Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the 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
It is perhaps the most intimidating aspect of being a new follower of Jesus Christ, and for some seasoned Christians as well. What I refer to is the responsibility of every Christian to go and share the good news of Jesus Christ. However, many Christians tend to view it as the “Great Option,” not the “Great Commission.” Why? One apparent reason is that most people prefer to stay in their comfort zones. Still, a more pressing reason is people have overcomplicated the simplicity of the gospel and take the approach as if they are selling a product of sorts.
I remember when I was learning the ropes, so to speak about the whats and how-to steps of sharing the gospel. We essentially memorized a gospel track and approached people to tell them about Jesus in a very rigid scripted format. Sometimes we would get through our presentation with no problems, other times not so much. For example, have you ever encountered cashiers with a deer in the headlight look because the register failed to tell them how much change to give you? That is how it was for me when someone asked me a question that went off-script. I had a deer in the headlight look on my face and felt inadiquate.
That is not to say that gospel tracts are a terrible thing. On the contrary, they are a valuable resource to give people either when time is short or when someone is not quite ready to take that leap of faith to accept Jesus, and you want to leave them with something upon which to ponder. However, tracts are just a tool that should never serve to replace sharing the gospel face-to-face and heart-to-heart with someone. “But how do we share without a tract?” I am glad you asked because the easiest way to share the gospel is to be yourself. That’s right! Be you and share the gospel not as a product, but as an investment – a kingdom investment.
Our testimony is the most effective way to tell others about Jesus Christ. We tell them about how He has worked in and through our lives, in the good times and bad. That is part of how we are to Show and Tell the Gospel.
“Wait a minute! Why would I want to tell someone about the bad times?” You might ask, and a great question! Some Christians only want to share the “sunshine” parts of their testimony that speak to how God has blessed them with this job or that house. Yes, those are indeed blessings from above, but lost people face real-life problems just as Christians do, and in some ways even more so. They often struggle on the inside, whether dealing with a broken marriage, addiction, job loss, the death of someone they love, and so on.
When we tell others about Jesus’ redeeming work on the cross and about the trials that He has guided us through in life, we are now sharing our hearts and the gospel.
The goal is to build a bridge of trust that leads others into a relationship with the Lord. However, some people can burn the bridge instead, even though their intentions are good. For example, my wife was out in the community sharing the gospel with two other Christians. When the person with whom the team shared the gospel stood in disbelief, one member on her team became frustrated and said, “If you don’t accept Jesus, you’re going to hell!” Even though what was said is true, such a bold “in your face” statement likely shut the person down; it burned the bridge. In that instance of frustration, the person didn’t see any difference between the church and the world.
Making disciples for Jesus Christ involves more than just sharing the gospel. Some believe that once they lead someone to Christ, they have done their part. For the newborn Christian, they hear, “…Amen! Congratulations! Here is your new Bible, God bless and good luck.” Our job in making disciples for Jesus involves investing our time to help them grow in their walk with the Lord, i.e., “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you,” said Jesus. In time, that role may reverse as someone we helped disciple ministers to us as we traverse specific trials in life, which is in keeping with Scripture.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”PROVERBS 27:17
Heavenly Father, we thank you for entrusting us with the honor of telling others about Your only begotten Son, Jesus. He who knew no sin but One who willingly took the sins of the world upon Himself so that we would not perish, but have eternal life. Father, give us the strength and courage to step out of our comfort zones to proclaim this good news to the world boldly with the same love and compassion that you extend to us, Your children, each day. We ask this in the precious and holy name of Jesus, amen.
What have been some of your experiences when hearing or sharing the gospel?