A Time for Boldness

A Time for Boldness

“Do not talk to strangers!” our wise mothers taught us when we were children for our protection. To many of us, that teaching has become an excuse. Sometimes, we feel an urge to tell people about Jesus. But, we are quickly overcome by a fear of rejection or feelings of inadequacy. To protect ourselves, we rationalize that they probably don’t want to hear about Jesus, or the subject would make them uncomfortable. So to be “kind” to them, we refrain from talking about Christ.

Why should we be bold and risk rejection and persecution? There should be three main reasons why we share the Gospel with others, and they have little to do with the person we talk to. They are the same reasons the apostles spread the Good News of Jesus to the world and died for it.

1. Love for God.

If you love someone, you'll seek to comfort them and help them at the point of their greatest hurt. We have a Father who is brokenhearted over the sin of His most beloved creation, who don’t know Him. It brings Him much comfort and joy when we help Him express His love to others.

John 20:21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."

Our very name is the “Body of Christ.” As His people, we represent Jesus to the world. This means our hands are His hands, our eyes shine with His love, and our voices speak His words. We are His ambassadors.

2 Cor 5:20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

God has entrusted us with the tremendous privilege of expressing His heart of love to His own wayward children. If we love God, we cannot fail His trust. We cannot ignore His broken heart over millions who still walk in ignorance of His plan of reconciliation and salvation.

When we see strangers walking down the street, we don't immediately love them. Actually, we can't love them. Many believers search their heart in condemnation, looking for some feeling of love that will propel them into bold evangelism. It will never happen. It's impossible to love “the lost.” We find it impossible to deeply love a stranger in a photograph, let alone something as vague as “all lost people.”

Neither does God relate to abstractions. He knows and relates to individuals. He does not see a conglomerate such as the nation of China, as much as He sees every Chinese person, whom He has known intimately since conception. Therefore, don't wait for a feeling of love in order to share Christ with a stranger. Take those first steps in evangelism because you love God.

Ephesians 6:7 “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,”

The fact is: mankind doesn't deserve the love of God any more than you or I did. We should never be humanists, taking Jesus to poor sinful man and reducing Christ to some kind of “product” that will better the lot of mankind. Men deserve to be damned and they need to be aware of their condition. It is a loving thing to warn them and tell them how to be saved. However, we are serving Jesus, the suffering Lamb of God, who deserves the reward of His suffering: which would be that none perish, but that all be reconciled to the Father.

When you boldly open your mouth to testify to others, as a love response to God, you'll be amazed at the change that comes in your feelings and emotions. The love of God will begin to flow from your words and actions. This brings us to the second point.

2. The Love Of Christ Compels Us.

A great many opportunities to share the Lord are a result of contact with acquaintances in our work, school, or neighborhood. Unsaved family members are also an important opportunity and responsibility, but we must press beyond the frontiers of routine contacts. There are millions who will never be reached unless we are bold and share with a stranger. The strongest motivation in the world for boldness is the indwelling love of Christ.

2 Cor. 5:14 Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

Having taken the initial bold step of speaking to a stranger, you'll be amazed at the power of the Holy Spirit within you to arouse compassion and empathy for the people you talk to. Don't sit around asking God for love, He IS love, and He dwells within you. If you will just obey Him in making the initial contacts, Christ’s love, wisdom, power, and knowledge will be poured out through you.

1 Cor 2:1-5 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

After 38 years as a Christian, I still grapple with fear and inadequacy in sharing the Lord with others, but this human weakness only serves to remind me that witnessing and preaching can only be accomplished in total dependence on Jesus, and the indwelling Holy Spirit. He will give us the words to say to another person.

Col 1:28-29 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

3. The third reason to share Jesus with others is obedience.

John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command.

We are commanded to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with every person on earth. Our love for Jesus will cause us to obey his commands.

Matt. 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Making disciples not a special ministry for a few, it’s a normal activity of every believer. We do not need training in sales to share Jesus. We need to love Jesus. Then sharing Christ is as easy as telling about your best friend and living like He is present with you.

Furthermore, there are many unpretentious ways we can initiate sharing the Gospel and making disciples. Let me ask you if you are doing these simple things:

1. Do you have a supply of favorite tracts that you carry with you in your handbag or briefcase to leave with person after you talk to them?

2. Have you ever shown one of the many excellent Christian films to a non-Christian audience?

3. Do you invite people to Christian concerts or Church services?

4. Have you ever purchased gripping testimony books like The Hiding Place or God's Smuggler to give away to non-Christian acquaintances?

5. Do you join with the programs of your church that reach out to the unsaved?

6. When you use public transportation, do you share Christ with those around you?

7. Do you use social media to express your faith and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

8. Do you support missionaries who are in full-time ministry?

Those are all simple things, but God will take the little loaves and fishes that we offer Him and multiply them in the feeding a surprisingly great multitude. Remember, the only hope people have is that some obedient Christian will boldly cross a language, cultural, or even psychological barrier to bring them the “Good News” of God's love.

