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Why should I share my faith?

By Pastor Tom Anderson

What is evangelism? The Biblical word for Good News is evangel, also translated as “gospel” or “glad tidings.” The first spoken words of Jesus recorded in the gospel of Mark are these: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) Evangelism is a word coined to describe the entire process of faith-sharing from inviting others to faith in Jesus, apprenticing them in Christian living, grounding them in the life of the Church and sending them out to serve and share with others.

Healthy churches have a strategy for evangelism and a culture of evangelism. Yet there are warning signs all over the country that evangelism is dying. This is a worrisome point for the Christian church in America. More than two hundred years ago, John Wesley admonished his preachers about the importance of evangelism, “You have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this service.” There really isn’t anything more important than this, not the church budget, not the church government or ministries or programs.

Our first step is to admit that denial is not a strategy, avoidance is not a strategy. We humble ourselves before the Lord and confess our sins of omission: We have left undone what we ought to have done in evangelism. The denial of evangelism is a spiritual problem demanding a spiritual remedy. We have to look into our own hearts and ask ourselves, “Why is evangelism not happening in our churches?”

Our second step is to reaffirm the why. Why should I share my Christian faith? The answer is three-fold:

It’s the command of Jesus Christ: “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18) It’s not a suggestion, nor is it a matter for debate or hesitation. Go means go. Jesus is not a universalist. Jesus was not content to let people believe anything they want to believe as long as they are sincere. Jesus did not believe that faith was a private matter to be kept secret. Jesus believed that the most compassionate thing we can do for the human race is to tell them about salvation in Jesus Christ and encourage everyone to leave their old religions behind and become his disciple. This command powered the explosion of the Church in the Book of Acts where Peter boldly proclaimed, “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

It’s the heart of the Father. The heart of God is to recover and restore the lost. The Father’s heart is like a shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to search for the one lost. The Father’s heart is like the woman with 9 silver coins who lights and lamp and sweeps her house looking for the lost one. The Father’s heart is like the father who scanned the horizon every day looking for his runaway son and ran to him when he was still far from home. Lost people matter to God and if we have his heart, they will matter to us more than anything else. A healthy church shares the Father’s passion to save lost people.

It’s the purpose of the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to equip the church for its evangelistic mission. Jesus concludes the Great Commision with these words, “for lo I am with you wherever you go.” This “wherever” doesn’t refer to our aimless wanderings but to our evangelistic mission. We experience the presence of Jesus as we go out in mission. So many churches know so little of the Spirit primarily because they are not going out in evangelistic mission.

In my home church in Dearborn, Michigan, there used to be a painting on the wall of the chapel. It showed Jesus knocking at someone’s door. It’s a picture often interpreted as an invitation to open your heart to faith in Jesus. But there is another possible interpretation: what if it’s Jesus knocking at the door of the church? What if instead of asking to come in, Jesus is asking us to come out and experience him in the mission field? We’ll never feel the presence of the Spirit like we will when we start sharing our faith with others.


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