It is so important to step back and refocus, to remind ourselves why we exist as a church and why do we do missions and evangelism. Why do we do what we do as a church?
As we look at evangelism over the next 4 weeks, we will look at the “what” of evangelism, the “Why” of evangelism, the “How” of evangelism and the “When” of evangelism.
Starting with the “what”
What is the story, what is the message?
The Apostle Paul was also on a mission to Rome, he was obsessed and passionate to let the people of Rome hear the Gospel message. In verse 14 we read that Paul was obligated. Actually a better translation of what Paul says, is that he is a debtor to all men. Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), and now he was appointed by God to be a mouthpiece, a herald, an evangelist, someone who was compelled to tell the good news.
Not only does he feel obligated, Paul goes on in verse 15 and 16 to say that he was eager to preach the Gospel, he was not ashamed of the Gospel.
But why would Paul be ashamed?
He had confidence in his message, and he gave us several reasons that explain why he was not ashamed.
Firstly, the Gospel was a message directly from God about the Son of God, it was not a message from any political figure or even from Cesar himself. Paul believed in the authority of the message he was declaring.
Secondly Paul refers to the Gospel message as the Power of God. God is all-powerful and here was Paul going to Rome, the seat of power of the Roman Empire, an empire that ruled by fear and terrible cruelty. But Rome was weak because of its immoral and wicked behavior. The 2nd century writer Juvenal called it a “filthy sewer into which the dregs of the empire flood.”
No wonder Paul was not ashamed: he was taking to sinful Rome the one message that had the power to change men’s lives! He had seen the Gospel work in other wicked cities such as Corinth and Ephesus; and he was confident that it would work in Rome. It had transformed his own life, and he knew it could transform the lives of others.
Do we believe in the power of the Gospel message? The Gospel message is stronger than our greatest fears, because the all-powerful God stands in the middle of the Gospel message.
Thirdly Paul was not ashamed because the Gospel message carried the power of salvation. That word “salvation” carried tremendous meaning in Paul’s day. Its basic meaning is “deliverance,” and it was applied to personal and national deliverance. The Gospel delivers sinners from the penalty and power of sin. “Salvation” is a major theme in this letter to the Romans and salvation is the great need of the human race today.
This is something that is lost in our modern day preaching and Bible teaching, so much emphasis is placed on living well, getting the most out of life, making an impact or changing society that we forget that every human being is destined for en eternity in hell, without the saving power of this Gospel message.
Paul continues in verse 17 to say; “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
The righteousness of God is the ability to be in a right standing before an all Holy God, not to be ashamed of our past, the blood of Jesus takes away all our sins and we are able to stand in the presence of God.
Paul states that this righteousness is by faith from first to last.
Salvation first, is when we repent and first asked God to forgive us of our sins, when we first applied to Gospel message to our lives,
Salvation present, is how we need the Gospel daily in our lives. We need the blood of Jesus on a daily basis, we need the Holy Spirit to enable us to live a godly life on a daily basis.
Salvation future, is the eternity that we look forward to in the presence of God.
Salvation from first to last.
You see the Gospel is not simply a message that we need to tell people when we go out on a mission trip or an evangelism event. No the Gospel is our sustenance and our hope on a daily basis. From first to last.
Do we have a passion for people? Are you painfully aware that most of the people you see in the streets every day are lost, and are heading to an eternity in hell?
We need to pray that God would give us a passion for the lost, the ability to feel a glimpse of the heart of God for the lost. If God gives us a glimpse into his heart for the lost, we like Paul will be compelled, we will be obligated, we will be eager, and we will not be ashamed of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
Let’s return to our primary objective – the purpose of the church. To declare the Gospel message to a hurting and dying world.
We do this by sharing the Gospel with our friends and neighbors, we will cover this more in the weeks to come.
The purpose of the church is to equip and send. To send people to the nations, to the places where the name of Jesus has not been heard.
“The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of missions. The nearer we get to him, the more intensely missionary we become.” Henry Martyn