Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Personal Motivation to Evangelize

Among all the days of the week, I'm most regular on Wednesday for door-to-door evangelism.  I go every week on Wednesday.  I should go more, but I make sure I go every week by scheduling it for our church every Wednesday and leading it myself. Even though I schedule it and I do go, I am admitting that I still struggle with motivation.  It both makes sense and doesn't make sense to me, which I'll explain.

I'm sure that most professing believers in the United States are not part of the effort to evangelize everyone in the United States, starting with their area.  Even though I fight for motivation, I still preach the gospel to unbelievers every week and am saddened that so little of this occurs.  If just every person who claimed to believe in Jesus Christ could join that effort, we would easily cover the United States, and yet we don't.

A verse that regularly comes to mind and always rings true to me is John 13:17, where Jesus said, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."  He didn't say, do them if you're happy, but "happy are ye if ye do them."  Happiness follows doing.  When I evangelize, I don't start off happy.  Sometimes I start off bummed out to be doing it, and become happy as I do.  I'm saying that I start off by doing my duty, which I believe is love, and then feeling good about it as I do.

My happiness with doing what God said, I believe, also proceeds from the Holy Spirit.  Fruit of the Spirit is joy.  God came from heaven, both the Son and the Spirit, the second and third members of the Trinity.  They did what I'm doing when I evangelize.  They have been both part of that work.  They want it.  Therefore, when I do it, the indwelling Spirit is happy, in turn making me happy.  His happiness is my happiness.

On the other hand, when I don't evangelize, I'm unhappy.  Why?  I am quenching the Holy Spirit.  I am resisting the Holy Spirit.  When I'm not filled with the Spirit, I don't have joy.  It bugs me when I don't evangelize, and I see this as the fruit of my being a saved person.  It's what scripture teaches and it is how it works.  I don't know how other professing believers don't think or feel the same way as I do about it.

Scripture speaks a lot about motivation.  It's important to me.  I have a lot of truths about which I think, that motivate me to evangelize and to do it more.

The first motivation for me is that I love God.  If I didn't love God, I wouldn't think I was saved, because I see the love of God in my heart that manifests itself in my life as the most significant mark of salvation.  My love for God comes out of His love for me.  I know He loves me.  I'm not loveable.  Do I love Him?  I can say I do, but if I know that love shows in obedience, especially His Great Commission, then love for Him motivates me.  I think about my love for Him and that does get me going.  I know I'm not better than Him and He loves me.

I could say there are a lot of related motivations to love of God.  I can be thankful to Him.  I can be praising Him.  I can be talking about Him.  I don't know how I can be a person thankful to God and not evangelize.  I'm at least thankful for salvation.  Does that show up by not talking about it?  God is to be praised among the heathen.  Evangelism is praising God among the heathen.  Paul also said in Romans 1:9 that he served God in the gospel, and serve is latreuo, which means "worship."  Paul worshiped God in the gospel. I am worshiping God by praising Him through evangelism.  I know that I am and I know that God wants that from me.  I'm going to be doing that in heaven, so why wouldn't I do it on earth?  I would call all of these motivations in this paragraph motivations related to the love of God, but they could all be separate motivations.

There are other motivations.  I evangelize out of sheer obedience. God is Boss and He told me to do it.  Who am I to disobey Him?  When I don't evangelize, I am disobedient.  I'm not being a servant of Jesus Christ -- that's for sure.  God leaves me here to evangelize.  I know that.  I'd be with Him or we'd all be with Him, if He was done with evangelism. I know He isn't done.  I should obey Him.  He told me to work His work while it is day.  A day comes when no man can work.  Again, there are many interrelated motivations here, and all of them worthy.  Included in this would be stewardship.  It's a good use of my time to be faithful to what God said.  I can't improve on what He said, and I know He wants this through the overwhelming amount that it is talked about either in proposition or example in scripture.

