I really enjoy sharing things with people that they didn’t know before.
If you know me at all, you know that I have several hobbies. Most of my hobbies are not very common hobbies. I mean, what 20-year-old has his own blog and podcast? Showing people something new and getting them involved in something new is a cool experience.
That is what being a Christian is.
In the first installment of this series of blogs, I told you that the number one non-negotiable of being a Christian is daily engagement with Christ. And that’s very true. The second non-negotiable of being a Christian is sharing the Gospel.
Let me give you a scenario. Take your student loans. Double it. Add the price of your car. Triple that number. Take that total number and square it. Then, take that number and multiply it by the U.S. National Debt (some $22 trillion or so). Now, you have to pay for all of that with what’s in your wallet right now. I’m no expert at probability. But I can confidently say you have zero percent chance of paying for that. Zero. None. At all. You realize this. You cry for 72 hours nonstop and eat multiple tubs of ice cream. If you don’t pay it, they are sending you to a remote island to live alone for the rest of your life. But then you get a letter in the mail. It’s from a man named Joshua. Joshua writes two sentences in this letter. “I wrote a check for your full payment. If you come to work with me, the bank will take the check.”
Everyone with any sort of intelligence at all would have their acceptance letter in the mail before the hour ended. That’s an unbelievably enormous debt, and Joshua wants to pay it. That’s a no-brainer.
Of all of the debts in the world you could have, there is one that trumps them all. Student loans are killer, but they can be paid off. Car payments seem to last forever, but they really don’t. Verizon wireless gouges you every month, but you can just move to Boost Mobile and pay way less. Read the next four sentences very carefully. Your sin debt is insurmountable. You do not have the means to pay it. But Jesus Christ already covered the bill. All you have to do is join his team. Surely as the sun rises, Christians would be bouncing off of the walls waiting to share this news.
But that’s not the reality. And that’s not very good.
Allow me to give you my guide to sharing the Gospel. The good news of an enormous debt paid must get out and has to get out. I didn’t say so– Jesus said so (Matthew 28:19-20/Acts 1:8). I don’t need Pew Research data to tell me that we aren’t sharing the Gospel– we, as in, the Church. I don’t need data because I live around the Church. I can see the gap we are not filling with my own eyes. In order to change our mindset surrounding sharing the gospel, we must dispell two myths and commit to three ideals.
Myth #1 — Your life is over if you share the Gospel.
Growing up in the evangelical tradition will make you think a lot of things. A large portion of these things is great. One of the residual, negative things of the evangelical church is the social fearmongering. The local church spends a great deal of breath telling kids that their life after the age of 12 is going to be like the movie God’s Not Dead. I do fully recognize the prevalence of discord amongst the lives of Christians. It does make some relationships a little edgy. It does keep you from getting invited to things. It does cause some tension. But the Church will sometimes make you think you’re Tom Hanks from Castaway. That’s just not true. The United States is the number one place in the world to say whatever you want to say. And a huge majority of people claiming to be Christians have never faced any major opposition to their faith. Facebook roasts are not persecution. People will judge you. Fact. People judge on a variety of levels for a variety of reasons, though. Also, newsflash, the Gospel is offensive. It’s telling people everything they know about themselves is wrong. No matter their successes and traits, they are bound for Hell without Jesus. No none wants to hear that. But the long-standing excuse that public shaming comes from sharing the Gospel isn’t rooted in facts. It’s rooted in our insecurities. Thank goodness Jesus wasn’t phased by the laughing while He was dying for my sins.
Myth #2 — Actions speak louder than words.
This does not and will not ever apply to Christianity in its most fundamental form. The idea that we can “share the Gospel with our actions” is a waste of thought. We can share the love of Christ with your actions, yes. We cannot show people their need for salvation with our actions. At best, we can show them what a life with Christ looks like. But they don’t make a salvation decision because we pray at lunch. They make a salvation decision because they have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which takes– spoiler alert– words. I do 10,000% believe that actions can affect how people hear your message or how they judge your words. I’ll get to that in a second, and then later in the series. But being nice isn’t being intentionally forward about what Christ can do and has done. Take that one to the bank… I’ll pray it doesn’t bounce.
