Motivations for Evangelism

Rom 10:14-15 –  How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,  Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 

  • Do you have pretty feet?  You do not have to take off your shoes to answer this question. If you tell others about Jesus,  Paul says you have “beautiful feet”.
  • As we mentioned this morning Paul’s words are taken from Isa. 52:7. In the original context of Isaiah, the prophet is speaking of the coming of the days of the Messiah when the servants of the Messiah would proclaim the good news of peace in the kingdom of God.
  • Burton Coffman states …From heaven’s viewpoint, there is nothing more beautiful than the message-bearer of God’s merciful offer of salvation to people.
  • God wants His people to reach out to the lost. He wants us to teach others about Christ. If you are not involved in teaching others, what would motivate you to begin?
  • What should be our motivation in evangelism?  Well, what motivated Jesus?  At least five things moved our Lord in reaching out to the lost.

I.  Compassion for the Lost:  Matthew 9:35-36 35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.   36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.  Jesus had a real passion for the fate of the lost. As the word “compassion” suggests he was able to indentify with those who were sinners, and thus separated from God.

  • How is that possible?  Jesus did not sin. Yet He is able to be compassionate with us. His compassion does not come from any association with sin, but from His complete understanding of the impact of sin, and His absolute love for us.

A.  How did Jesus react to his compassion for the lost?  Such compassion motivated Him to do two things.

1)  First, to ask His disciples to pray that God might “send out laborers into His harvest” Matthew 9:37-3837 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

2) Then, He worked toward the answer to His own prayer. He selected and send out His apostles.  Matthew 10:110 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.

3)  Our true compassion will motivate us to pray often for the accomplishment of God’s purposes. We will work to bring these purposes to fruition.

B.  How can we develop a true compassion for the lost?

1)  We have to allow God to teach us about love.  1 John 3:16-1716 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?  Read and meditate on the sacrifice of Christ.

2)  Spend time with other people. God warns us about being influenced by sin, and sinful people. But God expects us to interact with the lost. We cannot isolate ourselves among ourselves.

II.  A Sense of PurposeJohn 4:27-34: 27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” 28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him. 31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.   Jesus was always cognizant of the bigger picture and what His Father was doing through Him. He had a sense of purpose.

A.   Do we have this same “sense of purpose” in our lives?  To put first the Father’s will?    An element of our prayer: Matthew 6:10 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

B.   Your purpose cannot be hidden. It will be evident from the choices that you make. – Matthew 6:33–  33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

C.  1 Peter 2:9-109 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.    One way we do this, of course, is through evangelism. Have we let the Word of God develop within us the “right sense of purpose”?  If not, our motivation will be inadequate!

 III.  The Love of God.  IF you know how God has loved you, you will be motivated to teach others, so that they can experience God’s love as well.   John 15:9 -9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  John 17:26 –  26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

A.  If we are not motivated enough to teach others, it may signal that we do not appreciate the love of God enough. We must strive to develop a greater sense of God’s love?  How?

B.  The way to experience the Father’s love is to keep the commandments of JesusJohn 14:21-23 –  21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. NK

1)    Another important commandment in this regard is the one to love one another as Christ loved us (John 15:12 –  12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.)   This is because loving one another is crucial to experiencing the love of the Father in our lives. As John wrote:  “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us” (1 Jn 4:12).

IV.  The Terror of the Lord – Jesus was aware of God’s judgment and righteous indignation. He spoke openly and clearly about Hell and the punishment against sin.   Mark 9:43-48 –  43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched —   44 where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’  45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched —   46 where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire —   48 where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ 

A.  2 Cor 5:10-1110 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…;

B.   Luke 19:41ff – Jesus wept for the people of Jerusalem as he came into the city because he clearly saw their coming judgment. Do you see the coming judgment of sinners?  Your friends and neighbors?

C.  Paul was willing to be condemned himself, if it would cause his Jewish brothers to come to Jesus. Have we, like many, become complacent to the fact that there will be a day of judgment and condemnation?  Are we unwilling to speak openly about sin and God’s judgment?

V.  The Joy set Before Him – Hebrews 12:22 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Jesus was motivated by the joyful prospect of being with His Father, at His Right Hand.  Notice that this enabled Him to “endure the cross” and “despise the shame”, because He wanted to please His Father.

  • Does not the prospect of spending eternity with God move us to do what we can to save souls?  No one can go to heaven alone.
  1. We need to develop a true appreciation for the hope of heaven – not just as a theological image, but a true motivation toward obedience. Revelation 7:13-17 – 13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” 14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me,”These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

1.  It also helps to think of what God will do for those we reach.  Paul did, as he describes in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-2019 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

 Conclusion:  There is no greater work than teaching others about Christ, and leading them to their Savior. It is the truest source of joy. Even Jesus was motivated to reach the lost by:

  • Compassion for lost souls;  A strong sense of purpose;  The love of the Father; The terror of the Lord;  and  The joy set before Him.
  • If these things could motivate the Lord, they are certainly powerful enough to change my life.  It should be apparent by now that the key to developing and strengthening the proper motivation is to let the Word of God have its intended effect upon us.  But if Christians are not daily reading, studying, and meditating upon the Word of God, then how can we ever hope to stay motivated like Jesus, Paul and the early church were?

Take a closer look at your feet.  Are you bringing good news to the lost?