No Fear Evangelism

One hot summer day, many moons ago, I remember a conversation that I had with a close friend right after we finished evangelizing all day on the sandy shores of Myrtle Beach. We were both attending an annual Christian youth conference that focused on evangelism. The conversation began with my friend telling me that he was sad and frustrated because no one “accepts Christ” when he witnesses to them. He was basing his level of success on how many people he saw make Jesus their Lord right when he spoke with them.

It is too often the case that good-hearted, loving Christians, seeking to obey Jesus’ command to “…Go into the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15b), are hindered by the fear of failure. None of us like to feel rejected or turned down, and it is easy to feel discouraged if we base our success on the number of people we “convert.” When we don’t understand what our responsibility is when it comes to witnessing, it is easy to take the rejection of our message as a personal rejection.

As popular Christian writer Bill Bright says in his book, Witnessing without Fear: [1]

“Success in witnessing is simply taking the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, and leaving the results to God.”

During that youth conference, I specifically remember seeing a sign with that quote hanging outside the main conference room. It stuck with me and reminded me that the only way that I could “fail” in witnessing was to fail to witness.

Acts 4:31
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

We too have been filled with the gift of holy spirit, and we too can boldly speak the Word of God to those with whom we come in contact. Why wouldn’t we want to offer people the greatest news of all time?!

Many times Christians ask, “What if I don’t know how to answer one of the questions that someone asks me?” That’s okay. You need not know every theological answer in the universe to be able to witness. Simply share what Christ has done in your life, and if you get a question you don’t know how to answer, there is no harm in saying, “I’ll get back to you on that question.” The Word of God does encourage us to be “workmen” of the Word (2 Tim. 2:15-KJV), and as we study the Word and share it, we grow in knowledge and in wisdom and in being “prepared” to answer people, as per the following verse:

1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason [logos=word] for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

That verse does not say that we are required to know the answer to every question someone might ask, but it does say to be prepared to give the biblical reason for the hope we have.

I was talking to a friend recently, and he flat out asked me, “Why do you believe in this stuff and why do you have so much faith in it?” I didn’t give him some deeply theological answer, though at times that may be appropriate. I just told him about God’s love and my personal experience with Him. My friend, like many people, was curious as to why we have the faith that we have.

When it comes to sharing the Good News, it is very important to know what is our responsibility, what is the responsibility of the person hearing the Gospel, and what is God’s responsibility. Understanding these responsibilities will keep you from becoming frustrated and disheartened.

It is not our responsibility to “make” people accept Christ. As they exercise their free will and believe the Word we share with them, God gives the increase in their hearts. When we speak, we are to speak the very words of God (1 Pet. 4:11a), because that gives people the best opportunity to receive the Gospel message.

1 Corinthians 2:4
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,

God is the only one who knows exactly what that particular person needs to hear. In order to be an effective evangelist, it is essential that we humble ourselves before God and ask Him to tell us what to say (Luke 12:11 and 12).

2 Corinthians 3:4 and 5
(4) Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.
(5) Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

Our competence is in God, and we need not be afraid to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let us go forth with boldness, walking the walk, talking the talk, and being great ambassadors and witnesses for Christ! Just as the men and women of Acts did, let’s pray for boldness and look for opportunities to share our faith (Acts 4:29). Let’s stand up for the Lord who stood up for us and took our place on the Cross.

Endnotes

[1] Bill Bright, Witnessing Without Fear, (Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN, 1993).

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