A Guest Blog by By Rev. Daniel Stegeman, Pastor of Pine Glen Alliance Church in Lewistown, PA
A few weeks ago, my good friend gave me a call. I have gotten to know this friend (also named Daniel) over the past couple years and he is not a believer. Daniel had some biblical and theological questions for me during our call, and every question was thoughtful and incisive, but there was one question that stood out.
“The Christians that I know don’t tell me about Jesus and the Gospel. Don’t you think if they really believed in the power of the message, they would share it?”
I paused for a few seconds. As I pondered Daniel’s question, I realized that, generally speaking, he was right. I conceded. “Yeah, unfortunately you are right. Many Christian’s do not evangelize.” I was thankful for the good discussion which followed.
I think a lot of us would readily admit that personal evangelism is a weakness. While there are many reasons why this might be the case, the fear of man (Matthew 10:26-33) can be placed at the top of that list. We worry about what people think. We fear rejection. And we are well aware that politics and religion are taboo in our 21st century conversations. However, our conscience and convictions tell us we should be stronger in our Gospel witness.
Colossians 4:2-4 is a helpful passage in understanding how to better share the gospel with those around you. “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison – that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”
Allow me to offer a few quick comments on this passage, as it pertains to evangelism.
Pray. Evangelism must start with prayer. If you have an unsaved friend then just start praying for them. Try to remember to pray for them every day. This is a great reminder that it is God who saves, not us.
When I was in college, I attended a seminar on personal evangelism. I am sure there were some good things I picked up, but the big takeaway was, “if you follow this method and these steps, you are sure to win people to Christ.” What was the problem? According to that school of thought, the power to save is not invested in the living God, but in the method and persuasiveness of one’s words. That is blatantly unbiblical and I am thankful God led me to other resources and teachings and were faithful to scripture.
God alone has the power to save, which is why prayer is the natural starting point for evangelism.
Ask for prayer. Coupled with your own personal prayers, don’t be afraid to ask believers around you to pray for your unsaved friends. Ask them to pray that you would have opportunities to share the gospel. While on this subject, would you please pray for my friend Daniel? Pray that the seeds of God’s word would take root in his heart.
Be prepared with Biblical answers. When your friend does ask questions, be ready. As 1 Peter 3:15 puts it, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” You don’t have to know every answer to every question your friend might ask, but the better you know God’s word, the more effective you will be in evangelism. Be ready, be prepared, and let the hope that you have in Christ Jesus shine forth.
Share the gospel. This is where it all comes down to you. Yes, strive to live holy and godly lives (2 Peter 3:11, Matthew 5:16), but eventually you just have to open your mouth and share your faith. Remember, Christians have the greatest news in all the world! The gospel is attractive. Aim to share it with courage, boldness, conviction, and love.
Evangelism is not nearly as hard as some would think. If you are in Christ, then God has saved you by His grace and has made you an ambassador for Christ. Tell the world there is hope in Jesus name, and trust God to convict and ultimately to convert.
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