Step 11 – Involved In Evangelism
“You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
A: Discovering the Truth
B. Exploring the Truth
Apart from the rule of law itself, attorneys have two primary tools at their disposal when presenting their case before a judge of jury. The first tool is the personal testimony of a witness that is offered in support of the case being presented. The second tool is physical evidence that corroborates the case that has been presented. In a court proceeding there is also an adversary, an opposing attorney who will attempt to impugn the integrity and veracity of the witnesses and contradict or call into question the credibility of the evidence.
When it comes to faith in Christ, the Gospel is the case that is being presented. The Holy Spirit is the “attorney” that is presenting (convicting) the case. He uses believers as witnesses to testify about their own personal knowledge and beliefs (this is what I believe and this is why I believe it). He uses the Scriptures as the evidence to support His case (fulfilled prophecy, empty tombs, historical record of contemporaneous eyewitness accounts, etc.). The adversary, of course, is Satan. The individual lost soul is their own judge and jury, and this “courtroom” drama plays out in the conscience of every individual.
As it relates to our roles as personal witnesses, we must be prepared to testify when called to the “stand.” In the meantime, we need to make sure that the lives we are living will be consistent with the truth that we proclaim. We must not only “talk the talk,” we must “walk the walk.” The adversary the devil will take every opportunity to show that what we do does not support what we say. At stake is a life sentence – heaven or hell. So it is very important that we speak up about what we believe and give it added credibility by showing how it has changed our lives. It is not our responsibility to convict or convince. But it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to make sure that our testimony (what we say) and the evidence in our lives (what we do) are working together and are both convincing and convicting.
C. Knowing and Understanding the Truth
God has many witnesses that he can call to the “stand.” While it is our duty to answer the summons, it is also a privilege. It is a privilege because there are others He could call, but He called us. It is a privilege to be a play part in rescuing the lost from eternal punishment. It is a privilege to show our love for Him by showing love for His lost sheep. It is a privilege to demonstrate our thankfulness for saving us by answering the call to the Great Commission.
The case has already been made. It is recorded in the Bible for all to read and respond to the call. But “how, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14, 15) God is sending us. We may be sent across the ocean or merely across the street. But wherever He sends us, we are sent to be a light to the world and as salt to the earth. These are two images used by Jesus to illustrate our task (commission) that He has called us to. Jesus did not waste words when He was here on earth. He chose them carefully because He understood how important it was for people to grasp the truth. In this case, his chose salt and light.
D: Weighing the Truth
No one who is conscientious wants to be known as someone that shirks their responsibility. No caring person wants to withhold what they have to share from those who are in need. Christians who have not merely tasted salvation, who are no longer infants but have allowed the Holy Spirit to begin the process of transforming their lives are to some degree both conscientious and caring. So why is it that some shirk their responsibility to witness and in so doing withhold the good news from those who need it? There may be many reasons – fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, fears of inadequacy, fear of messing it up, fear of failure, fear of physical harm, etc. Unfortunately, none of these fears absolve us of our responsibility of failing to warning. And none of them are a valid excuse that our warnings might fail. So we must confront our fears.
We had a lot more fears when we are younger. We also had a lot less ability to cope with our fears when we were younger. But healthy adults, as they grow, as they gain more knowledge and experience, overcome some of their fears and become better able to cope with their other fears. As Christians, it should be the same as it relates to our fears about witnessing. A healthy Christian is a growing Christian. As we grow, our old fears about sharing the Gospel will increasingly give way to a “burning fire, shut up in my bones, I am weary of holding it in; indeed I cannot.” When we are “full grown” and “fully mature” perhaps we will get to the point where “we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” We may not be there yet, but in the meantime there are a lot of things we can try to be (available, willing, clear, natural, believable, consistent, prepared, sensitive, respectful, patient, truthful, faithful, encouraged, seasoned, shining, responsible, eager, humble, precise, uncompromising, loving, gentle). The good thing is that we are not alone. God wants us to be all of these things as well. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives He is working to make them be.
We may still be rejected, ridiculed or physically harmed. At times we may still feel inadequate or mess things up. There will definitely be times when the warnings fail. But it may help to know that saving people is not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to share the Gospel. The Holy Spirit will do the convicting. But ultimately what the lost soul does with the Gospel is their responsibility. But we do not want to share in that responsibility by failing to warn. So how is your witness? Which way are the scales tipping in your life?
E: Questioning the Truth – For Musing On Your Own
1. Does sharing your faith come naturally to you or do you find it difficult? Why do you think that is?
2. How easy is it to share with gentleness and respect when the Gospel is often met with ridicule or contempt?
3. Which is more important in communicating the truth of the Gospel, talking the talk or walking the walk? Why?
4. Why is it important that we not “water-down” the truth of the Gospel in order to make it “easier” for the lost to confess and believe?
5. When are salt and light most noticeable, when they are present or when they are absent? Explain.
6. Of the five listed characteristics of salt and light, which do you view as the most important and why?
7. When Jesus was on earth He referred to Himself as the light of the world. Now that He is gone, He has given us that legacy. How does that make you feel?
8. How important is it that God “open a door” for us to share the Good News?
9. What keeps you motivated to share the Gospel when repeated attempts at sharing do not appear to be bearing any fruit?
10. What are some ways that we can prepare ourselves to be ready to share the Gospel?
11. Of all the “be’s” listed in weighing the truth, why is “be gifted” not listed?
12. Which “be” do you believe is the hardest and why do you think that is? Easiest?