There are no easy steps to witnessing! No painless, unembarrassing methods! You must bring men to see that they are filthy sinners under the wrath of God who must flee to Christ for mercy. That is offensive. And there is no way to coat it with honey.
Perhaps his total number of devoted followers at the end of His earthly ministry numbered little more than the five hundred brethren to whom Jesus appeared after the resurrection (I Cor. 15:6), and only about 120 tarried in Jerusalem to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:15). Though this number is not small considering that His active ministry extended only over a period of three years, yet if at this point one were to measure the effectiveness of his evangelism by the number of his converts, Jesus doubtless would not be considered among the most productive mass evangelists of the church.
The intimidation that we feel in relating Christ to a non-Christian world has to do with our comparing ourselves to the man or woman, rather than comparing God to the man or woman.
In the Puritan tradition George Whitefield wonderfully exemplified in his preaching a stable understanding of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. He used to place lost sinners in a vice. He pressed home the necessity of repentance. But the lost sinner is a slave. He cannot repent. Yet to be saved he must repent. He cannot. He must. His only recourse is to look away from himself to the one who can save. His escape route is cut off. There is no help in himself. His only hope is to call on God for mercy. And a God of mercy will never cast out those who come to Him in faith.
It is a serious reflection for the evangelist that wherever God’s Spirit is at work, there Satan is sure to be busy. We must remember and ever be prepared for this. The enemy of Christ and the enemy of souls is always on the watch, always hovering about to see what he can do, either to hinder or corrupt the work of the gospel. This need not terrify or even discourage the workman; but it is well to bear it in mind and be watchful. Satan will leave no stone unturned to mar or hinder the blessed work of God’s Spirit. He has proved himself the ceaseless, vigilant enemy of that work, from the days of Eden down to the present moment.
The greatest hindrances to the evangelization of the world are those within the church (John Mott).
Satan’s greatest success is in making people think they have plenty of time before they die to consider their eternal welfare.
Explain the Gospel as perfectly as possible and they sadly just do not see it. The problem is not necessarily the presenter. The problem is definitely not the Gospel! Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that the Gospel is “the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” That’s impressive, as good as it gets! But because of the spiritual blindness of the individual (2 Cor. 4:3-4), unable to see the Gospel’s greatness, there is simply no desire without God’s enabling power. And add to the blindness, a spiritually dead heart (Eph. 2:1), and there is absolutely no way a person on his or her own will ever desire Jesus Christ. In other words, people are not blinded because they chose to renounce the Gospel. Rather people renounce the Gospel because they are blinded by the evil one.
Apart from God doing something in an unbeliever’s heart, don’t expect them to understand the message, applaud your efforts, agree with your logic or accept your Bible verses. It’s important to keep that in mind!
Reckon then that to acquire soul-winning power, you will have to go through mental torment and soul distress. You must go into the fire if you are going to pull others out of it, and you will have to dive into the floods if you are going to draw others out of the water. You cannot work a fire escape without feeling the scorch of the conflagration, nor man a lifeboat without being covered with the waves.
To make converts, we are tempted to play down the difficulties and play up the peace of mind and worldly success enjoyed by those who accept Christ. We will never be completely honest with our hearers until we tell them the blunt truth that, as members of a race of moral rebels, they are in a serious jam, and one they will not get out of easily. If they refuse to repent and believe on Christ, they will most surely perish. If they do turn to Him, the same enemies that crucified Him will try to crucify them.
Aren’t the most popular mission trips the ones that take us far from our own neighborhood? Russia is easy; our own neighborhood is a constant challenge. Has anyone consistently had the boldness and clarity of Jesus in testifying about the gospel? Never. Has anyone consistently avoided the fear of man in evangelism? Certainly not. There is a “foolishness” inherent in the message of the cross. The clear proclamation of the gospel does not make us look good. It doesn’t make us popular.
In response to two excuses why people do not evangelize: A Christian who has heard biblical preaching, participated in Bible studies, and has read the Scriptures and Christian literature for any time at all should have at least enough understanding of the basic message of Christianity to share it with someone else. Surely if we have understood the gospel well enough ourselves to be converted, we should know it well enough (even if as yet we know nothing else about the faith) to tell someone else how to be converted… Do we really want to say that we are too busy to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to make disciples of unbelievers (Matthew 28:19-20)? Do we expect that at the Judgment Jesus will excuse us from the single most important responsibility He gave to us because we say, “I didn’t have time”?
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, 1991, p. 106-107, Used by permission of NavPress – www.navpress.com. All rights reserved. For more information please see the website www.BibicalSpirituality.org. Get this book!
I contend that many Christians want to speak to others about the Lord but do not for fear that the observable, daily sin in their lives is too contradictory for them to witness….If God does not use sinners as His witnesses, there will be no human witnesses, since there are no perfect people…This does not change the fact that the more Christlike our lives, the more convincing our words about Christ. We need to do what we can to eliminate any sin that makes our words look inconsistent. But while attempting to do that we must be convinced that we cannot delay our witnessing until we reach sinless perfection. Otherwise, we would never share the gospel! Part of the beauty of our message is that God saves sinners, sinners like us.
Some fear witnessing because they don’t feel confident enough in their persuasive powers or their ability to answer all imaginable objections to the gospel. But the power for evangelism is not in our ability; it is in His gospel. You may have never imagined that an unbeliever could actually be born again by hearing of Christ from your lips. But that’s not humility. It’s doubt, a denial of God’s blessing upon His gospel just because it is spoken by you. Don’t doubt the power of God to add His blessing upon your words when you speak of Christ.
I think the seriousness of evangelism is the main reason it frightens us. We realize that in talking with someone about Christ, Heaven and hell are at stake. The eternal destiny of the person is the issue. And even when we rightly believe that the results of the encounter are in God’s hands and that we are not accountable for the person’s response to the gospel, we still sense a solemn duty to communicate the message faithfully coupled with a holy dread of saying or doing anything that would be a stumbling block to this person’s salvation. Many Christians feel too unprepared for this kind of challenge, or simply have too little faith and are terrified of entering into such an eternally important situation.