Restoring New Testament Evangelism

The evangelism of the world is the primary thought set forth in the Great Commission. The apostles of Christ and those who were associated with them took this matter very seriously. The Lord overruled to see that the gospel went out most urgently.

A great harvest took place in Jerusalem and many thousands were added to the church. When Stephen was killed there arose a great persecution against the church and they that were scattered abroad went about preaching the word (Acts 8:4). Today, too often, those who move to new places die spiritually rather than scatter the word. We need to learn to practice the universal priesthood of the believer and do as they did.

God would not permit limitations to be put on this work of evangelism. The gospel was carried to the Samaritans. They were a circumcised people. However, God overruled in a very remarkable way so that the gospel would be carried to the Gentiles. Peter went obediently to the house of Cornelius but when he got there he asked why they sent for him. Not until Cornelius told of the visit of the angel and the message sent by him did Peter realize: “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34,35). I know we say that one soul is as important to God as another, but our actions can belie our words.

Jesus said that we are to lift up our eyes to fields that are white unto harvest (John 4:35). When William Carey went to India early in the last century, it took him seven years to make his first convert. How vastly different it is today! There are other countries that are as ripe as India. We need to be alive to these fields as was Paul in his day. Foreign evangelism or home evangelism is not a duty to be performed but to every true Christian it must be a heart passion.

Sixty years ago probably 90% of our converts were made from the pulpit. Probably 90% of our converts are made today by what we call personal evangelism. Paul was alive to this situation so he said; “I taught you publicly and from house to house” (Acts 20:20). Our method may change but the urgency of the message may not.

In every place where we have a New Testament church it is because someone was interested in Evangelism. This pioneering spirit must not die. History shows that we either carry the gospel into new places or PERISH. Read the Book of Acts with this in mind and then go and do likewise.

J. C. Bailey, 1982, Dauphin, Manitoba

Published in The Old Paths Archive