Let's Go Back to the Bible

The 3 I Am’s of Evangelism

What does it take to be an evangelist? Is it two years at a preaching school? Is it an excellent speaking voice? Or is it a perfect, sin-free life? Well, obviously no one can live up to that last one. But, many Christians will neglect their missionary duties for one of these or many other reasons.

The truth is that none of these things is what makes an evangelist, even if they might help. It is not about a vast knowledge or rare talent. Being an evangelist is making the decision to be whatever our Lord Jesus Christ needs us to be.

In Romans 1:14-16, Paul tells us about three “I am’s” that he became in order to reach the lost. If we can add these things to our lives, then we can be the evangelists that God wants us to be.

First, Paul says, “I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise” (v. 14). Here, Paul expresses that preaching is an obligation. In Acts 9:15-16, Jesus called him to bring the gospel to the gentiles. He accepted his mission as a personal obligation. The Lord paid Paul’s heavy debt of sin (cf. Acts 8:1-3; 9:17) and Paul was determined to give back as much as he could.

We are just as much in debt to our savior as Paul was. Each of us committed sins that put our Lord on the cross (cf. Col. 2:13-14). If we want to honor His sacrifice, then we must acknowledge the debt we owe and make the Great Commission our personal responsibility.

Second, Paul said, “I am ready to preach the gospel…” (v. 15). Not only was Paul committed to preaching, he made sure he was prepared. In Galatians 1:15-18, we read that before Paul began preaching, he spent time gaining adequate knowledge and experience.

Evangelism requires preparation, but all we need is the drive to study the scriptures. Paul commanded, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

Third, Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation…” (v. 16). Paul personally experienced the saving power of God’s grace. Though he was vile murderer, Jesus was nevertheless able to save him. With such a great message, he was emboldened to preach the gospel without reservation. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).

Jesus commanded us to teach the gospel. We are debtors who must be ready and must not be ashamed. Are you an evangelist?