Sharing faith – why, what, how and when
The following materials on witnessing and sharing our faith were presented by Evangelist Paul Ridgeway at the Witnessing and Evangelism Seminar held at New Life Academy in Woodbury on April 28, 2012. I talked about it in yesterday’s post.
Thank you Paul for sharing your knowledge about and love for Jesus so generously with me and others who are interested.
What does WITNESSES stand for?
ACTS 8: 4-8, 25-40
W – WILLINGNESS to be led by the Holy Spirit vs. 26,29,39
I – IMMEDIATE response & obedience vs. 27
T – TACTFUL approach vs. 30
N – NOTICE interest & openness vs. 31,34
E – EXPLAIN Gospel verbally vs. 35
S – SCRIPTURES must be used vs. 35, Isaiah 55
S – SHARE Jesus vs. 35
E – EMPHASIZE repentance & commitment vs. 36-37
S – SYSTEMATIC follow-up vs. 38 baptism and follow-up
Sharing Our Faith: WHY?
- Because God has commanded us to do so. The final words of Jesus while on earth (Acts. 1:8) and also the Bible (Rev. 22:17) speaks concerning this.
- Because it demonstrates our love for God. Christ said that if we truly love Him we would keep His commandments (John 14:15).
- Because all are lost! (Romans 3:10 & 23).
- Because our sharing is God’s chosen method to tell all people. He could have used angels, but He didn’t. Only redeemed sinners can tell lost sinners about Christ. (Romans 10:14-17).
- Because God desires to save all people. (Acts 4:12; 2; Peter 3:9; 1st. Timothy 2:4).
- Because someone once shared his or her faith with us. It may have been a faithful Bible teacher or a godly pastor, or, a praying parent. In other words, they have the right to expect that we will do for others what they have done for us. WHO SHARED THE GOSPEL WITH YOU?
Sharing Our Faith: WHAT?
- God’s Word says all are sinners, condemned to hell. (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:10, 11, 23; Romans 5:8 & 12; Revelations 20:15). Sadly 40% of those “professing to be Christian do not believe there is a hell.”
- There is nothing a lost person can do on his or her own to save themselves. (Isaiah 64:6; Ephesians 2:9).
- Christ was born, crucified, and resurrected to save lost people from their sin (John 3:16 & 17; 1st. Timothy 1:15).
- To be saved a sinner must believe God’s Word and invite Christ into their heart by faith. ( John 5:24; Acts 16:31).
Sharing Our Faith: HOW?
- First, we must be clean vessels. God reminds Isaiah the prophet of this, “Be clean, You who bear the vessels of the Lord” ( Isaiah 52:11). David the sinner prays for forgiveness and cleansing. Upon receiving this he states, “Then I will teach the transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You ( Psalms 51:13). While God does not demand gold or silver vessels, He does require CLEAN ONES. “I want to live right, so God can use me, at any time and anywhere”.
- We must be able to clearly give out the simple facts of the Gospel without getting bogged down with profound theological concepts. Philip the evangelist demonstrated how to do this when he dealt with a sinner in the desert. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” (Acts 8:35).
- We must avoid arguments and stick to the basic issues of men and women and their sins and Christ’s blood. Often unbelievers will attempt to sidestep the Gospel by asking unrelated questions, such as “Where did Cain get his wife?” Don’t “SHOW OFF YOUR KNOWLEDGE” but “SHOW THEM THE SAVIOR”.
- We must use the Word of God. Paul’s tremendous success as an evangelist can be linked directly to his consistent use of God’s Word. ( Acts 17:2; 18:28; II Timothy 2:15; 3: 14-17).
- We must depend on the Spirit of God. ( John 3:15; Acts 6:10; I Corinthians 2:4).
Sharing Our Faith: WHEN?
- Revival meeting in Chicago on the night of October 8, 1871. Evangelist asked people to think about making a decision for Christ and to come back the next night prepared to make that decision. THERE WAS NO NEXT NIGHT. The Chicago fire broke out and 250 people lost their lives, and nearly four miles of buildings were consumed. The evangelist vowed never to end a service without giving an invitation to accept Christ immediately.
- The question of when we should share our faith is directly tied to when a sinner should accept Christ. The Bible is clear that God’s accepted time is TODAY. ( Hebrews 3:15; 4:7; II Corinthians 6:2; Isaiah 55:6). The reason is simple, a sinner has no assurance whatsoever that he or she will live to see tomorrow. ( Proverbs 27:1; Luke 12:19; James 4: 13-15).
DEATHS AROUND THE WORLD DAILY:
- Every Hour of the Day: 10,000 people
- In One Day: 240,000 people
- In One Week: 1.68 Million
- One Month: 6.72 Million
- One Year: 80.64 Million
- Seventy Years: 5.644 BILLION
Thus, we are to witness ANY TIME, ALL THE TIME, IN ANY PLACE AND IN ALL PLACES. The Apostle Paul shows us how this should be done. He witnesses everywhere, in a prison at midnight (Acts 16: 25-31). And, he even witnessed on a sinking ship during a dark and stormy day (Acts 27: 20-25).
