Many of us have helped someone we know or maybe even a stranger we’ve encountered who is lost and unfamiliar with a location and seeking travel directions to get from one place to another. I feel a great sense of satisfaction when I am able to provide someone who is lost with the accurate information needed to get them to their destination. I am confident and comfortable in providing those directions because it’s a path that I have personally traveled and successfully communicated to others many times. Explaining God’s grace is very much the same way. In our Christian walk, God places people on our paths that are lost and need to know God’s plan of salvation.
Salvation through Jesus Christ is truly the greatest message that a Christian has to share. The message of the Gospel contains themes of love, redemption, deliverance and grace that is underserved but yet given as a free gift from God through the sacrifice made by his Son, Jesus Christ. But still somehow, God’s plan of salvation can be a Christian’s best kept secret. Why is there so much fear and reluctance to share the Good News? Here are some of the fears, myths and even areas of complacency about evangelism that I’ve discovered in my conversations with Christians.
1. FEAR – A Christian may have the desire to evangelize, but because of a negative experience resulting in rejection of the Gospel or being accused of imposing their religious beliefs, they are discouraged and fearful of evangelism.
2. FEAR – A Christian may be willing to share the Gospel but there is a lack of confidence because of unfamiliarity with the Bible and knowing how to articulate the Gospel.
3. MYTH – Evangelism is only the responsibility of Christians with the spiritual gift of evangelism noted in Ephesians 4:11-12. This is a myth because although there are Christians who have the spiritual gift of evangelism, Jesus Christ commanded everyone in the church to spread the Gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15), in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and locally and abroad (Acts 1:8).
4. MYTH – Evangelism is only the responsibility of the pastors, deacons and elders of the church. This is a myth because of Christ’s commands as stated above.
5. MYTH – If a Christian’s life exemplifies Christ consistently, they are a living witness and therefore they should never have to verbally articulate the Gospel. A Christian’s conduct is extremely important in evangelism. Genuine acts of love, compassion and kindness often opens the door for the Gospel to be shared. However, should Christians assume that conduct only witnessing is sufficient? It’s not safe to assume that the unsaved believe that only Christians perform heroic acts and good deeds. In fact, the unsaved may only come to the conclusion that a person doing these types of things is very brave, loving, compassionate or generous. We should always let our light shine (Matthew 5:16) to attract the unsaved to us to share Christ. But if Christian’s conduct is so exceptional and set apart from the world an unsaved person will more than likely ask them about the hope that they have (1 Peter 3:15). At that time, a Christian should be prepared to verbally articulate the Gospel. In a nutshell, in most cases our conduct and verbal articulation of the Gospel go hand in hand.
6. MYTH – Every opportunity to share the Gospel must result in a conversion. Many times, Christians feel like they have failed if an opportunity to share Christ does not result in a conversion. 1 Corinthians 3:5-6 says, “After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.” God uses us as messengers of the Gospel. We are called to lovingly provide the unsaved with God’s plan of salvation and to plant and water seeds. Only the power of God can change the heart and make that seed grow.
7. AREA OF COMPLACENTCY – Lack of sensitivity to outreach and becoming too comfortable within the confines of the church. As a result, spiritual senses can become dulled. Christians must be focused inward when helping and fellowshipping with other Christians who already know Christ. In addition, Christians must rely on the Holy Spirit be focused outward to be successful in determining when evangelistic opportunities are present.
8. AREA OF COMPLACENTCY – Because of a lack of discipleship, a Christian may embrace a relative or worldly view about religion and may even accept the “all roads lead to heaven” philosophy, which in their mind negates the responsibility of evangelizing to unbelievers. This of course is in total contradiction to John 14:6.
9. AREA OF COMPLACENTCY – Because of a lack of discipleship, a Christian may not evangelize because they feel that telling an unbeliever that Jesus Christ is the only way to God is being judgmental. Many times they will say, “Who am I to tell someone that they are wrong”. It’s not our responsibility to tell unbelievers that they are wrong but only to share the truth of what it means to be saved with gentleness and respect and as we are led by the Holy Spirit. Be obedient and share the Gospel as you are led. God will deal with the rest. Also see Ezekiel 33:8-9.
