Good afternoon Church family!
I pray that you have your gospel shoes put on for today! I’m always convicted myself as I preach on any particular truth from God’s Word. Applying God’s Word is not easy (‘be doers of God’s Word, not hearers only,’ James 1:22) and putting on Gospel shoes of readiness is no easy task. No doubt, I have missed opportunities to share the Gospel of peace with others because I was not prepared to be ready to share.
However, I want to encourage you by reminding you of what I hopefully expressed well yesterday which is how evangelism is more than a task. Your readiness to share the Gospel comes from your personal preparation in the Gospel every day for yourself. For instance, in Romans 1:15, Paul mentions how he is eager to preach the Gospel to those who are in Rome, and he is speaking to believers who have already received the Gospel. That echoes Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 as he says that the Gospel that we received is that on which we stand. That is to say that these Gospel shoes of peace are meant for us before it’s meant for others. When you’ve internalized the Good News of Christ’s peace in your life everyday, it should make the task easier.
If we only make the mistake of thinking that other people need the Gospel of peace, the task of evangelism will be harder if we are not enamored with the Gospel of Peace that Christ has brought to us through His blood!
The point is that putting on these Gospel shoes begins with putting the mentality of the Gospel on each day and thanking God that you have peace with Him when at one time you had the opposite, enmity and wrath! (Ephesians 2:1-14, John 3:36, Romans 5:1-10). The result of standing firm on that Gospel for yourself should be overflowing with natural conversation to others about the good news of peace that you are convinced of for yourself. Sharing the Gospel with somebody else then becomes something that you have already applied to yourself. You also can share the Gospel of peace with a humble posture from one who admits that you still need the Gospel today just as much as that other person needs it now.
In that way, let me give some helpful tips for how you might be prepared to share the Gospel of peace with others around you as God gives you opportunity:
- Internalize the Gospel for yourself via reading the Bible daily and talking about what you are learning about Christ to somebody, like a Church member, friend, or family member. If we find it hard to talk about the Gospel with our believing friends, how much harder will it be to speak it with our unbelieving friends!
- Being prepared to share the Gospel is the opposite of procrastination. We’re not exactly called to “wing it” using the excuse of “I’ll trust in the Holy Spirit to give me words to speak if an opportunity arises.” Well that’s true, but it doesn’t negate our responsibility to prepare to share the Gospel. Here’s how you can prepare to share the Gospel when an opportunity comes:
- Memorize some Gospel verses like Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9. Be ready to quote Scripture with a friend. Scripture is powerful in and of itself and we should never hesitate to memorize Scripture for the purpose of evangelism.
- Preparing to be ready to share the Gospel when opportunities arise happens by being clear on how to communicate the Gospel. This can be very hard for many of us. It’s hard for me too. Here are some helpful ways to prepare yourself for communicating the Gospel when somebody asks you for the ‘hope within you’ (1 Peter 3:15):
- Know you’re A.B.C’s –
i. Admit – that you are a sinner and the wages of sin is death. Explain what sin means: It’s breaking God’s law (James 3:4). That’s very important because people actually don’t know they are sinners. They call it something different: ‘being imperfect or flawed.’ That’s a way of justifying your sin by watering it down and excusing yourself. Sin means breaking God’s law (Rom. 7:7) and that means we are condemned to die.
ii. Believe – that Jesus died for your sins and paid for your penalty of sin which is death (Rom. 5:8) He become your sin so that you could have His righteousness imputed to you (2 Cor. 5:21). Memorizing verses ready to share is important as it shows that your message comes from God’s authority and not your own. I like Romans 4:4-5 as it explains how a person’s response to God’ grace shown to them on the Cross needs to be ‘faith,’ aka; ‘believe’ and NOT your own efforts or attempt to keep the law. It’s vital for people to understand that God’s law doesn’t justify us but ends up becoming an agent of condemnation (see Rom. 3:19-20) while God’s grace in Jesus justifies us and our only part to play is to ‘believe and receive.’ (Rom. 4:4-5). The moment we try to give God a penny of our ‘good works’ we reject God’s gift of eternal life and justification by trying to pay Him. I usually try to explain that because people tend to accept the Gospel but add to it their own effort which God says clearly cancels out the Gospel for them altogether because it’s a gift through Christ ALONE (Ephesians 2:8-9 & Romans 11:6).
iii. Come – You can ask the person, will you come to Jesus, repent of your sins and ask Him for forgiveness. There are many phrases we can use that get the point across. Do you want justified? Do you want to come to Jesus?
- Always think of the Good News & Bad News – If we are going to be clear on the Gospel, most of us need to get better at explaining that the good news only makes sense if we realize the bad news.
i. We tend to want to tell people that God loves them. That’s true. Depending on the person, maybe they need to hear that first. However, most people believe that God loves them (from my experience, at least) but what they don’t understand is that God is just and will love them by condemning them to Hell in the name of Holy Justice. However you express the bad news will be determined in part by your personality and the person you speak to, but it must be clear that ‘the Gospel of peace’ is good news because you are at enmity with God through condemnation (Rom. 5:6-10) and need reconciled (2 Cor. 5:20). The peace offered in Christ is one that means a peace treaty between you and God. How relieving, once you enter into that peace considering the spiritual war that preceded it!
ii. This is probably the hardest communication element within our presentation of the Gospel because we’re all people pleasers to a degree. I struggle with this too. It’s easier for me to preach the Gospel in a sermon than to share the Gospel face to face with a friend because of the personal nature of it. It’s not easy telling people that God doesn’t look at them like ‘good people’ but quite the opposite.
iii. But my point is that if we are going to be prepared to communicate the Gospel, we need to work most at figuring out how we will honestly express the bad news before we get to the good news. Looking at the Gospel with that 2-fold outline can help you think though how to communicate it well. It can also help you to personally stay in awe and wonder at how God loves you and why God loves you, despite you! (1 John 4:10).
- Make the switch from physical to spiritual realities.
- This is a way that you can make the transition between nominal conversation to eternal realities. Funerals are the best, or any occasion of death or hospitalizations are perfect too. Simply ask a person if they are ready to die. It’s a relevant question and one that can spark that person’s interest in eternal realities. By the grace of God, I was able to talk about the Gospel with my hairdresser the day of Patsy Burkett’s funeral because I literally went to the barber’s shop half dressed in my suite from the funeral. My hairdresser had just come from a funeral the previous day so it was the perfect opportunity to ask her, ‘are you ready for death?’ and then travel from that question to how I’m prepared for death through Christ. I did my best to apply my funeral sermon to a face to face exchange and thanked God for the opportunity and my readiness to share. Please pray for this lady that God would grant her His peace!
- As for a verse that explains our preparation and readiness in sharing the Gospel, I think Colossians 4:2-6 is wonderful:
- Read it if you have the time and simply notice how evangelism involves a spontaneous readiness and prayerfulness!
- Lastly, I cannot express enough how important it is to stand on the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-2) for yourself so that when you share it with others, you are ready on the basis of being prepared with the gratitude and joy that you feel as a result of soaking in the Gospel yourself! The Gospel of peace will come out of you more genuinely if you’ve shod your thinking with the Good News of Peace for yourself!
And then, after that Gospel reality is settled in you personally, lean on God’s sovereign grace and Holy Spirit’s work. We don’t save people. God uses us to save people. People won’t stand condemned some day because we failed to communicate the Gospel perfectly to them or failed altogether. However, I believe we will stand before God someday accountable for what kind of ambassador we were of His Gospel. Did we tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth or did we shy away from it or avoid certain points of importance out of a fear of men.
God help us all to represent Him well!
In Christ as your fellow soldier in the fight,