Welcome to a four-part series about what evangelism is and isn’t. In the first three pieces, I’ll look at why justice, ecumenism, and love are all components of evangelism. In the fourth piece, I’ll look at what’s missing–why none of those things are sufficient–and why speaking the good news is the essential component of evangelism.
John 13:34-35 says:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The Word tells us that the attribute by which Christians—followers of Jesus, “little Christs”—will be known is love.
By love, the world will know who we are and whose we are.
John says our love is the outworking–the sign, the practical result, the fruit–of our discipleship in God. Our love points not to ourselves, but to the Lord who loved us.
In 1 John 3:18 we read:
Let us not love in word or tongue, but in deed and in truth.
As is popular to say, love is a verb.
The Light of Love
Love is outworked in how we live. It manifests in our good deeds, in our relationships, both with other people and with God—all of this by the Lord’s good grace.
John 15:13 tells us that the greatest witness to love is when someone lays down his or life for another. This is what Jesus did. It is this act of love that is itself the good news. Jesus’ atoning death and cosmos-changing resurrection is the height of love, redeeming of people and glorifying to God.
Love amazes. Love attracts. Truly, love changes hearts.
Probably the most obvious place for love to show itself and take root is in relationship. Loving relationships help establish credibility. They open doors of accessibility. And they grant the gift of presence. When you are in a loving relationship—with a friend, a family member, or even a stranger—you can be there to listen, model Christlikeness, see, and be seen.
Such is a means of evangelism.
God is love, and imitating Christ—who is God—is a means of demonstrating his sanctifying power in us to the glory of his name.
How many Christians have come to faith on the arm of a loving friend or through the loving lives of friends or family?
True love shows the world what God is like. True love shows what God did, does, and will do.
Genuine, Spirit-empowered, Christ-centered, Father-glorifying love is a powerful means of sharing the good news of God’s love through action and relationships. Love is evangelism.
In the Evangelism Series:
Part 3: Love Is Evangelism