10:5 Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.”
10:6 But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down)
10:7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
10:9 because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10:10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
10:11 The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.”
10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.
10:13 For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
10:14 But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?
10:15 And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
When you hear the word “evangelism” or “evangelist” what comes to mind? I am sure there will be as many answers as there are people who read that question. Some will be positive; fond memories of revivals of the churches we grew up in and the events related to them. Unfortunately, most will be negative. There have simply been to many folks claiming the name evangelist who have fallen off the moral railroad tracks and embezzled money from little old ladies who watched them “heal people” on late-night religious TV or have extra marital affairs with women because “God told them to.” I won’t air it out here but both of those examples are real life cases. Just Google them if you are curious. Though my favorite corrupt televangelist has to be Todd Bentley, an evangelist from Texas who “beats the hell out of people” by bringing the afflicted up on stage and summarily drop-kicking them in the chest amid shouts and cheers from on-lookers. This supposedly exercises demons (and internal organs). Here’s a link to that one if you don’t believe me: http://www.wittenburgdoor.com/todd-bentley-fires-blanks-texas.
When we here “evangelism” we may also remember times when folks have come to our door wanting to know about our “personal relationship with Jesus.” Perhaps this is a valid question but rarely do people want to be questioned in the midst of a family dinner, bedtime routines, or holidays (darn Jehovah’s witnesses).
Yet, despite the bad name it has in popular culture, evangelism seems to be one of the few things Jesus absolutely insists upon. “Go therefore and make disciples…” was not just a call to the 12 disciples but a commissioning for all those in all times and places who claim to be disciples. Though Jesus doesn’t use the word “evangelism” or “evangelist” he does call us to do something more than update our Facebook statuses! And this is where THE evangelist comes to help us out. Paul practically begs/demands that Christians go forth and share the “good news.” “How are people to call on one in whom they have not believed….believe if they do not hear…..hear if no one proclaims it to them?”
This is an open ended question that Christians must answer as part of the very fabric of our faith. Sharing the empty-tomb-resurrection-good news is important! And Paul says that those who do this have beautiful feet. That is saying a lot in Paul’s day because people wore very little foot protection and the roads were largely dusty trails. And just imagine if you got behind a few horses or donkeys! But if you bring good news, your feet are beautiful, Paul says.
But we need not make the mistakes of those who have held the name “evangelist” captive with their wild antics and false teaching. We don’t need to know intensely philosophical language and theological theories (though if you do, I’d love to talk!). Nor do we need to drop-kick people to relieve them of their demons! Think about how you can answer Paul’s call in Jesus’ name to be an evangelist. We all have a story to tell; both of our own experience of God and of our experience as one in a long line of Christian witness testifying to God’s action in the world. So go forth and carry the good news – and have beautiful feet!
see you Sunday!