“And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.’”—–Matthew 28:18-20
Often referred to as sharing the “Good News”. The sharing of one’s faith in Jesus dying on the cross and the offering forgiveness of sins through repentance and faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The reward for believing the Gospel; forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God.
But why do so many of us struggle with sharing our faith with others?? Are we fearful of what people might think or how they might react?? Are we too busy?? Are we not confident that we know how to clearly share what it means for someone to truly believe in Jesus?? Are we too apathetic and think someone else will share Jesus with them??
For most of us, sharing the Gospel is often a combination of these things and perhaps many other things. Telling people about Jesus ends up being seen more as a chore rather than sharing the hope of a new life in Christ. But when it comes down to a person’s eternal salvation or eternity separated from God in Hell, we each ought to have a greater burden for those that don’t know Jesus.
I am not writing to shame or guilt us into evangelism, but rather to encourage each of to examine if sharing our faith is important in each of our lives. Instead of leaving it to others to share the Gospel, we might ask ourselves how am I investing in others lives and looking for opportunities to talk about my faith in Jesus?? Do I simply believe others will see my lifestyle and somehow believe in Jesus or do I know I must also clearly share what someone must do for salvation??
With so many questions we can ask ourselves or try and make excuses for why we don’t share our faith like we should, it simply boils down to not having a great enough burden for those that are perishing apart from Christ. Each of us are guilty of this. We don’t see sharing the Gospel as a great enough priority in each of our lives so we end up doing nothing or leaving it up to churches.
Invite a friend. Do an “Altar Call”. Give a “Gospel Presentation”. Raise your hand, fill out a card, “pray the prayer”. All attempts for people to “give their lives to Christ”. This has nothing to do with people’s intentions or motives, but rather to show how our methods have shifted from each believer sharing their faith with those in their lives now given over to a selected few in churches.
But what about those that may never step foot inside churches?? Why is it that they get forgotten?? Is it that we have neglected raising up disciples that in turn go and make new disciples?? Or is it possibly that we see that it just those in ministry or those that have the “gift” of evangelism that are responsible for leading others to the Lord??
I believe it is long overdue to challenge our beliefs and thinking when it comes to evangelism. For too long we have been apathetic, or even lazy at best, when it comes to each of us owning our own faith and knowing we each have the clear responsibility to share Jesus with others. This doesn’t mean that each of us will see masses of people put their faith in the Lord, but rather a commitment to growing in the area of evangelism.
Instead of inviting people to “Come to” our churches, we each must commit to “Going to” others where they live, work, and play. In Matthew 28, the Lord gave His Great Commission that says, “Go and make disciples…”. In other words, it is up to each one of us to make sharing our faith a priority in our lives and look for opportunities all around us to share this “Good News”. Going to other people’s turf and not simply coercing them to join us on ours.
For some reason we have it ingrained in our minds that if we just get people to churches that they will hear and believe the Gospel and thus begin to be “good” Christians. But sadly, even though this might be the case for an extreme few, many see Christianity as simply something it is not. How can we expect most people to hear about Jesus in a 5 minute presentation and then think all these people have now just been “saved”?? It’s not to say that God can’t work in people’s lives in spite of these things, but I think this is a true exception and not the rule.
What I have found most common, throughout Scripture and through my own experience, is that people have a lot to work through in their lives until they are at the place where they know what it really means to believe in Jesus and have had the time to wrestle through all their prior beliefs and lifestyles that are contrary to the Bible. Time and time again, I see people struggling with major beliefs and sins that hinder them from true faith and repentance. It isn’t without great change and submission to the Lordship of Christ, over a period of time, where it seems most actually put their faith in the Lord.
Some might be asking about the places in Scripture that seemingly show people quickly putting their faith in Jesus. Some might use the book of Acts or other places in the Bible as examples of trying to refute or debate much of what I have mentioned. However, if you carefully look at the context of these passages, the majority of these people often had a solid background of the Scriptures and often needed to simply understand Jesus as being the true Messiah. Again, most are the exception and not the rule when it comes to these examples of evangelism. And instead of trying to justify ourselves and our methods by seeking the same results of these passages of Scripture, it ends up coming down to each of us seeking to be faithful in sharing the Gospel with those around us as a normal part of our lives.
One of the other things we need to come to grips with is that some may never actually see someone put their faith in Jesus. Some may believe and we may get to see the fruit of their faith and repentance, while others we may not. This, however, doesn’t mean that we weren’t faithful or obedient to what Jesus told us in the Great Commission. Some might put their faith in Jesus later on or some may never. Nevertheless, we must learn to leave the results with God and continue to let Him work in people’s hearts and minds. Our job is to simply be faithful messengers in sharing our faith with others.
When it comes to properly evaluating our success or seemingly lack of success in evangelism, we must evaluate ourselves on our growth of clarity in sharing the Gospel and our growth in sharing our faith more with people, not by the mere numbers of who believed and who didn’t. We must see sharing the Gospel as always primarily seeking to clearly tell people what it means to believe in Jesus and not how many we can get to raise hands, sign cards, or come forward. If people truly believe the Gospel they won’t have need for someone to “repeat this prayer after me”, but will have had the Gospel clearly explained to them and they will be confident enough in themselves to go before God repenting of their sins and earnestly put their faith in Him.
Sharing the Gospel should be easy, but we often let ourselves, our own excuses, and our own doubts get in the way. But when we see each life as precious to God that we will begin to have a greater understanding that God desires that “none should perish, but all might be brought to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) And from this place we will have a greater urgency to share our faith with those all around us. May the Lord give us each a growing burden to share the Gospel and may He open the hearts and minds of those in our lives to put their faith in Him.