30 Days of Devotions- Day 29, 2017

September 29
Rev. Greg Conover
John 12:23-26

And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains
alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever
hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow
me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will
honor him.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “evangelism” as “the spreading of the Christian gospel by
public preaching or personal witness.” And defines “vitality” as “the state of being strong
and active; energy,” and “the power giving continuance of life, present in all living
things.”

Are these not two things that every church desires? Spreading the gospel and being
strong, active and the continuance of life? So, the question isn’t “do we want it,” but
“how do we get it?”

During his triumphal entry, some Greeks asked to see Jesus via his disciples. Jesus
responded saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I
say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it
dies, it bears much fruit.” He was of course talking about himself who was to die and
then bear fruit at his resurrection and glorification.

He then goes a step further, telling you and me that we’re to die to self so that we may
serve and live.

What does this have to do with evangelism? Everything! You see a church that is stuck
or unable to get traction must well… die to live. Die to self (habits; old ways; pride;
safety – not taking risks and more). When we die to self and serve, our vision changes
from inside maintenance to outside opportunities. From “this is for us” to “this is for
those who don’t know Christ.” Our hearts change from internal survival to external
expansion. We call this evangelism or as Oxford says, “the spreading of the Christian
gospel.”

Then as we die to self and reach the lost through evangelism, we must die to self even
more because here comes vitality! There will be new ideas, new people, new kids, new
youth, new problems to resolve and more. Or as Oxford says, “The state of being strong
and active; energy.” And “the power giving continuance of life, present in all living
things.” A strong, active, energetic church that reaches out to the lost is a church that
grows!