What is the Cost of Evangelism?
What would you go through to see that one person could trust Jesus as their Savior?
The older I get, the clearer it appears to me that Jesus expects us to be as sacrificial as He was when on the earth. His disciples gave their lives to spread the gospel. Could I come to that point? Could you?
When we think of the word martyr, we usually think of someone who dies for his faith. However, that is not nearly the true depth of the genuine meaning of this word. St. Augustine said, “The cause, not the suffering, makes a genuine martyr.”
T.S. Eliot, in his play Murder in the Cathedral, describes a martyr as one “who has become an instrument of God, who has lost his will in the will of God, not lost it but found it, for he has found freedom in submission to God. The martyr no longer desires anything for himself, not even the glory of martyrdom.”
Did you know that the original Greek word for “martyr” means “witness?” Yeah. You’re probably thinking of two verses with the word “witness” in them. Hebrews 12:1 says, “…we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” And Jesus’ instruction to us in Acts 1:8, “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
It is clear that the New Testament’s view of a witness is someone who testifies of the truth and power of Jesus Christ, and that we are instructed to be witnesses of this truth no matter the cost.
Later in the book of Acts, Stephen is stoned. He is the first to pay the ultimate price for that witness. And then the word martyr gained a stronger meaning as one who is willing to give his life for the cause.
Being His witnesses could cost us our reputation, our friends, our jobs, or even our own lives. But when Stephen gave his life for the cause, Saul’s head turned. Years later, when this same man (called Paul) showed his willingness to give his life for the same cause, “most of the brethren in the Lord…are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Phil. 1:14).
The whole palace guard heard of Christ because of one man’s witness. History tells us that the Roman palace guard consisted of about 9,000 soldiers. I wonder how many of them we will see in heaven.
So could I be that one? Could you? Yes, we could. And we must. And when we do, we will turn the heads of those who will place their faith in Christ.
Are you ready?