The greatest of all ministries is that of bringing others to Christ. J.G. Bellett, as he neared the end of his life said, “If I had my life to live over again, I would spend it in a Sychar ministry.” C.H. Spurgeon, the prince of preachers said, “Above everything else in my life that I would choose under God, it would be to be a soul-winner. For never did I know perfect, overflowing, unutterable happiness of the purest and most enabling order, till I led my first soul to Christ.”
Dr. R.A. Torrey also testified to the same experience and declared he knew little of the joy of salvation until he led his first soul to Christ. In this respect, a good example for us to follow is that of Andrew. Every time we meet him in the New Testament, he is pointing someone to Christ. He brought Peter, his own brother, to Christ. See John 1:40. What a great day that was in the annals of heaven! The second time we see Andrew he is doing children’s evangelism and bringing a boy to the Lord. See John 6:8-9. The third time he appears, he is engaged in foreign missionary work, introducing certain Greeks to the Master. See John 12:22.
Evangelize or Fossilize
Evangelism in all its phases is one of the most neglected spheres of Christian service in most assemblies today. The local church that does not ‘go’ with the gospel will soon be gone. The assembly that loses its evangelistic fervor and settles down to self-complacency as “headquarters for the truth” will soon cease to exist. The church in Jerusalem, by contrast, was “shattered” that it might be “scattered,” and its members became evangelists. See Acts 11:19. This scattering of the persecuted church in Jerusalem led to spreading the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles outside of Jerusalem, the center of the church at that time.
Currently, there is a great apathy for souls around us, which has developed gradually over the years. Evangelism, both corporately and personally, is at a low ebb. We need the breath of God and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to sweep across the valley of dry bones and influence us with spiritual desires and love for the lost soul. What took place on Calvary should motivate us to love the lost! General Booth, founder of the salvation army, suggested that every Christless Christian ought to spend one week in hell, for this would make a lost eternity so real to them that they would spend the rest of their lives on earth seeking to save people from eternal damnation.
One pastor wrote, “I invited eighteen people, representing a cross-section of the congregation, to meet for ten weeks to study the evangelistic task of our church. To our dismay, we discovered that most of our growth came from transfers rather than conversion. We prayed for conversions and during the last two years the conversion growth has doubled.” Another recent report from a local church itemizes the church’s vibrant life in a ten-page bulletin, advertising the Sunday schedule that begins with a 6:00 am prayer service for the lost around them!
Let us take the example of the apostles and strive for true apostleship as well. Paul proclaims these marks of an apostle in 2 Corinthians 12:12: “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience in signs and wonders, and mighty deeds.” These signs, wonders, miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to the apostles to confirm the message they preached, as Paul taught in Acts 2:4. Paul also encourages believers to understand themselves as fellow citizens with all the saints and members of God’s household, “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets; Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” (Ephesians 2:20)