Relationship With Others 104: Evangelism

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Spiritual Gifts

You’re still on earth for the rest of the world to hear the Gospel

God has called us to travel into the world and make disciples among the nations (Matthew 28:19)

  • Discipleship starts with sharing the Gospel to everyone you encounter

Evangelism is for everyone

  • The angels could do a better job than Christians, but God wants believers to share in the experience
  • Any Christian can share the Gospel, even right after becoming one
  • A conversation about Jesus can be as short as two minutes
  • God will place people in your path close to your skill level for sharing

The Gospel is a lifestyle decision because of Christ’s truth

  • Some people think sharing the Gospel is telling as many people as possible
    • Effective Gospel presentations share the significance of Christ’s story
    • A Christian’s lifestyle must prove what they’re sharing
  • Some churches make rigid systems for Gospel presentation
    • Some new believers need a system for inspiration on sharing, but should eventually graduate to improvisation
    • The only time churches fail in teaching is when they force the system

Observe people around you for Gospel-sharing opportunities

Consider how to share most effectively

  • Share Christ and what He has done for you
  • Don’t worry about making it sound professional or convincing

You always have opportunities

  • We usually overlook current Gospel opportunities
  • Take advantages of current situations instead of waiting for future ones

Start with family and close friends

They’ll think you’re crazy or will suspect you, especially as God starts permanently changing your heart

At first, your Gospel presentation will be what you’re doing

  • They won’t care much for what you say until you’ve proven legitimate change to them

Expect some dramatic conflicts (Matthew 10:34-36)

  • Don’t expect any old friends to convert to Christ until long after they’ve parted ways with you

While you’re losing friends, you’ll make other unexpected friendships

  • Your new friends might be Christians or merely enjoy their company, but only time shows it

Others in your network will naturally hear about your faith

Extended family, casual friends, and coworkers will see your changes

  • You’ll lose more relationships
  • Depending on your country you may lose your job, professional affiliations, and reputation
  • Millions of Christians in persecuted countries lose everything following Jesus

One of the simplest ways to share the Gospel is to donate time, energy, and resources

  • Volunteer through churches and organizations to serve others’ physical and emotional needs
  • Your best volunteering will come from your spiritual motivational gifts
  • Use your skills or learn new skills to fill those needs

Your ministry will eventually become a public spectacle

If you love Jesus, you’ll have difficulty not talking about Him

Society in the Apostles’ time had the convenience of permissible open-air preaching (Acts 2:14-36)

  • Open-air preaching doesn’t always work, especially in societies that value privacy or propriety
  • The inability to openly preach has many workarounds
    • Open a booth at an event to advertise fulfillment and meaning, then share the Gospel to anyone who wants to hear
    • Print or make small tracts you can give out to others
    • Keep copies of the Bible or pocket Gospel presentations with you at all times
  • Sharing tracts or a Bible won’t feel as relevant to non-believers as your loving actions

Many people groups haven’t heard of Jesus

  • They need to hear
  • Once you hear about them, be prepared to go if God calls you
  • Even if you can’t go, try to find ways to support with your service or donations

Observe your socio-political environment

Many post-Christian societies have already been inundated with the Gospel message and have an aversion to it

  • Post-Christian societies can only hear Christ’s message through your lifestyle
  • When you’re in a post-Christian culture, break the ice by asking about their prior experiences with Christians and the Church

Christianity cycles through an affiliation with government politics, but it sabotages opportunities for evangelism

  1. Christians are called to submit to both God and anyone He sets in authority, even under heavy persecution (Romans 13)
  2. Over time, a successful Christian presence eventually creates a politically relevant minority
  3. Over more decades, Christians eventually become heads of state and national leaders
  4. Christianity indirectly influences the region as people slowly adapt values aligned with the leaders
  5. The values persist while the Christian presence dilutes from successors who adhere to the Christian values without a relationship with Christ
  6. The values eventually decay once the Christian presence is nearly gone
  7. The cycle resets again once society becomes anti-Christian and anti-God and persecutes Christians

