"But I might be rejected..."
The first of our three-part series, "But I'm not an evangelist...", thinking about common hesitations towards evangelism.
It will be no shock to you that the gospel causes conflict in society. And not just our society, today. In the Bible, we see many circumstances where Christians are persecuted for preaching the gospel.
In fact, it comes up quite a lot. Just look at 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12; 1 John 3:13...
It isn’t something that Jesus hides from his disciples, he is actually very clear. In John 15, Jesus says, “if you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
There are no maybe’s, no perhaps’, Jesus says because he chose you, the world will hate you.
But, perhaps the reason we fear rejection is because we focus too much on the world hating us, rather than the fact that Jesus chose us to represent him, to be his advocates.
We do not need to be fearful
Jesus says in his well-known great commission in Matthew 28, ‘surely I am with you to the very end of the age.’ He dwells in us by his Spirit. He strengthens and emboldens us. He equips us in our conversations around a course table, in our workplaces, in our universities, even in our homes with our loved ones. Jesus is absent in the body but present in his Spirit.
The outcome of knowing that we might get rejected is we try to stay hidden away, we stay quiet even when we can feel something on the tip of our tongue. It might be an offer to pray for something or an encouragement from Scripture. But think of the openings and opportunities there might be if we have the courage to take them.
The comfort to us as Jesus’ followers is that our King and our Saviour was rejected as well. He is not far from understanding what it means to be disowned by society. They hung him on the cross to suffer in the worst way possible but now, Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father.
This can be our comfort too, knowing that whatever we face here, one day we will be with Christ. The bolder we are in our evangelism, the more people there might be to rejoice with on the Day of the Lord.
We do not need to fear, when we go in his name and in his power, we can go confidently.
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