Jesus’ Ten Principles of Evangelism

Text: Matthew 10


A fire that is not spreading is going out. A church that is not evangelizing is dying. Through chapter 9 of Matthew, Jesus has been center stage and the disciples have been spectators. Jesus does the preaching, healing and they watch. It has been a wonderful experience and they have been awed by His teaching and His miracles. In Chapter 10 everything changes: Jesus puts His disciples on center stage and He steps over in the wing. He puts them to work doing the same things He has been doing. I am sure they were anxious and if you had takes a poll, I would bet that the majority would have preferred that Jesus remain on center stage, do the work and let them watch. We all enjoy watching Jesus work. However, Jesus was not satisfied to see His disciples enjoy watching Him work, He willed that they get involved in the work themselves. Could anyone do the work as well as Jesus? No! But by sending them out in two, Jesus covered 6 times the ground that He could cover by Himself.

Jesus did not send the out without instructions and that is what I wish to talk to you about today. In Matthew 10…Jesus taught at least 10 Principles of Evangelism and I wish to share those 10 principles today…

  1. We must be CALLED and COMMISSIONED by Jesus….[10:1] Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. This is not a general call, it is personal…Here are the names of the twelve apostles:first, Simon Peter, then Andrew, James (son of Zebedee), John (James’s brother), Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew (the tax collector), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus,Simon (the zealot), Judas Iscariot. I hesitate to say that you cannot do the work of evangelism unless you have a personal call because there have been charlatans who have lead people to Christ by using the scriptures but it would be extremely beneficial to have a relationship with Christ.
  2. We must GO to the lost Sheep. [10:5-6] Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. Note the word Go. Jesus did not rent an auditorium and have a conference on Evangelism or worship, He sent His disciples out; He commissioned them to GO! You can’t spell gospel without spelling go; you can’t spell God without spelling go. In the Great Commission, Jesus said “Go ye therefore.” The liberals do not believe in going. They believe in letting your light shine and attracting. How many lost people have come to you lately and told you they were attracted by the light. How can a blind man see the light? The Reform crowd do not believe in going. They believe in bible study and worship. You stay doctrinally pure and the elect will come to you. One tiny problem, do you see that taught by Jesus in Matthew 10? When it comes to going, Baptist can make more excuses than Carter has liver pills. I ask an evangelist who was preaching a revival at our church to stop by and share his testimony with a lost man who I had witnessed to but couldn’t seem to make any headway. He went right by the man’s business every day of the revival but would not stop. On the last night, I ask him again if he stopped and this is what he said, “I didn’t feel anything in my spirit telling me to stop.” I said, “You don’t need anything in your spirit telling you to stop, Jesus has already given us a command to go; we don’t need more than His command.” While I’m on the subject, the deeper lifers are just as guilty as the Calvinist, their excuse is “I don’t have the gift of evangelism.” Go back and read Matthew 28:19-20, and see if Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, all that have the gift of evangelism, and make disciples.”
  3. We must stick to the MESSAGE. [10:7]… Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. We are couriers, messengers and our job is to share with them what Jesus tells us to share. He not only sent the disciples out, He told them what to say. He will give us the message if we are willing to go.
  4. We must be willing to MINISTER [10:8]…Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons.  We have to be willing to meet needs, to touch people at the point of their pain.  If we are too proud to stoop, we will make poor evangelist. If we try to evangelize without ministering, we look like hypocrites. If all we do is minister and never evangelize, we are failing to met the primary need and our reason for going.
  5. We must be GRACIOUS and GENEROUS [10:8]…Give as freely as you have received! God has generously given us all things. Our salvation was a gift of grace. We are never more like Christ than when we are giving. Christian ministry that turns a profit is ill motivated and those who do it will have to give an account. We must be willing to give of ourselves and our resources.
  6. We must DEPEND on the LORD completely. [10:9-10]…“Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed. Dr. James Kennedy once said, there are two main reasons why Christians don’t evangelize [1] They live a compromising lifestyle that cripples them with guilt [2] They give in to their fears. I think Dr. Kennedy hit the nail on the head. People are fearful when it comes to totally relying on the LORD and that is what you do when you Go out to evangelize. Jesus said, When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Seldom do we know what we are going to say and seldom do we use what we have rehearsed, the Holy Spirit will help us. I have been amazed time and time again at how the Holy Spirit works when we go out in faith.
  7. We must work with the RESPONSIVE. [10:11-12 ]…“Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. When you enter the home, give it your blessing. If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. Some 40 years ago I served a small church in rural Mississippi and I had now famous Evangelist help me in a revival. I worked him to death as we visited in the day time and he preached at night. About middle of the week, he said “Jack are trying to reach people who are not interested and you are wasting your time.” My first response was, he is out of line and there is nothing impossible with God. I always thought you went after the most notorious sinners in the community but he had me on age and experience and I listened to all that he had to say. He gave me instructions on what to do. I had been bowing my head and praying during the invitation. He told me not to bow but to look and when someone raised their hand, that is who we would go see the next day. This church ran 42 in Sunday School and we had 7 Professions of Faith that week.
  8. We must not worry about RESULTS [10:13-15] If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day. The first Revival that I preached was in Good Springs, Alabama. I think it was August of 1970 and the pastor and I were visiting in the community before the service. He carried me into the home of an elderly man who was bedfast. The old man was lonely and welcome company as long as you talked about what he wanted to talk about. Bill had chatted with him for a while and I was getting anxious so I asked if I might share some things from the scripture. I was shocked by his response, He said, “You may not. I do not believe anything in that book [pointing to my bible] and I do not want to hear it.” I said, “You don’t believe in heaven or hell?” He said, “You see that out there [pointing through his window at a graveyard next door], that is where I am going and that is as far as I am going.” He said some other things that we just a cold and hard. I dismissed myself. The Pastor was not ready to go but I left and waited in the car. I did not take my shoes off and slap them together, I didn’t think to do that but that basically what I was doing. We are not responsible for the results, our responsibility is to share the gospel in love.
  9. We must expect OPPOSITION. [10:16] …“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. Jesus did not promise that it would be easy. No one delights in being thrown to the wolves. First, we have to trust Him to take care of us because we are putting ourselves in a defenseless position, a sheep in a pack of wolves has no chance apart from intervention. Jesus said we must be shrewd like snakes and as harmless as doves. You can’t interchange these metaphors…snakes are not harmless and doves are not shrewd. A snake shrewdness is in its ability to avoid its enemies and capture its prey. Snakes are fast and slippery. They are hard to pin down or to catch. I have to confess that I lack this shrewdness. I miss a lot of opportunities to witness because I am not shrewd enough to approach the person that I want to witness to. On the other hand, we have to be gentle like a dove. I have no doubt that this is a weakness on my part.
  10. We must not give in to our FEARS. [10:26]…“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you.” [10:28]…“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” [10:29-31]…What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Count them: three times Jesus said “Don’t be afraid”. This is the only principle that He repeated three times. Why do you suppose Jesus repeated Himself on this particular subject. It might be that our greatest problem is fear.


I have confessed that I am a poor witness. I do lack the shrewdness of the snake and the gentleness of the dove but that does not excuse me. We are all as children of God commanded to witness to our faith. There are no excuses. I will listen to your confessions but not your excuses. I have none and neither do you.


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