<<sharing about Christ>>
Evangelism is the presenting of the gospel (which means 'good news') with the intention of bringing others, who currently are not Christians, to salvation – variously termed as: faith in Christ, conversion, being born-again, or giving one’s heart to Christ.
The message remains, "Repent and believe the gospel" – Mark 1:15
and Jesus died to provide a way back to God for us if we repent (turn away from) our waywardness (Jn 3:16; Rom 5:8; Act 17:30). Until the seriousness of the bad news is presented and understood in some measure, the good news can't be effectively communicated. It must be recognised evangelism is not a numbers game of getting people to acknowledge an interest in Christ or filling in a decision card. Rather there must be a clear presentation of the gospel so those who decide to embrace Christianity acknowledge and repent of their sin, accept Christ as Saviour, then live transformed lives because of their ongoing connection to Him.
This calls for a change of heart, not just the intention to live a better life
continuing' as before with a bit of Jesus (Act 3:19; 2 Tim 2:19). The seriousness of our wrongdoing needs to be confronted in an ongoing way so we can increasingly walk into newness of life as the works of the flesh are cast off (Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:22-24). Impassioned gospel messages may touch the emotions, but only the power of the Holy Spirit can bring conviction and repentance that transforms the heart (2 Tim 2:25). Real salvation is not just adding Jesus to our lives; it involves a replacing of the old sinful qualities and lifestyle with the new life in Christ, the qualities of heaven (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 5:19-24). Don’t misrepresent the Christian life by telling people when they become Christians all their problems will be solved, otherwise people will end up disillusioned and disappointed (Act 14:22).
The command of Jesus to “Go and make disciples” commences with the sharing of the Gospel (evangelism) and continues till the person is firmly established in Christ through solid discipleship (Mt 28:19,20). All followers of Christ should be able to share the gospel with others (1 Pet 3:15). Personal evangelism is the responsibility of every believer. Jesus commands it, duty demands it and gratitude prompts it (Mt 28:19,20; Mk 5:19, 12:31). As believers we should not view ourselves as passengers on a cruise ship motivated by our own comfort on the way to heaven, rather we should be active crew members on a lifeboat intent on rescuing people drowning in the sea of sin. While we don't know the answer to every question we may be asked, we do know what Jesus has done for us, that once we were blind to spiritual truths, and now we see. We do not all have the gift of evangelism yet we all should share our faith in Christ with others in sincerity and love (Act 4:20; Eph 4:11; 2 Tim 4:5). There is no set formula, rather be relevant to the person and their situation, open to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Do I know how to effectively share the gospel?
although salvation is free there is a cost involved of denying ourselves to follow Christ who gave His all to purchase our deliverance (Mt 10:38; 16:24). We are called to sow the seed of God’s truth into people’s lives; sometimes we reap what others have sown however remember it’s God’s Spirit that draws them to Him and He is the one who is to receive the glory (Jn 4:36-38, 6:44; 1 Cor 3:6-9). Coming to Christ is normally a process that takes place over a period as different people contribute; each player instrumental by having a valued and significant part to play in the final harvest. Be proactive, don’t bring people to God but take God to people.
Very few unsaved people are looking for church, but everyone is looking for relief from their inner pain; those things which make life difficult to live – be it the result of bad decisions they have made, pain from rejection, or the hurt from living in a world that knows little of God’s acceptance, forgiveness and love. If we demonstrate love by acts of kindness, we get their attention and so over time earn the right to share the love of Christ. By doing that which relieves their felt need, it addresses the issues most affecting them, often causing them to ask, ‘Why are you doing this for me?’ It is ‘scratching them where they itch’, and touches more people than any theological debate can ever do. Living a godly life speaks volumes to the unsaved about the transforming power of the love of God.
Evangelism and discipling should be by-products of each other
(Jn 6:44, 14:6; 2 Cor 4:4). However, following conversion there should be adequate follow-up so the new Christian is securely grounded in the faith and receives care and spiritual nourishment, helping them develop a robust relationship with the Lord. Opposition from Satan increases because he is annoyed another person has defected to the Kingdom of God and will try to regain their allegiance, so it is imperative the ‘babe in Christ’ is supported and grows strong, able to resist the many diverse attacks.
The mandate of Jesus to all His followers remains, "Go and make disciples of all nations..." (Mt 28:19,20). Besides personally sharing Christ with the unsaved, all believers should give financially to Christian ministries that are involved in missions focused on evangelistic efforts, both locally and overseas where the unmodified gospel is presented. The gospel truths can't be altered to make it more acceptable, but it can be culturally adapted (1 Cor 9:22, 15:1-4). Every Christian should understand the vital importance of prayer. “The harvest is great and the workers are few so pray to God for more recruits” – however you may be the solution to your own prayers (Mt 9:37,38).
Friendship evangelism (developing friendship with non-believers) is one of the most effective and cost efficient methods to win the lost to Jesus. Over a period, they can observe your lifestyle and as bridges of communication are built, with the sharing of your story to salvation (testimony) enables the Gospel to be introduced naturally and simply. This one-to-one approach undertaken by every believer (or as a couple) is the best means of evangelism which also contributes to their spiritual maturity as they become outwardly focused, taking the good news to others (Mk 6:7, 16:15; Lk 10:1). If it is specifically one-to-one this should always be done with the same gender though. Discipling and follow-up can also be undertaken easily, as over time, good relationships have been built up a and the new convert will be more at ease to share details of their lives. Do I share Christ along the pathway of life? It is my job to speak; its God’s to save them.