This talk was delivered as a refresher for evangelism and was followed by several practical training activities.
There’s only one group of people that the Gospel isn’t good news for. Those who haven’t heard it.
The call to share the Gospel is a call on the life of every single believer. As Jesus stood upon that mountain in Galilee after His resurrection, now holding all authority in heaven and on earth, He shared His last words with His disciples prior to His ascension. He said ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:17-20, ESV). The fact that He chose these as His last words points clearly to the importance that He places on them. That’s not surprising when you think about it. After all, how would the church grow if people didn’t hear the Gospel and how would it remain the Church of Christ if people weren’t taught in the ways of truth?
To highlight this just look at Romans 10:14-15. It tells us ‘How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”’ (ESV).
Jesus was speaking to His disciples back then on that mountain, as much as He is to us today. Jesus is telling every single person who believes in Him to go out and share His Good News. No matter who they are. No matter what position they occupy in the church. No matter what age they are. No matter what they’ve gone through. No matter what they’re going through. It’s essential that we share the truth. The truth that we know. The truth that we live in. The truth that has set us free. The truth that has saved us from the eternal consequences of sin. The truth that has broken the power of the enemy over our lives. The truth that has given us purpose. The truth that has given us power. The truth that has given us the realisation that we are loved beyond our comprehension. The truth that has brought us to discover that there has been a plan for us since before the beginning of time. The truth that has given us personal access to the Father Himself. The truth that has given us free access through the very gates of heaven.
This is a truth that is too great to keep to ourselves. More than that we have no right to keep it to ourselves. We are saved through the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross, where He as both fully God and fully man paid the price for our wrongdoing in full. Where He took the punishment that we justly deserved. We didn’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. But it’s free to us all through faith. We’ve been commanded to share it. Christ is the only way. John 14:6 ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (ESV). People’s eternal destinies hang in the balance. They depend on them hearing this news. This news which is absolute uncompromising truth. There’s simply too much at stake to stay silent.
I’m an evangelist. It’s what I’m all about. It’s a core fundamental of my faith. I can’t picture my faith apart from it. Nothing fills me with more joy than when someone comes to faith. Nothing fills me with more excitement than planning for outreach. Nothing fills me with more enthusiasm than getting alongside people and equipping them to reach the lost.
I come from a non-Christian background. For the meantime, it’s still non-Christian. I was however taken to Sunday School as a child. I heard the Gospel and it stuck with me. As I was in my teenage years, I always had a sense that something was missing. That there was more. It was at 17 after having attended a youth group for a year, that I give my life to Christ. Jesus saved me. My life completely changed from that point on. I became a renewed person. God has grown me and equipped me and developed me. I now live a life in His love. Before hand I had no self confidence whatsoever. I couldn’t even look people in the eye. I didn’t know who I was or what I was about. If I was to see a picture back then of what God has done in my life, I would never have dared believed it. I can’t begin to describe how truly grateful I am to those people of faith who shared with me, who got alongside me and who prayed for me. I resolved that I would become someone who shared.
We can all be more effective in sharing the Gospel. I want to briefly outline a few simple principles.
Know the Gospel
We need to know the Gospel. It goes without saying that we have to have a firm understanding of the news it is that we’re sharing. I find the Four Points model very useful for not only reminding myself but also for sharing with others.
- The heart represents God’s love for us. As the guidance states ‘God’s is crazy about you! His love is unlimited and completely unconditional. There is nothing you can do to make God love you any more or less than He does right now. There is nothing God wants more than to love and be loved by you’
- The X represents the fact that we have sinned. We are all separated from God’s love by sin. Which is ultimately choosing to lie for ourselves rather than God. Sin destroys relationships with friends, with family and with God. The Bible make sit clear that the sad fact is that sin ultimately brings death and destruction.
- Then we move onto the amazing fact that Jesus died for us. It explains that the penalty of sin is death. We all sin and we all deserve that punishment. But, as the guidance points out, ‘God, who is full of mercy, loved you so much that He send Jesus to come and die in your place. Jesus died so that we can have eternal life’.
