Chapter 2

CHAPTER TWO

THE MANDATE

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

  • Write the Key Verse from memory.
    • Identify five principles upon which the mandate for evangelism is based.
    • Identify three things necessary to fulfill the mandate of evangelism.

KEY VERSE:

When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

(Ezekiel 33:8)

INTRODUCTION

People get involved in evangelism for different reasons. New converts are usually evangelistic because of their excitement about their recent conversion. Some people are forced into evangelism by guilt. Others are involved because a school or training program which they are taking requires it.

The Scriptural reason for involvement in evangelism is because it is a mandate from the Lord Jesus Christ. A “mandate” is a commission or order given from one person to another. The mandate of evangelism is the subject of this lesson.

THE MANDATE OF EVANGELISM

The mandate of evangelism given by the Lord Jesus Christ to His followers is based upon five principles taught in the Word of God. These are the principles of command, condition, concern, competition, and consummation.

COMMAND:

The mandate of evangelism is first based on the principle of command. Evangelism is commanded by Jesus in several passages that have come to be known as the “Great Commission.” The following references concern the mandate of evangelism. All of the

passages explain the task, but they each differ. They do not contradict, but supplement each other by revealing different aspects of the mandate.

Matthew and John record the authority for the task of evangelism. Matthew, Mark, and Luke explain the extent of the mission. Matthew, Luke, John, and Acts reveal the Holy Spirit as the power to accomplish the task. Mark mentions the message and Luke adds details. These references reveal that the mandate of evangelism includes making disciples, preaching the Gospel to every creature, preaching repentance and remission of sins to all the world, forgiving and retaining sins, and witnessing about Jesus:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.

(Matthew 28:19-20)

Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

(Mark 16:15-18)

And said unto them, Thus it is written and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day;

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

And ye are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:46-48)

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain they are retained. (John 20:21-23)

But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

The seriousness of these commands is confirmed by the following verses:

When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. (Ezekiel 33:8)

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He shall come in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:26)

CONDITION:

The mandate for evangelism is also given because of the condition of the harvest fields of the world. We see hundreds of thousands of people lost in sin, without hope, headed for an eternity without God. The urgent conditions of the harvest should motivate us to action. Jesus said the harvest was ripe, but the laborers are few:

Therefore said He unto them, the harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth laborers into His harvest. (Luke 10:2)

Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. (John 4:35)

CONCERN:

The mandate of evangelism also rests on the principle of concern. Evangelism must be done  with a heart of compassion for lost souls. Paul was filled with this divine compassion for the lost.  He was willing to be accursed from God himself if only his Jewish brethren could be saved.      He went to them even when they threatened to kill him and when he suffered at their hands.

The compassion of Jesus made Him willing to face the cross of Calvary. Jesus wept over the blindness of religious leaders in Jerusalem. If there were more tears of compassion in our eyes, perhaps there would be less weeping in Hell among the lost. Argument will not save souls. One may have the truth, but if it is not spoken in love and compassion it will kill rather than quicken.

Compassion leads to untiring effort in evangelism, because love suffers long, bears all things, and never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4,7,8). Such loving compassion is imparted by the Spirit of God. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that grows from His presence within you.

COMPETITION:

The mandate of evangelism also rests on the principle of competition. If we do not win our global neighbors who hunger for change, other competing political and religious forces will win them. Spiritual hunger causes men and women to search for truth:

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord; And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. (Amos 8:11-12)

Although spiritual hunger leads to a search for truth, it can result in accepting evil political systems, cults, and oppressive religious powers if the void is not filled.

The principle of competition is taught by Jesus in the parable where the enemy sows tares (weeds) in the harvest field. If we do not sow and cultivate the good seed of the Word of God, the enemy will sow the tares of evil. It is the competition of such evil spiritual thorns and weeds that choke the Word of God and hinder the spread of the Gospel.

CONSUMMATION:

The mandate of evangelism also rests on the principle of the consummation (the end) of all things. Jesus said global evangelism was a precondition of His return to earth and the end of time as we now know it:

And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)

HOW TO FULFILL THE MANDATE

The Church is the agent of the Kingdom of God in the world and is commanded to take the Gospel message to all peoples of the earth. When we look at the priorities, programs, and activities of an average church today however, we may wonder if we have forgotten or become confused about our mission as believers.

We are busy, but busy doing what? How many of our programs, meetings, and activities are actually producing new converts? We have many flashy evangelists with fancy sermons and

funny stories. In Bible times, one public sermon resulted in three thousand conversions. Today it often seems there are three thousand sermons resulting in very few conversions.

There is a lot of beautiful religious music, much of which only demonstrates the talents of the choir, soloists, and musicians. But how many souls are won? How many lives are changed? When we add to this the thousands of carnal Christians with no concern for spiritual harvest, we may question, “How will the task of evangelism ever be accomplished”?

Three things are necessary if we are to fulfill the mandate of evangelism:

IT MUST HAVE FIRST PRIORITY:

Evangelism must have first priority. We must put the task of getting the Gospel to every person in the world in first place. Our preaching, praying, studying, planning, programming, teaching, training–everything must center around this objective.

The Church must become a sending station instead of a place for rest and recreation. All of the activities of the Church must contribute directly towards mobilizing soul winners. Church leaders must become mobilizers of the Body of Christ, inspiring and training believers to do the work of evangelism.

IT MUST BE EMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT:

Evangelism in the New Testament is not a bland or neutral activity. It is power encounters between the Holy Spirit and the forces of evil. The Holy Spirit, with all of His fruit, gifts, and power, must become a reality in our lives. The Word must be preached and taught with the demonstration of power. The Gospel must be proclaimed, not apologized for, watered down, altered, or disguised. The resources of every spiritual gift of every member of the Body must be mobilized to complete the task of evangelism. We must exchange our carnal natures for Christ- like conduct which will enable us to bear witness to the truth of the Gospel.

IT MUST FOLLOW NEW TESTAMENT PATTERNS:

If we are to fulfill this mandate, we must begin to recreate the New Testament pattern of evangelism: Everyone, everywhere, every day witnessing and winning souls. As in New Testament times, evangelism must become a natural part of everyday living. Every denomination, every local church, every Christian leader, every home, and every individual must be mobilized to the task.