Charles Spurgeon once said, ““Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” As harsh as his words may be, the truth of this statement should cause us all to evaluate the faith that we profess. When we are passionate about something or someone, we have no problem telling the world about it.
When our team wins the championship, we proudly bring the game up to anyone that will listen. When we are in love, we look for opportunities to talk about our relationship. If we see a great movie, have a wonderful meal, or enjoy a particular hobby, we freely tell others about our experiences. It is human nature to tell people about the things that we love.
Strangely, this truth seems extremely disconnected when it comes to many professing believers in Christ. There are those that claim to love Jesus and they faithfully attend church most every Sundays. But when it comes to evangelism or proclaiming the Gospel to others in their lives, they are completely silent.
If it is true that we easily tell people about the things that we love, why is it that so many who claim to be Christians have no desire to proclaim the Gospel to others in their lives?This should cause us to think hard about the words of Spurgeon.
The great German theologian Martin Luther said of the Christian and evangelism, “If he have faith, the believer cannot be restrianed. He breaks out. He confesses and teaches this Gospel to the people at the risk of his life.”
Leonard Ravenhill once said, “America is not dying because of the strength of humanism but the weakness of evangelism.” If the marching orders of Christ given through the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 is for all believer to go and preach the Gospel to all creation, then why are so many satisfied to merely attend church once a week with no concern for telling others of Christ? Is this not the apex of disobedience?
If we have no evangelistic heart to be about the mission of Christ and to tell others about the God who saved us, are we truly Christians? Do we have the same zeal for evangelism as did the examples of Godly men we see in the scriptures as well as historically? Or have some molded a form of Christianity carries no weightiness to it?
“My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long” Psalm 71:15.
Is it possible to be saved without posessing a deep desire to tell the world about Christ? Or does a person’s lack of evangelism expose them as imposters to the faith? As with anything pertaining to life and Godliness, we must let scripture be our authority in answering these questions.
“I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other. So because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of My mouth!” Revelation 3:15-16.
In college all of my friends would gather to watch the Alabama football games together. I had a friend named Josh who claimed to be an Alabama fan like the rest of us. However, Josh was always indifferent to how the team did that season. If they won, his emotions never got past merely saying, “That’s great.” And if Alabama lost, he was not despondent like the rest of us. It was really no big deal.
Truth be told, Josh claimed to be an Alabama fan, but he could have cared less about football, much less how the team actually played. Josh wasn’t hot with passion when they won. And he wasn’t so cold as to say he wasn’t a fan. He was merely lukewarm. And in being lukewarm, he really wasn’t a fan at all. It was an empty profession.
In Revelation 3:15-16, Jesus is speaking to the church in Laodicea. It was a church with a profession very similar to Josh. They claimed to love Christ, but were lukewarm when it came to their passion. They were enamored with worldly pursuits such as wealth and material possessions. They claimed to love Jesus with their mouth, but proved that they were indifferent to Him with their lives.
The term ‘lukewarm Christian’ has been greatly misused as a way to describe someone who professes to love Christ but does not live for Him. Preachers have coined this term ‘lukewarm Christian’ in an attempt not to scare anyone, but instead gently prompt them to take their faith more seriously. But this is not the Biblical picture we see in Revelation at all.
Jesus says of this lukewarm church that He would rather spit them out of his mouth. When we spit something out of our mouths, it is because it is extremely displeasing. When my wife and I have attempted to give liquid medicine to our two year old daughter Haven, she will immediately spit it out of her mouth. She hates the taste and wants no part of it.
Jesus uses this same picture describing someone who is lukewarm in their faith. If we are not on fire for the Gospel, then we must see ourselves as lukewarm. It is impossible to love Christ and not have a burning desire to tell people about Him. There is no such thing as a lukewarm Christian. Consider the words of the prophet Jeremiah;
“But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9.
Sadly evangelism is a scary word to some within the church. The thought of sharing Christ or telling someone about the reason for the faith that lies within is the last thing they would ever want to do. But this was not the case with Jeremiah. He could no more cease to speak of God than he could prevent the sun from rising.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15.
To be sure, fear of talking to unbelievers about Jesus is very common. The disciples were closer to Jesus than anyone, yet after He was crucified, they didn’t run out to tell everyone that Jesus was the Messiah. Rather, they hid inside an upper room. They professed love for Christ, but didn’t want to be associated with Him for fear of rejection and persecution.
