“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” Revelation 5:12
Right perspective and proper motivation in evangelism are important matters. When it comes to evangelism, it is critical that we see things from the right angle, from God’s angle, and it is vital that we do everything for the glory of God. Indeed, when all is said and done, the end goal of evangelism is the sevenfold acclamation of the Lamb seated on His rainbow haloed throne (Rev.4:3).
At the end of time the Lord of all creation will take His rightful place so that every redeemed eye from planet earth can feast on His glory. What a day – for Him – that will be!
The right angle
Evangelism, for me, quickly gets out of focus when I pray for my children. I have five beautiful children: Micah, my oldest, who possesses a zest for life that rivals the most ardent sports fan; Noah, my second born, who loves to understand why things are the way they are; Josiah, whose bones are full of music; Isaiah, the sweet little man of a thousand faces; and Leah, my only girl, who can make Daddy laugh in an instant.
These five are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, literally. There is nothing I want more for them than for them to receive Christ and enjoy Him intimately. And that’s the problem: I want salvation so desperately for them but I should want it more for Him.
That my children might receive Christ and enjoy Him intimately for the rest of their lives, and for all eternity, should be the secondary reason for evangelism, not the primary. Our primary motivation for evangelism must come from the other perspective, from God’s perspective. He deserves to have them. For this purpose He created them. From eternity He has loved them. Willingly, He died for them. Ultimately, He owns them. They are, above all, His children, not mine.
But I have the recurring tendency to hold these five specific human beings as my own, to hoard them, desiring what is best for them. I do the same to a lesser degree with my siblings, my relatives and my friends. But God has no favorites. He deserves all human beings as His worshipers, and He is worthy to have them all. This should be my desire in evangelism.
Filling God’s house
Evangelism is a lot like preparing a retirement party for a favored boss or a fortieth birthday party for a treasured friend. Yes, it will be a great party. Yes, you should go because it will be enjoyable. But the primary motivation and reason for attending is not for our own enjoyment. It is for the other person, the featured person, that we attend the occasion. We go for their benefit and honor.
Evangelism is like that. In all our evangelizing we must remember we are doing it because God deserves it. God is worthy of a huge multitude of worshipers. Just as we would be upset if only 2 or 3 people showed up for our best friend’s wedding or baby shower so, too, we should be upset if only a few attend the marriage supper of the Lamb. Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that [His] house may be filled! (Luke 14:23)
Perhaps an illustration will help bring what I am saying into focus. At my children’s school they learn how to read, to write and to understand math. At the end of grade three and six there is a standardized test to measure their learning. Everything they learn is for their benefit and success in life and I am glad they are able to read and write. But the test also reflects upon the teacher, the principal, the school board, and the province.
My child is part of a bigger picture. Viewed from the teacher’s perspective, my child’s achievement on those tests brings validation, recognition and satisfaction as a teacher. High grades benefit my child but more importantly, they bestow honor on their instructors.
God deserves more worshipers
So it is with the Lord. God deserves to have my children as His worshipers. He is a great Saviour and how He saved them reflects on His work for all eternity. Don’t misunderstand: people should receive salvation not because it will benefit them (as indeed it will), but they should receive it because He deserves them – because He is a great Savior and a glorious God. That God would have more worshipers, more glory, more applause, and more honor should be our primary motivation in evangelism.
When evangelizing, let us do so with proper perspective in mind. We serve a great King. We represent the most glorious person in the entire universe. The cross demands the hearts of all. Worthy is the Lamb. Even if every human being were to repent, fall down and receive Christ in order to be in attendance at the marriage supper of the Lamb, still it would not be enough.
Even if every angel were to bow at His feet, yet He deserves more. Evangelism should not be done primarily for the safety of the wandering sheep but for the glory of the seeking, serving, crucified Shepherd who has risen from the dead – who alone deserves strength and honor and glory and blessing.