One of the more important lessons I learned from my mother while growing up was sharing. I have a brother who is about 2 years younger than I am, so, sharing was something my mother had to work hard at teaching us. We didn’t have a lot so we had to learn how to share what we had. As Christians, we need to learn a similar lesson in sharing; there are those in the world who don’t have and they need what we do have and that is Jesus. So, that brings up the question, “Are we sharing Jesus with the unsaved of this world?” I remember as a new, spiritual babe in the Lord, I was really afraid to talk about Jesus to anyone who wasn’t saved. It was the fear of being mocked, ridiculed and simply made fun of. But, as I grew spiritually and spent time in Bible study, it became apparent that I was called by the Lord, as all Christians are, to be a witness for Him. Jesus told His disciples in Matt. 10:8,
“Freely you have received, freely give.” NKJV
Sharing Jesus and our faith with the unsaved of the world should be something we, as Christians, should feel comfortable doing and we should feel a sense of responsibility to do so. In a recent Barna Group survey, (www.barna.org) 75% of Americans believe that churches are a positive factor in their communities. This tells me people would be easy to talk to about Jesus. Most people in this country will listen when we tell them about Jesus and yes, there are those who will tell us where to get off. But more often than not, people will listen. But, from another poll done by Barna, only 1 out of every 10 Christians have ever shared their faith with someone! While establishing a Church Plant, I planned to do an outreach during a street fair. The Lord put a man in my path who did this as a ministry. He went to county fairs and street festivals and set up a canopy and witnessed to people. He asked if he could help and I quickly welcomed him. Now, I had done many of these but when he showed me videos he had taken of some of the events he had done, I saw the boldness and the gentleness of the Holy Spirit as he approached people and talked to them about Jesus. He made it look so easy and it is. We should never be afraid to tell anyone about Jesus!
Why Don’t Christians Share Their Faith
There are many reasons why Christians don’t share their faith but I would say the top reason is they are stale in their faith. In other words, they are in Christian cruise control. They go into church lacking and they come out of church lacking. They don’t attend prayer meetings, Bible studies, they have no private study time and their prayer life is almost non-existent. That paints a very dismal picture of a Christian but they are out there. I know Christians I didn’t realize were Christians for months after meeting them. Also, I never heard these people talk to anyone about Jesus, not even other Christians. Christianity is like any other lifestyle we may practice; the more often we engage in it, the better we will be at it. If we spend more time engaged in the things or lifestyles of the world system, we will be better at living that way. If we spend more time watching ESPN than reading our Bible, we will know everything there is to know concerning wins and losses, no-hitters, hat tricks and passing yards. But when an unsaved person approaches us and asks us about Christianity or Jesus or the Church, what are we going to say? I believe this is the biggest problem in the Church today, not watching ESPN, but a system which has failed to properly teach, instruct, equip and prepare Christians how to be a witness and how to defend the faith.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, Eph. 4:11-12 NKJV www.biblegateway.com
Jesus ordained these offices of the Church as a means of equipping believers for ministry and everyone is a full time minister. It is not the sole responsibility of the pastor or elder to tell others about Jesus. You don’t have to drag a friend into a church service so that person can hear about Jesus. You can tell them right where you are; this is another of the reasons people don’t tell the unsaved about the Lord, they think it has to come from a pastor or preacher or the “professional” in the Church. This is a total misconception that has been in the Church for many years. We are all ministers of the faith and therefore we need to be witnesses for Jesus. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5:20 that we are ambassadors for Christ. This tells me that first, this is not our home so we shouldn’t put down permanent roots and we could be called home at any time, and second, as ambassadors, we should be delivering the good message that Jesus has given us. Tell the people of this world about Jesus and the fact that He is our Savior. We should be delivering the gospel message so those who don’t know Jesus can be saved. That is what our ministry is, telling others about Jesus, anywhere, any time, in all circumstances. But, there are certain parts of the Church today that do not equip the saints and therefore, there is a lack of ambassadors for Jesus in the world today. This is the result of a watered down message from the pulpits of many churches; there are far too many feel good messages and motivational speeches as well as too many distractions in the Church. Churches today offer so many programs and classes that have nothing to do with the Bible let alone the gospel message. Some Seeker churches have generated an atmosphere of a social club rather than a church. There are so many things to distract a person when entering some of these facilities; a person can spend the entire service in the lobby eating pizza or burgers and drinking Starbucks. This is not an exaggeration; this is what a great deal of the Seeker churches offer in order to attract the people to come in. These churches want to have the appearance of the world inside the church building. And here, all this time, I thought it was supposed to be different inside the church! (that is sarcasm) How can a person hear the gospel or any Biblical message if he cannot get past the lobby. In all fairness, this is not only the case in Seeker churches, there are others outside that movement who have employed this type of strategy. But, in any case, if a person is attending a church which does not provide a proper source of Biblical study and Biblical teaching from the pulpit, there will be a lack of spiritual growth and desire to tell others about Jesus. Here is how John MacArthur sums up this style of ministry,
“The whole point is to make the Church ‘user friendly.’ That is a term borrowed from the computer industry. Applied to the Church, it usually describes a ministry that is benign and utterly non-challenging. In practice, it has become an excuse for importing worldly amusements into the Church in an attempt to try to attract non-Christian ‘seekers’ or ‘unchurched Harrys’ by appealing to their fleshly interests. The obvious fallout of this preoccupation with the unchurched is a corresponding deemphasis on those who are the true Church. The spiritual needs of believers are often neglected to the hurt of the body.” Ashamed of the Gospel, John MacArthur, Crossway Books, p. 46
The very last part of that quote is what has affected the desire of many Christians to be a witness. They have not received the proper Biblical instruction and therefore really have no desire or interest in sharing their faith. MacArthur hit the nail right on the head with that quote and I’m sure he ruffled some seeker feathers.
