Friday, April 04, 2008

Catching A Vision For Evangelism

CATCHING A VISION FOR EVANGELISM

(Healthy Habits by Luis Palau, June 2001)

 

 At the end of World War II, Robert Woodruff declared, “In my

generation it is my desire that everyone in the world have a

taste of Coca Cola.” Talk about vision!

 

Today Coca Cola is sold from the deserts of Africa to the

interior of China. Why? Because Woodruff motivated his colleagues

to reach their generation around the world for Coke.

 

How big is your vision? Have you ever dreamed about what God

could do through you to help win the world in our generation to

Jesus Christ? After all, as Oswald Smith said, the only

generation that can reach this generation is our generation.

 

Even though the Lord limited His own public ministry to the

Palestine area, He came and lived and died for the whole world.

After His resurrection He commissioned His disciples to “make

disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19) He sent them as His

ambassadors first to Jerusalem, then to all Judea and Samaria,

and ultimately to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

 

Those first-century Christians were hesitant to dream about

how God would fulfill Christ’s last commands. The apostle Paul

challenged their complacency by devoting his life after his

conversion to traveling and proclaiming Christ.

 

Paul explained his vision for evangelism in Romans 15. First,

he could report, “From Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum,

I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.” (Romans 15:19)

Even his enemies admitted that Paul had saturated entire

provinces with the Gospel (Acts 19:26) and had turned the world

upside down (Acts 17:6).

 

Paul was not content to saturate one small area with the

Gospel at the expense of the rest of the world. He had a strategy

for reaching the entire Roman Empire. “But now that there is no

more place for me to work in these regions [Jerusalem to

Illyricum], and since I have been longing for many years to see

you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain.” (Romans 15:23-24)

 

Paul went on to explain his itinerary. In his mind he

visualized every major city he would stop at on his way to Rome.

He longed to win the people of this influential capital city to

Christ -- just as I long to see key cities around the world hear

the voice of God. But beyond Rome, Paul ultimately wanted to

reach the entire known world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Like Paul, as God’s ambassadors our vision should be “to win

as many people as possible to Jesus Christ throughout the world.”

That is part of my evangelistic association’s statement of vision

and reason for existence. Following the example of Paul, we

actively and aggressively seek to evangelize the masses from city

to city using every means possible.

 

Evangelism is not an option in the Christian life. Paul

admitted, “When I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am

compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”

(1 Corinthians 9:16) Whether by preaching or praying, traveling

around the globe or speaking to those next door, we should all

have a part in winning the world to Jesus Christ.

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