However, after Christ appeared to them in the upper room in His glorified state, their fear was replaced with a passion to evangelize. What was it that transformed these cowardly men who were afraid into fearless evangelist who were not only willing to openly preach the Gospel, but even to die for it?
It was that they finally saw Jesus for who He is. Savior, redeemer, and sovereign Lord of all. The crux of our problem regarding the lack of evangelism within the church centers around the knowledge of God. The more a person begins to delve into a study of the attributes of God such as His sovereignty, His omniscience, His immutability, and more, fear is replaced with passion. Indifference to evangelism is replaced by an urgency to proclaim the Gospel.
This is not to say that every Christian is called to be able to preach an eloquent sermon from the pulpit. Not all are preachers, not all are teachers. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, the body is made up of believers with differing gifts (1 Corinthians 12)
But evangelism comes in many forms. If we are truly passionate about the Gospel, then the topic will be a natural overflow into our conversations. Furthermore, all Christians are called to be priests in a sense. And a priest is one that proclaims the message of the Gospel to others in their lives (1 Peter 2:9).
It is absurd for a Christian to believe that he or she can merely live a life worthy of the Gospel without speaking of it. Good news is not something we live out, but rather something we tell others about. Only through our evangelism will the lost be saved.
“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?” Romans 10:14.
Hear the passion for evangelism within the words of Paul;
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24.
How startling is this statement? Paul considered all other pursuits in his life to be worthless when placed up against his passion for evangelism.
All things when compared to His passion for Christ were seen as worthless. No doubt Paul had things that he loved. He had very dear friends and like every man, even hobbies that he enjoyed. It is quite possible Paul had a love for working with his hands, as he was a tent maker by trade.
But Paul did not live for these things. His earthly passions couldn’t compare with his desire to preach the Gospel and tell others about Christ. His only goal in life was to testify the good news of God’s grace.
The question is, can we say the same today?
What would your family say was the overriding passion in your life? Would it be your hobbies? Your favorite sports team? Your family and friends? Or would they say that the love that predominantly shined brightest in your life was your love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ? It is no sin to have things in this world that we love and enjoy. The question is, do these other things surpass our love of Christ.
A great preacher once said that the thing which a person speaks the most of is their God. Are there things in your life that you are more passionate about than the Gospel of Jesus Christ? If so, repent of your lukewarm profession. When we truly grasp our hopeless state before God, that we were deserving of Hell due to the smallest of sins, yet Christ took our place, indifference becomes impossible.
When we rightly understand what Christ has done for us and we begin to grasp His grace, evangelism is not viewed as a duty, but a delight. We speak boldly of the things that we love. Does your profession of Christ reflect the passion within your heart? Or as Spurgeon said, does your lack of desire to speak of Christ expose you to be an impostor?
In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus speaks of a people who will stand before the Lord professing their love and allegiance to Him. Yet Jesus says to these religiously lukewarm people who had no true heart for Him, “Depart from me, I never knew you (Matt. 7:21-23).” The term ‘Lukewarm Christian‘ is an oxymoron. The two words themselves are a complete contradiction. Because a true Christian has only one temperature; passionately hot.
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and strength (Matt 22:36). The implications of this are staggering. This is to say that the love of God is the preeminent passion of our lives. It is a love that surpasses hobbies, sports team allegiances, friends, and even family. And I say again, the things that we are the most passionate about in life are the things that we love with all of our heart, mind and strength.
It is only possible to be hot or cold for Christ. There is no such thing as a lukewarm Christian. And our desire to proclaim the Gospel and be that royal priesthood to others in our lives can be a perverbal thermometer in measuring our spiritual temperature. A Christian that keeps quiet and speaks not of His Savior is a contradiction.
Evangelism is one of the greatest gifts given to followers of Christ. It is an opportunity to speak freely of the great desire which resides in our hearts. But in order to do this, we must let our love for God press us deeply into attaining the knowledge of God. And the more we know of Him, the greater our fire for evangelism will burn. As Paul wrote, let us not be ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God to save (Romans 1:16).
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.” Isaiah 12:4.
**Passing out evangelistic tracs is also a great way to evangelize. One of the best I’ve seen is one called “Don’t Stub Your Toe.” You can preview this trac for yourself and also order if interested. Ive placed links below.