Also related to the previous paragraph is sanctification, Christian growth, and conforming to Christ.  Christ evangelized.  I'm conforming to Christ.  He did it more and better than me.  If I become more like Him, I'm not going to be less and worse.  It will get better if I'm growing and that all relates to the previous paragraph.  The church itself also grows through evangelism, spiritually and numerically.  It's the only church growth technique in the Bible and God is building His church.  I know that the building of His church is what my life being gold, silver, and precious stones is all about.  I'm irrelevant, but I'm still responsible.

A last reason, that is a less important one to me, but it's an obvious motivation in the Bible, is love for men.  That's the second table of the law.  Love your neighbor.  For God so loved the world.  God is not willing that any should perish.  We should care about the souls of other people.  As Jesus mentioned, we should be sending up a welcome committee for ourselves in heaven for when we arrive.  The only thing we can send to the other side are the rewards of properly motivated work for God and the souls of men.  If you are to lay up treasures in heaven, you've got to deal with something eternal and the souls of men are eternal.  So, again, these are several interrelated motivations for the love of men that God wants us to have.

I said it makes sense and doesn't make sense that I'm not motivated to evangelize.  It doesn't make sense because of all of the above.  It makes sense because of the nature of the flesh, the devil, the world system, persecution, hatred, and weakness.  People don't listen.  They make it difficult. They show hatred for God and the truth.  I get the worst treatment voluntarily when I attempt to evangelize people.  Why go through that?  Jesus died.  It can't get more harsh than that, and He said they would hate us for doing this. We know that, so it should be expected.

In two places, Paul asks churches to pray that he would be bold in evangelism.  Two.  The Apostle Paul.  He struggled with getting himself going.  He wanted people to pray that He would.  We should pray for each other for boldness.  I pray for boldness all the time.  I know I need it.

I'm going evangelizing today, and I'm not motivated.  This is how I get motivated.


Jim Camp said...

Thanks Kent,

This is good stuff. The Pastor I did much of my maturing under often said "The hardest part of soul winning is the going, because once your there talking to people, it is good".

Personally, I get a lot of motivation from a variant of your "second table of the law" reasons. Just feeling pity for lost, confused sinners who do not know the truth. It is where I came from, & it helps motivate me.

Again, Thanks

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Jim,

Loving people is a good motivation. It doesn't work as well for me for many reasons, but I have enough to motivate me.

Jeff Voegtlin said...


Thank you for writing this. It challenged and encouraged me.


Jeremy Puckett said...

Thank you for writing this, it was but challenging and encouraging!

Bill Hardecker said...

I certainly need motivated (many times), I certainly need boldness (all the time). I need patience, too. If we don't obey the Lord's mandate to preach the gospel to every creature, who will? Often, our witness fulfills the negative purpose (holding unsaved folks accountable at the day of judgment for rejecting God's Word via our witness), but thankfully, there certainly are times when the Lord graciously uses our witness to bring a soul to the Saviour. Gal. 6:9 "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Prayers, preparation (studying and reviewing), and practice (actually going and doing it) - these all go together, no doubt. Personal evangelism for me is truly a lifelong task. As long as the rapture of the saints hasn't taken place yet, there will always be a soul that needs to hear about the gospel. And a weekly duty or commitment is a good thing. Certainly, there are many more opportunities to maximize the moments for the Lord indirectly, but there's nothing like a weekly commitment motivated by love, duty, conviction, conscience, example, glorifying God, eternal rewards, zeal, etc. to buckle down and go house to house proclaiming the good news.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks men. I'm glad it was an encouragement and challenge. If I were to give a follow-up to it, I did go out on Wednesday and the first door, I was able to preach the entire gospel for over an hour to a Filipino-American woman, late 60s. She seemed under conviction and also seemed to understand all of it (despite using the King James Version ;-D). One door, entire plan of salvation. It's success. Do we want her to be saved? We do. And I go as hard at that as I can, at the same time, understanding that she would have had to turn from the false gospel of Roman Catholicism. You can't believe both and be saved.

Terry Basham, II said...

i have the same experience.

but i'd never admit it.