29 May 2014
5 Steps to Sharing Your Faith
In 1 Corinthians 9:22, Paul says something I've found to be both thoroughly convicting and extremely enlightening: "I have become all things, to all men, so that by all means, I might save some."
That's a pretty confident statement! Paul is speaking with authority. But it's an authority given by the Holy Spirit. I believe that what Paul says here is this: use every means possible to reach others for Jesus Christ. In evangelism, our message is sacred, but the method is not.
Pray: Sometimes, we Christians underestimate the power of prayer in evangelism. People say to me, "Yes, yes, Luis, prayer is certainly important. But, let's get out there and do something for the Lord!" But, prayer is the very foundation for sharing the Good News, whether it's with ten people or ten-thousand.
I think about the impact of prayer in my own life. When I was a baby, my parents told me they dedicated me to the Lord, praying, "Lord, here is Luisito. He is Yours. Use him for Your glory and as You wish so many may come to know You through him." Since they had decided to keep this a secret between them and God, I didn't know about their prayer for many years. Now, God has seen fit to use me to declare the Good News to people all around the globe. And if God can use a little boy from Argentina to reach nations, He can do the same life-transformation in you and your friends.
So, before you share the Good News, remember James 5:16, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." Pray and then share the life-changing Good News message with your friends and neighbors.
Start the Conversation: All of us struggle with how to open a conversation with someone and talk to them about Jesus Christ. I have found that one of the greatest ways is whenever someone tells you a story of sickness, or family problems, or financial problems, the best thing to say is, "You know, I'm glad you told me that. Would you mind if I prayed for you and ask God to answer this prayer?"
I have never been turned down by anyone. Even an atheist president of Uruguay in South America said, "I don't believe in God and I don't believe in prayer, but if you want to pray for me, go ahead." I prayed for him and his family and he was crying when I finished.
When somebody gives you a sad story or a problem in their life, you tell them, "I will pray for God to answer your request." And then pray. And then say to them, "When God answers would you let me know, please?" And you know what? I have found again and again that the Lord answers and people come back to tell you. And that gives you an opportunity to tell them why you trust the promises of God, how you have seen answers to your prayers, and mostly - and particularly - eternal salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. Try it out!
Be courageous: I've heard it said: "A Christian is bound to give his testimony, it's his duty." And it is. Why do many of us shy away? I'll tell you one reason. Because many of us feel, we don't have the authority, we don't have the power, we don't have the reasoning ability to answer questions, and to present Jesus Christ clearly. We feel we just don't have it.
But, here is a word of encouragement. Did you know that the Apostle Paul felt the same way? In 1 Corinthians 2, listen to what he says. He says, "I didn't come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I shared with you the testimony about God. Because I decided to know nothing, while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." And listen to this, this is amazing. He says, "I came to you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power." So don't despair.
The power is in the Holy Spirit and in the truth of Holy Scripture. Tell the story of the crucifixion and how it affects your life. It has tremendous power. Designate on your calendar a day that you will make a pointed effort to reach out to your friend. Ask God to either open the door for that moment or re-direct you clearly to that perfect moment of His timing. Whether you personally share the Gospel outright, invite this person to join you at church, or simply ask them how you can pray for them, it does not matter. The point is that you choose a day to intentionally let yourself be used by God. People need to hear the Gospel and be challenged to respond. And you're just the one to bring the message. Who else is going to?
Keep it Simple: We can't just assume people know the Good News message. Not even in Western nations. In fact, 75% of American adults do not know what John 3:16 actually says, and 63% cannot define "the Gospel."
There's tremendous Bible teaching today, but the pure Good News of John 3:16 is often not being proclaimed. So what do we need to tell people? First, our friends and family must hear, over and over again, that God truly loves them. 1 Timothy 2:4 says God "wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." Second, they must hear that Jesus Christ died for our sins, rose again on the third day, and ascended into heaven. Finally, they need an invitation to repent and believe.
That's the Good News, pure and simple. You don't have to use fancy methods for sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Just stick with the basics, and proclaim the Good News with simplicity! You'll begin to see God working in the hearts of your loved ones.
Make the most of every opportunity: Are you waiting for the "right time" to share the Good News with a loved one? Don't delay, because we never know when this life will end and eternity will begin. Near the end of our three-week festival in Managua, Nicaragua, a woman met me on my way into the stadium. With tears in her eyes, she gave me a big Latin hug and thanked me for presenting the Good News so clearly. She explained that her grandson, Danilo, age 9, had received the Lord two nights earlier.
She said, "The next morning, he was so happy. He told me, 'Granny, I've got eternal life!'" But, the next day, tragedy struck. Danilo was out delivering newspapers on his bicycle, when he was hit by a truck and died. I was shaken by Danilo's death, but the Lord used it for His Glory. That night, I shared Danilo's story with some 30,000 people at the festival and many came to know Christ. We made a film out of Danilo's story. Many thousands more have come to Christ.
The Bible says, "Be very careful, then, how you live-- not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." That's why now is the best time to give your friends a chance to hear the Good News, receive Jesus Christ into their hearts, and live their lives with Him. Your efforts to reach out may prompt any number of responses. Some neutral, some favorable, and others less than desirable. A person's response is not only up to you. Remember that. Results are in the Lord's hands.
What is up to you is your willingness to be present the moment your friend has questions about God and faith. They will inevitably ask you about your own journey. Be ready to share it in all honesty. They may ask how they can know Him like you do. Be ready to pray with them. Or, they may ask you to never bring the matter up again. Simply be ready to pray all the more.
This is how you begin living for a greater purpose. This is how you participate in God's plan to expand His Kingdom on earth in this generation. This is how you don't let another moment slip away!