Sharing Jesus Part Two
Do we really think about the fact that every person we encounter is potentially going to spend an eternity in hell if they don’t first hear and then believe the Gospel? We also talked about the top 6 reasons most believers are hesitant about sharing their faith in Jesus with others. When it comes to asking people to decide in their own lives regarding faith, it becomes a bigger wall for many people. We can sometimes do okay telling people how God has worked in our own lives but asking them to commit their life to God is an insurmountable task for us. As I said before, not every believer is an evangelist in the sense of Billy Graham or the apostle Paul. However, it is the job, the Great Commission, of every believer to make disciples. Making disciples starts with sharing our faith wherever and whenever we have or create an opportunity. Those opportunities are most effective within our one-on-one relationships with people.
Speaking of one-on-one relationships with people, do you know Jesus and Moses spend a lot of time together now. They are really great friends. One day while walking on the beach, Moses said to Jesus, “You know what really moved me?” “What?” Jesus replied. “It’s when you walked on water. That’s when I came to understand that you were truly the Son of God. Do you remember that?”
Jesus replied, “How could I forget? It was my most famous miracle. It made ALL four Gospels!” Moses asked if he could do it again and Jesus easily obliged.
But after getting a way off from the shoreline, he started sinking. Never needing to learn how to swim, He desperately thrashed about using all his energy to stay afloat and just barely make it to the shore alive. With Jesus gasping for breath, Moses ran up to him and frantically asked, “My Lord! My Lord! What happened?”
Jesus replied, “Last time I didn’t have these holes in the bottom of my feet.”
When it comes to sharing our faith in Jesus and asking others to make a commitment to faith in him themselves, the most important part is what we are asking people to believe. It’s what exactly we are asking them to have faith in.
‘For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.’ 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
To make it very simple, what we must believe is who Jesus was and what Jesus did.
I told you last week we would be looking at how the biblical writers shared their faith. As we read the Gospels, the historical biographies of Jesus’s life and ministry, we find a common theme. Matthew starts in chapters 1 through three talking about identifying who Jesus is before he begins talking about anything Jesus did or taught. Mark only spends the first 11 verses of his Gospel talking about who Jesus is, but the pattern holds. Luke spends his first three chapters plus part of chapter four building on the idea of who Jesus is. John uses his first 34 verses to identify Jesus, but in his very first verse he makes a very clear point…
John 1:1 “’In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God.’
From identifying the Word as fully God, John then builds up to the fact the Jesus is the Word and the Word is God, but John doesn’t actually mention Jesus name for the 1st time until verse 17.
The point is, with every Gospel writer, who Jesus was is the first point about Jesus every one of them makes. For each of them, building Jesus identity by what he did up to the point of his death, burial, and resurrection is the stamp of authenticity on the Gospel message. Why? Because Paul tells us that without the Resurrection, the final proof that Jesus is truly the Son of God, our faith is useless. It is only the fact that Jesus was himself God the Son that gives his death any meaning at all. There are millions of people who have sacrificed their lives for one cause or another since the beginning of time. There are many who have died for their friends, what Jesus calls the ultimate act of love in John 15:13. Only the Resurrection gives Jesus’s death any meaning, because through Jesus’s Resurrection we are given an eternal relationship with God the Father through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit covered by Jesus’s righteousness and forgiveness before God.
Answering the questions of faith, It really comes down to two things: who he is and what he did. In their book, “The Path” some dear friends of mine, including one of my mentors Dr. Daniel Goepfrich, phrase the answer of faith this way…
To call Jesus “Lord” or “Christ” is to acknowledge that he is the one sent from God to rescue humanity and that he did that through his death and resurrection – nothing more, nothing less.
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross – through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:19-20
In another conversation, Paul used the word “repent.”
“Although God has overlooked such times of ignorance, he
now commands all people everywhere to repent , because
he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in
righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31
To “repent” means to “reconsider and act.” In order to believe the truth, we must honestly consider it…the truth about ourselves and our sin, about Jesus and his death and resurrection. God wants us to change our beliefs based on the truth. Believing in Jesus alone for salvation means that we have reconsidered our position; we have “repented,” accepting the truth. We accept that only God can rescue us from sin and hell, and we embrace it.
Naturally, the first step in sharing our faith with others is to have that kind of faith ourselves. If we don’t have a firm foundation in the faith that we have, we’ll have a really hard time trying to articulate any of that to someone else.
However, there are some great benefits to sharing our faith. When we overcome our fear, get over the excuses that we don’t have experience or haven’t practiced, realize that every believer in Jesus as Savior is fully qualified to share the Gospel, rely on God to walk us through it knowing that we can’t screw it up, put sharing our faith at the top of our priority list in our relationships, and develop the ‘want to’ attitude to at least plant the seeds for someone to come to have eternal life the benefits become:
- It increases our own faith to share our faith with others
- Sharing our faith brings us deeper into the Presence of God
- It naturally makes us more aware of Holy Spirit working in our lives
- Our love for others will grow tremendously
- We are partaking in God’s Great Commission to make disciples
- Sharing our faith also protects us and prepares us for battle against the spiritual forces of darkness that rule this world.
Listen to what Paul says in Ephesians 6 starting in verse 10,
‘Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist, by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace, and in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints. Pray for me also, that I may be given the message when I begin to speak – that I may confidently make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may be able to speak boldly as I ought to speak.’
When we are sharing the good news of our salvation through Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the leader of our lives, we are engaging actively in spiritual warfare. Some time, we’ll do an entire series on the Armor of God, but Paul is making a point here that as we live in Christ and share our faith following the Great Commission to make disciples; we will experience the attacks of the enemy.
We need to pray for one another as Paul asked the believers of his time to pray for him. We pray that we may be given the message when we begin to speak to confidently make the Gospel clear, and that we may be able to speak boldly about the faith that we have.