Should We Evangelize and Why?
Can We Do it and How?
by Pierre Bittar
February 9, 2013
Knowing that, on the one hand, Christians comprise one-third of the world population but are constantly weakened by a decreasing number of true believers and, on the other hand priests and pastors are limited in numbers, it is obvious that Christian churches are faced with an evangelization problem. Every church’s big dilemma is the choice between evangelizing or maintaining the actual parishioners’ faith. Obviously they would prefer to do both tasks, but unfortunately they do not have enough clergy.
Considering that not all Christians are believers, and only one out of every four is, we can logically conclude that each believer will have an average of three unbelievers in his family, among his relatives, and/or in his circle of friends. By motivating those lay Christians who are faithful believers and showing them the way to evangelize, the church could expect some positive achievements, and new evangelization horizons will be opened.
Churches must not underestimate the spiritual power of this silent, but large, army of God with its great evangelizing potential. Their faith is their only weapon and their power is from the Holy Spirit. They can be of great help to the church. Unfortunately, each church has its own rules and regulations in regard to such collaboration. God blesses those who preach His Word as well as those who help them and guide them to accomplish their mission.
With God’s blessing and faithful people’s good will, this article will motivate and prepare a maximum number of believers to evangelize. Because of their love and belief in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will inspire them. Through this holy mission, they will discover the beatitude which will lead them to reach the Kingdom of God.
Should We Evangelize and Why?
Can We Do it and How?
If we are Christians and believe in Jesus Christ, we must obey His command transmitted to us through the Gospel of Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.” Obeying this command is required from every believer—now more than ever before. In this time of great apostasy, where people are turning their back to God and where the number of faithful people is decreasing every day, Jesus needs the help of each one of us! And He will bless those who will serve Him as disciples in order to save God’s children from a destiny of eternal death. Because the end of time is near, evangelization or preaching the Gospel is the only way to bring back to God those apostates before it is too late.
“Can each one of us evangelize?” and “How?” will be explained through this message, but let’s first answer the question of those who doubt that the end of time is near. Their argument is that they have already heard these warnings about the end of time, but nothing has happened. They are right about that, but a careful reading of the Bible shows there are some signswhich will be given during these last days. If nothing has happened, then it is simply because those signs have yet to be revealed.
Now the situation is no longer the same. Not only do we see these signs, but their number is increasing by the day in such a way that if we go back and read Matthew 24, we have the impression that we are reading the daily news. Let’s see some of those verses and try to explain them.
Matthew 24:36, “No one knows about that day or hour….” This verse is very true, and we must not believe those who predict the date and the hour.
Matthew 24:32, “Learn a lesson from the fig tree. As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.” All end-of-time Biblical prophecies cite Israel as the keystone of their predictions. Before 1948, the state of Israel did not exist. As a matter of fact, for many centuries before Christ, the nation never had a state. The proclamation of the state of Israel in 1948 was a historic event for all the Jews. But at the same time, it was the first sign announcing the end of time, just as the fig tree twigs get tender to announce the coming of summer.
Matthew 24:7, “Nation will fight against nation. Kingdom will fight against kingdom. People will go hungry. There will be earthquakes in many places.” Let’s explain each one of the above three prophetic signs:
“Nation will fight against nation….” This is exactly what is happening in our time. Unprecedented turmoil in the Middle East, North Africa, Central Africa, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Mali, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, and North Korea is increasing in its intensity like never before.
“…People will go hungry….” Hunger’s effect on third-world countries has long been in the news, but now even the Western countries are being affected. Unemployment rates and bankruptcies, which have skyrocketed in Europe, are now climbing in the United States. The foreclosure of American homes is at an all-time high. Not only can the end of the tunnel not be seen, but we might just be entering the tunnel! No signs of any optimistic solutions can be seen on the horizon to offer us some hope.
“…There will be earthquakes in many places.” Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornados, flooding, and other natural disasters have always existed. Obviously, the earth will never be free of them. What is new is their ever-increasing frequency and intensity. A look at the ten deadliest natural disasters since 1900 reveals an average of one of the deadliest natural disasters occurring every eleven years. Their frequency has now increased to one every three years!
II am not referencing the 2011 earthquake/tsunami in Japan which killed 20,896 people nor about the two recent hurricanes, namely Katrina (1,833 dead people) and Sandy (less than a couple of hundred dead). Rather, I am speaking about some of the deadliest natural disasters which killed people by the hundreds of thousands, namely:
2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Indonesia (240,000 people died)
2008 Cyclone Nargis in Burma (138,000 people died)
2010 Haiti earthquake (316,000 people died)
Matthew 24:8, “All these are the beginning of birth pains.”
