2013-07-22: What is the Goal of Evangelism?

Questions and Answers of the day.

What is the Goal of Evangelism?

Evangelism is a word used to describe the different ways God uses us, along with His Word and Spirit, to transform unbelievers into people whose great delight in life is to know and trust in him. Therefore, under God, our goal in evangelism is to be his instruments in creating new people who delight in God through Jesus Christ and who thus bring us great joy. There is no escape: if we, by God's grace, are successful in evangelism we will be happier. Our joy in God will be increased. Does this imply that we are only out to get notches on our fishing pole that we can boast about without really caring for the other person's good? No! It is that person's infinite and eternal welfare that makes us happy. The only boasting we care for is in the glorious grace of God. He is at work in us and in the new convert to make us gradually into the kind of people who love God more and who, therefore, will inevitably make each other glad.

Do we not admire people who have the virtues we value most? And is not admiration a tremendous pleasure? (Witness how people love to cheer and talk about their heroes). Can you not then feel a desire kindling in your heart for God to use you to create out of unbelievers people who have the virtue you value the most—a joyful trust in God? It is a tragic thing to let so many people go on without admiring God. We could be enjoying their worship of God instead of lamenting the dishonor they do to him.

So evangelism is not necessarily aimed at people we like; it is aimed to create people we like—people we admire for their love of God. Evangelism is done in the hope of creating new people whom it will be a pleasure to be with because they admire most the one we admire most. There is every reason for a Christian Hedonist to bear witness to his faith and thus be like the Apostle John in his first letter, who said, “we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:4).

When does God refuse to hear our prayers?

God sees, hears and knows everything—including our prayers. Nothing escapes his attention. Why then did God say he would not listen to the people’s cries for help? There are several possible reasons.

In this case, God did not respond because judgment was unavoidable. Judah had disobeyed God’s laws and ignored his pleas for so long that judgment was, in effect, already on the way. Their cries were too little, too late. God even told Jeremiah not to pray for the people (see  Isaiah 14:11-12 )—that not even Moses and Samuel could have persuaded him to offer further compassion to them (see  Isaiah 15:1 ).

It’s also possible that people sometimes sabotage their own prayers. The Bible mentions several attitudes and actions that can short-circuit our prayers: sin (see  Psalms 66:18;  Isaiah 59:2 ;  Jeremiah 14:10-12 ) , disobedience (see  Proverbs 28:9 ), hypocrisy and insincerity (see  Isaiah 29:13 ;  Malachi 1:7-9 ), wrong motives (see  Matthew 6:5-6 ;  Luke 18:11-14 ;  James 4:3 ), lack of faith ( Hebrews 11:6 ;  James 1:6 ) and even marital problems (see  1 Peter 3:7 ).

Finally, what sometimes appears to be no answer to prayer may actually be a delayed answer (see  Daniel 10:12-13 ). Other times God may deny our request in order to give us something better than what we knew to ask for.