Losing Heart in Evangelism - Its Consequence, Cause and Cure part 1

‘On that day there were added about three thousand souls to the church.’ That is how the book of Acts reports the results of the first evangelistic sermon preached by the Apostle Peter. Not bad going. One sermon - three thousand people saved. And it didn’t stop there. By chapter 4, the number of men (not to mention women and children!) saved reached five thousand. This was a time of great harvest. The Apostles were on fire.

Yet this is not the experience of most people. America’s first foreign missionary was a man named Adoniram Judson. In July 1813, he entered Burma, a hostile and totally unreached place. It wasn’t until six years later that he baptised his first convert.

William Carey, the famous English Baptist missionary to India, left for India in 1793 and laboured there for forty years without a furlough. His first convert came after seven years of evangelism.

Can you imagine the struggles these men must have had during their first seven years of mission? Seven years of language learning, preaching and prayer with absolutely no fruit to be seen. What would you have done if you were in their position? Would you have pressed on? Or would you have lost heart and given up? We would probably rationalise quitting by saying we were obviously not where God wanted us to be.

Despite the discouragements, these men pressed on and history vindicates that they were exactly where God meant them to be. Today, because of Judson, the Myanmar Baptist Convention consists of around 3,700 congregations with 617,781 members and 1,900,000 affiliates.

It is not just foreign mission that is difficult. Evangelism here at home can seem just as difficult and fruitless. One of the obstacles we all face with evangelism is the temptation to lose heart. My hope is that through this devotional study of 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 you will be encouraged to persevere confidently in evangelism like Carey and Judson.

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:1-6)

The upcoming devotions will tackle this passage by drawing out three points.

  1. The consequence of losing heart. 
  2. The cause of losing heart.
  3. The cure of losing heart.

Losing Heart in Evangelism
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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