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Joshua Wagner | Motivations for Evangelism

Why should Christians care about evangelism? Today, our guest Josh Wagner shares six powerful motivations for believers to share their faith with people who need Jesus.  

Show Notes: 

Website: http://www.wagnerministries.org 

Read Josh’s Book “Go”: https://amzn.to/2RslerE 

Why Should Christians be Involved in Evangelism? 

  1. Jesus Said It
  2. Jesus Demonstrated It 
  3. The harvest is Ripe
  4. The Laborers are few 
  5. It is how you love Jesus, 
  6. It is how you love people. 

Key Ideas from Josh Wagner: 

The last words of Jesus should become our first priority. 

When the harvest is ready you better be ready. 

There is a short window of time available to reach people. If we miss the window, we may never get another chance to witness to them. 

Give a man a meal and he will need to eat again. Give him the Gospel and he will be changed for eternity. 


Listen to Daniel King, the Evangelism Coach, on the Evangelism Podcast.


Daniel King (00:00):

Welcome back to the evangelism podcast. I’m joined once again with my good friend, Josh Wagner, he is an evangelist and the son of an evangelist, the son of Kevin Wagner, who is one of our good friends. And Josh grew up watching his father do crusades all over the world, have the opportunity to attend his father’s crusades. And then he launched out and started doing his own crusades. So, so tell me, how did that come about Josh? Yeah. Well, as you said, I grew up


Josh Wagner (00:36):

Sort of observing my dad and he was always interested in getting me involved. So even from a young age, I would do a teens conference when he was doing a pastor’s conference. And just became to came to love the ministry of evangelism and reaching the lost people of our world. And when I was 18, I started doing my own crusades and pastors and leadership conferences. And then when I graduated with my undergraduate degree from ORU, I in 2014, I started working full time for our ministry. And I’ve been doing that now for the past six years. And we are privileged to go all over the world, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who need it the most.


Daniel King (01:15):

I think your story is so wonderful because I think that God is a generational guy, man. He’s the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He’s the God of Kevin, Josh. And what’s your son’s name? Well, I’ve got to,


Josh Wagner (01:30):

To a right now, Caleb and Gabriel,


Daniel King (01:31):

Caleb and Gabriel. And what’s neat is that the, the anointing increases from generation to generation that the same anointing that’s on your father has come to rest upon you. Amen and prayerfully. Yes. Good. As you raise your, your sons God’s hand is on them and they’re called as well. And so my, my son, Caleb I was we took him on a missions trip last year to the Dominican Republic. Yeah. He was praying for people and helping me out run the camera for the ministry. And it’s just so fulfilling as a father to see a son also participate in the ministry a hundred percent. Alright, you are a teacher at victory college here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and this semester you are teaching a class. What class are you teaching? Misseology misseology that sounds like a very complicated word. What is, what is,


Josh Wagner (02:33):

There’s a word that means the study of missions and evangelism


Daniel King (02:37):

Of missions and evangelism. And so you just got done teaching a class today. And what were you talking about in today’s?


Josh Wagner (02:44):

We were talking about the motivations for evangelism. So why should a Christian want, or should they be involved in evangelism?


Daniel King (02:53):

That is a great question. Josh, why should Christians want to be involved in evangelism? If you listen to our podcast that we did


Josh Wagner (03:01):

Previous to this on the five great commissions, you can sort of get a glimpse of that. First, the first point I’ll mention here, which is that the re one of the reasons we should be involved in evangelist work is because Jesus said, so if we truly believe and trust in the words of Jesus, if we take them seriously, then we need to fulfill the great commission, because Jesus said, you know, recorded five different five, five different times in four different by four different authors and five different books to go and preach the gospel


Daniel King (03:29):

Jesus Christ. So Matthew 28, Jesus says, go and make disciples, Mark 16. He says, go into all the world and preach the gospel. Luke 24, he says repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations in John 2021. He says, as the father has sent me even, so send I you and then acts one eight. You shall receive power to be my witnesses to the uttermost ends of the year.


Josh Wagner (03:53):

Exactly. So we can see Jesus is repeating this message over and over again. And it speaks to its importance. You know, another fact here is that those are the very last words ever recorded.