It is also important to mention the fact that each individual needs to be willing to participate when the proper instruction is available in a doctrinally sound church. There are many Christians who are spiritually lazy. They want to soak up everything that is offered by the church but very seldom or never give anything in return. This is the guy who enjoys watching ESPN more than soul winning! So, there are some of the reasons why Christians don’t share their faith, but what about those who do or want to?
Sharing Jesus With the Unsaved
Sharing Jesus and our faith with the unsaved is very easy once we jump in and do it. I found that out the first time I told someone about the Lord and they listened. I found that if we ask Jesus to prepare our hearts and to create the opportunity, He will open the door. It doesn’t matter where you are at, He will open a door and it is at that time we need to be ready.
But sanctify the Lord God[a] in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 1 Pet. 3:15 NKJV
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 2 Tim. 4:2 NKJV
A Christian who has committed his/her life to Jesus and is growing spiritually and has that desire to tell whole world about Him will definitely need to be prepared for those times when the Lord will open a door to tell others. When you are least expecting it, He will send someone across your path. It happened to me; it was at a time when I wasn’t expecting it and it was also someone I didn’t want to talk to. I want to finish this post with this experience I had. Be prepared and be ready for a situation like this.
Sharing Jesus When We Least Expect
There will be those times in a Christian’s life when the Lord will present a situation to us and we will know without any doubt that it is God who is urging us to take action. I was faced with one of these some years ago while traveling from Phoenix, AZ. back home to Barstow, Ca. My wife, Jeanne, and I were closing in on Needles, Ca. which was a normal fuel stop for us when making this trip. I checked the fuel gauge and decided I really didn’t need to stop but Jeanne wanted to use the restroom and get something to drink. I pulled into a gas/convenience stop and parked along the building away from the traffic which was crowding around the gas pumps. Jeanne went inside to use the restroom and get something to drink and I got out of the car to stretch my legs. As I stood next to the car, I noticed a homeless man walking across the parking lot. Now, it was the middle of summer in the Mojave Desert and the air temperature was in the neighborhood of 105 or hotter. The homeless man had on an army type field jacket, zipped all the way up and no shoes. The pavement had to be at least 120 degrees or hotter and he walked calmly across the lot. He had been carrying something that looked like a sign board which usually said something about working for food or something of that nature. I paid little attention to what he was carrying because I was totally amazed by the fact that he was calmly walking across that pavement in his bare feet. My first thought was, “This guy is crazy! He must be on something or he has fried his brain!” My wife had not returned to the car yet and for some reason I decided to put gas in the car while I waited. When I pulled around to the pumps in front of the building, it was then that I noticed where this homeless man had decided to make his stance. He had positioned himself off to the side of the main entrance to the store with a sign that read, “Need shoes.” I thought, “No kidding!” Then it happened. I heard the voice loud and clear, “Go over there and talk to him.” I knew it was the Lord and it was then that the argument ensued. “Lord, that guy is crazy. He walked across that hot pavement without shoes on! I’m not talking to him.” God made His next move. A pick-up truck pulled in on the other side of the island and the driver was headed for the store when he saw the homeless man and said, “Oh, you need shoes?” He turned around and went back to his truck and I couldn’t believe what I saw. The back of the truck was filled with old tennis shoes! He grabbed a pair that was close to the man’s size and gave them to him. Wow, what are the chances of this! The Lord then told me, “Go over and tell him how I gave the nation of Israel shoes that lasted for 40 years in the desert. Tell him about my Son Jesus and how I can give him shoes that will never wear out.” Of course I knew the Lord wanted me to witness to him and the reference to shoes never wearing out was actually pertaining to his salvation. I lost the argument. I went over to talk to the man but I wasn’t sure how to approach him so, the first thing to come to mind was, “Nice shoes.” I told him about the nation of Israel wondering the desert for 40 years with shoes that did not wear out and also told him that Jesus could do that for him. He seemed to be interested at first and when I asked him about his knowledge of Jesus, he told me he grew up in the Catholic Church and was aware of who He was. So, I began to tell him more about Jesus, but he became a little irritated so I backed off. I went back to my car knowing I had done as God had asked. The seed was planted and now the decision was in the hands of the homeless man with shoes. My wife returned, made a comment about pumping gas and why and I told her it was God’s idea.
That is a true story and I was caught off guard, so to speak, by the Lord. That is why the scripture tells us to be ready all the time! The bottom line on sharing Jesus and our faith with the unsaved is love. We do it because we love Jesus, we love the lost of the world and we, like the Lord, don’t want to see anyone suffer for eternity. If we have to question that love, or if we have doubts concerning the love we should have for others, then we need to be in every prayer meeting available. We need to pray and ask Jesus to change our heart, to fill us up with His Holy Spirit and to pour His love over us. When we were saved, the Holy Spirit came within us and gave life to our dead spirit. Allow the Lord to ignite that flame again, fan the flame and let those around you, who are not saved, know about Jesus and His love for us and how He displayed that love on the cross! Be a witness, share Jesus and your faith with the unsaved! You will be blessed.