Published August 8, 2011
Today I share a guest column that may be helpful to you in one of the most important responsibilities we have as Christians sharing the Gospel. It comes, by permission, from evangelist Bill Keller.
"Sharing Your Faith"
by Bill Keller
Sharing your faith with others is like praying. There is only one wrong way to do it and that is not to do it!
Over the years there have been thousands of books and tapes produced on witnessing, one evangelism program after another created, and the fact is they are ALL great. You can never learn too much about how to witness to others, how to share your faith. The reality is there is no one way to do it, but many different approaches. In the end, however, they all lead a person to the eternal choice they must make about Jesus.
You have to remember that each person who shares their faith is unique and different in how God has wired them. Likewise, each person you witness to is unique and different in how God has wired them. And the circumstances and dynamics each time you share your faith are also unique and different. That is why today I wanted to take some time to share with you a simple way to witness and to lead someone to faith in Jesus Christ.
The number one reason people don't share their faith more often and sadly in the case of most Christians who fail to do it at all is fear. The biggest fear is the fear of rejection. Witnessing has many similarities to sales, which is why you find people who are most proficient at witnessing are usually great sales people. In the world of sales the first thing you learn about is rejection. A good salesperson is able to hear 99 people say no and go into that 100th sales presentation just like it was the first.
That is not easy to do and why it is a gift to be a great salesperson. Even if you are not a natural salesperson, the key is never to forget that if someone says "no" when you share with them how they can be saved, it is not you but Jesus they are rejecting. Just like a good salesperson never takes it personally when someone turns them down, you can't ever take it personally when someone you ask to commit their life to Christ says "no." Again, they are saying "no" to Jesus, not you.
Also, the key to being a good salesperson is being a good closer. You will never get the sale if you don't ask for it, and you will never see someone come to Christ if you don't ask them to. The basic rule of Sales 101 is ABC or, "Always Be Closing." The basic rule to Evangelism 101 is asking the person you are witnessing to if they would like to know Jesus as their personal Savior. At the end of a sales presentation you have to ask the person for the sale, and at the end of sharing the Gospel you have to ask the person to accept the Lord.
Another fear so many people have is being asked questions they can't answer. You don't have to be a theologian to tell people about Jesus. If they ask you a question you don't know the answer to, simply tell them you don't know but will find out. Contact your pastor or your Sunday School teacher or someone at your church for the answer. This is why the more we read and study God's Word for ourselves the more confidence we will have when we are confronted with different questions.
However, never forget that most people asking questions are not really interested in the answer as they are in trying to justify their own unbelief. Most ask questions as a way of proving that we are "wrong" and they are "right." People who reject God's Word and the love of Christ in their life, will use questions there may not even be an answer to, to feel better about their choice to reject the Lord. That is why I will answer their questions, but immediately put the focus back on them and the choice they have to make regarding accepting Jesus in their heart.
The other great fear people have about sharing their faith is offending the person you are talking to about the Lord and what ramifications there may be to them personally. So rather than offend someone, rather than deal with whatever persecution there might be, they simply say nothing. Listen, it is better that you offend someone with the hopes of them coming to know the Lord than sitting back and saying nothing, while they die in their sins and are lost for all eternity.
It is better someone calls you "Bible thumper," "stupid for believing the Bible," "intolerant," "hateful," "no different than the Taliban," or whatever else they may say to you to try and intimidate you into being silent, than saying nothing knowing they will die one day and spend eternity in hell. The fact is the Gospel IS offensive to those who reject it, but it is the words of everlasting life to those who choose to believe.
The bottom line is that God has commanded us, not suggested to us, that we share our faith in Christ with others. This is not a commandment to just pastors or evangelists, but to EVERYONE who knows Christ as their Lord and Savior. If you really love someone, how can you let them die, knowing that without Christ they will be lost for all eternity, without telling them about Jesus?
I take a very direct approach to witnessing. I look the person in the eye and ask them if they believe they will die one day. Of course they say yes. I then ask them if they believe they have ever sinned. Again, they will say yes. I tell them that they are right, they have sinned and they will die one day. I remind them that the Bible says tomorrow is promised to none of us and that each day is literally a gift from God.
I go on by telling them that it is their sin that is separating them from a Holy God who loves them so much and desires for them to spend all eternity with Him. I tell them that is only possible because of what Jesus did. He willingly died on the cross for our sins and that is why if you will confess Him as your Savior, ask Him into your heart and life by faith, HE will forgive you of your sins and you are guaranteed to spend eternity with God your Creator when this brief life is over.
I share with them that this choice not only has eternal ramifications, but means something to them right now. Those who know Jesus as their Savior have the power of God residing within them, and can know the peace, the joy, and the abundance of this life that is impossible without Christ. Additionally, they can see the plan and purpose God has for them fulfilled during their brief journey here on earth.
At that point I simply ask them if they would like to know Jesus as their personal Savior. If they say no, I tell them that I will be praying for them and that they need to spend some time alone with God and pray about what I told them. I remind them that God loves them and He is there when they are ready. If they say yes, I spend a few moments to make sure they know that what they are doing is literally giving their very life to Christ. He gave His life for them, and they are now giving their life back to Him.
The key for you to remember is that this is a personal decision each person has to make for themselves. Nobody can make it for them, you can't force them, or intimidate them, or scare them into making it. It has to be a conscious choice that they make. When they are ready, I simply have them pray with me what is commonly called the "Sinner's Prayer." This prayer does not exist in the Bible, though it is taken largely from Romans Chapter 10. These words don't save anyone but are simply a verbal guide for what they are doing BY FAITH in their heart.
"God, I am a sinner. I ask you to forgive me of my sins. I believe in my heart, and confess with my lips, that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. Come into my heart Jesus. Take my life, I surrender it to you. From this moment on, I will live my life according to the Bible and serve you. Thank you for taking away my sins and giving me everlasting life. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen"
Above Copyright 2011, LivePrayer Church, Inc. This column, used by permission of Bill Keller, was recently one of his Liveprayer Daily Devotionals, distributed free by email. For information on receiving this daily, go to http://www.liveprayer.com/signup.cfm
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