I have heard it said that the mission of the church is threefold—evangelism, edification, and benevolence. I do not think this is accurate. The mission of the church is the same mission our Lord had; namely, to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10). Thus, evangelism is the mission of the Lord’s church. The church is to glorify God and seek to save mankind by the making known of the gospel of Christ. If this is the case, how does the church go about accomplishing the mission of evangelism? Based on John 1 the early disciples help us with some very important lessons.
First, they had hearts prepared to seek the Lord. In John 1 two of John’s disciples heard John say, “Behold the Lamb of God” (1:36). Upon hearing this they “followed” Jesus. They did this because of the hearts they already had prepared. If we are going to be successful at evangelism we must have the same kind of hearts. Only with prepared hearts can one begin to seek the Lord. Ezra’s prepared heart enabled him to “seek the Law of the LORD” (Ezra 7:10). A prepared heart will be more receptive to the truth.
Second, they had a burden for the lost. After Andrew found the Lord he had a burden for his own brother, Simon Peter (1:41). He had found the answer to his own spiritual condition and wanted Peter to have the same opportunity. Similarly, after the Lord found Philip, Philip in turn found Nathanael and told him about Jesus (1:45). As Godet said, “One lighted torch serves to light another.” This is the way evangelism is really effective. One person finds the Lord and that person finds another person and so the process goes.
Third, they had a sense of urgency. After Andrew found the Lord the very first thing he did was to find his brother, Simon (1:41). Andrew had what we need today to win souls—a sense of urgency. Andrew did not spend days or weeks getting about the business of sharing the good news. He immediately found his brother and “brought him to Jesus” (1:42). He knew that he needed to take advantage of the opportunity while he had the opportunity (cf. Jn. 9:4).
Fourth, they confronted people with Christ. It is true that we must use logical reasoning in our presentation of the gospel but we must not forget about the power of letting people see what Jesus means to us individually. Philip did not begin with sophistical arguments with Nathanael; he simply said: “Come and see” (1:46). May we let people see what Jesus means to us. God help us to put in action the lessons of the early disciples.
—David L. Lipe