Relationship With Others 104: Evangelism

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Spiritual Gifts

The primary reason you’re still here is for the rest of the world to hear the Gospel

  • God has called us to go out into the world and make disciples among the nations (Matthew 28:19)
    • This discipleship starts with sharing the Gospel to everyone around you
  • Evangelism is for everyone
    • The angels could do a better job than us, but He’s called us to share with Him in the experience
    • The Gospel can be shared as soon as you’ve become a Christian
    • God will put people in your path that will tie to your skill level
  • The Gospel, put simply, is a lifestyle choice made in light of the truth of Christ
    • Some people think it’s about telling as many people as possible, but it’s more about sharing in a way that they understand its significance
      • You will need to have a lifestyle that proves what you’re trying to share
      • A conversation about Christ can be as short as 2 minutes
    • Some churches make systems that create a rigid structure for Gospel presentation, and they’re not inherently wrong
      • Some people need them as inspiration on how to get started, but they should eventually graduate to sharing without them

Pay attention to those around you for Gospel-sharing opportunities

  • Think carefully on how the Gospel can most effectively be shared
    • Look around you for chances to share about Christ and what He has done for you
      • Take advantages of the opportunities you have now instead of waiting for future ones
      • The opportunities are always there, though it can be easy to overlook them
  • Start with your family and close friends
    • They are going to think you’re crazy, especially as God starts making permanent changes inside your heart
    • At the beginning, your ministry to them will be completely based on what you’re doing around them
      • They’re not going to care as much about what you say until they are absolutely certain that you’ve legitimately changed
    • Expect to have some major conflicts (Matthew 10:34-36)
      • In fact, don’t expect any of your old friends to convert to Christ until long after they’ve lost their friendship with you
    • At the same time you’re losing friends, some completely unexpected friendships will form
      • Sometimes these people are Christians, and sometimes they simply like being around Christians, and only time will show it
  • As you naturally share your faith in your lifestyle, it will extend to others in your network
    • Your extended family, casual friends and coworkers will see your changes
      • Expect to lose even more relationships and possibly your job, professional affiliations and reputation
      • In persecuted countries, this is almost expected of everyone who decides to follow Jesus, so there are millions on this earth who can fully share in your loss
    • One of the easiest ways to share the Gospel is to donate time, energy and resources
      • Try volunteering through churches and organizations to serve the physical and emotional needs of others
      • Use any skills you have or learn new skills that can fill those needs
  • Your ministry will eventually become a public spectacle
    • If you love Jesus, then you’re going to have a hard time not talking about Him
    • The Apostles had the convenience of a society that permitted open-air preaching (Acts 2:14-36)
      • This doesn’t always work, especially in societies that value privacy or propriety
      • There are many ways to get around the inability to openly preach:
        • Open a booth that advertises fulfillment and meaning, then share the Gospel to anyone who wants to hear
        • Print or make small tracts that you can give out to others
        • Keep copies of the Bible or pocket Gospel presentations with you at all times
      • It’s never about the tracts or Bible as much as it’s about your ability to show Christ to them through your actions
    • There are many people groups that haven’t heard of Jesus
      • They need to hear, so get ready to go there if God calls you
        • Even if you can’t get over there, try to find ways to support with your service or donations

Pay attention to the socio-political environment you are in

  • In many societies, they have already heard the Gospel message in some way or have an aversion to the Gospel
    • When this happens, the message can only be shared starting with showing the work of God through lifestyle
    • When conversing in a society jaded towards Christians, ask about their prior experiences with Christians to break the ice
  • Christianity and politics is a dangerous combination for evangelism, but it’s not abnormal:
    1. Christians are called to submit to God and anyone that God has set as authority, even while persecuted (Romans 13)
    2. Over decades, a successful Christian presence will eventually create a powerful and unstoppable minority
    3. Over more decades, this minority will eventually become heads of state and national leaders
    4. The country will slowly adapt values that conform to the leaders, making Christian values shape the nation
    5. The values will stay as the Christian presence becomes diluted from others who adhere to the values without Christ
    6. The values eventually decay as the Christian presence nearly completely leaves
    7. Society becomes anti-Christian and anti-God and persecutes Christians, resetting the cycle all over again
  • There are many hot-button political topics that shouldn’t sway a practicing Christian:
    • Sins like homosexuality aren’t necessarily worse than fornication or adultery, but they are certainly still sins
      • Homosexuals need Jesus as much as anyone else, so spread the Gospel openly to them as well
    • 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 those children or help them find good homes
  • Many things have very little grounds for a Christian to make a political stance on in either direction without becoming fleshly:
    • The death penalty vs. life sentences, though the Law makes death a clearly fair judgment for all of us
    • Immigration, foreign policy and election, since Christians should believe they are simply ambassadors for Christ and their true citizenship is in a heavenly kingdom (John 18:36, 2 Corinthians 5:20)
    • Anything that really doesn’t have personal or eternal significance like the economy, gun control, gay marriage, drug legalization, ecological legislation, government spending and civil rights
      • Though there are personal benefits to these, there are spiritual benefits to having an oppressive government, so it really doesn’t matter

