From our earliest days, sharing can be difficult. When we get a good thing, we don’t want to share it, but rather keep it for ourselves. Sharing the good news of the gospel can also be difficult, but not because we would be diminishing what we have. Why is it difficult at times to share the gospel? Often it is because we are afraid of what the consequences might be. We will be laughed at or mocked. We will lose friends. It will upset the family. We won’t know what to say – on and on goes the list of possible outcomes. The greater the consequences seem, the more courage is needed for an individual to share the gospel. Much depends on the audience. Family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and pedestrians all bring respective hindrances to be overcome. There is no one approach which will bring confidence for every scenario, but the Scriptures do contain many examples of personal evangelism and give teaching and principles to inspire and guide us.
Start with Prayer
The fact that many do require courage to share the gospel is not uncommon. Even Paul asked the believers in Ephesus to pray for boldness: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Eph 6:18-19, KJV). Praying for opportunities and courage, and for individuals on our hearts or in our sights is a Scriptural first step towards sharing the good news.
Prepare to Share
In Peter’s first epistle (3:15) he says, “But sanctify the Lord God in our hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Having in your mind a verse, your personal conversion story, or a link to the gospel provides courage to speak. God can and will call upon us to testify without preparation and He will provide the needed grace. Other times, as we seek opportunities, we may consider subjects which will help initiate the conversation and steer it toward the gospel. This is clearly seen in John 4, as our Lord Jesus deliberately goes to the well in Sychar and uses his request for water as a means to share the good news of the gift of God. He used a universal need and a common daily event to share eternal truths. Travel, shopping, and casual meetings with family and friends may provide similar modern day “moments at the well.” Carrying a few fitting verse cards or tracts is one way to prepare and provide support to share the good news of the Savior of the world. However, for several reasons, your company’s water cooler may not be the appropriate time or place for sharing the gospel.
Share with Care
Every believer’s life should be that uncovered candle casting the gospel light around this dark world. The light of truth may be shared silently through car magnets, verse tip cards, tracts, tweets, and posts. Opportunities will come, sometimes in the form of a question from another, which will require that the light of truth be seen. It’s the light of the glorious gospel of Christ which shines into the darkened mind. While the truth is unchanging, our opportunities to share it vary. The audience, time, and place all present respective challenges which require courage. We will speak to our close family members in different ways than to a passing stranger (which, at times, is easier because the passing stranger doesn’t know us so well). However, we may be the only people with the opportunity to share the gospel with our relatives.
The man of Gadara in Mark 5 wanted to follow the Lord Jesus after he was healed. The Lord instead told him to go home and share what great things the Lord had done for him. His instructions were specific: “Go home to thy friends.” His experience was definite, dramatic, and personal, so he had a story to tell. He was motivated by fresh joy and the instruction of his new Lord. His family and neighbors who knew this man would see a dramatic difference in him, and his new life would give tremendous weight to his words, as they saw evidence of the great things God had done. When it comes to family, instead of preaching a message, a short account of the great things God has done for us might be more readily received.
The disciples were frequently brought in contact with those in public areas and on the street. Peter and John responded quickly to the man asking for alms at Jerusalem’s gate. They didn’t have money to share at that time, but they did share what they had. Continuing right through the Acts, we find examples of the disciples in various settings, sharing what they knew with beggars and heads of state alike. Some were one-on-one encounters, as when Philip spoke to the African treasurer. Others addressed groups of people. Some audiences (such as Cornelius and his family) were welcoming, while others (such as those Stephen and Paul addressed) were agitated and angry.
The scenarios varied, but consistent throughout was a readiness to share the truth and to point to Christ. Paul’s words to one king in Acts 26 are “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” The day of apostles is long past, but we, too, can share what we know and share what we have with those in spiritual need around us. As the Savior said, “Let your light so shine before men.”