Christ commissioned every Christian to verbally share the Gospel with lost people for the purpose of winning them to Himself. As we learned in the previous chapter, deacon Philip witnessed to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:35 by verbally sharing what the Bible says about Jesus. That is God’s will for each of His children. When it comes to sharing Jesus, no believer in Christ is exempt.
Yet, in spite of Jesus’ clear commissions, numerous Christians live as though they are not responsible for sharing Jesus with lost people. Many believe that sharing Jesus is the responsibility of others—perhaps the pastor, church staff members, deacons, or Sunday school teachers, but not themselves.
I have known Christians who have sought to dismiss Jesus’ command to evangelize lost people by saying, “Evangelism is just not my spiritual gift.” But the fact is, evangelism (sharing Jesus) is never referred to in the New Testament as a spiritual gift. While the New Testament does refer to the biblical office of “evangelist” (Eph. 4:11), it never refers to the spiritual gift of evangelism. The office of evangelist refers to specific men (evangelists) that God has called to serve in an evangelistic harvest ministry through their preaching and teaching. Again, Philip, a deacon, also served in the biblical office of evangelist (Acts 21:8). But that does not mean that Philip and other God-called evangelists were the only ones commissioned by God to share Jesus with lost people.
All Christians, including all pastors, are to evangelize by verbally sharing the Gospel. The Apostle Paul commanded his favorite son in the ministry, Timothy, who served as a pastor, to fulfill his ministry by “Do[ing] the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5). Whenever Timothy preached the word of God, he was to share Jesus and call people to repent of their sins, believe in Jesus, and receive Him as Lord and Savior.
At least five times in the New Testament, Jesus commissioned, and thus commanded, all of His disciples to verbally share the Gospel with lost people. Let’s look at those commissions now.
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