The Hidden Tool of Evangelism

There are many methods we can use to share the gospel with our friends and neighbors.  Paul the apostle writes about an unusual tool he employed when he spoke to unbelievers about Christ: jealousy.

In Romans 9-11, Paul speaks of his love for the Hebrew people. In spite of all their privileges, the Jews had hardened themselves to the gospel. But Paul won’t give up on them, saying, “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they might be saved” (Rom 10:1).  Then he mentions this unusual evangelistic tool three times.

Rom 11:11 – “salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous”.

Rom 11:14 – “I take pride in my ministry in the hope to somehow arouse my people to jealousy and save some of them.”  (Also in Rom 10:19.)

Imagine that – making people jealous so they come to Christ!  Making them envious of the gospel.  Paul deliberately provoked people to jealousy.  The Hebrew people of Paul’s day were so fixed on their external religion with all the Thou-Shalt-Nots.  In contrast, the early Christians enjoyed their freedom in Christ and joy in the Spirit. This drove the Jews crazy. And drove some to Jesus.

We might ask, “If it’s wrong to be jealous ourselves, isn’t it wrong to force others become jealous?”  Not if it’s the right kind of jealously and for the right reason.  And if an apostle can use this tool, so can we.  It’s the hidden tool of evangelism.

How do we make people jealous to come to Christ?

  • First, the world should see our faith – truth-rooted joy radiating from a clean heart.
  • Secondly, they should see our homes. Imperfect as they all are, our homes should be a refuge in a world of harsh relationships.
  • Next, they should see our work ethic – industry, modesty, reliability, expertise.
  • Finally, the world should see our fellowship.  Our warm church worship should disappoint people with what makes them happy and envious for something better.  George Müller was converted this way.  He walked into a prayer meeting and saw a man praying on his knees.  He had never seen this kind of devotion before, and he wanted it.  The entire gospel came together for him when he saw that man on his knees.

Evangelistic jealousy is simply what Titus 2:10 calls ‘adorning the doctrine of God’.

As people in our communities see our joy, our freedom, our purpose, our wholesomeness, they should crave what we have in Christ.