When I say evangelism, I mean evangelism for everyone, evangelism for dummies. There are Evangelists like Pastors and Elders in the church, but every Christian is commissioned to be Christ to the world.
What is the gospel?
The gospel is the good news of a dead king. The word “gospel” first appears in 1 Samuel 4:17, when the messenger arrives to tell Eli about the death of his sons. The word “messenger” is the substantive form of the word. The word is also used several times to describe the news of Saul’s death (1 Sam 31:9, 2 Sam 1:20, 4:10, 1 Chr. 10:9). The passage with the most prolific use of the word is in 2 Samuel 18 in conjunction with the death of Absalom. Some form of the word is used seven times in 2 Samuel 18:19-31. The six or eight other uses of the word throughout the prophets regularly have a context of false or tyrannical kings or rulers being driven away or destroyed (Ps. 68:11-12, Is. 40:9, 15-24, 41:25-27, 60:3,6,10, 61:1, Nah. 1:15). And the death and destruction of these old powers always assumes the establishment of a new king, a new Lord. But the story of EUANGELION also takes on a new character in the story of Jesus when Jesus Himself dies. As is shown throughout the gospels, Jesus is becoming Israel for Israel, keeping the law, living faithfully what Israel could not. But even more than that, Jesus has become the failed monarchy, the dying king, in order to be raised back up to life again, in order that the Kingdom might never die, in order that the Kingdom might never be without a King.
The Gift of Other People
The other important element in Laundromat Evangelism is godly attitude toward other people. God likes other people; it’s bound up in his own being as Trinity. Does the Father ever need “alone time?” So God said it was not good for man to be alone, and this is not merely a statement about marriage (Gen. 2:18). Even though this is in the context of marriage, the principle is that two are better than one (Eccl. 4:9-12). All things being equal, it is better to be with people than not. And this is presupposed by the greatest commandments (Lk. 10:27). There must be God and neighbor in order for us to carry out those commands. But these other people are not merely decorations; they are helpers (Gen. 2:18). The wise man says that there is a better reward when two work together on a project; woe to the one who is alone when he falls (Eccl. 4:10). Other people even keep us warm. They are comfort, courage, and strength against enemies (Eccl. 4:12). And this is why it is important to ask, “Who is my Neighbor?” A significant part of the story of the Good Samaritan is the answer to the question, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ The answer comes in the form of a story that reveals that your neighbor is the person right in front of you. Jesus says, ‘go and do likewise.’ You need to love and be loved by these particular people: God has given you your siblings, your roommates, your parents, your elders, your co-workers, your neighbors. These other people are God’s good gifts to you (Eph. 4:4-12). Do not act, speak, or think as though it would be better to be alone, to be free of these other people, free of their opinions, free of their challenges, free of their input. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). It is not good to be alone: through the neighbors that God has given you, God’s image is being revealed and perfected in you.
Compassion for the Lost
Part of emulating Christ, is learning to feel the way that he does. One feeling Christ gets when he sees piles of confused people is compassion. And when he feels compassionate for these people he doesn’t shrug his shoulders and wish he could help. Christ heals (Mt. 14:14), feeds (15:32), forgives (18:27), cleanses (Mk. 1:41), teaches (Mk. 6:34), frees (9:22), raises the dead (Mk.7:13), and celebrates repentance (Lk. 15:20) out of compassion. The good news that Jesus brings Israel in the power of the Spirit includes good news for the poor, freedom for prisoners, forgiveness of debts, comfort to those who mourn, bestowing beauty, joy, and clothing, and rebuilding ruins (Is. 61:1-4).
Believe the Gospel. Jesus is King; live like you belong here.
Like people. God loves the world, and give His Son for it. Expect the blessing of God in other people, saved and lost. They’re made in God’s image; they’re neat.
Have compassion for those in need. Be their friends. Love them even while they are still sinners just like God did for you.
Evangelism is living like the gospel is true even when you’re doing your laundry. And it is.