5. Even so, evangelism does aim at a response.
You Shall be My Witnesses
The last point emphasized the evangelist’s side of the gospel. He is, above all, a witness. Not a skilled orator, not a seasoned debater, and not a motivational speaker.
He witnesses to what God has done and to what he has seen, heard, and experienced firsthand (Acts 4:20). A witness doesn’t pass on hand-me-down truths. He gives a personal testimony of his direct involvement in what God has done. The producing of this kind of people, witnesses, is a major theme in the book of Acts. The Lord told the apostles, “You shall be My witnesses” (Acts 1:8). The gospel is borne by witnesses, not necessarily professionals. James McKendrick’s book “Seen and Heard” shows how mightily even a coal miner can be used by God, if only he possesses the spirit of a witness.
Response- Repent and Believe
However, the gospel is aimed at a radical response- repentance and faith. This is on the side of the hearer of the gospel. The Bible presents the gospel not only as a testimony, report, and proclamation, but as an imperative, a command to be obeyed (Acts 17:30; Rom. 10:16).
Jesus’ first message in His public ministry puts the ball in your court, so to speak:
The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent and believe in the gospel. –Mark 1:15
The first word of the gospel introduces a crisis in men’s lives- repent!
What does this mean for man? …That he is therefore living in a critical situation, however much he likes to close his eyes to it. He is pressed to make a final decision, to accept the offer to commit himself to the reality of God, which is ahead of him. It is a decision in which everything is at stake: an either-or, for or against God… A conversion is peremptorily thrust upon him. A new way of thinking and acting is urgently required. This is an absolutely final choice: a reinterpretation of life, a new attitude to life, a new life as a whole.
–Hans Küng, On Being a Christian, p. 225
The Recovery Version study note on Mark 1:15 puts it this way:
The Greek word means have a change of mind. To repent is to have a change of mind with regret for the past and a turn for the future. On the negative side, to repent before God is not only to repent of sins and wrongdoings but also to repent of the world and its corruption, which usurp and corrupt people whom God created for Himself, and to repent of our God-forsaking life in the past. On the positive side, it is to turn to God in every way and in everything for the fulfillment of His purpose in creating man. It is a “repentance unto God,” and is to “repent and turn to God” (Acts 20:21; 26:20).
- Evangelism and Mission (lifeandbuilding.com)