[Part 1 of this short series can be found here]
The fear behind evangelism
We do care, but lack courage to talk to strangers.
Evangelism will provoke hostility.
Jesus sent the disciples out as sheep among wolves (Matt.10:16), but told them not to worry. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (Matt.10:20)
We must not respond with hostility, the Holy Spirit will help us to know how to behave.
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)
Rico Tice said, ‘God is the great evangelist, the great seeker.’ We need to be the same.
God has a plan
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. (Acts 17:26)
Coincidences don’t happen in God’s plan. You are always in God’s hands, trust him.
If you’re not bubbly and confident, remember God made you that way. You can witness in your own way, don’t try to be something you’re not.
The marvel of grace
Evangelism begins in our hearts.
In the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11- 32), the father shows outrageous grace. But the older son displays anger, lies, self righteousness. We need to show grace, as we have received it, not pride.
The priority of prayer
Prayer must be a priority, and in that we must acknowledge God’s sovereignty. By his spirit God gives us the words. See Matt.10:20 above.
The power of love
We are the first account of the gospel that many people will read.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Col.4:5-6)
Loving others is about really wanting the best for them, not a project to share the gospel.
Sharing with family is much harder. Maybe they don’t need a gospel presentation, they just need to know we love them.
Bringing the Gospel Home is a book by Randy Newman about sharing the gospel with family and friends. You may find it helpful.
Be humble not arrogant. For example, say, ‘I need forgiveness,’ not, ‘You need to repent.’
Listen carefully to them.
The value of patience
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him. (Psalm 37:7)
As we continue to pray for them, we will grow and our love of and understanding of the gospel will grow.
[EMW Ladies Conference 25 April 2015: Speaker Kath Paterson from Bristol]