I think there are 3 ideals we must seek in order to effectively be sharers of the Gospel. First off, before I even dive into those, first you as an individual reader need to understand where your own heart is at. Do you claim to be a Christian? If the answer is “yes,” are you sharing the Gospel regularly? If the answer to that is “no,” then you must simply ask yourself, “Why not?” You have the only way to Heaven in your pocket. And you’re not sharing it? That’s a massive issue.
I stole the use of these three words as my model for ministry from the guys over at 9Marks. But I’m not using them like they use them, so hopefully, I won’t get sued. I liked the alliteration, so I used it. I base ministry off of three ideals that need to be sought for effective Gospel sharing.
Ideal #1 — Character
Character can be divided into two categories: verbal and non-verbal. Naturally, our verbal character is how we talk and present ourselves to other people. This is important to maintain because this is what people interact with most of the time. Without good character, sharing the Gospel almost becomes totally futile. If we want to share Christ and we’ve got filthy language or we talk about sex all of the time, I would say that’s going to crash and burn. If we want to convince people Christ changed our life, but we’ll be drunk by Friday at 9 pm, I would say we don’t have a convincing argument. Non-verbal character is just as crucial. This encompasses all of the residual things that we think people don’t pay attention to– but they do. Everything we say and do– I mean, everything– reflects who we are as a person. This is the exact reason Jesus revamps the Mosaic Law in the Sermon on the Mount. Most people haven’t murdered, but every person has been angry at someone. You may think that you don’t have to directly say words and do things to have an impact. I can assure you that is one million percent wrong.
Ideal #2 — Conviction
We can’t share the Gospel without having responded to it. If you never, ever desire to share the Gospel, perhaps you’ve never responded to it truthfully. If you have, then there needs to be some type of conviction in your life. Our Christian walk is basically this growing process where we battle convictions and choose Christ in the end. Christianity, as I’ve said before, is a process. Sharing the Gospel is a conviction. The Gospel is a conviction. Christianity is a conviction. There must be this realization that life apart from Christ is death. That’s a nail in the chest. If we aren’t convicted by sin enough to tell people how to defeat it, then we are in too deep, perhaps. And if we aren’t convicted by knowing Jesus enough to share Him, maybe we actually have never met Him before. We just thought we did.
Ideal #3 — Competence
The classic, “I don’t have an answer, but I can find one” mentality has got to slowly disappear from our lives. That’s acceptable, but it’s also kind of not acceptable. 1 Peter 3:15 says we must be ready and able to give a defense for our faith. Copping out of hard questions can only go so far until it’s negligence on our part. No one said we have to be experts. I have no idea why the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs. But there should be a desire and a willingness to be lifelong students of the Word and its meaning. There are some questions that we can blow off, for they have no salvational implications. But some do. You need to know certain things in order to accurately and adequately share and defend the Gospel. As unfair as it may seem, some of those hard questions may be a roadblock between someone’s sin and salvation. As unfair as it may seem, Jesus Christ chose to die so that we might live. He didn’t do so in order that we could chicken out of hard conversations.
Allow me to be as concise as possible to close. If you are a Christian, you are saved. Saved from what, you ask? You are saved from eternal Hell and separation from Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, you are under atonement. Atonement for what, exactly? You are under atonement for your iniquity and imperfection. If you are a Christian, someone paid your incomprehensibly high debt. Who had the funds for that, you wonder? Jesus Christ had the funds for that. If you are a Christian, Jesus Christ commanded you something very specific. What did he command, do you know? He commanded you, “be [his] witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Character. Conviction. Competence.
Know Christ. Reflect Christ. Share Christ.
Remember Joshua? The guy that paid off your enormous debt? He’s pretty cool, isn’t he? Well, Joshua is a Hebrew name (Yeshua) with a Greek equivalent. Want to know what that equivalent is?