To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
– I Corinthians 9:22-23
Today, I’m wrapping up this short series about Christian worth with this. If we value our own souls as God values us, if we value others as God values us, then evangelism is unavoidable. We recite John 3:16 that states our God loves every person in our world so much that He sent His Son to die on their behalf. God loves us with a complete and sacrificial love, but He makes it clear that we must draw near to Him for Him to draw near to us. Romans 10:14 then rhetorically asks how anyone can believe and draw near to God without someone to teach them. Simply put, if I value you, then I want you to know God. If I want you to know God, then I will talk about Him with you.
We often fall back on tired tropes of being examples to those around us, of conducting ourselves in such a way that others will ask us about God, but when is the last time that worked? When is the last time you held the door for someone, they stopped in their tracks and asked for a Bible study? Maybe that’s a little trite, but we simply don’t see such passive evangelism in the New Testament. Paul didn’t walk around the Areopagus content with only being a good example. Jesus didn’t feed the five thousand and then sit in silence. Our example, our kindness, our mercy, our forgiveness, our conduct, our purity — all of these are important, vital even, to spreading God’s word. But none of these qualities is a substitute for active teaching.
Just like we can never grow tired of doing good, we must likewise never give up on teaching. Take a look at that passage from Romans 10 in a larger context:
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? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”
Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
He’s speaking about the necessity of our teaching right in the midst of others who found their teachings rejected. Isaiah says he has held his hands out to the disobedient all day, but he continues to teach God’s word regardless. Why? Because it is important; because God values even those who reject Him; because they are worth the effort.