Diligence In Evangelism
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” -1 Corinthians 15:58
Diligence is a foundational spiritual principle throughout the Scriptures. Where diligence is displayed in attending to God’s will, whatever that may be, God will abundantly reward. On the other hand, God never honors inconsistency, apathy, and a lukewarm commitment.
Psalm 119:4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
Few today consider evangelism as a command, nonetheless, the Scriptures never present active evangelism as an option, but rather, a spiritual obligation (Mark 16:15). Biblical faith simply takes God’s Word as it is, God’s mind to humanity, and acts on it accordingly and consistently. Thus, no one can claim to have true faith apart from a diligent spirit.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Over the years, I’ve been associated with dozens of men who have been willing to go, to preach evangelistically for a season, yet over time lacked a steadfast spirit. Why is this? The cause is obvious: they failed to be established in truth and display diligence in their obedience. Here, in this post, I want to touch on the four elements that constitute diligence in evangelism, for without it we will never overcome sure opposition and bring forth eternal and lasting fruit.
FIRST, WE MUST HAVE A REVELATION
Lament. 3:51 Mine eye affecteth mine heart…
We will not display diligence in Biblical evangelism on the vision and burden of someone else. All acceptable spiritual service flows from a burdened heart. However, like theProphet Jeremiah proclaimed: it is our spiritual sight that affects our heart. In the Bible sight represents perception. When we rightly see, then we will be rightly affected and influenced. Like Moses, we must see our burning bush to realize the call of deliverer. Like David, we must go down to the battle in the valley and see the blaspheming giant, so we might say, “is there not a cause” and like our Lord Jesus Christ, we must look upon Jerusalem and weep. We must see our obligation to follow our Lord in evangelism.
“We are debtors to all the world. We are called to warn everyone, to exhort everyone, if by any means we may save some.” -John Wesley
It is God that grants us such revelation.
Job 34:32 That which I see not teach thou me…
Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.
Nevertheless, such revelation does not come without grave moral responsibility.
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
If we testify that we have seen and that we do know, then we must go. If we do not go, then we brazenly and willfuilly, according to our own confession, sin and sin against the light. Moreover, we must not expect many to understand such a burden or agree with the raw zeal of such endeavors. If many would see then many would be going, but few go, irrefutably revealing that few indeed see. This will help us to identify with the divine frustration of God…
Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
This is what prompted Jesus to lament…
Matthew 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few…
If we will maintain the right perception, then our burden will increase, grow, and mature, rather than diminish. Yet, it is the diligence in our obedience which proves we possess spiritual vision.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
I believe God has spoken to us: He has pointed out our calling and singled out a specific place. Somewhere to go, someone to confront, and somewhere to proclaim. Moreover, He desires we continue to go, continue to confront, and continue to proclaim regardless the response or difficulties. The question is, will we go and will we continue to do so?
WE MUST HAVE CONVICTION
Psalm 119:33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
We will not be diligent in Biblical evangelism apart from heart conviction. We live amongst a generation of church-goers without conviction. The culture of today’s church-world is filled with the weak, the effeminate, and the vacillating. Few know where they stand: how can we fight the good fight of faith if we’re not sure what the battle is? Men are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Spiritual gimmicks, gadgets, and fads are at an all time high. You can meet a man one day and suppose he believes one thing, but see him next year, he believes another. However, God calls us to be men of conviction. We need to be convinced: convictions are what men die for. If we are convicted/convinced in God’s way/method of Biblical evangelism we will show diligence.
2 Tim. 3:14-15 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
It is the Word of God that builds faith: hence, we must believe, study, and know our Bible. Furthermore, the conviction that God commands, should be the only inspiration that we need to be diligent. Our primary motive in going must not be merely souls, but for God and His glory.
Col. 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men….
Jesus warned us to avoid rejoicing in success.
Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
We may never see multitudes saved, but will we continue?
Habakkuk 3:17-18 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
WE MUST BE DISCIPLINED
Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Discipline and diligence go hand in hand. Without discipline there can be no discipleship. Again, ours is a soft generation, but God calls us to a life of diligence.
1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin…
Amazingly, today’s church believes to take an afternoon to preach open-air is a sacrifice. Consider for a moment: there are 168 hours in a week subtract 60 hours for sleep (nearly 8 hours a night). Subtract 40 hours for work, another 15 hours to eat (45 min. per meal) and 10 hours for church attendance, 12 hours for devotions = 31 hours, or over 4 hours a day of raw free time.
If we merely tithed on this we would have nearly 3 hours a week to make evangelism our diversion.
2 Tim. 2:3-4 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Every sphere of the Christian life demands discipline. We cannot walk by feelings or emotions, we must be governed by God’s Word: this is an act of consecration by the will in faith. Whatever we refuse to commit to we will eventually fail to do. We must commit to be faithful in prayer, Bible study, church participation, and likewise, evangelism.
2 Thes. 3:13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
By experience we’ve learned, if we don’t have a time for prayer, we won’t pray. Evangelism is very much like this; it is a discipline, a way of life. If we don’t plan to evangelize, we will rarely do so. We cannot wait for the spontaneous, or even the inspirational. We must, in naked faith, act on God’s Word. If the local church would establish corporate evangelism outreaches this would help the sheep by providing discipleship and accountability.
AND FINALLY, GOD’S GRACE IS ESSENTIAL
2 Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work…
Apart from grace we can do nothing and Jesus is our source of grace.
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Our relationship with Jesus is paramount and this cannot be overemphasized. We’ll never maintain a proper jealousy for God’s glory and a zeal for souls without a passionate relationship with Jesus. Once a man leaves the altar of relationship, everything else begins to crumble. Remember the words of the wise man…
Proverbs 24:30-33 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep…
Only by grace have we seen our obligation, and only by grace will we fulfill that call.
Sayings & Portraits of John Wesley.