As a new Christian, you are excited about sharing the gospel (evangelism). You want others to know about the “good news” you’ve found. And you also want them to share in the joy of being a child of God and assured of eternal life with Jesus. Right?
You have explicitly cultivated friendships with non-Christians. To illustrate, you have:
- shown mutual respect
- asked permission to discuss spiritual matters
- inquired about the other person’s faith commitment
- pursued them by asking questions
- been culturally sensitive not to lecture or be pushy
On occasion, your conversations have turned to faith issues. And now you sense the Holy Spirit encouraging you to share the gospel with the person.
Of course, you want to evangelize attractively and practically. You also want to be respectful and situationally appropriate to avoid embarrassing your friend.
I. But I’m Afraid to Share the Gospel!
But sharing the gospel can be anxiety-provoking. For example, you might worry:
- you will say the wrong thing
- they may perceive your evangelism as being unnecessarily offensive
- you may destroy your relationship with them by bringing up Jesus
- they may not place their faith in Jesus
Does any of this sound familiar? It does for plenty of people.
II. Relax! The Holy Spirit is Responsible, not You
You can stop fretting about carrying the burden of “converting” someone. Ultimately salvation is through the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:5). It is the Holy Spirit who:
- First, convicts us of our sinfulness (John 16:8)
- Secondly, convinces us to accept Christ (John 6:44)
- Thirdly, converts our hearts (Eph. 2:1)
- And finally, indwells us (Rom. 8:15-16)
III. What’s Your Responsibility for Sharing the Gospel?
The resurrected Jesus commanded us to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
And instead of being afraid to evangelize, remember that God is faithful. He will equip any Christian who:
- loves him and obeys his commands (Matt. 22:37),
- specifically uses the resources of Scripture (2 Tim. 2:15) and prayer (1 Thess. 5:17)
- is particularly sensitive to the Holy Spirit and willing to follow his leading (Rom. 8:15-16).
- leads a Christ-like life (1 John 2:15, 17)
1. What is the Overall Message when Sharing the Gospel?
There is no need to feel intimidated about sharing the gospel. The message of salvation is easy to understand:
- First, God loves us unconditionally.
- Second, we are sinful and need help
- Third, Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead three days later to prove he is God
- Fourth, we need to respond. If we genuinely repent of our sins and place our faith in him, we can have eternal life in heaven.
2. Bible Verses that Help with Sharing the Gospel
Using Scripture when sharing the gospel is critical. You may want to write these four points on a post-it note and place them in the front of your Bible.
a. Firstly, God loves us unconditionally (1 John 4:9-10)
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation [payment] for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).
b. Secondly, we are all sinful (Rom. 3:23)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
- God created everything perfect (Gen. 1-2). But Adam rebelled against God and sinned. His sin and death spread to all humanity (Rom. 5:12)
- Our sinfulness separates us from a holy God (Rom. 6:23)
- We cannot “work” our way into heaven on our good deeds (Rom. 3:20)
c. Thirdly, God sent Jesus as the perfect God-man to sacrifice himself in our place (Rom. 5:8)
[B]ut God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
- When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave, he paid the penalty for our sins (1 Pet. 2:24)
- Jesus took all of God’s punishment for our sins (John 3:16)
- Then Jesus rose from the dead, proving he is God (1 Cor. 15:3–6)
d. Fourth, Jesus is the only way to God for salvation (John 14:6), but you must decide whether to accept or reject him!
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).
- Will you genuinely repent of your sins (Acts 2:38) and place your faith in Jesus (Rom. 10:9–13; Eph. 2:8)?
- If you do, you are now born again (John 3:1-8) as God’s child (John 1:12). And you will live eternally with Jesus (1 John 2: 25).
3. Transitioning from Presentation to Application: How to Place Your Faith in Jesus
a. Know how to transition.
Be prepared to help your non-Christian friend take the necessary steps to accept Jesus. For instance:
- “What do you think about what I said?
- “Did you understand what I just said?”
- “Does what I just said make sense?”
- Would you like to place your faith in Jesus right now?
If they want to become a Christian, they must:
- First, admit that they are a sinner and genuinely want to turn from their sins by asking God’s forgiveness.
- Second, thank Jesus for dying for them. And ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.
- Thirdly, tell them that they can talk directly to God in prayer if they want. But offer to pray with and for them if they desire:
c. One Way to Pray for Salvation:
“Dear God, I come to you in the name of your Son, Jesus. Thank you for this undeserved gift of salvation.
I confess I am a sinner. I’ve done what’s wrong in your sight. I need your forgiveness because I cannot work my way into heaven.
I turn now from my sins and, with all my heart, declare that you, Jesus are God and the resurrected Lord. Jesus, please come and live within me as my Lord and Savior. Amen.”
Welcome to the family of God!
4. How to Prepare for Sharing the Gospel
a. Pray for:
- lost friends, family, and even challenging people (Matt. 9:37)
- opportunities to evangelize (Col 4:3)
- courage and clarity when sharing the gospel (Eph. 6:9)
b. Just do it!
Everyone needs to know about Jesus even if they don’t realize it.
To overcome your fear of man:
- Seek to create relationships, when possible, to demonstrate your sincerity
- Be prepared
- Choose a proper time to evangelize that is situationally appropriate
- Lastly, share the gospel in a culturally sensitive way
5. Share the Gospel with Sensitivity
a. Prepare the soil for sharing the gospel.
“No one cares how much you know until they know how you care.”
- Creating a relationship is about being gracious, kind, and a good listener
- Meet people where they are emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually
- Then through questions, lead them around to discussing spiritual issues
- Getting the opportunity to evangelize is a privilege. Therefore, respect the other person even if they choose to reject the gospel.
b. Ask permission to discuss spiritual matters before sharing the gospel.
- “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, but may I discuss a personal issue that has to do with faith?”
- “Can I ask you a personal question? Do you have a faith commitment?”
- “We are going to pray with our meal. Can we pray for you or your loved ones?”
c. Stress God’s love.
Everyone knows they have done wrong things and struggle. There is no need to hit them on the head with an oar when they need a lifeboat. Let them know first and foremost of God’s unconditional love for them (John 3:16).
6. Lifestyle Evangelism is Critical
A Christian’s lifestyle is the “Fifth Gospel” (like one more example of Jesus’s power shown through the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). That means the world watches to see if you live consistently with what you preach. Your life says a lot about the authenticity of your faith.
7. Become Familiar with Other Tools for Sharing the Gospel
There are several different methods for evangelism. For instance:
- Romans Road (based on verses from the book of Romans)
- 4 Spiritual Laws (from the international evangelistic ministry Cru)
- Cru’s “The Four” symbols approach
- Cru’s Falling Plates video
- Navigator’s One-Verse Evangelism
- The Wordless Book(often used for children or teens)
IV. What About You? What is Your Next Step?
You have the tools and knowledge for sharing the gospel with non-Christians. Take some time to learn the four-step approach. And memorize these verses or mark them in the front of your Bible until you have them memorized.
If you do not yet belong to God’s family, what is stopping you from committing your life right now? You will never know real love until you know God’s love. Consider making that decision to place your faith in Jesus today.
Evangelism (Part 1 of 2): The Bad News by Dr. Bob Martin III
Evangelism (Part 2 of 2): The Good News by Dr. Bob Martin III