23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
All of us may not be called to share the Gospel from a pulpit, however we all have a God ordained assignment to utilize our gifts and talents, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to witness to those who are unsaved.
I believe the fear of being rejected is the biggest stumblingblock which prevents most believers from witnessing to the lost. What we must keep in mind is if it had not been for someone witnessing the Gospel to us, we would still be lost in sin.
Sharing our faith does not always have to necessarily entail, going from door-to-door in our neighborhood, standing on street corners proclaiming the Gospel with a bullhorn, or passing out tracts at the park/mall; though all of these are effective methods. The key thing is that each of us have people within our circle of influence, like family, friends, and coworkers, who need to hear the Gospel.
The most effective witness for Christ is to live a life before others, that exemplifies the character of our Savior. To do so, we must get the Mind of Christ(I Corinthians 2:16), which means we understand God’s plan in the world to bring glory to Himself and provide salvation to sinners. In addition, it means that we share Jesus’ perspective of: humility and obedience to God the Father, compassion, and prayerful dependence on God.
We must then be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and be ready at opportune times to share our faith.
In some cases, God will actually create an opportunity, in which an unsaved acquaintance will actually approach us to seek advice, and this is when we can offer them guidance that is “seasoned with grace.”
I Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
When sharing the Gospel, we will encounter individuals who are in one of three categories, and it is important that we listen to what the person is saying, so that the holy spirit can give us wisdom to identify what category the person is in.
LACK OF UNDERSTANDING:
Prior to my coming to know the truth, this is the category that I found myself in. I came from two loving parents, who’d taught me right from wrong. I didn’t drink, smoke, use profanity, or do anything unruly in public. I gave to various charities. I even went to church whenever I visited my grandparents’ hometown. Heck I even said my prayers every night. Surely by my good works, God would admit me into Heaven? I mean Hell is only for murderers, drug dealers, thieves, terrorists, and people like Hitler?
To God be the glory, He had it ordained that on Dec. 26, 1988, my grandmother and uncle would sit me down and explain to me that all of us are born sinners, and therefore incapable of earning our way into Heaven. Our good works just won’t cut it, because mixed in with those good works are some hidden sins that we all commit. There is only one way to get into right standing with God, and fulfill our true life’s purpose, and ensure peace in eternity…and that is through confessing that we have sinned against God, repenting of our sins, and then asking Jesus Christ into our heart (Read Romans 5; Romans 10:8-10).
I believe that at this point in history, most people fall into this category. People will acknowledge God’s existence, however perhaps as a result of inner pride, they tend to only want to call upon God when they are in a bad situation. Another factor could very well be our society’s fixation on self-made success stories. Like I once did, many people believe that their good deeds should warrant them entrance into Heaven.
For those who do not have a clear understanding of their spiritual condition, we must be ready to share the truth with them, just as my family members did for me.
We may also encounter individuals, who come from other religious backgrounds, in this group. If they are willing to sit down and have a civil discussion, that is a good thing, however getting into a debate will only bring about strife and push them away.
DECEIVED OR HURT BY THE CHURCH:
These are people who truly desired to have a relationship with god, but found themselves taken
advantage of by false prophets/teachers or by hypocritical Christians.
Some people have thrown almost their entire life’s savings into ministries, because a false prophet/teacher promised them a breakthrough in seven days if they sowed a seed. Many people have lost loved ones to sinister cult leaders, who have led followers down the road to suicide. There are people who have tried to turn from their sinful past and join with a church, only to have the members reject them and gossip about their past.
Jesus and Paul issues stern warnings, regarding those who would exploit innocent people for personal gain. (Matthew 7:15-23, Matthew 23, Acts 20:29-30) )
It is these who have been taken advantage of previously, that we have to exercise some grace and extra love with the most. Those who have been “”snake bitten” in the past, may be skeptical about trusting any more Christians.
We must pray for them, and continue to study our scriptures, so that when God provides an opportunity we can demonstrate the true character of Christ. After listening to their previous experiences with religion; we should be prepared to point them towards scriptures that contradict how they were previously treated.
JUST DON’T CARE:
Sadly, there is a percentage of earth’s population that has rejected the message of salvation so many times, that their hearts have been hardened to the point where they refuse to accept God’s existence. There are also, those of other religions, who are firmly rooted in their beliefs.
Some nonbeliever’s can be polite, and will quickly hold up a hand in protest or just say that they don’t want to hear about God, or don’t believe in Him On the other hand, some of them will begin to utter obscenities, as soon as they realize that we are followers of Christ.
These are the people, whom my heart aches for the most.
NOTE: We may encounter individuals from this group, who will attempt to pull us into debates. If you are student of the Word, and ONLY IF the Holy Spirit leads you; should you be willing to sit down for a discussion. I would not recommend getting into a debate with anyone regarding the Bible, as it will only result in heated tempers.
We should always keep in mind that when a person rejects what we are saying, they are not rejecting us but are instead rejecting God. We can’t force our faith on anyone, but God only holds us responsible for planting a seed when the ground is fertile. He may utilize a different individual to further nourish what we have stated.(I Corinthians 3:6-8)
When a person rejects our witness, we should lift their name to God, and pray that the person will encounter a life experience that will humble their heart.
It is a wonderful feeling when a person does come to know Christ as their Savior as a result of our witnessing. Honestly, when this mortal life is over, the only thing we will be able to take to Heaven with us, are those who have accepted Christ, as a result of our witnessing to them.
Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.