Evangelism With Jesus
'So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.' (Mark 16:19-20)Not only do these verses give us great assurance in reminding us that the Father has accepted Christ's sacrifice and that Jesus' atoning work is now complete, but they also give us great encouragement when it comes to evangelism.
The fact is, in evangelism we're not alone. Mark tells us that when those early disciples went out and evangelized, 'the Lord work[ed] with them'. In other words, they didn't go alone: Jesus went with them. And not only did Jesus accompany them, not only did they know His presence, but Jesus was at work.
And the nature of evangelism hasn't changed. Jesus still goes with us and Jesus is still at work when we go. He's not just with us to keep us company, but to work powerfully in and through our evangelism. That's His promise to us; the Great Commission concludes with the words 'lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' (Matt. 28:20). That promise of His presence is tightly connected to the command to 'go and make disciples.' If we want to know the reality of the promise, we should obey the evangelistic command.
And that's why we can have confidence as we go and tell. Not because we've worked out a really clever way to explain the gospel and get people saved; we can't save anyone, only God can. Not because we've got the best evangelistic material; tracts and flyers don't save anyone, only God does. But because Christ is with us, Christ is working with us as we go. According to His promise, as we evangelize, He does! He is with us, He is working through us, and His Word cannot return to Him void.
As Mark 16:19 reminds us, Jesus has 'sat down at the right hand of God'; the One who goes with us and works through us as we evangelize is the One who's seated on the throne of heaven, the One who occupies the place of all authority. That's why the Great Commission starts with the Words 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore...' (Matt. 28:18-19). The therefore points us back to the fact that Jesus is the One who has all authority. It's only in light of His authority, His rule, His reign, that we go and fulfil His Great Commission. It's only because the One who has all authority is with us and working His authority through us as we proclaim His gospel that we throw ourselves into the task of evangelism.
So evangelism is not a task to fear. Evangelism is not doomed to failure. For we go, not only knowing that we have a God who has all authority, but knowing that we go with Him, He goes with us, and He works His authority through us to deliver from the power of darkness and convey people into His own Kingdom of life.
Knowing that glorious truth should give us confidence to go. Knowing that powerful truth should set us free to go.
So let's go. Let's go with Christ, experiencing His presence and His power. Let's go with His power working through us as we boldly proclaim His gospel and make disciples here in our nation and beyond, even to the uttermost parts of the earth.