Every nation. Every tribe. Every person in this world needs to know “Jesus died and rose so that you may have eternal life”! Nothing is overly complicated by those 10 evangelistic words!
What are you doing to evangelise to your family, your neighbours, or your work colleagues? When was the last time that you told someone about Jesus or shared what Jesus has done in your life?
Evangelism generally makes people incredibly uncomfortable! Thoughts like these seem to creep in: What happens if I cannot answer all the questions? Will I lose friends if I talk about Jesus? What if the unbeliever isn’t interested? I’m really not good at evangelism. It’s going to be awkward. There’s a whole host of reasons why we resist evangelising to others.
By the way, I’m occasionally of that same fearful mindset too. For instance, I see lots of likes when I post pictures of family on Facebook. However, when I post something about Christianity, then only a few people respond.
Bottom line, Satan loves to discourage, intimidate, distort the truth and cause us to question whether we can effectively evangelise. How do we combat Satan? The same way Christ did in Mark 8:33, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
As believers, our mission is clear. We must tell others about Jesus!
It’s not enough to just show people; we actually have to tell them. However, we need to tell them in a way that conveys Christ’s love for them, and only after we have prayed for the Holy Spirit to go before us and to be with us in that conversation.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave the final Great Commission command to His disciples in Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. It is reiterated in Mark 16:15-16 as, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
How do we evangelise? Alot of books have been written on this subject, in far more detail than I have time for today. However, I want to concentrate on a few important aspects:
God Will Save The Lost. It is a blessing to participate in the Great Commission!
For whatever reason, our Sovereign God has chosen to use people to reach the lost in this world. This may be through large-scale events or huge masses, like in Acts 2, or it may be through one-on-one evangelism opportunities, as with Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-40.
As believers, we have a responsibility to tell others, because Christ has already done so much for us. Jesus gave His life on the cross, and carried the burden and penalty of our sins on Himself. He rose from the dead so that we might have eternal life. He was the ultimate sacrifice, for you and for me.
If we truly love Jesus, then we should want to please and obey His commandments. Jesus loved the lost, and so should we. It is a privilege and blessing to do our part in the Great Commission.
Ask God for Opportunities to Witness to Others!
We need to prayerfully ask God to open the doors for evangelistic opportunities and to ready the hearts of those who will hear the Gospel message. Our heart should cry out, “God, I’m willing to be used for your purpose today. Open doors in your perfect timing and place.”
We need to ask God to be present when we have evangelistic conversations, because the Holy Spirit will guide us in what and how to convey God’s message. Even in Phillip’s interaction with the eunuch in Acts 8, an angel had told him to go along the desert road and then, the Holy Spirit told him to go stay near the chariot with the eunuch. Only when Philip did that, did the evangelistic conversation happen. God can and does arrange for divine appointments for us to be able to be a witness for Him.
The evangelistic situations take all different forms. Maybe a neighbour is confronted with their own mortality because of an unexpected diagnosis. Maybe a business associate is going through a divorce and is despondent. Maybe a single Mom is exasperated from the stresses of family obligations. Maybe someone, who appears to have their life together, yet their pursuits demonstrate that they are falling apart. Maybe someone needs us to listen and pray for them on your next plane ride. All of these are examples of God giving us an opportunity for us to be a witness for Him.
In Colossians 4:3-4, we see that Paul asks God to open doors when he says, “meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains” Did you catch that? Even in prison, Paul was asking to be a witness for Christ!
Let’s ask God to open the doors and expect that He will! Let’s rely on God’s power through the Holy Spirit to order our steps to bring us into contact with those people who need to hear about Jesus. Let’s make sure our methods and motives are consistent with Scripture and done to honour God and advance His kingdom. But, how do we evangelise? What tactics can be useful?
How Do We Witness?
We should remember that we may carry the message, but it is God who saves – not us! Release yourself from the burden of a possible failure. God will be glorified over your evangelistic obedience, irregardless of the outcome.
People obsess over the methods of evangelism. Even churches can easily get consumed over whiz bang, entertaining, solutions to reach the lost. There are a multitude of methods for reaching the lost: printed material, live testimony, street evangelism, comfort of your home, cup of coffee at local cafe, picnic in the park, engaging videos, etc. We need to have a variety of creative solutions in our outreach. Ultimately, we want these moments to lead to a conversation about knowing and following Jesus Christ.
In these evangelistic conversations, Larry Moyer suggests that we equip ourselves with questions, “that arouse attention, provoke thought and invite interaction.” He recommends using these conversation starting questions, depending upon the situation:
“Has anyone ever taken a Bible and shown you how you can know for sure that you are going to heaven?”
“If there is one question you could ask God, what would it be?”
“Why do you think the problems of the world seem to be getting worse instead of better?”
“Are you interested in spiritual things?”
“In your opinion, what happens after death?”
Maybe you start with something as simple as, “How’s life treating you right now”?” and later transition it to a more spiritual conversation, if they seem open and eager to continue. If they have no interest, then always listen and respond in a loving and respectful manner.
You may be thinking right now that you don’t have an evangelistic gift, so this doesn’t apply to you. However, all believers have a spiritual gifts, and some have more than one (Ephesians 4:12-13). Your other spiritual gifts can easily be used in evangelistic moments.
For example, if you have a gift of mercy, then these can be great moments to minister to people in their greatest hour of need. If you have a gift of administration, then you could organise an outreach event for your church. If you have a gift of teaching, then you could train up people to enhance their outreach to others.
I pray that all of us will GO MAKE DISCIPLES, wherever in the world God has placed us! We all have spheres of influence that can be used to reach the lost. We have God’s promise that He will equip us for the evangelistic conversations. In fact, God delights in using us, if we humble ourselves before Him.
As Larry Moyer reminds us, “People are not brought to Christ through a system of logic, the articulation of an argument, or the power of persuasion. They’re brought to Christ when the Holy Spirit takes the truth of the gospel, drives it home to their hearts, and causes them to come to God by faith.”
It is the Holy Spirit who guides people in their need for the saving grace of Jesus Christ and in their faith of God the Father. We get the privilege of being messengers in the Great Commission, but it is the Holy Spirit, who brings each person to saving faith. If they believe in Jesus – who He was and what He did – then they will have everlasting life.
Let’s ask and expect God to open the doors for our communities and nations to know about Jesus. “Get behind us, Satan” because we are ready to proclaim the Good News, confident that God can and will use us. May God be glorified by our witness!