The word “evangelism” sends a shiver down the spine of many Christians.
“I won’t know what to say.” “I want to get to know the person better.” “They seem like they wouldn’t be open to the gospel.” “Evangelism is not my spiritual gift.”
There are many common excuses people use for not following the commands of Scripture to share the gospel (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15).
Here are some truths from Scripture that will encourage you to take a step outside your comfort zone and into the exciting world of sharing your faith in Christ:
1. It is by the power of God that people are saved.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)
Knowing that people are saved only through the power of God, and not by human effort or ability, should provide comfort for those seeking to make a kingdom-difference. This also takes the pressure off when people are not responding the way we want because we know we are not responsible for the salvation of a particular person, but God is.
2. When you share your faith, you gain a deeper understanding of Christ.
When we testify to others how God saved us from sin and wrath, how he has made us a new creation in Christ, and how has filled us with joy and peace by the Holy Spirit, we are reminded of God’s awesome work in our lives. This deepens our love and understanding of Christ.
In Philemon 6 the Apostle Paul says to Philemon, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (NIV).
3. Even Jesus was rejected.
Success in evangelism is measured not in the outcome, but in your obedience to the command of Christ. The story of the Jesus and the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-30 gives a great picture of this. The young man approached Jesus, interested in hearing about how to get to heaven.
You would think that any encounter with Jesus, the Son of God who has power to grant saving faith, would have been a sure-fire conversion. This was not the case.
After Jesus led him through the law (which shows us our sin and need for the Savior) and told him the cost of discipleship, we are told the young man went away sorrowful.
4. When we are rejected, we are promised heavenly rewards.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
Evangelist Mark Cahill calls all three potential witnessing outcomes a “win”:
- If the person comes to Christ, that is an obvious win.
- If they seem interested but don’t come to Christ, you plant seeds that God could water and grow in the future, which is another win.
- If they reject you, you get heavenly rewards, which is definitely a win!
5. The Holy Spirit will give you words.
In Luke 12, Jesus talks to his followers about being a witness. Verses 11 and 12 should be a comfort:
And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.
If God can speak through donkeys like he did in Numbers 22:28, people should be no problem for him! Take him at his word!
6. Our job is to plant seeds or water the soil. God takes care of the growth.
Just like a gardener cannot force seeds to spring forth with life merely by his will, evangelists cannot force people to respond to the message of Christ by their will. God is the one who gives life both physically and spiritually.
We should take the opportunities we are given to plant seeds by sharing the gospel and to water seeds already planted, but ultimately God will help the person grow.
7. God will go with you.
After he gave the Great Commission to go and make disciples in Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus did not leave his disciples alone but said, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (v. 20). Going out on your own can be a frightening thing, but that is never the experience of the Christian.
Christ promises to always be with you.
Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37). Are you going to be a laborer, someone willing to take a step of faith and love to share the message of the gospel?