What are some of the more common obstacles to evangelism? What keeps us from sharing the message of the gospel with the lost?
We will be examining a number of things (in no particular order) that all-too-commonly keep us from faithfully and obediently doing our part of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
The first obstacle that many of us need to overcome is an improper view evangelism. How we think of the gospel and evangelism will have an enormous affect on how we approach evangelism.
But what does the Bible have to say about that?
Let’s look at the example of the Apostle Paul. He was a man of God who was bold in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. And he preached the gospel regardless of the consequences (i.e. stoning, beatings, prison, even death).
How was he able to do that? Was it just because he was an apostle? (Was he just a “super-Christian”?) Certainly he was uniquely called by God and gifted by the Holy Spirit, but that does not explain it. All believers are gifted by the Holy Spirit (even if not specifically in evangelism) and are called in some way to evangelize.
Then what was it? There are a lot of reasons why Paul was so bold in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, but he mentions one that we might be quick to overlook in the first chapter of his epistle to the Romans. He writes,
I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans: 1:14-17, ESV)
The first thing that he mentions is that he was “under obligation” to preach the gospel. The Greek word there in v.14 has the idea of being is someone’s debt – that he owed something to someone.
He viewed the gospel of Jesus Christ as something that he had no right to hide or keep private. It was as if the good news belonged to everyone else and he had to make it known to them. Do we fail to evangelize because we fail to grasp that we owe it to the lost to share the gospel with them?
The gospel message is something that we owe to those around us. It is as if we would be keeping something from its rightful owner if we were to keep silent. That is how Paul thought of the gospel, and that is how we must learn to think of it as well.
The gospel is not our private property, so evangelism is not optional.