“No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once” is a quote from Oswald J Smith. It raises questions about our perspective on and practice of evangelism. In many ways it is an over-statement, but that does not take away from it prompting us to be more thoughtful about how we evangelise.
It is an overstatement because there will be occasions where we do have to continually engage with people so as to make sure that they do fully understand the gospel. Surely this is something of what Paul was doing in Acts 18:4 at Corinth when we read Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. There will be times where people make slow progress in in their journey to faith and we have to journey with them and not become impatient.
However, we need to be more thoughtful as to how the twelve conducted their ministry when sent out by the LORD. In Luke 9:4-5 we read how the LORD Lord instructed them Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” I have heard Dr B.S. Poh in Malaysia articulate, that we should go to bring gospel truth to a household as long as they are wanting to hear. When they decide that they do not want to hear anymore then we should move on.
The statement also raises the issue of seizing every opportunity to tell the gospel message clearly to a person once. In doing so we have presented them with special treasure. When we move on from such people who have been presented with the message we should, however, not do so in a heartless way, as if we are rejecting them. Nevertheless, in our dealing with people we should be aware that there others who need to know.
Finally we must be left wondering if the meeting whereby we evangelize to saints and seats can really be justified. If we set ourselves to evangelize it is really not good enough to conclude that the saints are blessed by the gospel and so it is worth it. No! When we truly evangelize we are seeking to reach the lost.