By Elizabeth Prata
I was asked by a reader how I share the Gospel. I know the angst. I often ask myself if I’m doing it right…if I’m doing enough…if I’m bold enough… I admire street preachers SO much! Anyway, I’ve shared in 3 ways:
1. Share the straight Gospel. If someone brings up religion say, at work, then that is an opening. The rule in my work is, if they ask or bring it up, we can answer. Sooo…I try to create an atmosphere where that happens, like, wearing a cross necklace, mentioning religious words, etc. Be sure to know the rules at your work and work within their limits but balance that with conscience.
2. Exhort. A lot of people talk religious words like “Jesus” and “pray” and “church”. And a lot of people pray to a different god, know a different Jesus and go to a false church. Don’t assume because you hear someone speaking the ‘lingo’ that they understand the elements of the Gospel or even are saved.
It takes careful listening and drilling down. Bringing non-believers to the Gospel or weak believers back to the Gospel is part of sharing too.
Sometimes I share the Gospel with people who are saved but are slipping into sin. The Gospel is for the saved and the unsaved, both. We all need to remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, his death, resurrection, and ascension- all due to our sin.
So, if someone claims Christ they must be obedient and pursue holiness. Part of sharing is exhorting people to live holy inside the Gospel. I listen for opportunities and if they ask me for opinion or help or advice, I tell. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to have to look at someone and say, ‘yes, it is a sin’ or ‘yes, you’re disappointing Jesus’, but then the fruit is that the people watching/listening know that it is the truth. Privately several ladies have come to me with questions “because I know you’ll tell me straight.”
There’ll always be unknown hearers, too, and that conversation may someday bear fruit.
3. Live a holy life. Lots and LOTS of unsaved people watch us. They watch like hawks. Let your speech be gracious and be clothed in dignity and be ready to help and answer if they ask. And so on. We live holy lives before a watching world. That’s the 3rd way. Live what you preach. We don’t ‘live the Gospel’ because the Gospel is Good News that’s spoken, but they watch to see if our actions match our proclamations. They won’t be receptive to a hypocrite.
Sharing the Gospel with non-believers is our mission but also what Jude says here starting in v 20:
But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22And have mercy on those who doubt; 23save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Conclusion/Summary, how to share.
–become known as a good listener.
–be seen as a helpful helper.
–try to create situations or opportunities where sharing the Gospel or exhorting for holy living will happen.
–know your Bible, quote the actual verse and address. It’s God’s words that have the intended biggest effect. If you don’t know the verse you’re groping for, that is OK, you don’t have to be a major theologian, you can always follow up later. I’ve done that, said “I’m not sure” and researched and gotten back to them. People are often grateful you are thinking of them and still helping them with their question.
–don’t assume they know the same Jesus you know. Ask a lot of questions and listen carefully to their answers.
–don’t look at the person like a project. After you share, stay in touch, be kind, involved.
–be non-judgmental (goes without saying).
–practice what you preach, nothing closes the door faster than hypocritical lives. If you make a mistake or behave in a way that needs apology, apologize sincerely. You will make mistakes in sharing and in living, but be honest. People see that. 🙂
PS, there’s the Bezeugen Tract Club. They send you business card sized tracts each month for you to hand out or leave behind, Tuck them into a library book, leave on a case of beer, hand to cashier and so on. No strings to the Club other than promising you will do your best to hand them out and not trash them. No fees, it’s all free.