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News

Five Reasons I Do Not Evangelize

by Russell Carnley
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As we consider the subject of evangelism, let us think on the great commission given by Jesus Christ. "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," (Mark 16:15). These words were spoken shortly before Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. These instructions were given to the apostles about ten days before the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). It is important for us to understand that this commandment applies to us today. As Christians, our mission should be to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). But most of us fail even to try in this most important of endeavors. I myself have failed many times to keep my Lord's commandment and I am going to share with you five reasons why.
1. I am too involved in this world. That's right, I am just too busy to carry out the great commission. Jesus said "Go" and I said "No." It's not that I don't want to do it; I just simply have allowed myself to be overcome by a multitude of worldly cares. Often I work overtime, and I keep piling more and more onto my schedule until there are just no more hours in the day. What should I do? I mean, I have to make a living! Jesus gives the answer. "Therefore do not worry, saying "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you," (Matt. 6:31-33).The apostle John has warned us not to love the world nor the things of the world because these things are all to pass away (1 Jn. 2:15). And the apostle Paul exhorts us to be "redeeming the time, because the days are evil," (Eph. 5:16). It looks like I need to readjust my schedule, as well as my priorities.
2. I am too ignorant of the word. While I don't like to admit this one, nevertheless it is true. I am afraid to carry out the great commission because of my lack of Bible knowledge. Sure, I can tell someone the plan of salvation. I can even show them this in the Bible. But I can't answer all of their questions. And I feel bad when I can't respond to all of their arguments. What should I do? Well, I am just going to have to start studying. Like the fair-minded Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11). I must follow Paul's instruction to study (2 Tim. 2:15). And I must heed Peter's exhortation to be ready. "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is within you, with meekness and fear," (1 Pet. 3:15).
3. I am too inept to teach. I am just not a good teacher. I feel that my abilities fall far too short of the minimum standard required to teach another person the gospel message. Surely there is someone else who is better able to teach than I am. Why can't someone else do it? God gives us the answer. Consider the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30). The one talent man was condemned because he failed to try. If he had just put forth a little effort, the master would have understood. God doesn't expect me to do the impossible. He merely expects me to use my abilities to their fullest. He didn't accept any excuses from Moses (Exod. 4:10-12), and I'm sure He will not accept any from me either.
4. I am too indifferent to care. This is very sad, but it is true. I know my neighbor is lost without the gospel, but I feel that if he wants to be saved he'd better get busy working on it. I'm just not interested enough in his soul to concern myself with his salvation. If he doesn't care, why should I? What does Jesus say about my attitude? Consider the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). The priest and the Levite were just not interested in helping that man. They figured someone else would take care of it. It is important to realize that God is watching us all of the time. And He does care how we treat our fellow man. He will not allow my attitude of indifference into heaven. Oh how sad it will be when my friends and neighbors are all assembled before the throne of God and they say, "But Lord, this man never told me." I must work on this attitude immediately so that I might show compassion to my fellow man and loyalty to God my savior.
5. I am too irresponsible to take action. I like to consider myself mature and responsible with regard to my affairs in this life. But I simply don't feel responsible for taking the gospel to the lost. Certainly someone brought it to me, but that doesn't mean I have to return the favor, does it? How far does my responsibility go? God told the prophet Ezekiel that he was a watchman over the house of Israel. In Ezekiel 3:16-21 and 33:1-9 God explains what this means. Basically it means that if you see danger approaching you are to sound the alarm. If you do not warn the people, you are guilty of their bloodshed if they perish. I understand that without the gospel, no one has any hope of escaping eternal condemnation. I also understand that the gospel message has been given to me. I have in my possession the cure for the plague of sin. I am guilty of murder if I do not offer this remedy to those who need it so desperately.
Jesus' words in the great commission are just as powerful and authoritative today as they were when He spoke them almost 2,000 years ago. Jesus expects us to use our resources and the gifts He has given us to do His work and to glorify His name on the earth. We need to look for opportunities to speak to others about the hope that we have in Christ. We need to take advantage of the tools and resources we have which will help us in this most awesome endeavor. We must change our attitudes and our pre-conceived notions about evangelism and launch out in faith to accomplish the goal. If we will leave our excuses at home and take up our cross, God will bless our efforts abundantly (1 Cor. 15:58).