Spread it everywhere

Spread it everywhere

Evangelism is easy... right? The call to spread the gospel gets hindered by our fear of it. The Bible makes it sound easy, it's not... so what?

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Tom Skidmore

Tom Skidmore

Thomas is a student in Sheffield studying as an undergraduate. He has been involved in children's evangelism and led youth groups over the past six years. He is a dedicated Gospel preacher and desires to see the good news of Jesus powerfully affecting the lives of young people. Tom is the kind of man who lovingly makes sarcastic comments and jokes at any moment possible. Powerful minister, funny man, great knowledge and we love him here at The Bridge. Enjoy what he has to say...

Streams

The Big Story #6: God's Church

The Big Story #6: God's Church

Rounding off our big Bible overview we look to the conclusion of the story and what we need to do to get there. God has chosen us to play a part in it, but how? What does it mean to be God's church?

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The Big Story #5: God's Son

The Big Story #5: God's Son

It all points to Him, everything that had come before, the promises, the prophecies, the people. Here we reach the climax of God's story in a person, God's son, Jesus Christ. We don't understand him until we see how he fits into what's come before.

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The Big Story #3: God's Kingdom

The Big Story #3: God's Kingdom

Look around the world and we see kings, presidents, leaders who are very much flawed. Israel had a king - God, but they wanted a human king. We look at how that worked out for God's people.

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The Big Story #2: God's People

The Big Story #2: God's People

God's story is both cosmic in scope and intimate in care, we see that as he chose to fulfil his purposes in a family. But why did God choose Abraham and the people of Israel to be the ones who would be a blessing to the whole world?

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Spread it everywhere

Is evangelism important?

Have you ever tried to explain the concept of football? It’s just kicking a ball in a goal right?

Where players have to run around a field and kick the ball in the net and stop the opposition from kicking it in our net... simple. But if it was actually that easy I could be the England captain, and England might actually do quite well. But unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case. So, easy in theory, yet so difficult in practice. Like evangelism. I have spoken on evangelism on several occasions and I am able to go into great detail on what evangelism is, why we should do it, and how we can do it.

“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

Mark 16:15

Evangelism is the announcement, proclamation and preaching of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. So easy in theory, yet seems to be so difficult in practice. But why?

Firstly I want to look at examples of evangelism found in the scriptures.  Almost immediately after meeting a woman of Samaria, Jesus invited her to receive Him and the gift He can give (John 4:10).

No beating around the bush! Jesus makes evangelism sound so easy, and that is because it is. Evangelism isn’t the issue here, we are.

With evangelism, many of us fall into the trap of waiting for and expecting results. The gospel is the most amazing piece of news that I have heard, but that's not the case for a lot of people. This means people don’t react to the gospel in the same way that I do.

When we preach the gospel to a friend, we expect them to break down into tears there and then realising the mistakes they have made, for them to join an Alpha course that week, to get baptised that month, for them to then cover themselves in hideous WWJD bracelets, and for them to go on to be dedicated missionaries in all four corners of the world. If that happened that would be sick! But it seems not to always be the case. 

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

John 15:4

We need to have a long-term view of evangelism and not expect an instant reaction; we must remain in him, trust in him and know that God has that situation in his hands. We are simply a branch in the vine which means we are not in control. Personally, not having control of a situation is terrifying, but I have learnt that I need to let God take the wheel because he is God.

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

2 Timothy 2:10

When we say, “trust that God will sort it”, what are we trusting that he will sort? We are trusting that God will connect with our peers and that the gospel message will impact upon their lives. But how can we trust that God will do that, if our friends haven’t received the gospel message? We need to man up and get ourselves into gear. Romans 10 reminds us:

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”

Romans 10:14

God doing the business does not mean we don’t try, evangelism will mean suffering, it will mean endurance and it will involve a teenager’s most dreaded word: effort. Many people fall into the mind set of “trusting in God” meaning that we sit back and watch God do the work, praying about it every now and again. In regards to evangelism, yes we are commanded to simply preach the gospel, but after that we must continue to pray for that person we have spoken to, that the message of the Gospel will stir up in their hearts and minds and that it will begin to impact upon their lives. And when we have done this, we are not to sit back; we are to continue to build relationships with our peers and continue to tell people the Gospel. ‘Remember that all your hard work is fruitless unless God chooses to use it. But he does use our efforts, so we have to make them.’ 

Another reason we don't tell people the good news of Christ is that sometimes we might feel inadequate to tell people the gospel.  Perhaps we don't live the gospel or perhaps we can't articulate the gospel clearly.  How often have we heard statements like "I won't believe in God because Christians are hypocrites", but this is the exact point of the Gospel.

“As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.””

Romans 3:10-12

The gospel exists because of our inadequacy, our sinful human nature that led to Jesus sacrificing his life for us.

This certainly, however, does not mean that it is OK for us to live rubbish Christian lives. The gospel is not there so that we can live selfish lives, the gospel is there to live by and testify to. We need to seriously look at our own lives and start living it out, because we’re damaging the message of it. Ok, so maybe those of you that do read your Bible daily, that do pray on a regular basis, and that feel that they are in a good place with God: this doesn’t exclude you from evangelism, because sharing the gospel is as much for broken people as receiving it is for broken people. As followers of Christ we are aware of our brokenness, and through the Holy Spirit are journeying out of our brokenness, but this doesn't take away from the fact that we are still sinners like the people we are speaking to.

So it is easier said than done. I should be the England captain, and England should be good, but that is simply not the case. Like football, evangelism is so simple in theory but practically we find it so difficult. We may feel inadequate, we may not like to give God the control, but the biggest mistake anyone can make in regard to evangelism is sitting back and becoming lazy.

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”

Romans 10:14

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