The Scriptures teach that all mankind is born spiritually dead because of the curse of death given to Adam when he sinned by breaking God’s law in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, all mankind is completely unable and unwilling to obtain God’s salvation from the guilt, shame, and power of sin. Such a salvation can be found only in Jesus Christ, who is God’s eternal Son, but many people dead in their sins do not know who Christ is and how he is the salvation of all who come to him by faith. Therefore, one great privilege and duty of all who follow Christ as his disciples must always be to tell others of the hope which they themselves have found in Jesus. This communication of the gospel message to dead sinners is typically called ‘evangelism,’ and the methods by which disciples of Jesus try to reach them is commonly called ‘outreach.’
The primary means of outreach to which any believer in Christ must be committed is the local church. Here, in the worship of God, a guilty sinner can hear of the perfect righteousness of Christ that is freely offered to everyone regardless of how wicked they may be. In the worship of God, an individual gripped by the power of sin can hear of King Jesus and his great defeat of sin when he rose from the dead. In the worship of God, lost and lonely sinners can hear of Jesus, the friend of sinners, and how he willingly bore the shame of a painful death on the cross for their sake. God has established the church as the means whereby he reveals to this dead world the greatness of his wisdom and power, and the glory of his grace displayed in Jesus his Son (Ephesians 3:10, 21).
In addition to the local church and its regular preaching ministry, the Scriptures teach that all believers in Christ must live holy lives which attract outsiders to Christ (I Peter 2:9-12). These lives are to be accompanied with wise and gracious words, which explain the gospel in simple terms so that those unfamiliar with the Bible and its teachings may understand why believers live the way they do (I Peter 3:15). Gracious words must then be accompanied with kind actions revealing a heart of love towards all people. Believers are to be hospitable, good citizens, patient when wronged, and providing practical care to the needy (James 2:14-17, I Peter 2:17-19, I Peter 4:8-11). All of these actions and attitudes constitute outreach and evangelism.
Motivation for such work comes from knowing Jesus as one’s Shepherd. A Shepherd who sought his sheep when it was lost and brought it home rejoicing (Luke 15:4-6). A Shepherd who wept over his people when they refused to acknowledge him as their Saviour (Matthew 23:37). A Shepherd who continues to gently and patiently guide and protect each of his sheep all the time (Psalm 23:1ff). When a believer meditates on such a Shepherd, he/she will be motivated to seek the lost and to pray for opportunities to reach out to those who are still dead in their sins.
If you are a disciple of Christ eager to serve him in outreach and evangelism, come and worship with us. Come and learn Jesus Christ himself, by hearing him speak to you through the preached word of God. How else can you hope to shepherd others and be motivated to do so, without first meditating on Jesus? Then having worshipped God and having your soul fed by Jesus, go forward and evangelise those yet in their sins by means of the ways listed above. May the Lord be with you as you do so, and may he bless your efforts so that many will come to know him by your witness.