What is it that both Christians and non-Christians hate? Evangelism! This is probably because most people think evangelism is about standing on a street corner and shouting Bible verses at those passing by. In this article, I want to look at evangelism through another lens; how to develop a heart for the lost.
Maybe like me, you have experienced the pain of your heart being broken by someone (your first love in school)! When talking about the heart, I am not referring to the muscle that pumps blood, but rather the seat of our emotions and will that is affected.
Jeremiah proclaimed, “My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken” (Jeremiah 8:18 NLT). Like Jeremiah, there is the deep spiritual pain we should feel for those are far from God.
In Luke 19, Jesus, like Jeremiah had done, looked over the city of Jerusalem and his heart was broken. “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it” (Luke 19:41).
A broken heart for the lost brings action
When your heart breaks, it causes you to do something, motivated by Jesus’ love, even as he had chosen to give his life for us.
We were the hopeless, the broken, the sinful and the desperate. Yet he became sin for us and was crucified in our place. Jesus lived the life we should have lived and he died the death we should have died. His heart broke for us and he stepped into our place on that cross. What an example for us to follow!
So how do I develop a heart for the lost?
1) See people as God sees them
Imagine if a gunman stormed into your church and randomly opened fire. As a natural reaction, I would shield my wife from the danger.
The unnatural thing to do would be to take a bullet for a stranger, yet the bible teaches us that Jesus ‘took the bullet for you’, even though you didn’t deserve this kind of mercy.
We see that Jesus didn’t come to form a movement or create a religion; he didn’t come to challenge the Roman and Jewish rulers. Jesus clearly tells us his purpose: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
And we were all lost once and Jesus sought and found us! And this land is full of thousands of lost people who have not heard this good news yet. And here is the craziest thing of all: we are God’s plan to reach the lost.
2) Understand the Church is plan A for reaching the lost (There is no plan B)
When Jesus ascended, he left the church to do his work. We are the people God chose to carry his message of hope to a broken world.
Jesus tells us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). But he didn’t leave us alone, he sent the Holy Spirit to enable us to impact the world.
The disciples pre-Pentecost were doubters, deniers, and disasters, but post-Pentecost with God’s spirit at work in them, they were bold and courageous.
They had a very simple technique that they passed on to us.
3) Do what Jesus does
Effective evangelism is not a technique. It actually starts with having a genuine compassion and care for people as Jesus did. A desire to tell others about God’s love for them comes from a broken, soft heart and showing a genuine interest in them.
Real evangelism happens from a place when we cry to God, ‘Break my heart for what breaks Yours! Everything I have for Your kingdom’s cause!’ Jesus continually engaged with people who were broken, rejected and in desperate need of a saviour. His heart broke for them.
Earnestly ask God to give you a Christ-like heart for the lost today!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adrian is married to Maddie and they lead one of the Living Hope congregations on the Isle of Man. He has a passion for evangelism and and they love touring the island on their motorbike but unlike the TT racers, they travel at a safe speed! You can follow him on Facebook.
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