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Biblical Expectations for Faithful Evangelists

Expectations can cause a prospective evangelist to either soar with hope or be deflated with doubt.

Too often, when evangelism expectations are unchallenged, a well-intentioned Christian can be left with a bridled tongue rather than proclaim His name.

A biblical perspective on success is influenced by one important factor.

Original sin.

The spiritual condition of an unbeliever causes many to respond to the verbal proclamation of the gospel with polite indifference, solemn disinterest, or sometimes an angry rejection.

Without this understanding, most Christians will struggle to process disappointment and discouragement that often comes from personal evangelism.

What is original sin?

The Bible teaches that all people have inherited sin from Adam and Eve and are born spiritually dead. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can lost souls receive eternal life. Therefore, a Christian cannot always expect to receive an encouraging or a positive response from an unbeliever. It is like asking a dead person to laugh at a joke. It’s impossible. All souls are born spiritually dead because of original sin.

Faith is a miracle that can only happen through the power of God’s Word.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

John 11:25-26

The Power of the Word

The same power of the Word that brings faith and life also works in Christians to proclaim the Word.

Evangelists are vessels or tools that God uses to proclaim His Word. In the same way a hammer cannot pound a nail by itself or a saw cannot cut wood on its own, Christians must rely on a power source outside of their own to work what they were created to do.

Evangelists are message-senders, not miracle workers. They are representatives of the King who bring a message of pure foolishness to hearts that are fully attached to the comfort and securities of the world. They are like an ambassador from a small country approaching a powerful nation and delivering them terms of surrender. They are laughed at, mocked, and not taken seriously until it’s too late.

When Christians understand the state of the unbeliever, they can rest their expectations solely on the role God has given them. True success is based on a delivery of the message, not how a person responds to the message.

Faithful evangelists can place their expectations on God’s promises to provide them with the power, love, and self-discipline (2 Tim. 1:7) to actively proclaim the gospel.

Here are five reasons why evangelists can expect negative responses from unbelievers:

  1. By nature, unbelievers are blind to things spiritual. They cannot be convinced by their own reason to trust in God’s promises.
  2. By nature, unbelievers are enemies of God and everything that stands for God. They cannot comprehend the depth of God’s wrath and grace.
  3. By nature, unbelievers are dead spiritually. We cannot shake a person awake from spiritual slumber or splash them awake with an icy cold bucket of Truth.
  4. By nature, unbelievers consider God’s message foolishness. The gospel is too good to be true, they are not worthy of God’s love, or they cannot fathom the consequences of their sins.
  5. By nature, unbelievers are helpless and unwilling to change their condition. They stubbornly resist God’s help and have purposefully set out to be righteous on their own.

A seasoned evangelist will expect negative responses from unbelievers. Rejection, frustration, or discouragement are a part of proclaiming the gospel. Equipped with a biblical perspective and resting on God’s promises, they can detach themselves emotionally from the work and concentrate solely on being a faithful messenger.

Expectations are not based on how people respond to their message, but on how they respond to the opportunities God gives to proclaim the message.

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