Gratitude... That About Sums It Up (Part 5 of 7)

           While it is essential to maintain that it is God who does the work in conversion through the power of His proclaimed word[1] and that missions is primarily seen in the context of God in mission for mankind, we do not and cannot keep this good news to ourselves.  As members of the body of Christ we are blessed with the good news of the Gospel so that we might be a blessing to others.  But why evangelize we may say? 
Michael Green comments on the motives of the early church in evangelism by stating, “A great deal is made in some missionary writings of ‘the Great Commission’ in Matthew 28:18-20.  No doubt this was important.  Obedience to the Lord was the great new commandment Jesus had left to those who loved him: ‘If you love me, keep my commandments.’  But in point of fact it is quoted very little in the writings of the second century. The Great Commission did not appear to have played a great part in sending the early Christians out in evangelism.[2]”   So, this raises the question to what or why were they motivated for evangelism?  Green states, “There can be little doubt that the main motive for evangelism was a theological one.  These men did not spread their message because it was advisable for them to do so, nor because it was the socially responsible thing to do.  They did not do it primarily for humanitarian or agathistic utilitarian reasons.  They did it because of the overwhelming experience of the love of God which they had received through Jesus Christ.  In a word, Christian evangelism has its motivation rooted in what God is and what he has done for man through the coming and the death and the resurrection of Jesus.  ‘We love because he first loved us.[3][4] 

[1] Note Romans 10:17
[2] Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church (Eerdmans Publishing, 2003), 208.
[3] 1 John 4:19
[4] Green, 278.