Have more conversations about spiritual matters

  • Find ways to make it easier to spend more time and start conversations with non-Christians
    • Eat with non-Christians when they want to spend time with you
    • Spend more time walking and taking mass transit instead of driving
    • Frequent places regularly to get to know the owners and employees
    • Find hobbies that involve non-Christians
    • Talk more with your coworkers
    • Participate in city fund-raisers, festivals, shows, concerts and other events
    • Find ways to serve your neighbors
  • A spiritual discussion will inspire spiritual attention, so be ready for the environment to feel awkward and uncomfortable quickly
    • There are going to be a few specific responses to the Gospel
      • A curiosity and hesitant hopefulness from seeing an opportunity for redemption and healing
        • These people are always ready to hear the Gospel
      • Remorse over past sins with a belief of being unforgivable
        • If these people can accept that God can forgive them, they’ll become Christians immediately
      • Uneasiness or anxiety from not wanting to leave their current comfortable life
        • Most of the time, God needs to put these people into hardship for them to look for Him
      • Bitterness or anger over the pain from suffering or past sins, usually attributed to God’s doing
        • Be careful around these people, since some of them are the cause of most of the Church’s persecution
    • Learn to experience failures, since it’s universally a part of a new experience
      • Try again with the same people later after you’ve learned how to lovingly share more effectively
    • Your success sharing about Jesus will directly relate to how much you and those supporting you are praying
  • Learn to be a good listener, respectful of their views and a good conversationalist
    • Everyone has a unique reason they don’t follow Jesus yet, and you need to learn that to understand what their needs are
    • Ask questions to learn where their relationship with God is and how interested they are are to hear about Jesus
  • Be as polite and respectful as you can be
    • Avoid having any hidden agendas about the conversation and maintain tact throughout the entire conversation
    • Don’t try to control the conversation or assert yourself
  • Most people have a problem with being persuaded, but won’t have a problem with your personal story
    • Your story should be the message of Christ through your life, and should adapt to the person and not be a rigid memorized speech
    • Don’t use Christian jargon and take the time to refine the thoughts to be as clear as possible
    • The less you say, the more focused it is
    • If they are still interested, ask them permission 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
  • Sometimes that person will simply have one problem with following Jesus
    • Think deeply on their question
      • There are some questions that are more common
        • “Why would God allow all of the suffering on this earth?”
          • God has permitted suffering for the sake of godliness, though we can’t really know why (1 Timothy 3:16)
          • We are reaping the consequences of our sin condition that came from the Fall
        • “If God is all-loving, but also knows what we will do, why is there a hell that people go to?”
          • An all-loving God would give a choice, and the choice is about choosing Christ
        • “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)
          • God is just and fair, so He clearly won’t judge them in the same way as us here
        • “The Bible promotes slavery/incest/rape/polygamy/etc, why would God permit that?”
          • We have a sin condition that had taken root by the time the Law was given, and if you read closely the Law’s writing makes it an easier life for slaves/women/rape victims/etc
          • Jesus was very clearly 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
  • Don’t ever try to force a conversion
    • Sometimes they feel pressured, and if they’re simply taking the easy way out then they’re not genuinely going to follow Jesus against all difficulties
    • Don’t expect to find many people who convert, Jesus’ calling is only for people willing to fully sacrifice themselves
      • It takes about 12 times for a non-Christian to hear the Gospel before they decide to follow Jesus

Many times you will need to defend your faith in Christ

  • This can be emotionally taxing but it’s always worth experiencing for the sake of your faith in Christ
    • Don’t run from it or pretend they aren’t asking legitimate questions
      • Sometimes the answer that you don’t know but that you’ll study it more is the most gracious and accurate
    • Avoid worrying about or stressing about their own spiritual state in the midst of the situation
      • The purpose of your contact with them is to sow seeds with ideas and alternate views, someone else will reap them (John 4:37)
  • Many people who disbelieve Christianity have found very elaborate ways to defend their views
    • Jesus didn’t come for people who don’t want Him, so try not to waste too much time with those people (Mark 2:17)
      • They often see God like a reckless child in a playground or a bitter and vengeful man in the clouds
        • This is some other god that Christians don’t follow, and completely different to the God of the Bible
      • Some of them will resort to simply mocking and making fun of Christians
        • Don’t waste time with them, you have a spiritual calling that doesn’t apply to them if they don’t want to hear it
    • Many of them will promote their own spiritual views or try to convert you
      • Pantheists will often say that everything we know is really an illusion
        • Ask what they are illusions of, since all illusions are false copies of something
      • Most cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons 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
        • Be ready for a fight, these people are following Satan and don’t know it
      • Some religions are all-inclusive, but that works directly in opposition to Jesus being the only way to heaven (John 14:6)
      • Believers in “science” will try to educate you on evolutionary theory
        • There is plenty of archaeological evidence that indicates the Bible’s history is accurate and the flood account is literal
        • Evolutionary theory says that through millions of years of majority deaths life found a way to become what we are today, which is a tremendous faith in statistics
    • The more educated ones will point out supposed contradictions in the Bible
      • There are a few ideas that cover about 90% of the contradictions
        • Most of the supposed contradictions are forcing this/that explanations when the answer is really both/and
          • This requires some additional thought, but by discovering it you’ll actually grow in your knowledge of Him
        • Many contradictions are connected to differing eyewitness accounts, which actually proves that those different views couldn’t have been colluded
      • Most of them are more concerned about defending their views than hearing an alternate view

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

  • Only Jesus can fix the world’s problems, and many Christians can be distracted by the world’s humanitarian needs
    • All of the afflictions of the world come from the sin condition, which is what Jesus came to fix
    • Helping the poorest people in the world is a temporary solution that should bring the hope of Christ to them
      • Many developed nations’ churches misapply relief to other people groups when they should apply rehabilitation or development
  • Your job as a Christian is not over when people convert to Christ
    • Every disciple needs to be mentored, and most of the work is in discipling, not evangelism
Next: How To Disciple Others