jesus for sale...

jesus for sale...

have you ever had the thought , “i would share the gospel more, but i don’t know how” or “i don’t want to come off looking like an idiot/religious fanatic” or even “i just don’t know how to get the conversation going or what to say”?

most of us have had those thoughts.  not everyone has a big personality that is perfectly comfortable talking to strangers. add to that years and years of story after story equating evangelism with striking up a one time conversation that results in an immediate conversion. it doesn’t take much contemplation before we begin to feel weighed down by our guilt of not being a large personality who can strike up a conversation with anyone at anytime about anything – much less about the realities of heaven and hell and the savior who makes us right with god. and even worse, how many of us have had conversations about the gospel but never have anyone repent and believe on the spot?

sharing the gospel is more than just going through a step by step printed tract or presentation. often times the way people are taught to “do evangelism” is presented asmore of a marketing strategy- as if we were trying to sell a product. but jesus is not a product to be sold, he is the savior to be worshipped.

contrary to the way we are often led to believe, evangelism is not only valid if there is an immediate conversion. indeed jesus and the apostles shared the gospel to many who never believed, not to mention the ministries of jeremiah (only 2 converts),  noah (only his family), and isaiah, who,  being faithful to his call,  was used by god to harden the hearts of the people. we are to spread the gospel because christ commands us to, out of love for god, and out of love for the lost. we evangelize when we take part in pointing people to the gospel, whether or not they respond favorably. so we are to be about spreading the gospel, but that may not always look like we think  it has to look like.

i prefer john dickson’s very convincing and solidly biblical approach of “promoting the gospel” which alleviates the guilt we often pile up on ourselves (and have piled on us) for not meeting our “gospel presented to a stranger” quota – without relieving us of the responsibility of promoting the gospel in all areas of our life. we can promote the gospel in our prayer life, through our giving, through existing relationships, the way and manner in which we work, and a host of other avenues-including one on one gospel presentations.

now don’t get me wrong, this is not a “lifestyle evangelism” approach. “promoting the gospel” *NOT* a form of evangelism that says “i do not have to share or talk about the gospel, – i just need to live a good life- my life is my witness”.
on the contrary, promoting the gospel is living life intentionally for the purpose of pointing people to the gospel in everything we do so that the gospel will be presented clearly either by us or as a direct result of our actions.

i highly recommend john dickson’s book, “promoting the gospel”. a good companion to that book is mark dever’s “the gospel and personal evangelism“.

having said all of that, there are times for many of us when we do feel compelled to share the gospel explicitly with someone, whether it be a stranger, someone we work with, an employee of an establishment we frequent, or maybe even a family member or close friend. it is in those times when we may feel paralyzed- not knowing what to say or where to begin.

in this 9 minute video, evangelist and missionary paul washer shares a very simple and realistic approach to sharing the gospel one on one. i pray you find it useful.