Many hot-button political topics shouldn’t sway a practicing Christian

  • Sins like homosexuality aren’t necessarily worse than fornication or adultery
    • Homosexuals and all other varieties of sexual deviation need Jesus and the Gospel as much as everyone else
  • Life is God’s creation, and He has the right to give it and take it away, so abortion and suicide are always wrong
    • Instead of protesting abortion, adopt the children or help them find good homes
  • The Bible says absolutely nothing about gun ownership, recreational drug use, privacy or government decisions

Many political issues have minimal grounds for a Christian to make a spiritual stance on

  • The death penalty vs. life sentences, though the Law makes death a fair judgment for all of us
  • Immigration, foreign policy, and election, since Christians should believe they are ambassadors for Christ and their true citizenship is in a heavenly kingdom (John 18:36, 2 Corinthians 5:20)
  • Anything without personal or eternal significance
    • The economy
    • Gun control
    • Gay marriage
    • Drug legalization
    • Climate change
    • Government spending
    • Civil rights
    • Violence and sexual content in media

The state of a government should have little bearing on a Christian’s perspective

  • An oppressive government has spiritual benefits while a free government gives opportunities for sharing the Gospel

How to have spiritual conversations

Find ways to spend more time with non-Christians and start conversations with them

  • Eat with them when they want to spend time with you
  • Walk and ride mass transit instead of driving
  • Visit places consistently to acquaint yourself with the owners and employees
  • Develop hobbies with non-Christians
  • Talk with your coworkers more
  • Participate in events like city fundraisers, festivals, shows, and concerts
  • Look for opportunities to serve your neighbors

Spiritual discussions inspire spiritual attention (more on that later), so mentally prepare for the dynamic to feel awkward and uncomfortable

  • Your success sharing Jesus comes from how much you and others have been praying

People react to the Gospel with a few specific responses

  • A curiosity and hesitant hopefulness
    • They see a potential opportunity for redemption and healing
    • This response shows full readiness to hear the Gospel
  • Remorse over past sins
    • Comes from a belief of being unforgivable
    • These people will become Christians if they can accept God can forgive them
  • Unease or anxiety about leaving their current comfortable life
    • They value their comfort over truth
    • God usually needs to show their limitations by exposing them to hardship
  • Bitterness or anger over past pain or past sins
    • They typically attribute their suffering to God, even when a non-believer delivered it
    • They aren’t ready to hear the Gospel, and merely witnessing your lifestyle will usually antagonize them
    • Some of these people cause most of the Church’s persecution

Behave as politely and respectfully as possible with everyone

  • Avoid hidden agendas for the conversation and stay tactful through the conversation
  • Don’t control the conversation or assert yourself
  • Learn how to listen, respect others’ views, and make good conversation

You must understand a person’s unique reason for not following Jesus to understand their needs

  • Ask questions to learn where their relationship with God is and how much they want to hear about Jesus

Failure with others while sharing the Gospel message is entirely natural

  • Try again with them later once you’ve grown in your ability to share lovingly

Most people hate a persuasive message but won’t mind you sharing your personal experience

Your story should be Christ’s message through your life

Don’t make the story a rigid, memorized speech since it should adapt to each person

Avoid Christian jargon and refine your thoughts to communicate them as clearly as possible

The less you say, the more focused your message

If they are still interested, ask permission for you to use the Bible

Walk them through the basics of salvation and avoid over-complicating it

  1. We’ve all sinned beyond self-redemption under the Law and are destined for Hell
  2. Jesus fulfilled that Law and anyone who believes in Him will be saved and go to Heaven

