Perhaps you read my last blog and asked yourself the question “why should I evangelize?” Though the question was answered in part before , we are going to discover that there are a lot of good reasons why you should be involved in announcing the good news to a lost and dying world. Over the next few blogs I am going to show seven main reasons why a Christian should evangelize. Today we will talk about the first one.
1. Without Jesus Christ as One’s Lord and Savior, People are Lost for all Eternity.
There are many liberal Christians who would argue against this point, but to say otherwise would be to ignore the whole canon of scripture. The Bible is very clear on this issue, and we should also be clear on this issue – everyone, absolutely everyone, who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord will be lost eternally. To be lost is to be in hell and eventually in the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:15). It is not seeker friendly for us to talk about hell, but the reality is that Jesus Christ taught about hell nearly twice as often as he did about heaven.
In Luke 16:19-31 the Lord gave us a vivid portrayal of hell. There is a story delineated of a rich man, and a beggar named Lazarus. They both died, one went to Paradise, and the other went to hell. In verse twenty-two it is clear that they had died, but they were very much alive in an eternal place for the rest of the story. The rich man is said to be “tormented” and in “flames”. He begged for an opportunity to go back and warn his brothers that they would not have to come to the same place. He would have done anything that he could to STOP people that he loved from coming to that place. I have met people who say things like “I want to go to hell, all my friends are going to be there” or “I want to go to hell, that is where all the cool people are, and it is going to be a great party”. Well I can make a sure prediction, based on the Word of God, if your friends are there now they would do anything they could to try to stop you from coming there. The Rich Man had all of his faculties in hell (vs. 23) – he could see with his eyes, hear with his ears, he could feel the torment of fire all over his body. He had the sensation of thirst so much that he would have been content to have just a drop of water on his tongue (vs. 24). In an eternal and immortal state the soul of the damned will have all of his senses and literally feel the flames, as if he were in his mortal body here on earth. This is the vision we need to have – we need to be filled with the reality of what happens to the lost when they die. This can give us a healthy drive to see the lost won into the kingdom of God.
The Bible, in more than one place, talks about the “worm that dieth not”, and the “fire that is not quenched” (Mark 9:44, 46, 48; Isa 66:24) (c.f. Isa 14:11). Men and women who have had experiences of hell have testified that there are worms for every sin that has not been repented of, and these worms gnaw on the flesh of the person in hell. The person feels the pain of that gnawing, and once the flesh is eaten away it supernaturally grows back and they continuously eat the flesh forever and ever. The flames are also mentioned “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name “ (Rev 14:11) .
A number of years ago there was a group of youth from Columbia who were privileged to have some extraordinary spiritual experiences. The Lord personally escorted them to heaven, and also to hell. They have a documented testimony, and one thing that stood out to them while they were permitted to speak to people in hell – was that nearly everyone they met said “Lord please give me just one more minute on earth.” When asked why they wanted only one more minute – they all said “that I may accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and not have to come to this place”. Hell is a horrible place to be, and no one needs to go there, and no one who is there wants to be there now. (An account of these events can be found at numerous websites. The following is one of them: http://spiritlessons.com/documents/7_jovenes/English_7_Jovenes_Hell.htm)
One aspect that is hard for our finite minds to fathom is eternal judgment. The Apostle Paul taught us that we need to be aware of the “goodness and severity of God”. Our God is very extreme and severe in His love, forgiveness, and blessings on those who obey Him. He is also just as severe in His judgment for those who refuse salvation through His Son. God has determined that eternity – millions upon millions of years – in the flames of the Lake of Fire is the JUST and FAIR reward of those who reject the gift of Grace and Salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. It is an irreversible sentence! This is a very serious matter. God is not joking, nor is He being figurative, in His Word when He talks about eternal damnation (Mark 3:29).
The problem is sin. God hates sin, and cannot and will not have any part in it. Real evangelism does not take place if the sin issue is not confronted. This is the shortcoming of the “seeker friendly” mentality they never mention sin or hell, and consequently they fill their churches with people who are not saved – they have never truly been evangelized. They may accept a social Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but He is more of a lottery system to them then someone who has forgiven them of their sins. The issue of sin is never dealt with, and therefore they are sitting in church with a large congregation that is on its way to hell right along with them. Now, I am not saying that you need to preach “hell, fire, and brimstone” all the time, but the issue of sin needs to be confronted in order for a person to have a true “conversion” experience. Sin means to miss the mark that God has for us – this is confirmed in the oft quoted Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God”. Sin is more than just breaking God’s law – though that is part of it, or the bad things that we do. Anything short of us coming to God’s glory and “mark” for our life is sin. When involved in evangelism we need to start with this issue of sin – a man will not fully comprehend why he needs the “free gift” of salvation and eternal life if we don’t first give him the “bad news” that his sin will take him to an eternity without Christ in hell.
Sin separates man from having a relationship with God (Isa 59:1, 2). All men are sinners (Rom 3:23). We are sinners because we have chosen to sin, but we are also sinners because we are born with a nature of sin – it is in us, and it is all man knows to do (Psalm 51:5). “There is none righteous, no not one” (Rom 3:10). “All we like sheep have gone astray…” (Isa 53:6). There is not a single person who does not fit into this category of “sinner”. The Bible tells us that the “wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). Mankind has “earned a wage” for his sin and that wage is death. The death being spoken of here is not merely a physical death, though that will surely come as a direct result of the nature of sin, but it is a spiritual death. Every man is born “dead” spiritually – lost in sin apart from God. IF that man does not experience a “new-birth” through Jesus Christ when he dies he will be separated from God for all eternity in hell and the lake of Fire. It is only through having a “Born Again” experience that man’s spirit is “made alive” unto God, and that He can experience a life-giving relationship with His creator (John 3:3, 7). Every man needs to be “Born again” – this only comes through personal repentance from sins and acceptance of Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the cross. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). This means that all other religions lead to hell – it is only through Jesus Christ that one can be saved from hell.
We want to try to bring people face to face with the reality that one day they will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for their lives. They will be judged according to their works, and everyone who is not written in the “Book of Life” through being Born-Again will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rom 14:10, 2 Cor 5:10, Rev 20:11-15). This should a very holy, healthy fear of God – of not wanting to displease Him.
God does not condemn man BECAUSE he is a sinner, but God condemns men because He has made a way and most men “judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life” and reject God’s provision (Acts 13:46). Men go about and try to make their own way, their own provision, which simply is NOT acceptable to God.
We cannot save everybody, but our part is to preach the Gospel – to proclaim the Good news that Jesus has come and made a provision for man to be saved. The Lord revealed to the prophet Ezekiel that he was a watchman on the wall. He needed to warn men and women who were on their way to hell, and if he did not warn them – they would go to hell, but God would require their blood at his hands. However, if the watchmen would warn them to turn from their wickedness, and they did not listen – they would go to hell, but the watchmen would be “free from the blood” of that man (Ezek 3:18-19; 33:1-9; cf. Acts 20:26-27). Therefore, our responsibility as Christians is to be “watchmen”. We have got to preach the gospel, and warn people of eternal judgment. Not all will respond, but we need to keep “our hands clean” from the blood of men (Psalms 24:4).
Perhaps the Most important reason we evangelize is because of this grave reality – the fate of the lost is an eternity away from the presence of God in the Lake of Fire. This should light a serious “fire” in our hearts to win souls to the Lord.
Come back next time for Part 2. I am still waiting for those comments and thoughts!