“YOU MAY BE ONLY ONE PERSON IN THE WORLD. BUT, YOU MAY BE THE WORLD TO ONE PERSON.” Frank Mosley, SOS Evangelism Founder.
SOS EVANGELISM “Scriptures On Salvation”
Always ask for PERMISSION to witness to someone.
Three questions to ask someone you are witnessing to:
1. Do you ever think of spiritual things?
2. Have you ever thought about becoming a Christian? (Note: The question is not “are you a Christian” but “have you ever thought of becoming one?”) Good reason for this wording.
3. If someone were to ask you what makes a person a Christian what would you say? THIS IS CALLED THE “X-RAY QUESTION”. IT WILL SHOW YOU IF THE PERSON IS SAVED AND IF THEY KNOW HOW ONE MIGHT BE SAVED.
THINGS TO DO TO BRING ABOUT WITNESS OPPORTUNITIES:
1. PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY – Pray without ceasing. The “prayers of the righteous person is powerful and effective”, James 5:16.
2. Pray and be ready to SHARE with others. Show an genuine interest in them.
3. Pray for Openings:
- Pray for Open Eyes: John 4:35 “ Open your eyes and see the fields white unto harvest.”
- Pray for Open Doors: Colossians 4:3.
- Pray for Open Mouths: Ephesians 6: 19-20. Make known the mystery of the mystery of the Gospel.
- Pray for Open Scriptures: Psalms 119:18. Open my eyes to see the wonderful things from Your law.
- Pray for Open Hearts: Luke 24:32. Hearts burning when he opened Scriptures to us. JESUS WILL COME IN, Revelation 3:20.
WITNESSING IS NOT “AN EVENT, IT IS A LIFE-STYLE.”
- Ask God for you to “weep for the lost” and then take action.
- Ask God for “Divine Appointments” because “He directs your path”.
- ASK GOD FOR FAVOR. Acts 2:47.
- Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit ( Luke 12:12). He will lead and guide you.
- Always ask for permission to share the “Good News” with a person.
- LISTEN to people, their needs, their story and their questions and answers.
- LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THE PEOPLE WHO NEED JESUS BECAUSE WE ARE ALL SINNERS IN NEED OF A SAVIOR.
- Carry Gospel tracts. Gods Word “will not come back void.”
- Think of ways you can “show Jesus and His love to a lost world:”
- Leave a good tip and ask waitress/waiter if you can pray for them.
- Leave tip for hotel maid with Gospel tract. Also, for anyone you are tipping.
- Pray before meals in private and public. Ask associates if you might bless the meal. That is a soft witness.
- Think how you can show “kindness” to others. FAMOUS TELEGRAM OF GENERAL WILLIAM BOOTH OF THE SALVATION ARMY.
- People that are going through a crisis or troubles, call them or send them a personal note to encourage them. Visit them, offer to help.
- Give Gospel tapes, CD’s or DVD’s about Christian themes or ideas that can help the person who does not know Christ.
- Invite people with you to special services where Christ would be presented.
- Offer to pray for people, and, if they ask, agree you will pray. And, start “right then” with a prayer for them. Ask God to remind you of their needs and keep a prayer list.
- SMILE at people, especially those that are serving you. Gas station, grocery store, etc.. Say thank you and “God bless you.”
- Be a Word and Deed Christian. But, let’s not “Love People Into Hell” by not telling them about Jesus but still be nice, kind neighbors. Romans tells us “Blessed are the feet of those who BRING GOOD NEWS.”
A FEW MORE THOUGHTS:
- When witnessing, if you don’t know the answer or understand the question, be honest with the person you are talking to. Tell them you will get back to them with the answer.
- Be considerate of a person’s time and their work situation. Do not let your witness hurt someone’s job situation or cause them stress. Ask if you could meet with them at another time.
- It is more important to tell people “what the Bible says” than “what I think.”
- Pray as you meet with a person to the Lord privately, asking for guidance, favor and the right words. And, most importantly show love and humility.
- Remember, He that is within you (the Holy Spirit) is greater than he that is in the world (Satan). Satan is a defeated foe, dangerous, but, still defeated under the power of God.
- Ephesians 6:10-18 put on the FULL ARMOUR OF GOD daily, especially when witnessing.
- REMEMBER, IT IS GOD WHO CONVICTS THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT. WE ARE PURELY MESSENGERS OF LOVE TO GIVE THE “GOOD NEWS.” WE ARE TO BE THE FISHERS OF MEN AND WOMEN, BUT IT’S GOD’S JOB TO CATCH AND CLEAN THEM.
- The Bible says a “wise person” wins souls. And, that there is a special crown/reward for Christians who witness and lead people to Jesus. God rewards on faithfulness in spite of what “results” from our witnessing.