FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
PRINCIPLES OF EVANGELIZATION
July 9, 2015
Today’s gospel: Matthew 10:7-15
Jesus came to save us all. He already won our salvation on the cross. Now that salvation has to be accepted by us, as we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. For that to happen, we look to the process of evangelization: Jesus sends, we proclaim, people hear, they believe, they call on the name of the Lord, they are saved (see Romans 10:13-15a). Thus Jesus sent out his disciples (v.5a) and told them, “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (v.7). Jesus started the process going and we continue with it.
Jesus has broken through the darkness in the world and brought his light. While the whole world is under the dominion of the evil one (see 1 Jn 5:19), Jesus has already defeated him. The process of reclaiming what rightly belongs to God has started. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. What completes the process is the work of evangelization.
So we need to understand what evangelization is. We look to certain principles of evangelization instructed by Jesus himself.
One, what does evangelization entail? The following were literally done by Jesus’ disciples during his time, and is still being done by his disciples today, whether literally or figuratively.
- “Cure the sick” (v.8a). People in the world are not experiencing the physical, emotional and spiritual health that God intends for His people. Bringing people to Christ brings them to the divine healer.
- “raise the dead” (v.8b). People are dead in sin. Proclaiming Christ and bringing people to repentance and faith in Jesus restores them to life.
- “cleanse lepers” (v.8c). People in serious sin are outside the community of God’s people, as were lepers in Israel at that time. Proclaiming Christ and bringing them to repentance and faith in Jesus cleanses them from sin and restores them to their status as children of the Father and members of Christ’s body on earth.
- “drive out demons.” (v.8d). People in serious sin are under the dominion of the evil one, preventing them from enjoying the life that God intends for them. Proclaiming Christ and bringing them to repentance and faith in Jesus moves them out of the devil’s dominion and away from diabolical influence.
Two, salvation is God’s free gift. “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” (v.8e). We received, and now we are to give. And in the same way, we give without charging money for what we give. Thus our CLSs and LCSs are free. Money should not be an obstacle to people, especially the poor, hearing the gospel. Further, as God’s workers, we are not to benefit financially from proclaiming the gospel. Too many evangelists get rich off the gospel (which also help to bring them down). For our part, we do not charge for our “services,” and when we receive stipends (which often is the practice in the Church for resource persons), we do not take these for our own but put these in our mission fund.
Three, we are to depend on God and His providence. God sends us, God provides for us. “The laborer deserves his keep.” (v.10b).
- “Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts” (v.9). While today we do need money for our work and mission (we can’t depend on angels to fly us to our mission area but we need to buy a ticket), we are not to be constrained by a seeming lack of it. Oftentimes we look to putting all resources together first before embarking on mission. While we indeed need to be prudent, we must not be held back by limited resources. Money does not determine mission, but rather, mission is decided on and money should be forthcoming.
- “no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick.” (v.10a). We are just to be armed with zeal to proclaim the gospel. We do not need props or extensive support mechanisms. While PowerPoints today can help in evangelization, the proclamation of the gospel ought to remain simple enough.
Four, we are to be peacemakers. “As you enter a house wish it peace.” (v.12). We are instruments of the Prince of Peace. Peace can only come into people’s hearts and homes as they turn to Jesus.
Five, especially with LCSC, we are to focus on the proclamation of the gospel. If we offer our LCS to a parish or whatever other public, if we are introducing Christ to people, and we are rebuffed or rejected, we simply move on. “Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.” (v.14). There is much work to be done and there are many opportunities out there that God will provide us.
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