I chuckle at myself when I remember my early views of sharing the gospel. At a young age, I knew I needed to share Jesus with my peers. My methodology was misguided. Instead of asking my friends if they wanted to hear about Jesus, I held them hostage. On several occasions I kept my friends from playing on the playground until we had a Bible lesson. I never asked for an invitation to speak to them, I just did it.
I am glad God has a sense of humor and reminds me of my earlier self. Keep in mind I might have been 11 or 12 years old, so youth breeds inexperience. Yet, I try to be mindful not to repeat the same mistakes.
How often do we begin to “talk” about Jesus without receiving the invitation to share?
How often do we bogart conversations to meet an evangelism quota?
Do we even get to know a person and introduce ourselves before just “talking?”
Often we do not.
Another hindrance to evangelism is something I call “Speaking before greeting.” In essence, before we develop a basic relationship with someone, we begin to take over the conversation. We do not get to know people and they surely do not know us! We are invading a person’s conversation space without getting permission to be there. For this reason, many people avoid conversations with “believers.”
We can learn a lot from Philip and his conversation with the Ethiopian eunuch found in Acts 8:26-40.
Observe how Philip interacted with this man (Acts 8:29-35):
The Spirit told Philip, “Go and join that chariot.”
When Philip ran up to it, he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the Scripture passage he was reading was this:
He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb is silent before its shearer,
so He does not open His mouth.
In His humiliation justice was denied Him.
Who will describe His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth.
The eunuch replied to Philip, “I ask you, who is the prophet saying this about—himself or another person?” So Philip proceeded to tell him the good news about Jesus, beginning from that Scripture (HCSB).
Philip did not come to the eunuch piously and say, “ I know you do not understand what you are reading. Let me help you to get on track! I know what it all means.”
He established rapport with the eunuch and received an invitation to come into his chariot to speak about the scriptures further.
Philip did not go on a spiritual rabbit trail and disclose everything he knew about the word. He addressed the eunuch’s questions and simply shared the gospel. He kept it simple! As a result, the eunuch wanted to become a believer and to be baptized.
We have some growing to do. We cannot simply hand out gospel tracks, serve Saturday morning meals or have an occasional community day to satisfy our evangelical cravings. We too must be led by the Spirit.
As Holy Spirit leads us, He will give us wisdom to approach people honorably. Many times people avoid telling us what they do not know because we have a superiority complex.
As Holy Spirit leads us into what to say and when to say it, those who are meant to hear the message will be more willing to receive it. Are you willing to partner with God to see the lost find redemption and acceptance in Jesus?
God, help us to build effective relationships with those who are lost or wandering. Help us to show others your love and to demonstrate compassion and humility in sharing the gospel. Help us to be sensitive to the guidance of Holy Spirit. Let us move as He leads us to share. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear what You are saying.