Your unexpected ally in evangelism

Remember the story of Arthur Stace? He was an Australian soldier who came home and wrote the words “Eternity” all over Sydney.  Then on New Year’s Eve at the turn of the millennium, this word was chosen as the centrepiece for the fireworks display on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and was lit up at midnight.

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It’s not over until the fat lady shares the gospel!

There was a famous German opera that lasted more than 12 hours whenever it was performed. As the story came to a conclusion, the character who sang the final piece was always played by a large woman wearing a helmet with horns or wings on top of it. As the long story unfolded, people would hopefully ask the person they were sitting with, “Is this the final piece?” The proverbial answer would come back, “It’s not over until the fat lady sings!”

It’s true that evangelism is not only about sharing the gospel. People journey towards Christ for some time before crossing the line to faith in him and we choose a narrow understanding of evangelism if we think evangelism only includes helping a person take the final step of faith.

Anytime you help someone in your life take a step towards Jesus, you are taking part in their salvation.

But you need to understand that just like the opera isn’t over until the fat lady sings, evangelism is never complete until

1) you arrive at the gospel and the person understands what Jesus did for them on the cross and that he rose and is alive today and can change their lives, and

2) you have invited the person to receive his gift of grace!

Don’t ever force the gospel on anyone. They will only resist it. Rather than pushing them to Christ, ask God to draw them to him through you. Build a relationship with people. Let them see Christ in you. Ask them questions that can lead to spiritual conversations. Share with them about your own walk with God. Pray for them all the time.

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Do all this, but never forget your end goal if you truly love this person. Your end goal is for them to hear and understand the gospel, to know what Jesus has done for them and how they can experience his forgiveness and restoration. Never be satisfied to simply “sow seeds”. Yes, sow seeds, and water them, and let them grow. But why do farmers sow seeds and water them? So that he can reap the harvest!

At some point, you will have to swallow your self-consciousness and say, “Has anyone ever shared with you how you can start a good relationship with God?” “Could I share that with you now? It’s had such an impact on my own life.”

Last thoughts

To be ready for that conversation, you should memorize the simple points of the gospel, along with a verse that affirms it from the Bible:

1. God loves you dearly – John 3:16; Romans 5:8
2. Our need for God (our inner brokenness – Mark 7:21-23; sin – Romans 3:23 and 6:23
3. What God has done to remove the barrier – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 5:8 (because we couldn’t remove the barrier by living good lives or being religious – Ephesians 2:8-9)

Ask God to give you the opportunity and the boldness to share the gospel with someone in your life this week.

Lifestyle Priority 8: Clearly communicate the gospel and invite the person to put their trust in Christ

You are like people who don’t know Jesus

Maybe that title seems very strange to you. After all, your life has been totally changed by Jesus Christ. Doesn’t the Bible say you have been brought out of the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son? Haven’t you been born again into a new way of life? If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation!

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Here’s why you can’t do evangelism

There are two great truths the gospels reveal about Jesus: A) He is fully God and B) He is fully human. To date, the Church has rightly emphasised the deity of Jesus. As Scripture says, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1

 Jesus is and always has been God, but what did it mean for Jesus to also be fully human?

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You don’t always have to share the gospel

Why do most people feel anxious about sharing their faith with others?

Have you ever thought “What do I say?” or “Where do I start?” Deciding where to start depends on your view of evangelism. We typically only think of evangelism as helping someone take the final step of putting their faith in Christ. But when you recognise that everyone journeys to faith in Christ, and that journey takes time, you realise that in fact, evangelism includes journeying with a person towards Christ. Your current conversation with them is about helping them take the next step in their journey (and may not include crossing the line today)!

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What type of friend are you?

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2

 

In this series of blogs, we are building on the principle that your life follows your values. We are exploring the lifestyle priorities that will cause us to live as witnesses for Jesus. Well, Jesus had an unmistakable lifestyle priority of spending relational time with non-religious people. That priority showed up in his actions. He was always hanging out with ‘sinners’.

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