There’s nothing like a little stress and business to thwart a good evangelistic effort. Many of us start off our days with good intentions. We know the great commisison, but sometimes we get too busy to share God’s plan of salvation.
The Great Commission: Matthew 28:18-20
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “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 of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching 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 (NKJV).
“Follow me,” Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “and I will make you fishers of men.” But are we really doing our job as fishermen? If the earth is our big fishbowl, and if God peeks in, how many of our fish would he find dead in sins? Are we doing enough to keep them alive?
We interact with dozens, maybe even hundreds of people in a single day. How many of them know we are Christians? How many of them have seen a glimpse of our faith?
It’s hard, sometimes. It’s hard to remember all the steps and all the relevant verses. So, here’s a little summary for you, to help you share your faith.
The Lord’s Plan of Salvation
- We are to HEAR the word of God, and let it be the foundation of our faith: Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
- We are to BELIEVE the Bible, particularly that Jesus is the Christ, our savior, and the Son of the living God, and that through his death, we obtain salvation from our sins: John 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He,you will die in your sins.
- We must REPENT of our sins, meaning that we choose selflessness over our sinful desires, and choose instead to serve God and others. Luke 13:3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
- We must CONFESS our faith before men. Matthew 10:32-33 Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
- We must BE BAPTIZED for the remission (forgiveness) of our sins, not as a work of man, but as a symbolic showing of our clean conscience toward God (I Peter 3:21). Remission is like the cancellation of our debt, which Jesus paid with his own blood. When our body is immersed in the waters of baptism, we are symbolically renacting the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and we come out of the water a new creature. Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- We must REMAIN FAITHFUL, even in a world where we are constantly assaulted with temptation from the devil, and it feels we will always have to struggle against our sin. Remember God’s promises, which are new every morning. Revelations 2:10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Photo by Régis Lachaume (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Happy Easter! Day of celebration, colored eggs, and chocolate, right? A day of bunnies and ham. For some, a day of worship, and discussion of Christ and his resurrection. A day when pews will be filled with sharply dressed people who seldom grace the building with their presence, smiling as though it’s the most natural experience, even though inside they tremble at the unfamiliarity of it all.
Ever wonder why?
Several articles have come out on the web over the past few days, like this one from NPR, citing the Pagan roots of Easter. Some have expressed concern over how the traditional American holiday has very little relation to the resurrection itself.
Do you understand the implication of that? We’re claiming man-made tradition as gospel, perverting and distorting the true meaning of Christ’s sacrifice. Just like we do at Christmas, we gloss over or romanticize that epic truth that we should all be relating and sharing, the truth that for some has turned into nothing more than a child’s story.
Every year, I see someone post frustration at this over social media. Stolen pews, crowded halls, messy kids–all the angst created from people not accustomed to the order and seriousness of the service.
But Christians? I wonder if it could possibly OUR fault! Is it possible they don’t know any better because we haven’t taught them any better?
This magnificent story, that Christ came to the world to save sinners, is one we should be sharing every day, with everyone. We should be declaring Romans 5:8 to everyone, everyday:
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Instead of celebrating the “Passion of the Christ” once a year, we should be teaching “Passion for Christ” throughout the year. We should celebrate his resurrection every day!
And how do we teach it? We SHOW it!
- Sitting in pews, barely mumbling words with the songleader
- Tearing our contribution check while the cup is being passed around
- Checking Facebook or email during the sermon
- Complaining about the service at a local restaurant as we all enjoy a “fellowship” (a.k.a. gossipfest) meal
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…
What if, instead of putting all our time and energy into some big production for one day, we put the same effort into spreading the word about the death, burial, and resurrection every single day of the year? Maybe it’s difficult to convince those in the world of Christ’s great sacrifice because we haven’t convinced them of the sting of his death. They see no need for the removal of that sting because they don’t feel it.
Think about it. If you see a funeral announcement for a complete stranger in the paper, not knowing any of the circumstance, do you feel a pang? Probably not. But if you know the details, you might be brought to tears by the death of a stranger.
So, before we judge all those who pop in to church today for that once a year service, maybe we should consider whether or not we’ve done enough to evangelize them for the remainder of the year.
I spent a couple of hours tonight on a Facebook party supporting debut author Nadine Brandes with the launch of her new release, A Time to Die, first in a series of three published by the newly-branded Enclave Publishing. It was incredibly cool, and a great time. She had video interviews, giveaways, great discussion, and it was interesting to connect with other writers and fans.
One of the activities we did centered on the premise of the book–what if you knew exactly how much time you had to live? How might you live differently? I would evangelize more. Although, I fear that knowing a date and time would just lead me to do as I sometimes do in other facets of my life–wait until the last minute and make a good run at it.
I’ve heard people, both in the church and out, throw around the “life is a vapor” and “no one knows when He’s coming” verses like candy, but they live their lives as if they don’t believe them. And they don’t share their faith as if they don’t believe anyone else is lost. So I’ve been thinking a lot tonight about evangelism and procrastination.
The Bible makes it really simple.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments. For this is man’s all.
Matthew 28:19-20 Go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
We whine all the time about how our churches are losing members and people are losing their faith in God’s existence. But I think it’s time we face a bitter truth–we aren’t doing our jobs!
Think about it. How many employers would be content giving us a task that we ignore day-by-day? God has given us a charge–to go into the world and make disciples. And if we aren’t actively working on talking to people about God each day, we’re ignoring that task. The message is simple. God exists. He loves you. He sent his Son to die for you. Obey him and receive eternal salvation. Why is that so hard to share?
And we ignore this task for what? Sports? Work? Entertainment? Fear?
Have we made these things our all, when the Bible clearly tells us that keeping God’s commandments should be our all?
One reason I want to write Christian fiction is because it gives me a tool to share my faith. Even if someone never reads my work, I can tell them about my books and it opens the door to a conversation about God. But I should do so much more.
How do you fit evangelism into your daily lives?