The role of the Holy Spirit is vital to evangelism and cannot be overemphasized. In fact, evangelism is not about you involving Him in your outreach efforts. It is Him involving you in His.
God designed it this way from the very beginning of the church. Before Jesus ascended, He commanded His disciples to “tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). “Power from on high” alludes to a divine enablement to accomplish a mission. When the disciples received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, He empowered them to obey Christ’s command “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).
This holds true today. Without Him, we would be like sailboats with no wind: designed for a purpose, but powerless to carry it through on our own.
How do we live a lifestyle of dependence on the Holy Spirit in evangelism? Prayer is vital. Prayer is not just a brief request asking God to bless our evangelism efforts. It is ongoing communication with the Lord as we rely on Him to guide our steps, open doors of opportunity, and provide the words and boldness we need in our conversations.
We also need to rely on the Holy Spirit to open individual hearts to the gospel message. Only the Holy Spirit can open the eyes of unbelievers to the truth of the gospel. The Bible illustrates this in Acts 16:14 where Lydia trusts in Christ: “The Lord opened her heart to heed the message of Paul.” It is the same today as it was in Acts. It is the job of believers to communicate the gospel. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convert the heart.
Because it is our responsibility to communicate the gospel, we need to be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Paul commands in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.” The word quench means to “extinguish,” like water extinguishing a fire. When we resist the Spirit’s urging to reach out to others or share the gospel with them, we are quenching the work He wants to do through us.
What a privilege we have to be used by the Spirit of God in evangelism! Seek His leadership and be ready to obey when He provides an opportunity.