Evangelism is simply spreading the Gospel or Good News as you are led by the Holy Spirit. The goal of sharing the Gospel is not to convert or get an unbeliever to say a prayer, but to have a conversation about what it truly means to be saved. What’s so “good” about the Good News? Salvation through Jesus Christ! Through God’s unfailing love for us and because mankind cannot atone for their sins, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ who was sinless and blameless into the world to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Three days later, Jesus Christ rose from the grave conquering sin and death once and for all. Those who repent of their sins, place their complete faith and trust in Jesus and accept Him as Lord and Savior are forgiven of their sins and are no longer under God’s condemnation and will live with Him in Heaven forever. We should be motivated to share this wonderful news because of obedience to Jesus’ command stated in the Great Commission, a love and burden toward those who are lost and our understanding of the eternal consequences of sin for those who do not accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. You do not have to be a seminary student or a theologian to share the Gospel. However, you do need to know how to articulate the Gospel and know key scriptures. Here’s a very easy way to explain God’s grace:
• GOD’S LOVE – God loves you more than you know and wants to have a personal relationship with you and offers you eternal life where you can be with him forever in heaven when you die.
• ETERNAL LIFE IS FREE – Eternal life in heaven is free but cannot be earned or deserved. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” This means that no one can earn a place in heaven by doing good works, having good conduct, going to church, being baptized or being a part of a religious group. No one can earn a relationship with God or save themselves by doing any or all of these things.
• THE SINFULLNESS OF MAN - Why can no one earn a place in heaven or save themselves? Because of sin. Everyone is a sinner. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sin is disobeying God and is committed in our thoughts, words and actions. Romans 6:23 tells us that sin is so serious that it leads to death, which is separation from God in hell for all eternity.
• JESUS CHRIST - THE ONLY WAY - The good news is that God loves you so much that he sent his one and only son, Jesus Christ to pay the punishment for your sins. Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life and willingly suffered punishment for your sins in his death on the cross. Three days later, he was raised from the dead and is alive in heaven preparing a place for all who receive him. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is only by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior that we can have a personal relationship with God, receive his forgiveness and be with him forever in heaven.
• REPENTANCE – God loves you so much and offers complete forgiveness from sins. It’s true! No matter what your past has been and no matter what you’ve done. God will forgive you if you come to him through his Son, Jesus Christ. Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is very simple. It requires turning away from your sins (repenting) and trusting (having faith) in Christ alone for eternal life. All you have to do is admit to God that you are a sinner and agree that your sin is separating you from him. Believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the punishment for your sins and was raised from the dead. You must be willing to turn your life over to God and give him control of your life.
• SINNER’S PRAYER – “Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and cannot save myself. Today, I turn away from my sins and ask for forgiveness. I also place my complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross to pay the punishment for my sins and believe he rose from the dead. I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Dear God, take control of my life from this day forward and help me to follow your plan for my life. Thank you for saving me. It is in the name of Jesus that I pray. Amen.”
There are many other effective methods used for sharing the Gospel like The 4 Spiritual Laws and The Romans Road. These are great training tools. Regardless of the method, God’s grace should always be communicated in love and with respect (2 Timothy 2:23-26, Colossians 4:5-6), following the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit and providing the right information. As you become more comfortable and confident in sharing the Gospel, it will become easier to do. God will always help you to share the Gospel in a way that fits your personality. Trust him to do that.
In conclusion, be encouraged! God doesn’t want you to fear sharing his love with others. When the Holy Spirit prompts you to share Christ, know that you are not doing it alone. God is right there with you. Now that you have some guidelines for sharing God’s grace, review the “Evangelism Series” posted on Sharing God’s Grace. Pray for God to help you to be bold and be prepared at all times to share the Gospel (1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT, 1 Peter 3:15). I promise you that there is a great blessing in being obedient in sharing the Gospel. There is a greater blessing being used by God and to witness him transforming a person from death to life.