Despite the growing societal disdain for “evangelicals” as a loosely identified political class in America, evangelism (which, by default, is practiced by evangelicals) is a thing. A believer embraces the evangel, the good news, the gospel. To the one who believes, it is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), by which we are saved, if we hold fast to it (1 Corinthians 15:2), a truth embedded in the Scriptures which gives eternal life to those who come in truth (John 5:39-40).
The gospel is a gift from beginning to end. It is wrapped up in the essence of God’s nature because He is love, and by this love He makes himself known through this living truth. He, the Word, was in the beginning with God (John 1:1,2). Before there was light to shine in the darkness, he was the light that was to come shine in the hearts of men as the evangel to set men free from the darkness (John 1:4-5,7-8), the greatest gift, the hope of generations, the promise fulfilled, sealed in truth by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). His glory defines in full the grace and truth of God (John 1:14).
In this evangel is the love of God made manifest among us. Creator himself—there being nothing made that was not made through him (John 1:3)—incarnated to be among his creation, accessible, the portal, the door, the way through the veil. The demands of wrath finally satisfied in his perfect propitiation, so that we might live through him, and be holy as he is holy (1 John 4:9-10). That we might become the righteousness of God, the one who knew no sin, became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), becoming wounded and crushed under the weight of the punishment due us, bringing us peace and healing (Isaiah 53:5) and a ransom for all of us, who each and everyone of us are born imprisoned in sin and condemnation (Mark 10:45).
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
Christ is the altar of our faith. He is the feast that sustains us and infuses our life and being with delight and joy, nurture and nourishment and strength (Hebrews 13:10-11). He is the living bread, unlike any bread prepared here on earth. More heavenly than the most buttery croissant, more delectable than the sweetest challah, more rich in sustenance than the most rustic grain loaf, Jesus provides life everlasting, joys unimaginable, strength for the ages.
Share this feast. Read the evangel with someone this year. Bring the testimony of the kingdom to someone who is hungry.
As a guide, here are 8 tips to aide anyone in reading through the Bible with another. No matter your skill or gift, even those with limited resources or time or quarantined, this is possible. (Thanks to KnowableWord.com for drawing my attention to this article at Crossway.com. Click the links for more on each tip.)
- Keep it simple
- Pick a section of the Bible
- Make a short-term commitment
- Read with coffee or a meal
- Read with other Christians
- Read with non-Christians
- Keep God and his grace in view
- Respond with openness and prayer
Let me add my tip that I’ve found a simple intention to share God’s word to be beneficial in multiple venues and circumstances. I’ve read the Proverbs daily with fellow travelers while standing on a commuter train clattering along a track from Baltimore to Washington. The sermon on the mount was the text when a friend and I wanted to enrich our day on a beach along the mid-Atlantic. A self-proclaimed seeker was challenged by John’s gospel (and fell away when the words became too offensive) on a Pittsburgh overlook. And Romans, read and reread three or more times over an internet meeting space, humbled a group of women well-traveled in the word.
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
The evangel defines us. Do evangelism. Be an evangelist. Share the feast.