The Cost of Evangelism

There was once a minister who felt burdened in his heart to provide help to a recent widow. One day, he knocked on her door with money in hand, but she did not answer. Trying a few more times, he concluded she was not at home and went on his way. A little while later, he saw her at the church and told her that he had remembered her need.

“I came to your house and knocked on your door. There was no answer, so I went away assuming you weren’t home.”

“Around what time was this?”

“Around noon time.”

“Oh dear, I heard you, but I just assumed it was the landlord coming to collect rent.”

Last month, I had the opportunity to go with some men and women from Redeemer’s Grace Church to do some open air preaching. Two brothers and I took turns preaching, while the sisters supported us by going around evangelizing to the surrounding people. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. We were sharing in fellowship with one another, loving the lost, and obeying our Lord.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NASB

The brief story above was an illustration I used that Saturday. As Christians that obey the Lord in evangelism, we aren’t like the landlord coming to collect rent. Contrary to what much of the world thinks, we aren’t coming to collect a debt that is owed, but to bring people something. Our desire is to be heard, to let them know that salvation is by grace alone. It is a free gift that does not require any working on their part. For although “the wages of sin is death”, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 3:23-24 NASB

But this should be true no matter the method of evangelism we use. Whether that is open air preaching, door to door evangelism, or evangelism to family, friends, and coworkers, we are to be faithful in preaching Christ crucified. One form of evangelism isn’t better than the other. Who else but God can cause one to believe? 1 Corinthians 3:7 NASB plainly tells us that it is only God who causes the growth.

I strongly believe that open air preaching is a sign of great boldness in the Lord for the one who does it. Such zeal is highly commendable. However, it is far from the most difficult or the most costly. If those walking by and listening disagreed, how might they react? By turning their head and walking faster. Maybe even calling the authorities or slandering the preacher. But to the one who makes a stand for Christ to their family, friends, or coworkers, what is the cost? The line from the hymn “Jesus I My Cross Have Taken” comes to mind: “Foes may hate and friends disown me.” Disownment. Alienation. Getting fired from your job. And what do you gain? For Paul it was everything. For us as well, it is everything.

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ…” Philippians 3:8 NASB

Christ should be everything to us. He is the one we love to follow after and the one we love to proclaim to others. So to the open air preacher, to the door to door evangelist, and to the one that makes a stand for Christ to family and friends, you are doing the work of God. And let us all rejoice with Paul who stated “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.” Philippians 1:18 NASB

What we bring to people is really very simple. It is the very same message that when brought to our attention, we believed and were saved. So go out and preach to all who have not heard. Go out and proclaim without fear He who bought you with a price. Fear God and do not fear man. Do not fear the cost of evangelism.

One way to heaven and that is all
One way to avoid the consequences of the fall
One way to be justified
Accomplished by Christ’s blood on the day that he died

Don’t let God’s patience make you confused
His goodness and mercy must not be abused
Jesus is coming on His white horse
And will punish all sin with all of His force

The day’s soon coming that He’ll take a hold of the Globe
When men’s blood will be dripping off of His robe
One simple question I ask you my friend
How often does your mind think about the end?

Does this reality not astound you?
And make your heart break for the souls around you?
Fear and shame must vanish away,
The split second we think about that fateful day

When God in His justice all men will destroy
And His fury and wrath He will completely employ
Hell is a thought we should think about more
It should keep us awake and shake us to our core

It should get you off your couch and put you to labor
For the sake of your family, your friends and your neighbor
And despite the fact that the world remains hostile
Unashamed you should go preaching the gospel!

-Jordan Standridge