MITRA: Evangelism encompasses all — and all of life
Jesus was not only God-conscious, but God-possessed.
He saw people — the poor, the enslaved, the blind and the oppressed — as God saw them.
He felt for them as God felt.
He dedicated himself to do for them what God would do.
From this stance came the noblest evangelism mission in history.
We ought to be wary of any evangelism that in manner, method, or spirit contradicts what Christ said or did.
We ought not to be content with any that omits what he said and did.
The evangelism of Christ was all-encompassing. Its concern was with all classes. It had a message for the rich and the poor, the cultured and the uncouth, the exploiter and the exploited.
The common people heard him gladly,
for sure, but the uncommon could not ignore him either.
The rulers did not follow him up and down the dusty roads of Galilee but, seated on their political or ecclesiastical thrones, they knew he meant them and confronted them with an inescapable choice.
It was evangelism for all ages.
The organization Youth for Christ did not begin in Indiana, neither did Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship in Toronto, but across the Sea of Galilee, when some self-important adults tried to steer children away from Jesus.
He reached out his arms and bade them come. Hobbling ages also felt the spell of his message and responded.
Evangelism of and by Jesus was for all areas of life.
It not only taught men to pray with reverence, but rebuked them when their rapacity preyed upon their fellow men.
No stronger words were ever spoken about justice than were incorporated in Jesus’ memorable utterance in Matthew 23:23:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness.
“But these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
Who can ever forget his story of the unjust judge and his arresting question:
“Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?” (Luke 18:7)
No fair interpretation can evade the social implications of such language.
To assume Jesus was concerned with souls only and not with systems and practices which tortured souls is to reveal a blindness that refuses to see what is obvious to anyone who will open the eyes of his mind.
It was an evangelism of bread and butter, as well as of the spirit.
It was concerned with men’s bodies, with their aches and pains, as well as their aspirations.
It spoke to men’s minds with a clarity and insight that centuries has not dimmed.
It spoke to men’s hearts with warmth and understanding.
The human heart was never in such safe hands as when Jesus was near.
It spoke to men’s wills.
It was not an orgy of emotionalism, not a futile sentimentalism, but a pattern and preparation for action.
Here are the ways of true Christian evangelism.
By Christ are we in this confused and confusing era summoned to a new breadth of concern and appeal.
True evangelism recognizes that both the “drop-outs” and the “upwardly mobiles” need the gospel.
Some of the loneliest and most wretched people in the world are in the upper-income brackets.
For the most part, we are not reaching them with the gospel.
Sometimes we seem not to care for them.
Sometimes we think them beyond the reach of our message.
When we are in their presence our tongues seem to be palsied.
We tend to talk about everything else but Christ and his message of love for them.
We are overawed by the glamour of the external and fail to sense the internal famines from which they suffer.
What is worse, we have not intelligent strategy for reaching them.
Too frequently, our method has been flight rather than quest.
We have not evangelized; we have evaporated and disappeared.
Unless we are as broad as human needs are, we are too narrow for Christ’s cause.
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