Daniel King (04:04):

Bye recorded


Josh Wagner (04:06):

Right before he ascends to the father. He says these words. And when you consider maybe in your own life, you’ve had, you’ve been around somebody who’s nearing death. If they know that their time here is short, the last conversations that they have are such significant conversations, they don’t want to talk about the weather or politics. They want to leave you with something of deep significance. Cause they realize these may be the last words that I ever share with that person. And that’s the situation here with the great commission of all the things Jesus could have said right before he ascends to the father in heaven, he leaves us with this great commission to go and preach the gospel. And it speaks to the deep significance of that message. And if it was that important to Jesus than it needs to be that important to us, I say it like this, his last words must become our first priority.


Daniel King (04:52):

Wow. That’s really tremendous. His last words must become our first priority. So our first motivation for evangelism is that Jesus said it. Yes. All right. What are some other reasons we should evangelize


Josh Wagner (05:07):

Also want to evangelize because Jesus demonstrated it. You know, we, Jesus is our great example in everything. We look to Jesus to be our example. And when you look at the ministry of Jesus, I want you to notice the ministry. Jesus was all about evangelism is all about people. Jesus was constantly looking for individuals on a one on one basis or crowds in a large basis to w to tell them the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, whether it was Zakiah sup in the Sycamore tree, or Bartimaeus on the side of the road of Jericho or the woman at the well, Jesus was always looking for people and wanting to share the good news with them. When we see the ministry of Jesus, we see it as a ministry of evangelism. And if we are to be like Jesus, then we need to be involved in the ministry of evangelism. Now it’s not to say that we can’t be involved in lots of other good endeavors, you know, writing worship music and building orphanages and doing all these other wonderful things. But those things aren’t even the things that Jesus did. What did Jesus focus his attention on people. He wanted to reach people and all of these other efforts that we have made, they ultimately lead to that same goal. Those are just tools to help us reach people


Daniel King (06:20):

Very well said. What’s another reason why Christians should be involved in evangelism. Jesus says


Josh Wagner (06:26):

Matthew chapter nine, this hallmark verse passage of scripture on evangelism, Matthew nine verses 35 through 38. And within there, Jesus says the harvest is ripe, but the laborers are few. And therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest fields. You know, that statement, the harvest is ripe speaks to the urgency of the gospel. Notice. Jesus does not say the harvest was ripe in the, in the past, or will be ripe in the future. He says, the harvest is ripe. And if the harvest is ripe right now, so there’s an urgency to absolutely, you know, I’m not a farmer, but I know I have family members who are farmers and they’re wheat farmers. And they have told me Joshua, when the harvest is ready, you better be ready because if you’re not ready, when the harvest is ready, you will miss the harvest. There is a window of opportunity to bring in the crop. And if you wait too long, you will miss that opportunity. Well, that’s how it is with people. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. That person that’s lost is not guaranteed tomorrow. And that’s why Paul says in second Corinthians six, he says, today is the day of salvation. Not tomorrow, not next month or next week. Today is the day of salvation. There is an urgency to the gospel that we need to share it with people. Now


Daniel King (07:42):

I’ve seen this in some of the countries that I’ve gone to, where there is an opportunity to go into a nation and you go, you preach the gospel. And then just a few months or years later, the doors to that nation may shut. Maybe they have a presidential election. And the new president is not as open to Christians sharing the gospel. And so when


Josh Wagner (08:07):

The harvest is ripe, we must go out into the harvest.


Daniel King (08:12):

We can’t be complacent about it. Yes. We need to go and bring in the harvest and bring it in while the sun is shining.


Josh Wagner (08:21):

Absolutely. And then on the heels of that, Jesus says the harvest is ripe, but the laborers are few. He’s emphasizing the fact that even though there is this great harvest and it’s ready right now, nobody’s getting it. Very few people, very few laborers are in the fields, bringing in the harvest. So we need to assist in that harvest work. We need to be a part of the, of the solution. And you know, right now, Dina, we live in a world where approximately 3 billion people haven’t even heard the name of Jesus Christ. That’s a great harvest, just waiting to harvest. That’s a great


Daniel King (08:56):

Tragedy. It is that with all of our modern technology and ability to travel and the strength of Christianity and all the resources that Christians have in the world today, that there are still 3 billion people waiting to hear. And so,


Josh Wagner (09:11):

Because there is this great harvest, but there are so few laborers. That’s why the Lord even now is speaking to you, listener to be involved in the great commission work, whoever you are, whatever you’re doing, whatever your job may be, your vocation, God has called you by his great commission to be involved in the great commission work, to be involved in the harvest fields. We have. So few labors, I want you to think, you know, think about how many pastors, you know, lots of pastors probably now think about how many evangelists, you know, people who are full time evangelists. And it’s not that evangelists are better than pastors. If God calls us to be a pastor, we shouldn’t settle for being an evangelist. But if God calls us to be an evangelist, we also shouldn’t settle for being a pastor. And we need to acknowledge the fact that while there are many people in many vocations, there are very few people who are involved in doing the great work of the evangelist or the missionary, or just in general, being a soul winner. Somebody who is on the lookout for lost people. We need to be involved in that work.