Matthew 24:9, “…All nations will hate you because of me.” That hatred is expressed by Islamic extremists around the world against all Jews and Christians. These radicals want to exterminate those who refuse to submit to their Islamic religion. Their suicide bombers are targeting churches and blowing up hundreds of Christians during their worship services. This violence is happening even now in Egypt and Iraq as well as in many African Moslem countries. The Islamic extremists are increasing in number with the goal of occupying key positions in many countries like Iran yesterday, Egypt today, and Syria tomorrow. The proliferation of weapons of mass destructions—nuclear, chemical, and biological—can destroy tens of thousands of people in a few seconds by means of long-range missiles. These missiles can reach Israel today, Europe and the USA tomorrow.
Matthew 24:12, “Because evil will grow, most people’s love will grow cold.” When our love in Jesus Christ diminishes, faith disappears. This lack of faith, which is exactly what is happening, can be identified by people’s behavior. They forego worshipping for the benefit of having fun at any price—no matter what or how. Their love of God has been transformed to an interest in evil activities which are amplified and facilitated by the use of modern communication, electronic devices like the Internet and cell phones. Because of their lack of all possible controls, parents have lost their authority over their children.
Matthew 24:13, “But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Amen! This verse brings us hope and comfort. This Scripture should encourage us to pursue our efforts on evangelizing more than ever because at the end, good always prevails.
Matthew 24:14, “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world. It will be a witness to all nations. Then the end will come.” Today, this verse is a reality thanks to modern transmission technology. Christian television channels can transmit the Gospel today, in real time, to all world countries. Millions and millions of Christians and non-Christians are daily aware of Who Jesus is—even if they do not yet all believe in Him. Besides television broadcasts, many of God’s faithful believers are using the World Wide Web to contribute, at no cost, to evangelizing all of God’s creation. While sitting behind his desk, any faithful, talented believer can reach out to all people’s hearts and souls through his talent.
This new means of evangelization opens doors to all those who are willing to help God and receive His grace in this end of time. A writer can evangelize through his writings, a witness of miracle can transmit his faith, an artist can transmit his believe in Jesus through his paintings. Many of God’s talented people will be inspired by Jesus to evangelize according to their talent. All these previously mentioned facts prove that soon all nations will be aware of God’s kingdom, and then the end will come.
There is a difference between “the end of time” and “the last days.” From the above examples, we must understand that we are living the last days which could be several years. Sixty-five years ago, the beginning of these last days started when the state of Israel was officially proclaimed in 1948. The end of time will be a terrible and terrifying time in which a global destruction will occur through a big tribulation and a nuclear World War III. Billions of people will suffer, burn, and perish before the return of Jesus Christ for the last judgment and His reign on earth. This end of time is summarized in verse Matthew 24:21, “There will be terrible suffering in those days. It will be worse than any other from the beginning of the world until now. And there will never be anything like it again.”
The good news is that between the “last days” in which we are living and “the end of time,” our merciful and fair Jesus will come from Heaven to rescue those born-again Christians who have already died, as well as those who are still alive. The Bible speaks of this great and comforting event in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17:
16“The Lord himself will come down from heaven. We will hear a loud command. We will hear the voice of the leader of the angels. We will hear a blast from God’s trumpet. Many who believe in Christ will have died already. They will rise first.
17After that, we who are [born again and] still alive and are left will be caught up together with them. We will be taken up in the clouds. We will meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with him forever.”
What these two verses describe might happen at any time now. Are we ready to be caught up in the air to meet the Lord? Or do we prefer to wait and be caught by that terrifying end of time? We can choose, if we want, to keep our heads hidden in the sand and ignore all that the Bible Says. But if we are aware of all the consequences, we better act now before it will be too late by repenting and by asking God’s forgiveness for all our sins. God always listens to sincere prayer which comes from the heart, and He will forgive. God will say to His angels in Heaven, “…Let’s have a feast and celebrate…24This son of mine was dead. And now he is alive again. He was lost. And now he is found” (Luke 15:23, 24).
To be born again, we must deserve Jesus’ grace by having a great faith in Him. However, we cannot have faith in Him unless we love Him. To love Him, we must obey and follow all His commandments, including loving our neighbor like ourself. If we know that our neighbor has turned his back on God, it is our duty to bring him back to God. If our neighbor does not know Jesus, it is up to us to help him to know Jesus. Bringing people to Christ is what evangelization is all about. If you have reached that level of understanding but you do not know how to evangelize, read about the vine and the branches taught to us by Jesus in John 15:4–17:
4“Remain joined to me, and I will remain joined to you. No branch can bear fruit by itself. It must remain joined to the vine. In the same way, you can’t bear fruit unless you remain joined to me.
5“I am the vine. You are the branches. If anyone remains joined to me, and I to him, he will bear a lot of fruit. You can’t do anything without me.
6“If anyone does not remain joined to me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and dries up. Branches like those are picked up. They are thrown in the fire and burned.
7“If you remain joined to me and my words remain in you, ask for anything you wish. And it will be given to you.
8“When you bear a lot of fruit, it brings glory to my Father, It shows that you are my disciples.
