loving obedience to God sustained Adoniram Judson when he saw no converts his first six years in Burma.
Do we view every individual we meet as an eternal soul who will spend eternity in heaven or hell?
Matthew 9:36-38 tells us,
“But when He [Christ] saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.”
The kindest thing we can do is to point the lost towards God’s law so they may be convicted of their sin. Once they realize their guilt, we can then reveal Christ’s atoning gift to be received in repentance and faith (Acts 3:38-41, 8:37, 16:31, 17:30, 20:21). The discomfort we face is nothing compared to the eternal torments of hell. Compassion towards others overcomes fear. As Ray Comfort said, “Don’t pray for less fear to reach the lost, pray for more love.”
Would I be a loving friend if, unknown to you, I had the diagnosis and cure for your cancer, but failed to explain your disease and its cure? We love the lost most when we help them see their disease of sin, its path to hell, and the gospel remedy for their sin.
My 12-year-old younger brother recently experienced the joy of leading his first convert to Christ. Hudson possesses a deep love and an eternal perspective often not held by people much older than him.
Charles Spurgeon reported, “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!”
3. Eternal Rewards
II Corinthians 5:10-11 states,
“Therefore we labor, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body; according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”
As described in the parable of the stewards in Matthew 25, each one of us will give account to our Master for how we used the time, health, influence, finances, gifts, and opportunities entrusted to us. Ephesians 2:8-10 explains that salvation is obtained by grace through faith, not by works; however, multiple passages, including I Corinthians 3:12-15, assure that the saved will be rewarded to varying degrees in heaven based on how they stewarded everything God gave them.
Following The Master
Like some of you, I’ve often found myself guilty of disobedience and hardness of heart. I’ve failed to lovingly obey Christ’s wisdom and to love others as I should. I’m thankful that in God’s mercy, He gives every day as a new opportunity.
Ask God to increase your love and trust for Him so that you will gladly follow wherever He leads. Pray that God would consume your soul with a passion for the lost. As you faithfully share the gospel by God’s strength, may He richly bless the seeds that you sow (Psalm 126).
In the words of William Wilberforce, “There are four things that we ought to do with the Word of God – admit it as the Word of God, commit it to our hearts and minds, submit to it, and transmit it to the world.”
Question: Which of these points resonated with you the most? How will you take evangelism more seriously?
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