Have you ever thought of the tight connection between God’s joy and evangelism? Luke 15:7 outlines it fairly clearly when Luke writes: “There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” The context is the hope of lost things found again – coins, sheep, and two sons. The great gladness of heaven is not that wars have ceased or that suffering has ended. It is found in one sinner repenting, coming home to the grace of God.
I often hear people in church say something to the effect of “We really need to first focus our efforts and attention on reaching and serving those in our church, and then we’ll be equipped and empowered to serve those outside.” But according to Luke’s logic, that’s a recipe to repeatedly miss out on God’s joy. We’ll never taste the joy of heaven if we follow that advice; we’ll always remain out of sync with the gladness of the gospel.
Evangelism has become a distasteful word for many people, especially in our post-modern culture. For many it smacks of used car salesmen, shifty pressure tactics, exclusive claims, or sheer arrogance – but it need not. We must to reclaim the word (literally it means to “good news” someone) and reimagine the task of evangelism if we ever want to know some of the celebration that all heaven enjoys. The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news – something has happened in history that changes everything and that news must be announced.
At the heart of the Christian faith is a party because people have come to know the gospel. How about joining the party and inviting others to know that joy? Why not become a joy evangelist?