Genuine Disciples Have a Passion for Evangelism
Read Matthew 4:18-22
“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
What does it mean to be a disciple? This is the question that a Christian should be deeply concerned for it goes to the heart of our salvation. When we think of God’s redemptive work, we often focus on what God has saved us from. We have been saved from the guilt and punishment of our sins and from the bondage we experience to sin. But this is only part of the story. For we are not just saved from sin, but we are also saved to become someone new. God’s redemptive work is driven by his desire to transform us so that we become the complete reflection of his image. This image is grounded in the character and person of Christ, who is the ultimate revelation of the image of God and God’s intent for humanity. When Christ became flesh, he did so to reveal God’s purpose for us. Christ was the ultimate expression of the image of God, for he was God. When he took on humanity, he did so to real God’s intent to restore what was marred in the fall, namely that we also would reflect his image. Thus we are saved from sin to become God’s image bear.
This brings us to the third purpose of our salvation; namely, we are saved to do a task. To be a disciple of Christ is to be called to carry his message of salvation to others. Being a witness for Christ is intrinsic to our identity as his disciples. Christ makes this clear to the disciples when he calls Peter and Ander to become his disciples. They are to follow him; that is, they will become his students who learn and apply his teaching. But they are also called to become fishers of men. The task that he calls them to is to proclaim the gospel. The centrality of evangelism to our identity and purpose of being his follower is seen throughout the New Testament. Christ gives us the commission to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). We are called to be His ambassadors who are vessels through whom God makes his redemptive appeal to the world (2 Corinthians 5:20). So focused was Paul on evangelism that he was even willing to suffer the punishment of hell if it resulted in the salvation of the Jews. In a remarkable statement in Romans 9:3, he states, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” In this statement, Paul reflects what it means to be God’s image-bearer, for this desire and willingness to suffer the judgment of others for their salvation reflects what Christ did on the cross.
To be a disciple of Christ is to be passionate about evangelism. It is to see the spiritual plight of people apart from Christ and deeply long for their salvation. This longing results in several responses. First, it begins with prayer, asking God for opportunities to share our faith (Matthew 9:37-38). Second, it requires that we be ready and willing to share our faith with others so that they might discover the same eternal hope that we have experienced (1 Peter 3:15). Third, it involves understanding the content of evangelism, that it is calling people to repent and embrace Christ as their savior and become his disciple as well (Acts 3:38). This is at the core of our identity as his disciple.