9“Just as the Father has loved me, I have loved you. Now remain in my love.
10“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. In the same way, I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
11“I have told you this so that my joy will be in you. I also want your joy to be complete.
12“Here is my command. Love each other, just as I have loved you.
13“No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends.
14“You are my friends if you do what I command.
15“I do not call you servants anymore. Servants do not know their master’s business. Instead I have called you friends. I have told you
everything I learned from my Father.
16“You did not choose me. Instead, I chose you. I appointed you to go and bear fruit. It is fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in my name.
17“Here is my command. Love each other.”
I would like humbly to share the effect of the above verses on my life. Although I was gifted from God with an artistic talent, I never counted on myself to become successful. I was solely counting on Jesus. Inspired by the above verses, I have added to my daily prayer this short prayer: “Dear Jesus, keep my branch attached to Your vine and fill me with Your wisdom.” As a result, I produced a lot of successful paintings (fruits) which brought to my life a lot of happiness and prosperity.
In addition, when I wanted to share my faith by evangelizing and I did not know how to do it, God commissioned me to paint the “Life of Our Lord” on 14 large size canvases (80"x60") and asked me to write for each painting all its related verses from the Old and the New Testaments. Then God asked me to translate all those related verses into 17 languages and launch them with their corresponding paintings images on my website.
One year later I had received over 50,000 visits from over 3,000 cities out of 138 countries around the world. I never expected to be evangelizing so many people from so many countries in such a short time! All the glory belongs to God Who answered my prayer, kept my branch attached to His vine, and filled me with His wisdom which inspired me to fulfill His will.
The above vine and branches verses are very powerful. They should be read with a lot of thought and humility, and you will see, if you apply them in your daily life, you will obtain amazing and unexpected results.
If you still do not believe that you can evangelize, look at Jesus’ apostles as well as the hundreds of His followers who, during His short ministry, became His disciples and spread His teachings to all surrounding nations. These disciples did not study theology; most of them were simple, uneducated people. What is their secret and how did they evangelize so successfully? The answer is in one word: “FAITH.” They had faith in Jesus because they saw His miracles, and they were always attached to Him like branches attached to their wine.
You might say, “Yes, but they had Jesus and were witnessing His miracles.” All this is true, and though we do not have Jesus today, we have a record in the Gospels of all His miracles. We can read the Bible like a story to our children or to those who need to be evangelized. Remember also that Jesus sent to us His Holy Spirit to help us and inspire us. We must remember that we are not alone because we have asked Him to keep our branches attached to His mighty vine.
If you sincerely wish to help Jesus in this time of great apostasy to bring His lost sheep to Him by evangelizing those around you, He will help you and bless you. With Jesus’ help, you can do it! Don’t worry about how or when. The above verses will strengthen your faith and give you the courage to pray to God and ask Him to help you find the way to preach His Word. Remember that you are asking God for a good deed, and He will never ignore your request.
Satan will certainly put doubts in your mind, including, “You cannot do it; you are too old, your health or handicap won’t allow you,” or “You are powerless,” or “You have no financial means,” or “You are not capable,” or “You do not have enough education to convince others,” and so on. All of Satan’s doubts which come to your mind have only one goal: to weaken and destroy your faith. Don’t let Satan demolish your faith; you have power over Satan if Jesus is with you! When doubt comes into your mind, invoke Jesus’ name in a loud voice and command Satan, with authority, to leave you alone. Say something like “In the name of Jesus and with His authority, I order you, Satan, to go away! I am with the Lord, and you have no business here.”
You will be amazed how quickly and how easily you will be able to evangelize—if you put your total trust in Jesus. He is our God, our Creator, and our Father; and He wants to be our friend. He said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.”
Jesus knows our potential more than we can know it ourselves. He knows what talent you have even if you think that you have no talent. His Holy Spirit will help you explain His Gospel. He will use you to write—even if you have no experience in writing. He will use your strong faith by helping you to communicate it to others.
If you have experienced some miracles in your life or have witnessed a miracle, share it with others. If you were convinced, you can convince. The best way to evangelize is to transmit your faith in Jesus to others. The Holy Spirit will help you. Just trust in Him, and you will be the first to know what to do and how to do it—no matter how complex your mission might appear to you. God will help you and baptize you with His Holy Spirit so you will be born again. Jesus will guide you because you want to evangelize by preaching His Gospel. The Gospel is also called the “good news” because it announces to all nations that in spite of their iniquities, they can be saved if they believe in Him.
May God bless you and keep you attached to His great vine so you can gather those lost sheep and bring them back to Jesus Christ our God and Savior Who deserves all the glory. Amen.
The above article may be freely published and transmitted to others through magazines, newspapers, bulletins, etc. Feel free to email it to your family, friends, and parishioners. Please feel free to use this article as your way of evangelizing. Jesus loves you and thanks you.