(Matthew 16:24) – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
We are studying five primary goals of the Christian life, taking each goal in three steps of natural progression: knowledge (head), conviction (heart), and action (hands). All five goals are:
- Living Like Christ
- Proclaiming Christ
- Serving Like Christ
- Worshipping Christ
- Fellowship in Christ
As we strive for the goal of living like Christ, it comes as a natural second goal that we should then share the knowledge of that life with others. More specifically, we proclaim the source of that life: Christ.
While sharing our personal experience of how Christ has changed our specific life, we need to wrap our proclamation of Christ in the cloak of God’s Word (knowledge). We study, learn and become accurately and Biblically educated (head) about Christ, evangelism and the Gospel. We understand and become aware of the role and necessity of missions, evangelism and personal witnessing. We know what the Gospel is, and how to share it from our personal experience.
I’m not a personal fan of the many techniques that are taught on how to “share the Gospel” (with the exception of Ray Comfort who I think it right on Biblically – www.livingwaters.com).. I think many of them are excellent “sales” techniques designed to get people to respond and say “yes” because they strike the right emotions and leave you with a feeling of “I’d be stupid to turn that down”. However, the 5% sustained commitment that follows over the next few years (that’s what statistics bear out), exposes something lacking or even simply wrong about this approach of “appeal, technique and step-by-step template” which is often a sales pitch in Christian clothes.
It would seem that the Bible itself bears out a different aproach. Jesus always met the person at the point where their life that was blocking them from God. He convicted the rich young ruler about money (Matt 19:16-26), and the woman at the well about immorality (John 4:7-26).
Granted, Jesus could instantly know every persons heart and circumstances. We can only know those things about people we spend time with and invest our lives in. So it would seem a good approach too for our friends and family. For those we only briefly contact, it is my personal opinion that simply sharing the difference in our life “before and after” Christ testifies to the power of salvation and the Gospel. I’m not advocating that as another “technique”, it’s just my own preference.
Yes, there are times we should gently press someone to a point of decision, but I think this must be a Spirit-prompted effort rather than a “technique” we’ve learned. I sense that most times we are called to plant seed and water, and God will bring the harvest in His timing. Most evangelistic training have you pressing for a “decision” which I think is a source of much false “success”.
Again, I don’t advocate a “technique” or “salvation presentation system”. As I said, I’m not a fan of these because they APPEAR to be effective at getting a certain response from people, but not in changing lives over the long haul. The power of the Gospel comes from the message itself, and the evidence of our own changed, blessed and joyful life.
We also proclaim Christ by how we live our life. Separation from the world (2Cor 6:17), purity (James 4:8), good stewardship of God’s blessings (Matt 25:14-30, discipline (2Pet 1:6), humility (Col 3:12), serving others (Phil 2:3-8)… all these thing powerfully proclaim Christ to a world that lives opposite of these traits. So we must study Scripture and imitate other mature Believers to learn how to transform our own lives in all these areas. As “living sacrifices” (Rom 12:1) we proclaim Christ to the world.
It is one thing to KNOW how to proclaim Christ… it is another to be convicted and committed to doing it.
Often, (especially as I get older and lose physical strength, speed and coordination) I tell someone I’m teaching tennis or some other sport, “I can teach it alot better than I can do it”. This works for sports, but is not appropriate for proclaiming Christ. We must being “doing it” and teaching it (proclaiming) although I have to admit as a Bible teacher that I rarely, if ever, can live up to what I teach (a common pain for all Bible teachers). But living up to a teaching about discipline or purity is not the same as living a Christian life and proclaiming Christ. No matter what stage of our spiritual walk we are in, we can proclaim Christ honestly as long as we sincerely are seeking daily transformation in to His image.
We don’t have time here to study each passage, but here is a list of verses you can personally investigate: Luke 24:46-48; John 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 15:1-8; Rom. 3:21-26; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 4:2; Matt. 25:14-29; Luke 19:11-27.
Next time, we’ll look at how to take the knowledge of proclaiming Christ (head) and make it our personal conviction (heart).
Lord God, help us to know the Gospel and how to share it. Help us to know why we should share it and to understand how a lost and dying world is in need of it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?