Nothing fires me up like evangelism. By no means is that a commentary on me. That is just what God has put in me. I love to tell the story of Jesus, I love to wrestle through tough questions with skeptics, I love seeing the lights come on when it seems like someone is beginning to understand. Love love love love it.
And I have since 1995. Christ changed me so radically, that I remember praying to God and saying, “I just want to tell everyone about you.” And in an act of magnificent grace, He has given me the opportunity to be in ministry and do just that.
So not only do I get fired up about evangelizing, I get fired up about encouraging God’s people in evangelism. In preparing for last Sunday’s message, I went through some evangelism notes on courses I have taught in the past - 97 pages of notes! All that to say: the sermon could have been much longer!
I am not quite ready to get off the topic just yet. If you are born again, you are Christ’s ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20). You represent Jesus, who He is and what He is about, to your family, friends, coworkers, enemies… everyone you come into contact with! And as it is on your heart to be a faithful witness of Jesus Christ, allow me to put a PS on Sunday’s message by sharing some encouraging principles of evangelism:
- Evangelism is most often a process, not a sudden event. Generally, the Holy Spirit works over time in a person’s life. When someone actually receives the Gospel, there is usually much that precedes that, both in circumstances and other believers. (1 Corinthians 3:1-11)
- Evangelism must begin with a holy lifestyle. 1 Peter 2:12 says Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
The “day of visitation” means the day God shows up to save them! But notice how Peter encourages us to make sure our conduct displays we are authentic followers of Christ, because that is what is going to attract people!
- Evangelism is especially effective when strong relationships are built. I am all for sharing the Gospel with strangers. (I was a stranger to the person who shared the Gospel with me!) However, once a relationship is established based on mutual love and trust, the foundation is laid for that person to really hear what you are wanting to share.
- Apologetics (evidence and reasoning to defend the faith) is critically important in penetrating the skepticism of many people today. Some people have “studied” enough to learn a few “objections” that they believe have no answer. (I have a short list of these, another blog, perhaps?) Learn the answers, respectfully give them, and learn to ask questions of your own!
- Once a person sincerely checks out Christianity, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll discover the truth about God. That is, according to God (Proverbs 2:1-5, Jeremiah 29:13). Be encouraged. God is faithful to make this happen.
- Conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit. Again, be encouraged. Your job is to tell the story, God does the heavy lifting as He is the only one that can work on a person’s heart. (John 16:7-11)
- Nobody wants to be your “project”. People can sense your motives. Love people, but don’t make them your “project”, that is, “Getting this guy to go to church is at the top of my bucket list.” Loving someone doesn’t have an end-goal of making them feel obligated to you.
- There is no substitute for prayer. Pray big things. You are not alone in this work, you are partnering with the Almighty Sovereign of the Universe. (James 5:16)
- Many times unchurched people are willing to visit a church if they are invited by a friend. Reminder from Sunday: just invite people. Sometimes, that’s all someone needs is an invite to church. And make sure your Pastor is preaching the Gospel. That’s important.
- The church must objectively examine how they will be perceived by an unchurched visitor – without altering the message! Many people have bad thoughts toward the church in general, whether it is from a previous personal experience or an experience heard about second-hand. The church must be ready to love, welcome, and accommodate everyone who comes through the door - without prejudice or a spirit of judgment.
Many people are intimidated about witnessing to someone. Don't be! Let it be natural and authentic. Pray, love people, and take every opportunity God gives you to encourage someone one step closer to Jesus.
p.s. - Is just a nobody telling everybody about Somebody that can save anybody.