- Then we finish with the question mark that represents that we need to decide to live for God. As the guidance says ‘God has done everything He can to demonstrate just how important you are to Him. It is now up to you to decide what it is you want to do. God is offering you life in all its fullness for all eternity. All you need to do is accept that you’ve sinned, ask for God’s forgiveness and decide to live the rest of your life for Him. The choice is yours’.
Cast out fear
We need to cast out fear. I believe that one of the greatest things that stops us from sharing our faith is fear. We need to call out fear for what it is. It’s from the Devil. It has no place in our lives as believers. After all, we are carrying out the work that the risen King Himself commanded us to do. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us ‘For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control’ (ESV). Similarly, John 4:18 states ‘There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love’ (ESV). We need to cast out fear and replace it with a focus on God’s love. We need to lay aside our fears of embarrassment. Our fears of looking stupid. Our fears of being excluded. Our fears of people thinking we’re a bit crazy. Isaiah 51:7 tells us to ‘fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings’ (ESV).
Realise our limitless potential
We then need to realise our limitless potential. There is no limit to what God can achieve through us. Ephesians 3:20 tells us ‘Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us’ (ESV). God can do more through us than we can ever think or imagine. We need to step out in and rely upon the fullness of the power that He has made available to us.
We need to remind ourselves of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As we looked at a few weeks ago proclamation, through the Holy Spirt, comes with demonstration. We as believers today, can demonstrate the Kingdom of God, just like Jesus did, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Based on 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, we looked at some of the gifts available to us:
- Words of Wisdom
- Words of Knowledge
- The Gift of Faith
- The Gift of Healing
- The Working of Miracles
- The Discernment of Spirits
- The Gift of Speaking in Tongues
- The Gift of Interpreting Tongues
Then as we step out in our limitless potential, relying on the power of the Holy Spirt, no matter what happens, no matter what obstacles we face, no matter what opposition comes our way we need to remember the words of Romans 8:31 ‘If God is for us who can be against us?’ (ESV).
Finally, we need to be bold. I am privileged to be able to stand up here tonight and be able to say that there are people who are going to heaven and who are in heaven, because God used me. We can have the best theology in the world. We can know all the strategies for sharing. We can have all the fancy arguments memorised but at the end of the stay, if we don’t muster up a bit of boldness, step out and actually do it, then we’re really not going to see much happen.
I want to share a story of encouragement. I want to share what God can do when we step out in boldness for Him. I run an outreach team up in West Belfast. As a team we prayed constantly. We interacted with local young people and we walked about the streets while wearing t-shirts with the 4 points printed on the front of them. We ran morning outreach services for local people amongst other activities. We had done that for 5 years. Yes, we’d seen God move in amazing ways but this year we decided to step out in boldness. The team boldly shared the Gospel in conversations. They boldly shared it from the stage. They boldly made Gospel calls. They committed to being reliant on the Holy Spirt and bold in every single encounter and they boldly believed that our God is mighty to save!
On the first morning, six people came to faith. One evening we all prayed for about 4 hours for a girl who God had laid on our hearts. We wanted to see her accept Jesus as her saviour. By 9:30 the next morning not only had she came to faith but so had her sister, her sister’s best friend and nine other teenagers. I will never forget that moment or the complete awe I had at the unstoppable love and power of God. There was one boy who had been a somewhat militant atheist in only the way a 16-year-old boy can be. By the end of the week, not only had he come to a faith in Christ but he shared the Gospel with his best mate in the back of one of our leader’s car. All in all that week, 24 young people accepted Jesus.
I’ll admit that before that week, I used to think that these sort of stories were only for those few exceptional Christians that you hear about and come across. The professionals for want of a better word. The truth is that God wants to use all of us to bring people to know Him. He wants to move in Power through all of us. He wants to build His Kingdom through all of us. We need to rely on His power, His love and His goodness. We need to cast out fear. We need to step out in boldness for Him. When we offer ourselves up to Him. He will use us. We need to do all this remembering ‘that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’ (Acts 2:21, ESV).