Today the title of my message is, “Be Prepared: Taking the fear out of sharing your faith”.
As a new Christian, and a number of times since, the thought of evangelism has been a pretty scary thing. I was told that I needed to share my faith so I could reach other people for Christ. This made me very nervous. It was something I wanted to do, but I felt terribly under-equipped. From talking to others, I found I was not alone.
We have all heard those verses that say, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20) and “And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it” (1 Peter 3:15). For some this is very exciting, for other this brings fear to their hearts!
Over the years I have found that I have learned a lot about sharing my faith. I found there were certain things that helped me be a little bit more prepared. This took a lot of the stress out of sharing my faith. Today I want to share some of those things. As I go through them I am going to share some of my successes and some of my failures.
I want this message to be really practical and helpful to us and hopefully give us some pointers to sharing our faith.
1. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in people’s lives
The first key we need to understand to be more effective in sharing our faith is praying the Holy Spirit to move.
John 16:8 – And when He comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.
It is the Holy Spirit’s role to do the work of salvation.
When I meet new people I always pray and ask God if this is someone I should share my faith with. If it is someone I need to talk to, I usually find I have the desire to pray for them and opportunities to talk about spiritual things tend to open up in a natural way.
When I am praying for someone I ask the Holy Spirit to move in their lives. I pray five general things.
- God would bless them and protect them.
- That the Holy Spirit would draw them to Jesus Christ
- That the make them aware of the need for a Saviour.
- That the Holy Spirit would show them their sin.
- That they would accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
So this might be an example of how I pray for someone.
Dear God, I pray for __________. I pray that You will bless them, protect them and watch over them. I pray that the Holy Spirit would move in their lives. Holy Spirit please reveal Jesus to them. Open their hearts and minds to Him. I pray that you will make them aware of their need for a Saviour. Please show them their sin and the need to deal with it. I pray they will trust Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Amen.
I have found that if God puts someone on my heart to pray this for, before long they are talking to me about spiritual things and they have a tract and a Bible in their hands.
2. Prepare a Testimony
A testimony can bring the Bible to life. I have found that people love hearing stories of how God has done great things for you. When I share about my testimony I touch on three main areas. These three things really help me to structure my story and how Jesus’ story impacted and changed my life.
- My life before Christ – I share things like how I felt, my illness, what sort of things I was in to, my upbringing and the sense of emptiness I had inside. These things set the scene.
- My conversion – I then share how I came to Jesus. I talk about how I was feeling in the year before coming to Jesus, the people who helped me and the story of Jesus coming to die on the cross for me.
- How my life has changed – In this final section I share how knowing Jesus personally has changed my whole life and outlook. I talk about the love, acceptance, hope, joy and purpose I now feel inside.
You can also share things some of the things that God has done for you. I actually have several short testimonies that I share with people depending on the situation. If it is someone who is suffering with a long-term illness, I might share my story of living with Rheumatoid Arthritis and how God has worked in my life through it. If they are lonely or depressed I share the difference Christ has made in my life and how that I never feel alone any more. If they can’t see anything good in the future or have lost hope, I share how Christ has given me hope, direction and a purpose for living.
I have had times when someone has simply said, “Dave you are a Christian right? Why do you believe?” And I have shared a short testimony and a few days later they are saved.
3. Know relevant Bible verses
Knowing some relevant Bible verses can be really helpful when sharing your faith. Especially if it someone who has had previous exposure to the Bible or shows and interest in reading it.
I might say I believe the Bible is God’s Word to mankind and it is a good place to start to get to know God and His plan for our lives. The Book of Romans was written by the Apostle Paul and is his book all about God’s plan for our salvation.
I have found that if you just read the Book of Romans with someone you could explain God’s plan of salvation for them.
“Romans road” is a great place to start –
- The Natural State Of Man – Romans 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one”
- The Reason – Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”
- The Cause – Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one-man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”
- The Penalty and Gift – Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”
- The Love of God – Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”
- The Remedy – Romans 10:9-11 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed”
- The Decision – Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”
Work out a simple presentation by putting a few verses together and memorise them. You might like to write them in the back of your Bible so you can refer to them easily. If you can’t remember them all, remember the first one and put references to the next one in your margin of your Bible.
4. Think about questions people may ask
Many people have big questions that act as sticking points, which prevent them from going further in accepting Christ. Some can be like a minor bump in the road, others can be like a roadblock! If you can answer these questions they might be able to move a step closer to receiving Christ.
Here are some that I have been asked –
- Why is there so much suffering in this world if there is a loving God?
- How could a loving God send people to hell if they don’t believe in Him?
- Why do you believe Jesus Christ the only way to salvation?
- What happens to those who don’t accept Jesus?
- Why do you believe?
- What does it mean to be born again?
- What happens when we die?
It is a great idea to have answers ready, especially Biblical answers! If you can’t answer a question be honest and let the person know. Tell them you will look it up or talk to a friend who can help and you will get back to them. In my early days to seem smart and like I knew it all I tended to bluff my way through. I am not sure how much I really helped people.
5. Have some evangelistic tools handy
There are a variety of evangelistic tools that you can use to reach people. Sometimes people seem to want to talk about things at the strangest times. Having something on hand can help in those situations. Here are a few examples –
- Tracts – You can keep one handy in your purse or wallet just in case an opportunity arises. They are very handy if you don’t have much time or perhaps are a bit nervous about sharing your faith. You can even put a library pocket in the back of all your books. Instead of a library card, put a tract in it!
- MP3s and CDs – A simple gospel message recorded may be all it takes to reach someone. Perhaps you could record your testimony or what you believe and give it to people who ask questions.
- Books – Look out for books on different issues especially ones where you friends or family may be interested in or if they are going through hard times.
- Websites – Look out for websites that may help you to reach your friends. Many websites have a “refer to a friend” page that sends an email message on your behalf bringing the site to their attention. You can also share things on Facebook for a wider audience.
- DVDs – The “Jesus” video is a great way to reach people. In just over an hour you see the whole life of Christ and at the end if gives the opportunity to receive Christ as Lord and Saviour. You could buy one for yourself and one to give away!
The most effective two things I have used is tracts and the Jesus movie. I have given away thousands of tracts and hundreds of Jesus videos and many people have been saved as a result.
6. Learn the sinner’s prayer
The sinner’s prayer is a simple prayer that you can go through with someone to make their connection with Jesus Christ. It gives the person the opportunity to confess their sin to God and invite Jesus Christ into their lives as Lord and Saviour. There are two examples below that you can use or memorise.
From Billy Graham
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Saviour. In Your Name. Amen
From Campus Crusade for Christ
Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Saviour and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Amen
Today I wanted to encourage you in your evangelism efforts. The main point I hope you got is that you can be more effective in your efforts if you think and prepare beforehand. As we saw there are six things we can do.
- Prepare a testimony
- Learn key Bible verses
- Think about questions people ask
- Have some resources ready
- Learn the sinner’s prayer
I pray that You will use me to reach others for Christ. Please help me to be effective in sharing my faith. Please help me to know whom to talk to and I pray that You will give me the right words to say when the time comes. I pray for all my family, friends and neighbours. I pray that the Holy Spirit will draw them to Jesus and make them aware of their need for salvation. Please use me to lead them to Christ. I also pray Lord that when people come to You that You will help me to teach them about You and how to follow You each day. I pray that I will help make disciples.
I ask this in Jesus’, Amen.