Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just the Facts

Today we begin a series of short studies on effectively witnessing the Gospel to unbelievers.

Where should you begin when witnessing to others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The approach that is tried a lot of times is to try and convince others that they need Christ because of what He can do for them. The offer that ‘Jesus can mend a broken heart’ or that ‘He makes things right’ or "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness." We might even begin by telling someone that without Jesus that they will go to Hell. Often times we mix this with the testimony of our own experience as to what Jesus has done for us. All of these approaches fail to help the other person understand who Jesus is.

Think about where the others that you might try to witness to are coming from. Most will carry into the conversation some sort of understanding of religious notions and ideas. For the majority of individuals will attest to some sort of religious beliefs. The backgrounds will vary. Some will profess faith in another god, perhaps Buddha or Allah. Others will attest to some sort of pseudo Christian beliefs or have rejected the idea of a ‘higher power’ altogether. They will have already established faith in something or someone. They may be content or even restless and unsure of their beliefs and their faith. They have tried religion and expressed faith. But as yet they do not in fact know the Jesus of the Bible.

The opportunity to effectively witness then exists in not offering them another option on their religious menu but to lead them to know Jesus as Christ, God in the flesh who died on the cross and rose again to save His own. When they learn who Jesus really is they can begin to realize how worthless their faith in any thing else actually is.

Remember as you witness that it is not your words or your approach that saves others, but God who changes hearts of sinners and opens their eyes and ears to the Gospel. Until the Holy Spirit works in the heart of another the Gospel remains ‘foolishness’ to them. In the Book of Acts Philip witnesses to an Ethiopian official.

God will open up the opportunity. You be obedient and willing to do the work.

But an angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza: the same is desert. And he arose and went: and behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem to worship; and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. Acts 8:26-29

When the opportunity arises- jump at it
As we stated earlier most people you get the opportunity to witness to will already have an established faith and religious experience. Here Philip met an Ethiopian official who worshipped God and read the Scriptures. However, the true meaning of the words he read eluded him. No doubt that God had a hand in this encounter. Philip responded by leading this man to an understanding of who Jesus is.
And Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some one shall guide me? And he besought Philip to come up and sit with him. Acts 8:30-31

Witness with the Word of God (just the facts)

The only tool you need to witness is the Word Of God. In it you will find all you need to explain who Jesus is to others.

Now the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, So he openeth not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: His generation who shall declare? For his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other? Acts 8:32-34

Preach unto them – JESUS

The scriptures tell us about Jesus. That is the focus of the Gospel message. Rely on this message and not on the needs of others or your own personal experiences. Jesus did not come to mend broken hearts, bring peace, joy and lasting happiness. He came to Glorify God. Those who do not know Him as God, Savior, Redeemer and King only need to know this one important fact.

And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, preached unto him Jesus. Act 8:35

The Gospel Saves
As you witness to others and share the Word of God others will come to see Jesus as Savior, Lord, King, Redeemer. Philip opened up the scriptures and an Ethiopian official came to know Jesus. This led to the man’s conversion and the request to be baptized.

And as they went on the way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch saith, Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached the gospel to all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
(Act 8:26-40 ASV

Jesus did not come to mend broken hearts, bring peace, joy and lasting happiness. He came to Glorify God. Those who do not know Him as God, Savior, Redeemer and King only need to know this one important fact. It is in Jesus Christ and no one else that they will find Salvation.

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