Daniel King (10:07):

I think walking down the street here in Tulsa, you run into a church, every block or so there there’s, you can throw a stone and hit a church and you go to places like Pakistan. And there may be one missionary for every million people in the entire nation of Pakistan. And you see what a great need there is for soul winners, for people who will go to the loss, to those who have not heard and to preach to them.


Josh Wagner (10:37):

Amen. Agreed. Do you know another reason why we should be motivated to preach the gospel is because we love Jesus. You know, I ask people, you know, if you asked a group of Christians or something, do you love Jesus? Of course, you know that your congregation would say they would,


Daniel King (10:53):

Josh. I got a question for you. Do you love Jesus? You have,


Josh Wagner (10:55):

Of course. But to be honest with you, there’s nowhere in the scriptures where it says, if you love Jesus, then say you love Jesus. In fact, Jesus chastises, religious leaders. He says, you honor me with your lips, but your hearts are far from me. You see so many people. They say they love Jesus, but their hearts really aren’t showing it. Their actions say otherwise, you know, it’s not just enough for me to tell my wife that I love her. I need to demonstrate that I need to show her that I love her by cleaning the dishes and taking out the trash and you know, taking her out to dinner and doing these things to demonstrate that love for her. And the reality is this. We can’t take the trash out for Jesus. We can’t take Jesus out to dinner. The way that we can show Jesus that we love him.


Josh Wagner (11:43):

Not just by saying it, but by showing it is biobank. The great commission, you know, Jesus said in John 14, 15, if you love me, then you will keep commandments. And then it asks us a question. You know, it begs the question. Well, which commandments Jesus had a lot of commandments. Well, how about the one that was mentioned five different times and five different books of the Bible and was the very last commandment that he gave. Maybe that’s a big and important one that we should be. Oh, bang. And, and in that way, when we obey that commandment, we demonstrate to Jesus, our great love for him. And after all that he’s done for us, we, we want to show our love for Christ. We want to demonstrate our love to him. It’s not that he doesn’t love it when you read your Bible or sing songs to him. But those are not the ways he says. We communicate our love to him. He says, if you love me, then you will obey my commandments. And what better commandment to obey it, to demonstrate our love for God than to share the gospel with those who need it. Why do you think


Daniel King (12:42):

So many people forget about obeying that command like here in, in America, it’s very easy sometimes for Christians to be complacent about sharing their faith and maybe never in their entire lives, have the, the opportunity to share their faith with someone.


Josh Wagner (13:04):

Well, it’s a great question. I think that there are probably many reasons why people don’t share their faith. In fact, in my book, I talk a lot about the obstructions to evangelism reasons why people don’t share their faith. And for some people it’s, it’s fear for some people it’s this sort of natural predisposition to being an introvert, or they think, you know, I’m not called to do this,


Daniel King (13:26):

Which is really interesting because actually I’m an introvert, I’m an evangelist. But by my nature, I’m an introvert. Introverts tend to get their energy from being alone and spend their energy when they’re with people. And that describes me perfectly.


Josh Wagner (13:40):

Exactly. And so and so, you know, there’s all these excuses that people give.


Daniel King (13:45):

God could even use an introvert. That’s what I’m saying.


Josh Wagner (13:48):

God can, it doesn’t work. It shouldn’t work. In fact, there’s no good excuse that I’ve come across and Jesus doesn’t give any either. He doesn’t say, go into all the world and preach the gospel, unless you’re an introvert or go into all the world and preach the gospel, unless you’re a new Christian or unless you, you know have a fear of people or unless you’re not gifted or unless you didn’t go to Bible college. No, no, no. There are no qualifications. There are no excuses that Christ gives. He’s just says to go. And we oftentimes, because we are so consumed with our own selves and with our own desires and our own selfish desires that we choose to neglect the great commandment that Jesus gave us here to go and preach the golf.


