June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
The goal is that evangelism becomes a way of life and something we do as a matter of who we are. God uses human means to share his good news. It’s important to note that not all hearers start at the same place. There are some people who are ready to respond and we need to ask God to give us discernment where people are along the decision making process. There is a false dichotomy between the walk and talk initiatives as approaches to evangelism. There must be a balanced approach. Biblical evangelism must be done with urgency; we must seek to reap the harvest. Evangelism must also be done with sensitivity. Jesus was always willing to let the person walk away. We must always evangelize with integrity.
The relationship between walk and talk in evangelism depends on who the person is. With a family member, your walk will be very heavily rated. The implication is that the gospel has been shared verbally, but that it has be reinforced with the actions of your life. With a close friend, walk is still very heavily waited. Sharing with an acquaintance, your talk might hold more weight with the person because they do not know you as well. With person C, talk is much more heavily waited because they have very little personal relationship with you even though some form of relationship must be initiated for the sharing to occur, he still may be able to discern is you have genuine care and concern for him. All walk and no talk results in evangelism where there is no gospel. If we try to witness with just our walk people don’t know what we are witnessing to. We may not be calling attention to Christ; we may be calling attention to ourselves. In every genuine witnessing encounter, both your walk and your talk must be present. Your walk gives credibility to your talk and your talk gives clarity to your walk.
June 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
Let them know that evangelism is not mere presence (Matt. 5:16), and encourage them that we are to verbally communicate the gospel to people. Remind them that evangelism begins with God and that desiring the lost to come to him is part of his nature and character as in the story of the prodigal son, it was God’s initiative to come to us in Christ as demonstration of reaching the lost and part of his plan to use people to reach the lost. Somewhere in the conversation relate that the spirit of evangelism is compassion and that the power of evangelism is the Holy Spirit. The function of the Holy Spirit is to guide and empower us and to convince and regenerate the hearers. Then go through 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:21 which discusses motivations for evangelism.
Relate to them that half of all people struggle with fear as a barrier to witnessing. The Apostle Paul struggled with fear, even Billy Graham felt fear, and he took that as a signal that he must allow the Holy Spirit to be in control. If the fear is not knowing enough, tell them that you do not need to be afraid that someone is going to ask you a question that you will not be able to answer because it is going to happen! Only God knows all the answers so get over yourself and witness! In John 9:25 the blind man answered, “I was blind, but know I see.” The blind man said that he didn’t know about many things, but he did know that Jesus changed his life. The fear of failure can paralyze us, but we must realize that we never fail when we reach out. Successfully witnessing is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, and then leaving the results up to God.
There is also a fear that we might do more harm than good. This question shows we are sensitive people and we most likely will never have a problem with doing more bad than good because we are already aware of that. The lost person is already in the worst place spiritually that can be so how could we possibly place them in a worse place spiritually. God can redeem every situation. When we fear failure we must understand what our role is and what God’s role is. The greatest fear is probably the fear of rejection. In John 12:42-43 we read that even many of the rulers believed in him, because the Pharisees they did not claim their faith in Jesus because they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
Discuss sources of fear. The first source of fear is Satan, Satan attempts to keep us in bondage through fear, but the power of Christ can help us overcome our bondage. There could also be fear in recognizing the enormity of the task. This recognition should give us pause and reflection, but should not restrict us. Perhaps the greatest source of fear is too much a focus on ourselves. This is a source of fear to focus on openly and honestly, we are more concerned with our reputation than the eternal destiny of others. Will we let fear rule or life or Jesus Christ?
Proper responses to fear are that some fear is normal, even helpful. If you feel inadequate that can cause you to rely more on God. Fear can be a signal causing us to rely more on the Holy Spirit. The second response is to realize that most our fears are unfounded. Then we need to understand that fear does not disqualify or excuse us from our responsibility. The final thing we must realize that God has resources to deal with fear as in 2 Timothy 1:7 we see that they are resources of power, spirit of love and a spirit of discipline and sound mind.