THE GREAT COMMISSION:
“The Problem with Not Sharing Your Faith”
How many times do we shy away from sharing with people about something God has done in our life? Why do we get nervous, even cotton-mouthed, when the Holy Spirit prompts us to talk with someone?
Perhaps we feel we don’t know the Scriptures well enough or we really don’t know what to say. It might even be that we are afraid of what they might think of us when we are finished. What if they don’t let me finish? The situation just doesn’t feel right. Or, maybe you are convinced that sharing with others just isn’t one of your spiritual gifts.
The problem with each of these excuses is just that . . . they are excuses not to fulfill the mandate of the Lord. The Kingdom of God is probably not presented when we bow out of the situation. When we justify our lack of action using one of the above mentioned excuses, we are, in reality, hardening our hearts and deafening our ears toward the Word of God and voice of the Holy Spirit. Instead of being proactive and promoting the Kingdom of God, we become comfortable within the four walls of the church building. Perhaps we don’t realize that we carry with us the only message that will ever exist that provides answers that this world needs and, by the way, for which it is blindly searching.
You may believe that witnessing is not one of your spiritual gifts. Allow me to share what a pastor friend of mine often says when making an important point during his Sunday messages; “Come in here real close and listen carefully.” It is the will of God for your life, and for everyone who is called a Christian, to help others get reconciled to God. This means we are all called to declare to others the Gospel of Jesus Christ, sharing what the Lord has done and that His gift of eternal life is available to everyone who will believe (John 3:36).
Church closings in this country have reached an epidemic proportion. For example, the number of churches in Chicago, IL from 2000 to 2009 decreased by 900. This is, unfortunately, a perfect example of what happens when we are not actively out in the world proclaiming the Gospel message. When we don’t declare our beliefs, our vision for the Gospel starts to get hazy, then distant, and then even fades out-of-sight, leaving us confused and ineffective.
Here are three references of Scripture that confirm this calling of all Christians:
Matt. 28:18–20 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
Acts 1:7–8 “And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
2 Corinthians 5:17–20 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
The Scriptures plainly and clearly state that the role of each and every Christian is to speak of the Gospel message to all people. Our daily duty is to present a relevant Gospel message through the life we lead, the words we speak and the thoughts we think. To define this perspective, I went to the 1828 Edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language to determine the meaning of a relevant message. Rest assured, God’s message is always relevant. The burden of presentation falls upon our understanding of just what this means.
relevant = relieving; lending aid or support; pertinent; applicable; sufficient to support the cause
Therefore, the definition of a relevant Gospel message is one that is relieving, pertinent and applicable to the people, and sufficient to support the cause of Christ. It is relieving because the Gospel message gives the believer hope in a lost and dying world. It is pertinent because the Gospel message applies to all areas of life. It is applicable due to the fact that every single person who has ever lived will have an eternal destination; either to live eternally with Christ or to perish in the lake of fire with Satan and all others who refused the Lord’s salvation. When we point the way to Jesus through lifestyle and testimony, we have given sufficient support for the cause of Christ.
In order that we are able to present this relevant Gospel message, I’ve outlined three keys to presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I. It is not about us.
A. It is not about you as an apostle (ambassador/missionary), prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher
B. It is not about your willingness to go to wherever or to whomever
C. It is not about your knowledge of the Scriptures
D. It is not about your ability to lead others, whether in worship, projects, etc.
E. The truth is that it just isn’t about you . . . PERIOD! 2 Corinthians 4:7–16
F. The very first attempt of the enemy is to use our thinking and perception of who we think we are to spoil the entire presentation.
G. When we place ourselves in the spotlight, pride starts to surface. Proverbs 29:23 states, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”
H. Humility will always outlast pride.
I. Remember, truth is the very basis of Christ’s message. If you are asked a question and don’t know the answer, admit it. Offer to find the correct answer for them. There is an unexplainable, inexpressible freedom that comes with the truth of God’s Word.
II. It is not about them (target person or group).
A. This is one of the harder elements of presenting the Gospel.
B. When we make it about others, we succumb to another trick of the enemy:
• We focus upon them.
• We labor to please them.
• We go out of our way to help them.
• They end up taking advantage of you.
• They become dependent upon you.
C. If any of this happens, the end result is that you have probably missed the mark.
D. In John Bevere’s book entitled “The Fear of the Lord”, he makes this statement. “If you desire the praise of man, you will fear man. If you fear man, you will serve him, for you will serve what you fear.” 2 Corinthians 5:9–11
E. When we keep our focus upon the Lord, we cannot help but be successful, even when it appears that we have missed the mark in the eyes of man.
F. Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
G. If we stay in tune with the Lord, seeking Him in all that we do, we will not miss the mark. 2 Corinthians 5:7 “We walk by faith, not by sight.”
III. It is all about Jesus.
A. Whatever our method of presentation to others may be (musical, conversation, building/construction, English as Second Language), if we take our eyes off of Jesus, they too will miss the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:12 – 20
B. Our every movement is to glorify God.
C. Yes, we want better for them:
• Gift of salvation!
• Better standard of living!
• Better education!
• But it all starts with Jesus!
D. If we, as Christians, will always point to the Lord for all things, others will start to understand and even begin to follow you as you follow Christ.
E. There are benefits for conducting yourselves in this manner:
• It frees you from feelings of inadequacy.
• It allows you to speak freely of the goodness of God, regardless of the situation.
• It shuts down the ability of others to try and take advantage of you.
• Others don’t rely upon you as their provision, but rather look to the Lord long after you are gone.
• In 1 Corinthians 11:1, the Apostle Paul writes, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
• It is essential for us to understand this philosophy and the merits of its effectiveness upon others.
• You won’t have concerns regarding people to whom you have just ministered.
• One of the biggest rewards will be the many friends you develop because you have allowed the Lord to shine through you and touch lives.
In the text of 2 Corinthians, we truly see the depth of Paul’s heart and sincere emotion. He reveals his strong love for the Corinthians, his zeal for the glory of God and his uncompromising loyalty for the truth of the Gospel. Also shown is his stern indignation in confronting those who disrupt the fellowship of the Church. His life was consumed with the lives of his converts, while refraining from “cold professionalism” in his ministry. In short, Paul had problems and he faced them boldly and without excuse. He was unashamed to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not fearing the consequences of reprisal or popularity. This, my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, is exactly what each of us is called to do as we live in this world as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
JWF Ministries International
September 15, 2016