Preach the Gospel At All Times?
More than likely you have heard the oft repeated quote attributed to, but not proven to be from, St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.”
Part of this quote is helpful but the application of the quote is detrimental and disobedient to the commands of Christ. Evangelism is the great omission of many Christians.
Are our lives to be a living testimony to Christ? Absolutely. All of your life is on display and much of your life is before others. What you do, how you act, and how you respond are all signposts to what you love.
A tree is recognized by its fruits — likewise a Christian is quickly recognized by his pattern of living (see Luke 6:43-45). Your holiness matters to God because your life is designed to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
But, does that mean that we can and should witness to the world with our lives?
Good News Must Be Heard
Paul in Romans 10:17 (ESV) says this, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” The only way a sinner will ever come to savingly know and trust Jesus Christ is by hearing or reading the word of Christ. Faith comes through hearing the good news of the gospel.
And like all news announcements, good news requires announcing! May we refuse to buy the comfortable-Christian belief that we are meant to solely witness with our lives. Why? Because many unbelievers can be good workers, nice friends, happy family members, and upstanding neighbors.
But moral uprightness is impossible in the sight of God. The Bible tells us that there is none good, not even one (Romans 3:9-11). No sinner can ever be made right with God simply by watching our lives.
A sinner’s reconciliation is dependent upon your proclamation. Unleash the life-giving word of Christ. (Here are 10 gospel-packed verses you should know for such an occasion).
Open the book of Acts. The Apostles proclaimed, preached, and openly taught that the Christ was Jesus and that He has risen from the dead for the forgiveness of sins. Their lives were living commentaries of their verbal testimonies.
Seeing the World Rightly
When you walk in the world, realize that you are an ambassador of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). The church does have the gift of an evangelistic office, but the responsibility of evangelism has been given to every Christian (see Ephesians 4:10-12).
Jesus gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) to every disciple. Evangelism is our duty and joy as believers.
A remedy to a lack or fear of evangelism is to see the world rightly. Next time you go anywhere or drive somewhere — look around you. Every person you see is bound for eternity. All of them. And you have the cure to their spiritual cancer. So, be a witness.
The gospel is called good news for a reason: God reconciling man to Himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s been said before that the gospel is the good news that’s hardly ever heard. May it never be true of us.
As Charles Spurgeon said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.”