“To teach is to learn twice.”
I believe one of the great joys of parenting is teaching, and what a frequent joy it is! Parents do it so much, and so naturally, I suspect they often don’t appreciate just how much information and training goes into our little ones; their inquisitiveness seems boundless! And as they grow, they develop interests different from ours that bring questions and learning opportunities to us that we have perhaps never before considered.
I was thinking of this today as I considered one of the wonderful benefits of evangelism: personal discipleship. The evangelical church has recently done some excellent reflection on discipleship and evangelism and most of come to the conclusion that these areas of Christian life are not mutually exclusive, but rather complementary concerns of the church. In short a faithful disciple evangelizes and the truly evangelized disciple others. However, I wonder how much we consider the personal, transformative power of evangelism in our own discipleship.
Here are a few benefits to our personal discipleship as we engage others in our evangelism:
- The gospel is kept central in our lives
As we prayerfully consider how to communicate and minister the gospel to others we cannot help but ‘gospel’ ourselves at the same time! And the more we grow in our understanding and cherishing of the gospel, the more faithful we become in sharing it.
- Our appreciation and understanding of the fundamental truths of our faith is deepened.
As parents know, the best way to learn is to teach. Lets say you want to share with a friend the concept of God’s sacrificial death this coming Easter. Thinking of what it is, how it was accomplished, why it was necessary, all its beauty and wonder – not to mention how to present it – will force you to a better level of understanding. Then, as you share, your friend’s questions will encourage further growth resulting in a deeper yet knowledge of God!
- We grow in our love for God and others.
We all talk about the things we love. I often ask you to consider your love of God if you struggle to even want to share your faith with others. The flip side also seems to hold true: the more we share our faith the more we love God. Seeing him work in the lives of others: breaking down the barriers of sin, removing blindness from eyes, freeing people once bound, or healing relationships cannot help but remind us of God’s goodness to us. In turn our affections for our saviour are kindled anew and strengthened. This is beautifully circular, for growing affection for God always leads to a growing affection for others!
- Character development.
Lets have a cheer for persecution. That is to say, sharing our faith can lead to persecution. When it does take encouragement from Paul: “…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)”
I have yet to meet a Christian who is unexcited after sharing their faith with even one person. It is exhilarating because you are conforming to who God makes you to be: a fisher of men, it is exhilarating because you are confronting darkness with light, it is exhilarating because you are experiencing God’s love as he loves another through you; in short, it is exhilarating because you are partnered with God in his great mission toward his children! If you want to accelerate your Christian discipleship one key ingredient is evangelism; ask the Lord for his help and obey his next prompting!
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.