We never know what work the Holy Spirit is doing in drawing a person to Jesus. When we obey that urge from Him to share Christ, we may not reap a harvest, but what we share may be another seed that God plants or waters. Salvation is God’s work, and we may be only a small contribution, but we are part of God's loving pursuit of His child.

Therefore, look for divine appointments. The Holy Spirit will place you in contact with people who need to hear that God loves them, desires to forgive, heal, and reveal Himself to them. If the Holy Spirit prompts you to speak to a stranger, don’t hesitate. Don't be afraid of them. The exterior may be intimidating, but all people struggle with guilt, hurt, and a need for real love. Look past that veneer of self-sufficiency and the hollow mask of human pride, or the unkempt appearance of rebellion. Underneath is a child who needs a father--a sinner needing grace. Tell them the GOOD NEWS of what Jesus has done for you, and for them. Pray with them.

In What Ways Are We To Testify?

2 Tim. 4:2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. 

1 Pet 1:14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

Our strongest influence as witnesses is our example. "Actions speak louder than words." But where words and actions are both displayed, the greatest impact is made.

Every Christian makes an impression by his conduct. Our looks, dress, attitudes, and whole demeanor make a constant impression, one way or the other. We cannot help testifying for or against God. We are either gathering for Christ or scattering abroad. Every moment of our lives, we are exerting a tremendous influence that will affect the eternal destiny of souls all around us.

2 Cor. 3:2-3 yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

As to the manner in which we are to testify, generally we should live as if we believe the Bible. People should see Jesus Christ living in us. But considering the way many “Christians” live, it seems they're testifying for the devil!

It is easy to see that words without example will do no good. All the arguments in the world will not convince anyone that you believe the Bible, unless you live as if you really do.

The idea "we can't be perfect" has prevailed for so long that many Christians do not even seriously aim at living a life without sin. They drift along in a loose, sinful manner, at which the devil laughs, because it makes our testimony ineffective. Is it any wonder that sinners couldn't care less about Christ?

Christians are to warn and exhort sinners to flee from the wrath to come and to take hold of everlasting life, which is Jesus Christ. But if we speak or live in such a way as to show that we have not left a life of sin, that we are not following Jesus, how can they believe we are sincere?

Christians are called to show by their conduct that they actually enjoy serving Jesus. They are to live like this world is not their home. But many live in such a way as to prove that they cannot be happy unless they have the things of the world. Their professed belief is that Heaven is a reality, and they expect to dwell there forever. But as far as going to Heaven, they act like they much rather remain here on earth, than die and go there!

Christians ought to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit. That is the most powerful preaching - the kind which shows sinners the great difference between themselves and a life full of the Holy Spirit. They are most impressed by something that is real and really works when it is lived out in this evil world.

Therefore, when we speak to them, we are to testify with love, kindness, humility, and gentleness, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The people of God should always show a temper like the Son of God. That is how our actions follow our words.

1 Pet. 2:21-23 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

Don’t be deceived. It is not how wealthy we are that witnesses to the life of Christ in us, but how well we suffer.

Who impresses you most: the wealthy TV evangelist asking for money for his ministry and promising blessings if you give, or the persecuted Iraqi Christian who loses everything, even their head or the life of their children because they will not deny Jesus Christ and convert to Islam? No, we witness best when we depict the love and peace of God as we suffer for our faith in Jesus Christ.

If a professing Christian is irritable, ready to resent an injury, to fly into a rage, or to take the same measures as the world does to get even, how is he to make people believe there is any reality in Christ? Why, such a person contradicts the Gospel! But nothing makes such a great impression upon sinners as to see a Christian be truly Christ-like, bearing injuries with the meekness of Jesus. It cuts like a two-edged sword!

There are many more ways we can share Jesus, but I will conclude with this.  Christians need to show the strictest attention to integrity in all their dealings with their fellow man.

But unfortunately, the hypocrisy of the Church is cursing the world. Now, I am not trying to be political, but I want to show you that if you mean to impact the world favorably for Christ, you must have integrity in everything you do. That includes voting according to the Bible and not according to a political party. If a candidate does not have God’s view on the issues, then they do not have any Biblical integrity and neither do you if you vote for them!

This country is in a mess because Christians have not acted like Christians, they have not spread the Gospel with the character of Christ, and they have voted people into office who appointed godless judges that have kicked God out of schools, government, and nearly all public life. The result is the immoral society we have today. It is time to stop being hypocritical! This is a time for boldness!

To turn things around, we must start with turning ourselves around. Turn from the world and turn toward Jesus. Repent and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Love God and live for Him.

Then share boldly about Jesus to others with gentleness, kindness, and love. Expect persecution and suffer like Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Do good to those who persecute you and love your enemies. May our words and actions lift up Jesus so that the world can be drawn to Him. God, the Father, is counting on us. So are those who are seeking to know the Truth.