Why do we want to proclaim the gospel? What is the purpose
To make Christ known. Yes!
Because we are commanded to do so by God. Definitely!
So that people can be born again by the seed of the word.
So that unbelievers may hear and receive faith and be justified
and adopted into God’s family. We answer in the affirmative,
But there is more to evangelism than this! We evangelize the lost,
and we evangelize the saved! The saved you say? Why the saved?
Isn’t the gospel only for those who don’t know God? Not at all! The
gospel is for the saved and the lost! For those who know Christ and
for those who don’t know Christ. Why do I say this?
Listen to the apostle Paul speaking to the church in Corinth:
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to
you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you
are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to
you—unless you believed in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2 ESV)
Paul is saying to the church that they have received something. That
is the gospel. He goes further. He says that the gospel that they have
received is something that they stand in, present tense. It is
something which makes them strong. It is their foundation. It makes
them sturdy and firm. But he goes further: he says, “…and by which
you are being saved”. This is remarkable! The gospel is not only there
for one’s justification. It is not only there for one’s forgiveness. We
are saved and we are being saved by the gospel and we will be saved
by the gospel. By the gospel we are justified and strengthened and
sanctified! We need the gospel all the time: every day. Why do we
need it as believers? Every time you sin, you need the gospel!
Because it is only through the grace of God and by the blood being
applied to your heart, the blood of Jesus, that you have any hope of
being cleansed and forgiven of your sins. The cross is the basis, the
cross of Christ, the atonement of Christ, and the righteousness of
Christ, is the only basis of assurance that our sins will be forgiven.
Many times, we think we outgrow the gospel; that the gospel is for
elementary level Christianity. We assume we are in secondary school
Christianity, or at College or Masters level! We suppose we have
graduated from the gospel; now it is the healing ministry that we
seek after; now it is about us becoming a success. Now it is about
becoming important and a great person in the kingdom – someone
of status! If this is the way you think, you have completely “lost the
plot” concerning Christianity! The gospel and evangelism are never
about you! It never was, nor will be. The gospel is not about our
achieving our potential: it is rather about one beggar showing other
beggars where to find food; about one sin-sick- soul showing another
where to find medicine and healing. It is about searching for
righteousness and finding it in Christ. The gospel is about finding the
treasure that is worth more than all the gold and diamonds in the
world and being ecstatic with joy about it – and then telling people
about it. We are not the treasure, Christ is. We have not
accomplished salvation, Christ has. He is dispensing salvation, not us.
You and I are not raising the dead, Christ is!
The purpose of evangelism is the growth of the church and the
strengthening thereof. This happens when we turn again to the glory
of the gospel and adore Christ for forgiving our sins, by grace and
through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9)! Remember, we did not have the
strength to believe: we still don’t. We don’t have the intelligence or
wisdom or wit to save or improve ourselves. The gospel is in any case
not about improving oneself; it is about resting in God’s resources
and Spirit to do what you cannot do. We are sanctified by the gospel,
we grow thereby. We grow by grace and we get strong by grace! The
power is not in us, but in God (2 Corinthians 12:9-11).
Take the medicine every day. Receive the grace. Feed on Christ.
Drink from the Fountain of Salvation. Eat the Bread of Life. It is your
sustenance, your life and hope. Christ has become to us, wisdom,
righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30,
31). Let us boast then in him and not in our own resources or
“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as
Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God,
who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our
hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in
the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay,
to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to
us. (2 Corinthians 4:5-7 ESV)
We evangelize and make God known to help people get power and
strength from God, so that they can become like Christ. The purpose
of evangelism and the gospel is that Christ be magnified and exalted;
it is that we come to the unity of the faith, to the knowledge of the
Son of God; it is that we grow into the fullness of the measure of the
stature of Christ (See Ephesians 4:13).
The purpose of making God known is to be conformed to the image
of Christ and no one else. We do not want to be conformed to
political figures, nor to any kind of artistic, sport, or scientific genius.
We evangelize to become holy and kind like Christ; righteous and
generous like Christ and loving and humble like Him. We evangelize
so that others can become like Christ: he is the means and the goal
of evangelism. We grow together as the church. We want to
evangelize so that we all come to the unity of the faith. We teach the
gospel and proclaim it so that people can know the power of the
resurrection of Christ! (Phil 3:10,11).
May God help us to have no lesser goal and no higher ideal than
Christ. He is our strength, our song, and He has become our salvation
(Psalm 118). Let us praise and boast in Him!