The Difficulty of Evangelism

So, last week we looked at "The Ease of Evangelism." Hopefully you read that, agreed with it, and were encouraged. Now we'll discuss briefly why evangelism is difficult. 

Of, course the way God has created us will play into how we generally interact with people. Some people are more extroverted and speaking to or even interacting with other people is easier than for more introverted folks.

Yet, while it may seem easier to extroverted folks, why is it still that so few people seem to regularly give the evangel to people? I mean when Bill Bright surveyed people several years ago, he found that only roughly two percent of Christians regularly shared their faith. That’s across the Extrovert/Introvert board. I don’t think that has gotten any better. It may even be worse. So, why is it?

It's spiritual. We as Christians can slide to different extremes on the issue of spiritual warfare. On one side we can be over obsessed with it. We can get so focused that we blame outside spiritual forces of wickedness for every problem in our life and the world. The other extreme is to disregard the possibilities of spiritual forces of wickedness influencing anything in life. Especially as Christians. Balance is essential. The Bible gives us the balance.

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” - Ephesians 2:1-3

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. - Ephesians 6:10-12

You see that I underlined “world”, “prince of the power of the air”, and “flesh”. You may have heard these three terms classically called, “The world, the flesh, and the devil.” Friends these are the three great enemies that wage spiritual war against us every time we seek to give the evangel. They are quite literally the unholy trinity. We will be in a battle with all three of these forces every time we evangelize.

Now, we could do in depth word studies on each of these and it is a profitable endeavor for sure. However, for this blog we’ll take a relatively brief but informative look at each of these topics.

The “world” is not the physical world. This is the world system made up by sinful man who is unregenerate, rebellious, and on the wide road to destruction. It is the world where we are pilgrims not permanent residents. Where we are in but no longer of.

The “flesh” is not our physical body. The flesh is the old man we are to daily reckon dead. It is the sin nature we’ve been freed from by Christ that still seeks to enslave us. It is the creature we used to be that has been supplanted by the new creation we are in Christ. Yet while dead and supplanted like a tenacious zombie it shambles alongside us still.

The “devil” of course is rightly known as his minions. Those “the rulers”, “authorities”, “cosmic powers over this present darkness”, and “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”. None of us are likely important enough to draw his powerful yet limited gaze and attention. But surely, we are under attack whenever possible by his forces. They seek to draw us back into the fleshly activities of this world’s system. To abandon the word of God and His commands for those the majority of those around us willfully submit to. Those walking the wide road to destruction.

So, every time you think about in some way giving the evangel to someone you get attacked. And the attacks often seem nothing like attacks. It will often be like questioning thoughts in your head. You know, you’ll tell yourself, “I shouldn’t bother this person. He seems…” Fill in the blank. Or you say, “This really isn’t an appropriate time or place.” Or “They’re probably busy. They don’t have time to talk.” Or “I really don’t know what to say, how to break the ice, how to approach this.” Or countless other seemingly kind, reasonable, or respectable reasons not to open our mouth, hand out a tract, or stand with a sign, etc.

Of course, sometimes the time or place isn’t right. But we cannot make the exception the rule when the rule is from God to proclaim the evangel to all of creation (Mrk. 16:15, Luk. 24:47).

Sometimes it is more easily identified. Sometimes you’re just openly frozen in fear. You just lock up and can’t seem to move. Again, the scriptures say this very clearly and without ambiguity.

“The fear of man lays a snare,” A snare is a trap. What does a trap do? It locks you in place. It freezes you. You may even be able to flounder around giving what sound like good reasons why you’re frozen in place. But frozen you are.

The key is that all the scenarios are from fear of man. We may excuse the fear but when you see someone and would never have a problem walking up to them to give them something that would surely make them happy and thank you, like giving away hundred dollar bills (shoot some people make YouTube careers doing that kind of thing), but you won’t offer them a gospel tract, or try to engage a spiritual conversation, know that you withhold from them the greatest possible gift ever in the gospel and it isn’t love that does so, it is fear.

And yes, I have it too. I freeze up. The excuses run through my mind. The failure is far too often. It never ends, because the world, the flesh, and the devil always stand opposed to the saving law and gospel truth of God. But recognizing it helps lessen it. Ray Comfort reminds us, we need to let our love for God and the lost overpower our fear of man. Which of course Ray got from the Bible.

“…but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” - Proverbs 29:25  

If we fear God the perfect love of God will cast out all other fear. Not all at once and not completely this side of glory. But it will start to happen. And love for God inspires and empowers love for our neighbor. And when we love someone, we’re willing to be a little afraid or even a lot if we love them enough to want the very best for them. And of course, the very best for them is everlasting life. And they’ll never have everlasting life without receiving the evangel that only we have. Again, the scripture makes this very clear.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”…” So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” - Romans 10:14-15, 17    

I could of course go on and on as the Bible is full of exhortation to proclaim the gospel. I do want you to know without doubt that evangelism never fails no matter how hard or fearful a thing it is. So, I am also including a link here to a video I made some time ago. I even made it in DVD format to give away if someone needs it in that form. I call it, “Evangelism Never Fails – The Sufficiency of God’s Word in Evangelism.” Here is the link.

It isn’t a course on evangelism. It isn’t even focused on methodology. It is a single forty-minute teaching to encourage saints to share God’s amazing good news. I pray it does.

So, evangelism is easy and it is difficult. But above all that it is commanded and it, the evangel, is the only thing that can save lost sinners. If we love them, we’ll tell them. To the glory of God and for the good of their souls! God bless us all as we do!