When asked to proclaim the gospel, have you thought, “I can’t do that! I don’t know what to say. I know that I will mess up!” I have a surprising answer for you. A believer in Christ can never mess up when sharing the gospel to a lost soul.
The joy of evangelism is discovering that evangelism has little to do with a Christian believer and everything to do about God. It comes down to trusting a central promise from God.
His Word works.
The Lord of the harvest tells us that that harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. The fields are plowed and ready. The Lord is prepared to bring the fields rain and sun to cause the seed to grow. In his wisdom, God sets believers apart to be generous seed sowers. The great commission is not for a select few, but for all who trust in Christ. Many Christians disqualify themselves by placing the emphasis of evangelism on themselves rather than upon God.
Evangelism is about delivering a message and trusting that the power lies in the message and not in our ability to proclaim it. A believer’s responsibility is to plant the seed. It is God’s work and responsibility to cause the seed to grow.
Evangelism means minding our own business and trust that God’s word is working. Believers who trust in God’s promises, do not need evidence that would suggest that we are making a difference, nor be dismayed when we do not see fruits for our evangelism efforts in this lifetime. God promises that His word works, that it never returns to him empty, and that our labor is never in vain. Trusting his Word means trusting in his work.
How many words does it take to plant the seed of the gospel in a person’s heart?
When God created light, he only needed four words. “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3)
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he only needed three words. “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43)
When Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, he only needed four words. “My child, get up!” (Luke 8:53)
When Jesus sent out his disciples to go proclaim a message of Good News, he only gave them six words to say. “The kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 10:7) The rest of the chapter is filled with warnings and promises.
Six words. Four words. Three words. The emphasis seems to be on the quality in the words rather than the quantity of the words. God’s Word is powerful, effective, and creative. Only through its power can light be created out of darkness, death from life, and unbelief to faith.
When it comes to proclaiming the gospel with others, Jesus seems to emphasize that it’s far better to share a few words with a lost soul rather than no words at all.
What can we say?
The Apostle Paul may have a suggestion. He told the jailer in Philippi, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved – you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
That’s fifteen words! It was a ready reply to the jailer’s question, “What must I do to be saved?”
What is your ready reply? What is your answer when God give you the opportunity to give an answer for the hope you have in Christ?
“What do I say?” is not a relevant question for believers who have spent years listening to sermons, reading the Bible and attending Bible studies.
With joy and thanksgiving in our hearts, we tell others what Christ has already done for us.
With 100% confidence and assurance that our sins are fully forgiven right now, we tell others what Christ has already accomplished for us.
With true peace reigning with in us, we point to the cross and introduce the One who has already rescued us.
If we only had six words to proclaim the gospel, we could say, “Believe! Your sins are fully forgiven.”
When we speak the Truth of God’s Word with love, gentleness, and respect, it is impossible to mess up.
The pressure is off us. We can’t make an unbeliever more spiritually dead than they already are. And it is impossible to bring the victory of faith to an unbeliever without God’s hand.
Evangelism is not about us. It is about making ourselves available to be God’s vessels – his messengers – to deliver a message on his behalf.
It means stepping out in faith to share our faith with others.
It means trusting God’s promises and be filled with his Spirit instead of looking in the mirror and be filled with fear. (1 Tim. 1:7)
I am convinced that there are many people like the jailer in Philippi who live in your community. In this lost world, they are longing to ask, “What must I do to be saved?” They just don’t know who to ask because they are understandably wary if anybody knows the Truth.
Transformed by his Word and sacrament, believers are emboldened to say something – even if its only six words – rather than saying nothing at all.