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By Darren Lindblom, NavsMilitary — Just before Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection, He commissioned His followers to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus has given to all of His followers this same Great Commission; we all have the privilege of helping others know Christ as Savior.
As Jesus spent time with people, He was often filled with compassion over their lost-ness, their brokenness, their helplessness. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”- Matthew 9:36 (ESV) Does your heart break with compassion for those around you who don’t know Christ? Are you frustrated that your attempts to share the Gospel with others are often met with reluctance, resistance, or even hostility? The Lord tells us in His Word that those who are without Christ are blind to the truth of the Gospel. We must be in prayer for those we want to know Christ, that the Lord will give them “eyes to see” the truth of the Gospel. One of the young men I disciple has a strong desire to see his friends come to Christ. I shared with him some lessons, little nuggets, I have learned over the years about the Gospel and those who are without Christ. I trust you will find these helpful as well.
Evangelism is a process as much as an event.
Evangelism is more than a 15-minute Gospel presentation.
Jesus became a man and lived among us. Be intentional to live among those who are without Christ. This allows them to “see” the Gospel in us and not simply hear the Gospel. - John 1:14
Paul shared not only the Gospel, but his own life... because he loved them so deeply. - 1 Thessalonians 2:8
As you relate with those who are without Christ, who should be more uncomfortable ...you or them? We ought to put ourselves in the potentially uncomfortable situation by being in their world (without becoming entangled with sin). Go to them, don’t simply ask them to come to us.
Sharing the Gospel is more of a dialogue than a monologue. If you are doing most of the talking, you are jeopardizing their receptivity. - Colossians 4:4-5
Hearing the Gospel is not as important as understanding the Gospel. - Matthew 13:23
Ministering to the lost vs. Ministering among the lost. What’s the difference? - Matthew 9:35-36
Doing normal everyday activities with your non-Christian friends is as much evangelism as explaining the Gospel to them. The key is to be intentional.
Puzzle Illustration: Most people come to faith in Christ through taking small significant steps over a period of time. Hearing the Gospel once and then accepting Christ is rare. It is like putting together a puzzle. Each piece put in the right place symbolizes one more step toward conversion. The final piece put in the puzzle represents praying to receive Christ. But each piece put in the puzzle is the work of evangelism. Key Question: “What do we unwittingly do to scatter pieces on the floor?”
Living among our non-Christian friends along with several Christian friends is perhaps the most powerful tool we have in evangelism:
John 17:23 - May we be brought to complete unity so that the world will know that Jesus is the Savior. Great promise.
John 13:34-35 - All men will be attracted to Christ if we love each other. The world can’t see us loving each other if we are not among them.
Acts 2:42-47 - The Lord added to their number those who were being saved. This happened when “seekers” saw and observed what true Biblical fellowship looked like.
In order to effectively share the Gospel we must know and understand who it is we are sharing it with. We need to know the issues they are wrestling with. We must get to know them. This takes time, intentionality, grace, love, etc. - Luke 2:46-47
In our evangelism efforts are we giving answers (presenting the Gospel) to questions not being asked?
If pushing for a decision to follow Christ too quickly, consider this, “Why would we ask someone to make the most important decision of their life with someone (Jesus) they hardly know?” This would be equivalent to a young man asking a woman to marry him after their first date. Not impossible, but not likely.
Those who are without Christ are not the enemy, they are victims of the enemy.
Preach Christ...not Christianity. Focus on the purity of the Gospel and Jesus, not on cultural aspects of Christianity. 1 Corinthians 2:2