Daniel King (14:29):

So our motivation for evangelism is that it’s how we love Jesus. And you have one last


Josh Wagner (14:37):

Well. Yeah. And we could go on and on. But maybe the last one I’ll mention now is, is also, is how you love people. You know, you can say you love people, all you want, but it’s, it’s important that you show them that you, you be able to demonstrate that as it was with Christ and in scripture, what we see over and over again, is that the way that we love people is by giving them the gift of salvation, you know there’s this term that we use sometimes give a man a fish and you can feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you can feed him for a lifetime. Well, I would say, you know, you could, you could appropriate that also with the gospel, you could say, you know, give a man a meal and you’ll feed him for a day, but give them the gospel.


Josh Wagner (15:18):

And you’ve, you’ve given me Turnitin. You know, so many times we are focused on meeting people’s physical and material needs, which we should, but we should not do it at the expense of their spiritual needs. You know, if I closed the naked and if I feed the hungry, but I never introduced them to Jesus, I’ve not helped them eternally because there are many people who will be well fed and well clothed who will go to hell because nobody introduced them to Jesus. And that is a great travesty. The best gift you can give somebody is the gift of salvation. It is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, because that is the one gift that you get to take with you beyond this life. The only thing that has eternal value is the relationship we have with Jesus. The only thing you get to bring with you to heaven is not your car, not your homes, not your clothes. It is people. And if you really love people, then you will do everything you can to take them with you out of hell and into heaven.


Daniel King (16:22):

Yeah. The reality of hell really is a motivation for evangelism, because if people are dying without Jesus, the spiritual reality is that they are going to spend eternity separated from God. They’re going to go to hell and we can rescue them. We can save them from any eternity in hell. Absolutely. And it shows great love to, to throw a life ring to someone who is drowning. Yes. If someone is drowning, you’re going to do whatever you can to, to rescue that person. Especially if, if you, you love that.


Josh Wagner (17:03):

Yes. And, and if someone’s drowning, what good does the loaf of bread that you throw them? Do?


Daniel King (17:09):

W what good. Does there have a snack? Yeah. What good does this, does this


Josh Wagner (17:14):

Coach or this new shirt do, I’m not trying to be little, the importance of meeting people’s physical needs, but when, in comparison to their spiritual needs, they are insignificant because a drowning person doesn’t need a snack and he doesn’t need a drink and he doesn’t need clean water or new clothes. He needs the gospel of Jesus Christ, because that is what will, that is the only thing that can save me.


Daniel King (17:36):

He doesn’t need a boost to his self esteem. I saw a picture one time with someone drowning and someone just comes and gives them five and say, Hey man, you’re a great person. And that’s not what they need. If they’re dying and going to hell, they don’t need just a boost to their self esteem or personal motivation. They need to be.


Josh Wagner (17:56):

And a person who’s drowning, we should not be concerned. Well, I wonder if I try to throw them this lifeline, are they going to get offended? Because I threw him a yellow lifeline rather than a blue lifeline? Or are they going to be thinking, Oh, well, you know, you should have had somebody else tell it to me or throw it to be in a nicer way. We don’t, we don’t consider those things. We just see that somebody is dying and we need to share the gospel with them. The gospel by its very nature is at times going to offend people. The Bible says that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. And so we should not be so concerned about, well, if I say this truth, is it going to offend somebody? Is it going to step on somebody’s toes? People are drowning. We don’t have time to be concerned about how it may affect their feelings. Always. We just need to give them the good news of the gospel.


Daniel King (18:43):

You’ve shared a bunch of motivations for evangelism today. And so which one of these motivations most motivates you personally?


Josh Wagner (18:53):

I would say that it would be my love for Christ. You know, I try daily to, you know, love Jesus and to serve him. And I think about how he has saved me. I could spend my whole life thanking him and doing everything I can for what he did for me. And it would not be enough. I’ll spend all of eternity doing that and it still won’t be enough because he saved us from our sins. He saved us from how and as a, an appropriate Thanksgiving for what he’s done. And my love for him. I want to tell people about Jesus and in, so doing, I believe that when Jesus sees me witnessing, I believe that he’s in heaven and he is looking down on me with such you know, pride thankful. And, and just to one day, hear those words well done. Good and faithful servant. If we live a life fulfilling the great commission, I believe we will hear those words.


Daniel King (19:46):

I love the verse in Matthew 10, eight that says freely, you have received now freely give. So thank God that I’m saved what a tremendous blessing by the grace of God that God has saved me. Amen. And now it is my privilege to go and to tell others


Josh Wagner (20:05):

That’s right. Exactly. Exactly. Thanks for being with us, Josh. Thank you.


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