Matthew 12:30a says: “He who is not with Me is against Me…” This is the uncompromising assertion of the text. What we may call the unmistakable amplification of these words comes next: “and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” The implication that every Christian must and does have a heart and concern for evangelism finds indisputable confirmation in the rest of the New Testament. 1 Cor. 10:33-11:1 says: “Just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”
All of this then requires that we think about the unavoidable application. It is this: Every Christians must and does have a heart for biblical evangelism. This heart must be at the center of the lifestyle of every Christian. Let me mention several specific applications of this.
1. Biblical evangelism is an important responsibility of every Christian.
No Christian can exempt himself from the requirement of our text. Each of us—the text clearly implies—have the responsibility to be gathering with Christ.
2. Biblical evangelism is an identifying mark of every Christian.
The main point of our text is not, however, that Christians should gather with Christ. It is that Christians do gather with Christ. Every Christian gathers with Christ. That is to say, biblical evangelism is his lifestyle. He has a heart to see men gathered to Christ. His heart is manifested in some efforts in his life to gather men to Christ.
Now I do not say what I have just said lightly. I say it carefully. I say it trembling for myself and for those I love. Having a heart for biblical evangelism is a necessary mark of being a Christian. If you rarely or never think about the salvation of the lost, if you have no concern for them or for the glory of Christ in their salvation, if you have no heart to gather with Christ, then I may tell you, I must tell you, straightforwardly that you are no Christian.
3. Biblical evangelism is a means of grace for every Christian.
Some struggle a great deal with assurance of your salvation. One reason may be that you are not giving yourself to this responsibility and grace as you ought. Start doing something to gather with Christ. John Piper once articulated at “Together for the Gospel” the common experience of Christians when they have an opportunity to speak for Christ: He said after such an opportunity which God had given him that he went home thinking: I really am a Christian!
4. Biblical evangelism may not be what you think.
The text defines evangelism as gathering with Christ. Passing out tracts or going door to door may be good for some people. “From scratch” evangelistic conversations may be possible for some gifted Christians. They may not work out well for the rest of us. They may not be societally or culturally effective ways of promoting the gospel of Christ. So let me give you some advice about how to do biblical evangelism.
- Biblical evangelism is consistent with and promoted by the diligent pursuit of your callings. Some think of their jobs as a hindrance to evangelism or even as an alternative to evangelism. For some the best way to do biblical evangelism is to do as well as you can at your vocations and professions. This will open doors to gather with Christ to you.
- Biblical evangelism means cultivating relationships with unconverted people. One good way to do that is by showing mercy to people and ministering to their felt needs.
- Biblical evangelism means plugging your gifts into an evangelistically minded local church and supporting others with better evangelistic gifts than our own. This thought has often encouraged and motivated me to use whatever gifts I have for my local church. I end on the point which I made in my first blog. We must not think of thee work of evangelism individualistically, but as the work of the church, the body of Christ. We can gather with Christ by using the gifts God has given us in the church which is His body.
Dr. Sam Waldron is the Academic Dean of CBTS and professor of Systematic Theology. He is also one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Dr. Waldron received a B.A. from Cornerstone University, an M.Div. from Trinity Ministerial Academy, a Th.M. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1977 to 2001 he was a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Waldron is the author of numerous books including A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The End Times Made Simple, Baptist Roots in America, To Be Continued?, and MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response.