And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. Acts 8:35.
There are many ways to share the gospel with someone. There is no one right way or formula for evangelism. The best way is the way that God leads you to, by His Holy Spirit. He will arrange the divine appointment with someone, and guide you in what to say and do, by His Spirit. All the ways we share the gospel must utilize words, either spoken or written. We can let our light shine through behavior and actions, but we are not witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ unless we open our mouths and speak, or share in another way that uses words, such as by sharing printed literature, or broadcast, recorded or internet media.
We need not fear failure. Our sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, as He leads us to, is always successful because it is God that brings the results. He only calls us to share the gospel. If we witness of Jesus and speak or share the gospel, as He commanded us to, we are successful! The result that He wills, He will accomplish, to His glory. Jesus said, “I will build My church.” Matt.16:18. We don’t build it; He builds it. He sends us, as His ambassadors, to carry the message. He does the work in a person, making them a child of God, and adding them to the church. He gets all the glory. The joy He gives us, whether people listen to us or reject us, is hard to describe.
Aside from the creation (Romans 1), God revealed Himself to men in the Old Testament through words, which were eventually written down. In the New Testament God revealed Himself to people through Jesus, who IS the Word (John 1). Words are very important to God; He spoke the universe into being with words, and Jesus Himself IS, the Word. God’s method of reaching people with the Word (Jesus), through words, has not changed.
There are some who say that evangelism means inviting people to church. If you invite people to church, and they come and hear the gospel, great! But, He did not tell us to go and gather all the unbelievers we could find, and bring them into the church. What if they they happen to come into a church that does not preach the gospel? Then they still have not been reached with the gospel. They have been brought into a church building. Jesus told us to go out into all the world and bring the gospel to the people, and when they are saved, then they are added to the church.
There are some who say that evangelism means just letting our light shine, or just being a good influence on society, or just being relevant to the culture, or just having a conversation, where you make a good effort to hear where the other person is coming from philosophically. We can do these things, but if we do not use words to communicate the gospel, we are not witnessing.
Some advocate being “missional ,”authentic”, and “incarnational” in order to reach the postmodern thinkers. If these terms imply just “being” Jesus to someone without words, there is a problem, because God tells us to use words. If these terms mean, “missionary” and “evangelistic” in a friendship evangelism context, then great, because the need for postmodern thinkers to hear the gospel proclaimed with words is not any different from previous generations. Sure, the philosophical worldview of postmodern thinking may have changed from previous modernist worldviews; yes, culture changes, and we should seek to understand the culture and belief systems of people we go to with the gospel. But that does not mean that God’s commands to us, to tell them with words, have changed.
So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17.
God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. From 1Cor.1:21.
Here are two articles that address this issue very well.
Theologizing Away Discomfort
by David Brickner, Jews for Jesus
Why does every generation seem to think they are the first to deal with problems that are age-old? We love to analyze current trends and hypothesize about cultural developments. Call it pride or arrogance, but in our half-blind sense of self-importance, we decide that time-honored principles are no longer relevant. We then assume the pressing responsibility to “reinvent” those wellestablished principles and the practices that spring from them. In the process, an entire industry is created: books and videos are sold to help us live in “today’s world.” Certainly study and observation can be helpful. But we need to recognize what is not.
Thanks in part to the current evangelical obsession with our “postmodern society,” the wheel of evangelism has been reinvented so often that it’s a wonder it can turn at all. Perhaps you’ve heard this one: In our postmodern era, proclaiming the gospel as absolute truth is no longer relevant or effective. The good news must be communicated “holistically” as “incarnational” rather than “informational” truth.
At the heart of that philosophy is the notion that what we do and how we live matters more than any message we might proclaim. Claims to truth falter and fail, but a life that is “authentic” is necessary for evangelism in our postmodern society. At first blush this sounds holy and smart and kind of biblical. The problem is, it creates a false dichotomy between words and deeds, as though we need to choose one over the other to be effective. This is certainly not biblical.
To read the rest of this article click here.
Jews for Jesus Newsletter
What the Bible says about evangelism and the spoken word
1 Chronicles 16:23, 24 shows that even before Jesus came, those who knew the Lord were to proclaim Him to others with joy: “Sing to the LORD, all the earth; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.”
Isaiah 61:1 is a messianic prophecy in which we see that preaching and proclaiming are important aspects of ministry to those who are suffering: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”
In Luke 4:18 Jesus repeats the above prophecy almost verbatim, proclaiming Himself the fulfillment, and validating once again the importance of the spoken word: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
In Mark 1:38 Jesus reiterates that proclamation is crucial to His purpose and practice: “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” (cf. Luke 4:43)
In Matthew 10:27 Jesus instructs His followers: “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. (cf. Mark 3:14, Luke 9:2, Luke 9:60) And in Mark 16:15, Jesus commanded His followers: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
In Acts 14:15 Paul is careful to identify with his audience when preaching, yet he is still very direct in his proclamation: “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them…”
Acts 17:23 also shows that being relevant and being direct can go hand-in-hand: “…for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you.”
Romans 10:14,15 makes it clear that without proclamation, no one can be expected to receive the gospel: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’”
1 Corinthians 1:23 explains that rejection is to be expected when preaching the gospel: “…but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness…”
2 Timothy 4:2-4 warns that we have to be ready to preach the truth whether or not it is convenient for as long as we can, because eventually people will only hear what they want to hear: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
2 Corinthians 4:5-7 makes it clear that we are the messengers, not the message, and that our imperfections should not keep us from proclaiming the gospel. In fact, our imperfections serve to show that salvation is from God and not from us: “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
Here is the link to this article.
Pingback: The Many Ways to Witness « Witnessing. Encouragement.
Pingback: Evangelism in the Postmodern Culture « Witnessing. Encouragement.
Great post. 🙂
hi there, bebereans, thanks! Hey, do you work at livingwaters?
No ma’am. lol I’m a stay at home mom. I have that link in my profile just because. And I love that ministry. 🙂
I’m a stay home mom too. (That is, when I’m not out!) I love that ministry also. Please, call me Loretta. : )
Pingback: Summer Witnessing Ideas « Witnessing. Encouragement.
Pingback: Go For It: Personal Witnessing « Witnessing. Encouragement.