After speaking of the wonderful privilege we have in being able to know and fellowship with Almighty God, Martyn Lloyd-Jones states, “A man who knows anything about this intimate fellowship with God cannot stop speaking about it.” It’s natural for us to share with others the things in our life that are meaningful.
We are currently in a series on the Spiritual disciples. We’ve looked at Bible intake through hearing and reading, Bible intake by meditation and memorization, and prayer. Today we will look at the Spiritual discipline of evangelism.
We often speak of sharing the gospel, but are we equipped to do so? Here are the basics (who, what, where, when, and why) of sharing the gospel:
Who should share the gospel?
All believers! The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is for all Christians to obey! The reality is that all Christians are to serve in this way, not just vocational ministers. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.”
1 Peter 3:15-16- “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
What do we share?
The Gospel is the good news! It’s the message that we were created by God but separated from Him by our rebellion and sin, and that separation cannot be fixed by our own works. Christ came and lived in perfect obedience to God’s law, bore the punishment we deserve on the cross, and rose again in defeat of sin and death. Those who repent and believe the gospel will receive the righteousness of Christ and live with Him forever.
We must share this message with our words! Inviting people to church is great, but it’s not sharing the gospel. Living the life in front of people is great, but by itself, it’s not sharing the gospel. We should do both of those, but as we do them, we are praying and looking for opportunities to take the message of the gospel to people.
In the Great Commission, the command is to make disciples “as you are going.” As you are going to work, as you are going to run errands, as you are going on vacation, etc. share the good news! Wherever you find yourself throughout the day, consider that the Lord might be providing you with opportunities to share.
Perhaps an illustration is helpful: Imagine going to serve as a missionary in another country. What would be the strategy? We must have a platform to get in the country and around people. We would get a job where we can interact with folks and share, and we would view our job primarily as a platform for sharing the gospel. We might live in strategic neighborhoods where we would be able to share because we would see our neighbors as someone with whom we might have an opportunity to share. We would be “missions minded.”
We must ask ourselves, why are we not like that here? Hasn’t God sovereignly placed us here too? The book of Acts tells us that God has determined our time and even the boundaries where we live (Acts 17:26)! Even here, our co-workers are people who need the good news. Our neighbors are human beings made in the image of God and need to hear the good news! We must see every person we come in contact with as one placed there by the Lord.
- Love for such a great God- The whole purpose of evangelism is to see more people come to know and worship God. Evangelism is the means to seeing more worshippers. We desire more people to know and love God because we truly believe He is the best anyone could ever want or need. In Let the Nations be Glad, Dr. Piper states, “Where passion for God is weak, zeal for missions will be weak.” The two are directly connected. When God is made much of in our churches, and in our lives, it will overflow in our missions. Does your evangelism show a low view and low passion for God?
- Love for the lost- do we truly care for others? Do we genuinely care for their soul? If so, wouldn’t we desire that they hear the only message of hope? Our only hope to escape hell and the wrath of God we deserve is the good news of Jesus Christ!
- A desire to be obedient- God has commanded us to share. Hopefully, we desire to naturally, but where we find this passion lacking, we must remember that we will be held accountable for our obedience.
This can only be done in power of the Holy Spirit! Don’t trust in your knowledge or speaking ability. Romans 1:16 states, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” We cannot convert anyone; it’s the Holy Spirit of God that changes a person’s heart! Thankfully, God uses human instruments like you and me to share the Gospel, but the power for change is from Him!
Remember, success in evangelism isn’t whether or not the person believes, it’s whether or not we obey the call to share. There will be many times we share with someone who will not believe, but those times are not failures. Just like Jesus wasn’t a failure when the rich young ruler turned away, so neither are you if someone doesn’t respond in belief (Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, 103). We hope and pray others come to believe as we share, but that is not how we define successful evangelism.
- Who is one person you can intentionally develop a relationship with, pray for, and seek opportunities to share the gospel with?
- If you don’t know any non-believers, what’s a specific way you can change that? (Ex: joining a group or club, getting involved in a local organization, going to a specific restaurant on a regular basis, etc.)
Some helpful links for further study:
- Trying to bring up the gospel to someone but not sure how? Here are “Five Natural Ways to Get to the Gospel”- http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/five-natural-ways-to-get-to-the-gospel
- How to witness at work: http://gospelrelevance.com/2017/07/09/how-to-witness-at-work/
- Two ways to live presentation: http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/2wtl/
- Three circles evangelism: https://vimeo.com/97258323
Next week, we’ll look at the Spiritual discipline of serving.
Sources: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney.