(Adapted from Michael Green's excellent book, Evangelism in the Early Church
"[The early Christians were] so convinced that they had discovered the riddle of the universe, so sure of the One true God whom they had come to know, that nothing must stand in the way of their passing this good news on to others....They might be slighted, laughed at, disenfranchised, robbed of their possessions, their homes, even their families, but this would not stop them....They were not prepared to deny Christ even in order to preserve their own lives; and in the manner of their dying they made converts to their faith." (p.273)
Green highlights three motivations that fueled evangelism in the first and second centuries:1. A sense of Gratitude
The early Christians had been transformed by love. A love so great that it compelled their Lord to willingly suffer and die for their sins, offering forgiveness and hope even to His enemies. This same love now lived in the hearts of His followers, along with a deep sense of gratitude. How could they not give up everything in service to this Lord, and how could they not share this good news with others?2. A Sense of Responsibility.
The early church understood they would one day be called to account for their service to the Master, and they were determined to please Him in everything they did. They understood the reality of the coming Judgment Day, when every person would be confronted with his deeds. (The stress on Judgment in the second century was so great that it was the subject of ridicule among some pagans.) They took seriously their responsibility to live every day in the light of eternity, conscious that their every action was subject to the scrutiny of God.3. A sense of Concern.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. The early Christians saw that on the cross Jesus suffered the wrath of God in our place, and rose triumphant to demonstrate his victory. United with Christ we could face judgment unafraid, released from the paralyzing terror of wondering all through our lives if we would be accepted or rejected on the last Day. If you believe that outside of Christ there is no hope, it is impossible to posses and atom of human love and kindness without being gripped with a great desire to bring people to this one way of salvation. Many in the early church plead earnestly, even with tears, to try and persuade others to step out of darkness and into the wonderful light of Christ.
May we do the same. Take a moment to examine yourself, and ask God to grow these same motives in your own heart.