How to Share Your Faith in Christ
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Short Description: Outlines six principles to help believers move out in faith and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
So you want to witness! I did too, but I didn't have a clue about how to do it without stubbing my toe in the process.
First, let's recognize a basic fact. Every Christian is a missionary. Any person who has been born into the family of God through faith and trust in Jesus Christ automatically receives the Lord's commission.
Paul informed the Corinthians, "We are ambassadors for Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:20). God makes His appeal through you and me. Have you ever really considered this--that you are all some people will ever know of Jesus Christ? Tremendous responsibility and infinite privilege are entrusted to us representatives of Christ.
From our Lord's conversation with the Samaritan woman at a well near Sychar (John 4:6-26), we discover some practical basic principles to follow as we try to represent Him in a realistic, natural way:
1. Contact others socially.
"Jesus, therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well; and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water..." (John 4:6-7).
We must have social contact with non-Christians. When the Lord called Simon and Andrew, He said, "Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men: (Mark 1:17). Among other things, He was teaching them that to catch fish one must go where the fish are.
We need to understand that withdrawal from those who do not know Jesus Christ is outright disobedience to the will of the Lord. Much of our difficulty in this area stems from falsely equating separation with isolation from non-Christians.
We need to discover how we can initiate and develop friendships with non-Christians. To be a friend may involve listening to a neighbor's or co-worker's troubles or participating with him in activities that are of mutual interest. It means actively seeking opportunities to show love by running errands, baby-sitting and performing any other mundane but practical service that will demonstrate the love of Christ.
If you discover an absence of vital contact with non-Christians, ask God to show you one person whom he wants you to befriend, pray for, love and eventually bring to the Savior. He will show you that one.
2. Establish a common interest.
"Jesus saith unto her, Give Me to drink. For His disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat" (John 4:7-8).
Jesus began by referring to something in which she was obviously interested. (She'd come to draw water.) Gradually He directed the conversation away from this known interest to a spiritual reality which she knew nothing about. As instruments in God's hands, we must work patiently to establish mutual interests with others, beginning first where their interests lie. Later on we can profitably discuss spiritual matters together.
When we listen long enough we not only begin to know an individual; we also gain his gratitude and his willingness to listen to the gospel.
3. Arouse interest.
In John 4, it is fascinating to see this woman's curiosity kindled as our Lord draws her.
First, He came to her where she was. Second, He showed an interest in her concerns. Now He is using His actions and His words to arouse a positive response to Himself and His message of truth.
We cannot create spiritual interest in the life of anyone. Only the Holy Spirit can do this. However, God can use us to uncover the interest that He has put there.
To arouse curiosity, we might begin by asking him or her a leading question, as our Lord did. Today's headlines can be openers for a discussion of spiritual things.
Be alert for opportunities to share your spiritual experience. A question relating to church can be directed into a conversation on spiritual matters, if handled properly. Often a gospel leaflet or a timely book can stimulate further consideration of spiritual matters and reinforce your witness.
4. Know when to stop.
The moment we detect a faint glimmer of interest in a non-Christian many of us want to rush right in and rattle off the whole gospel without coming up for air or waiting to sense audience response. By relying on the power and presence of the Holy Spirit we can gain poise. The non-Christian needs gentle coaxing when he's just beginning to show interest: give a person only as much of the message as he is ready for.
5. Don't condemn.
In their conversation, our Lord did not condemn the Samaritan woman. As she answered Him about her husband, her sin itself condemned her.
Most of us are quick to condemn. Criticism is far more natural to our lips and to the lips of the world than praise. When a non-Christian offers us a cigarette, invites us to join him for a drink, or suggests some other activity we consider out of bounds, our reply may have devastating effects. The key is to recognize the compliment and generosity implicit in his offer and to decline on a personal basis so the person doesn't feel condemned or rejected. One possibility is to suggest an alternative activity.
6. Stick with the main issue.
In His conversation with the Samaritan woman, our Lord did not allow any secondary questions to sidetrack Him from the main issue. In declaring that He was the Messiah, our Lord reached the crucial point of the gospel. We must eventually cross this bridge and bring the non-Christian into a direct confrontation with the Lord Jesus.
The people to whom we witness will fall into one of two categories initially. The first group includes those who lack the necessary information about Jesus Christ. Be alert to discover the misunderstandings and gaps in their knowledge and seize each opportunity to explain more of the facts.
Those in the second group are already informed about the gospel but haven't acted on their information yet. Continued cramming of the same information down their throats is more apt to alienate than to win them. Pray earnestly and daily for them, and love them into the kingdom of God.
Once we begin to grasp these six principles and move out in faith, life becomes a daily adventure. Watch with anticipation for the opportunities God will give you to bear witness as an ambassador of Jesus Christ and to discover how He is working in the lives of others, through you.
© 2003 Good News Publishers. Used by permission.