Christians have an unfair advantage when proclaiming the gospel, but too often, we don’t take advantage of it. There is one way to do that and it makes a huge difference in our witnessing.
In his book, “Speaking of Jesus: the Art of Not-evangelism,” author Carl Madearis provides direction and encouragement for Christians by placing emphasis squarely on Jesus.
Christians know where the truth is found. They know the Creator and are friends with the King of the universe. They know what brings life, hope, and peace and where to receive the assurance of eternal life in heaven. While other religions talk about what they must do to inherit eternal life, Christians simply point to Jesus.
People today are looking for answers, even though they may seem cautious or disinterested. Some may appear to be impolite or express anger when the subject of God is brought up. In reality, most unbelievers are pleading for answers in their own way.
Most witnessing opportunities occur suddenly and unexpectedly. When this happens, Christians have a tendency to panic, falter, or say something weak or anecdotal. And let’s be honest. Most Christians really don’t know what say and disqualify themselves by choosing not to say anything at all. Christians get so fearful about what to say that they never give Jesus a chance.
What is a Christian’s unfair advantage? His name is Jesus.
It is helpful to know that the gospel and the religion of Christianity can be two different messages.
When Christians preach Christianity, they do not realize that the term “Christian” has many different connotations. There are too many people who have had unfortunate experiences with churches, organizations, or people who have called themselves “Christian.” There are also people who will call themselves Christians, but will define their beliefs in a multiple of ways. As a result, there is a growing number of people who are becoming comfortable with their faith in God without really understanding the gospel message, nor do they desire to go to church to hear it. Perhaps these are reasons why proclaiming the gospel can be so painful and embarrassing for Christians.
In today’s world, maybe there are better ways to answer people’s questions without providing a “Christian” label to it.
“When we go out into the world with our “Christian” messages, we have to compete against thousands of other messages. We have to go toe-to-toe with asceticism, materialism, and belief in reincarnation. There are billions of people cramming everything they can into the lonely holes in their hearts, whether it’s sensible or not. Whether it’s logical or not. Whether it’s deadly or not. Like pained patients in hospital beds, they’re mashing the morphine button as often as they can. Drugs, booze, pills, karma, new cars, new houses, new spouses. Christianity cannot compete with that. Christianity is a boundary telling all these pained people they have to give up their medication before we’ll accept them. Before we’ll love them.” [Carl Madearis]
When Christians preach Jesus instead of Christianity, they don’t have to defend or explain him. All they have to do is point their finger and say, “There is Jesus!” We do that when we proclaim God’s Word. The message of the gospel is literally the good news of Jesus. He IS the gospel.
“Jesus didn’t come to build a kingdom. He brought one with Him. He is the kingdom. Wherever Jesus went, the pained and lost people He met followed Him. Jesus’ gospel was that He was the kingdom of heaven, with an easy and light yoke. He was available, and He was compassionate. And it appears that He was making house calls.” [Carl Madearis]
Evangelism is both easy and exceptionally difficult. The words are easy and simple, but yet so difficult to proclaim it. This is why Christians need to focus on the power of the Word rather then themselves. It is the presence of Christ in his Word that provides Christians with an unfair advantage over the world.
In the meantime, be nice to people. Display compassion and mix in the words of Jesus in your everyday conversations. Relax and build caring, sincere relationships with the non-Christians God places in your life. Enjoy their company while at the same time enjoy Jesus’ company. Point your friends to him without fear or intimidation. Christians are not responsible to sell or market Jesus Christ, they are called to simply provide a message of what Christ means to them and why. Christians are not called to be judges — they are called to be his witnesses.
And people today are willing to listen! Your non-Christians friends will surprise you and express interest to hear why your faith is important to you. Not because you are so amazing, but Jesus is so compelling. His grace and his life through you provide a platform to proclaim his truth.
“It’s far easier to share Jesus with other people as opposed to trying to make Christians out of them. All I do is point at him.” [Madearis]