Here’s a statement that will be refuted by few people: evangelism can be very intimidating. Of course, there are some who thrive in evangelism, and I am so grateful for those people! They are a blessing to the church and a deep encouragement to me to be bold with my faith. But I think it is fair to say there are more who struggle with it than those who don’t. One of the greatest reasons for this, I think, is fear of rejection and the push back that could come from challenging someone with the gospel. Ultimately, it is fearing the opinions of others more than God. Today’s passage shows us rejection should be an expectation for us, not just a possibility.
- The Hatred Of The World Should Be An Expectation (V. 18–25)
If the world hated Jesus, why should we expect any different? If God Himself faced immense persecution, why should we expect acceptance? The world hates us because we live out and articulate a message (the gospel) that tells the world they need something other than themselves to make themselves acceptable to God. The gospel goes against the self-reliance and independence the world holds so dear, and this is not easily accepted. But at the same time, this gospel message has the power to save anyone and everyone, and therefore the urgency to take it to people is literally a matter of life and death. This is why it is so important for us to fight for the right heart when it comes to evangelism. We must be people who value God and the work He has done in our lives and could do in the lives of others more than the rejection of people who are in desperate need of Him.
- The Holy Spirit Has Come As Our Helper (V. 26–27)
The good news is that Jesus has not only faced the hatred that we are going to be facing, He has sent us a Helper to be with us in evangelism. We must rely on the power and leading of the Holy Spirit to lead us to the right people and to apply the gospel to their lives. Are you praying that God would give you opportunities to share your faith with people? Are you praying for boldness that only the Holy Spirit can give?
It all comes down to what we value more: the opinions and acceptance of other people, or being obedient out of love for Christ, who has sacrificed so much for us.
What are you valuing? What do you hold in more reverence: the opinions of people or obedience to God?
By: Graham Withers