Evangelism and discipleship are essential tasks of the church. But without a clear biblical purpose, these tasks can easily become just another method to build our own little kingdoms. The purpose of evangelism and discipleship is to raise up a people who are eager to do good for God’s glory right where they are. It is not for the purpose of growing a church or an organization that calls itself Christian. It is not because of the numbers. It is not for the ego. The purpose is to glorify God through His Son, Jesus Christ. In the end, Christians who are productive will make the Gospel attractive, thereby leading more people to faith in Christ. How can Christians make the Gospel attractive?
First of all, by remembering the true purpose of our salvation in Christ (vv.3-8). The result of our salvation is a new kind of life brought about by the Holy Spirit. Second, by revealing the character of Christ in the world that we live in (vv.1-2). The true test of our discipleship is in the real world, not inside the church building. We are to live out our faith in such a way that everyone who sees us will be attracted to Christ. Finally, by rejecting unprofitable activities that do not really help in making the Gospel attractive (vv.9-11). Often we are tempted to engage in endless debates that are not helpful to anyone or do not result in tangible works of grace that makes the Gospel really attractive. The result is repulsion rather than attraction.
Christians who are productive will make the Gospel attractive. It will attract people to Christ. When God’s people are busy living out their faith with integrity in the real world, people will begin to notice. They may persecute us, for sure. But they may also be attracted to Christ, who alone enables us to live differently in the midst of an ungodly world.