Think deeply about that person’s problems with following Jesus

Some questions arise frequently

  • Why would God allow all of this world’s suffering?
    • We are reaping the consequences of our sin condition that came from the Fall (Genesis 3)
    • God has permitted suffering for the sake of godliness, though we don’t know why in this life (1 Timothy 3:16)
  • If God is all-loving but also knows what we will do, why do people go to hell?
    • An all-loving God gives a choice and freedom to choose against the right option
  • If you need to accept Jesus, then what happens to babies that die?
    • Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven goes to children (Matthew 19:14)
    • Since God is just and fair, He won’t judge them the same way as us
  • The Bible promotes slavery/incest/rape/polygamy/etc, why would God permit that?
    • Our sin condition had taken root by the time He gave the Law
    • The Law makes a better life for slaves/women/rape victims/etc through giving them rights and liberties
    • Jesus was one of the greatest advocates of minorities and women (John 4)

If you need to, refer them to a more educated Christian or ask if you can get back to them on it

  • Humbly accepting you don’t know is one of the most mature decisions in that situation

Don’t ever try to force a conversion

Sometimes they feel pressured

  • If they’re trying to take the easy way out, they’re not genuinely devoted to following Jesus once walking with Christ becomes more difficult

Don’t expect many people to convert

  • Jesus only calls people willing to sacrifice themselves
  • It takes about twelve times for a non-Christian to hear the Gospel before they decide to follow Jesus

You’ll need to defend your faith in Christ frequently

Defending Christianity can be emotionally taxing, but is often necessary

  • Don’t run from the conflict or pretend they’re not asking legitimate questions
  • Sometimes you should answer that you don’t know but that you’ll study it more
  • Avoid worrying about or feeling stress from their spiritual state while in the discussion
    • Your purpose with them is to sow seeds as ideas and alternate views where someone else will reap them (John 4:37)

Many people who disbelieve Christianity often elaborately defend their views

  • Jesus didn’t come for people who don’t want Him, so don’t waste much time with people who want to mock and condemn Christ (Mark 2:17)
    • They often see God as a reckless child in a playground or a bitter and vengeful man in the clouds
    • Some of them will mock and make fun of Christians
      • Don’t waste time with them since you have a spiritual calling which doesn’t apply to them if they don’t want to hear it

Many non-believers will promote their religious views or try to convert you

  • Pantheists often say everything we know is merely an illusion
    • Ask what everything is an illusion of, since all illusions are false copies of something
  • Most cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons or Muslims will add “new inspiration” to the Bible
    • Refer them to the end of Revelation, where Scripture can’t be added to or taken away from (Revelation 22)
    • Be ready for a fight since these people follow Satan and don’t know it
  • Some cults are all-inclusive, but it opposes Jesus as the only way to heaven (John 14:6)
  • Believers in “science” will try to educate you on evolutionary theory
    • Plenty of archaeological evidence proves the Bible’s history as accurate and a literal flood account
    • Evolutionary theory has tremendous faith in statistics by saying that life found a way through millions of years of deaths

Educated non-believers might point out supposed contradictions in the Bible

  • Most of them care more about defending their views than hearing an alternate view
  • A few ideas answer about 90% of the supposed contradictions
    • Most of the supposed contradictions force a this/that explanation when the answer is both/and
      • Finding how the ideas coexist requires some thought, but you’ll grow in your knowledge of Him by discovering it
    • Many Gospel account contradictions are differing eyewitness accounts, which proves the disciples didn’t collude their views

Your purpose for living is to share Jesus, not fix the world

Many Christians get distracted by the world’s humanitarian needs, but only Jesus can solve them

  • All the world’s afflictions come from the sin condition, which Jesus came to fix
  • Aiding the poorest in the world is a temporary solution
    • The aide should bring Christ’s hope to them
  • Churches in many developed nations misapply relief to developed nations’ people when they should apply rehabilitation or development

Your role as a Christian isn’t exclusively evangelism

  • Every new convert to Christ needs discipleship
  • Most of the time walking in Christ is in discipleship, not evangelism
Next: How To Disciple Others