Read Matthew 28.19-20 and Mark 16.15-18.
Jesus commands us to go and proclaim him savior of the world
Jesus commands us to go. This is a command to every Christian. He wants us to evangelize the whole world and possess the nations. So, it is binding on every believer to take the message of the cross everywhere. The early church took this so seriously that they turned cities upside down. Jesus does not want us to enjoy worship in the church and end it there but to go to our schools, workplaces, and everywhere else and proclaim Jesus as the savior of the world.
The value of a soul is priceless
The value of a soul is priceless because the soul is undying—immortal. Thus, we can’t just look on for them to perish. The love of God constrains us to obey him and take up this command to go and preach seriously for results to come. Those without Christ are lost. It means they are going to spend eternity in hell. We must care about this. Once we go, he will confirm his words with signs following. Christ came to reconcile man to God and has now given the church the ministry of reconciliation.
The gospel is so powerful that no power can overcome it. It is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes.
Read John 4.5-26.
There are different methods for evangelizing but the goal must be effectiveness
We see Jesus and the woman at the well. That is what personal evangelism is about. There are various methods but effectiveness must be the yardstick when making a choice. The scripture gives us guidance as to which approaches are right for us to use. In 1 Corinthians 9.19-22, Paul encourages flexibility in matters of approach. Adaptability and flexibility are key so it is not just about us.
The two main methods of evangelism are mass evangelism and personal evangelism. In personal evangelism, the focus is one-on-one with the individual. I’m sure many of you have tried this with tools like the four spiritual laws: man’s hopelessness, how man cannot save himself, how he needs Jesus Christ, and so on. There is also the bridge where sin separates us from God and Christ is the bridge back to him. There is also the picture booklet which has been used to bring many people to Christ. There is evidence to the effectiveness of personal evangelism.
Jesus wants us to do this and we must not ignore it
We should not ignore what God wants us to do. He commands us to go. In Mark 5, Jesus healed a demon-possessed man. After the dramatic healing, the man begged Jesus to go with him but Jesus said no. He told him to go home to his friends and tell them the great things the Lord had done for them (Mark 5.19). Personal evangelism is telling someone about the salvation found only in Jesus Christ our Lord with the purpose of bring him or her to Christ. The sharing of the gospel between friends was the main method by which the gospel spread. Nothing happens in the church until a concerned Christian begins to share the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.
Philip, Andrew, and Nathaniel brought their friends and families to Christ. In Acts 8, the spirit of God told Philip to go the desert. There he met an Ethiopian eunuch who had come to worship God in Jerusalem and was going back to Ethiopia (Africa). He was reading a passage (Isaiah 53) which he didn’t understand. The Spirit prompted Philip to get closer. They entered a conversation and Philip explained the gospel to him and he was baptized.
Jesus turned every conversation to spiritual matters
Jesus turned every conversation to spiritual matters. He always inserted the message of salvation so others could be saved. In his encounter with Nicodemus, he drew his attention to the salvation of his soul. In the encounter with the woman at the well, he drew her attention to the salvation of her soul. Jesus overcame the taboo of Jewish rabbis associating with Samaritans. He did not prejudge the woman so we should not do that either. Jesus did not come for the righteous but to save sinners. Rather than judging, tell others about Christ. Jesus sat with the neglected and the poor in society and brought them to salvation.
Jesus engaged the woman in a conversation in a relaxed setting. Jesus raised the issue of living water which piqued her interest. This eventually led to Jesus revealing to her that he was the Messiah. We should present Christ and not our church. The woman after meeting Christ left her pot and went to her town to broadcast the good news she had received. Jesus stayed in that town for two days to establish the new souls before he left. After the souls are won we have to teach and establish them.
There are some people who don’t know anybody in their neighborhood but God wants us to go out there with the message. There are many people who are seeking. They need Jesus Christ.
The advantages of personal evangelism
1. It can be done by all. You have a testimony you can share. How did God save you? How has he transformed your life?
2. it can be done at any time—in the airplane, at school, and anywhere else.
3. It reaches all classes of people.
4. It is not expensive.
5. It is precise. It is direct.
6. It works. Many people are not moved by eloquent sermons but they respond to personal evangelism.
May the Holy Spirit speak to your heart today so you will speak to someone on your way back from church today. It is important to rise up. I have so many testimonies about personal evangelism. I met some gentlemen at Independence Hall at KNUST. As I shared some tracts with them they began to ask many questions, many of which I couldn’t answer. I left them wondering if my encounter with them had been fruitful. However, years later, as a presiding elder, during offering time, I saw this tall gentleman dancing and coming towards me. I didn’t know the message had made an impact. We are not the ones who convert people but God. Our duty is just to go and say it. It is time to possess the nations.
Look at how people behaved during the elections. It was raining but this teenager had taken his party’s flag and was waving it in the rain. I was asking, can we have Christians doing this? A ninety-year-old woman was holding her party’s flag and walking around. Some old people in the church think they are too old but they are not.
Sharing our faith with others
Before we engage an unbeliever, we must take the following steps in preparation to share our lives and testimonies and the gospel with them.
1. See people as Jesus sees them. We are often blind to those around us. If we see them bleed, we pretend they are not dirty. They are interruptions to our schedules. It is time for us to change our attitudes. Jesus wants us to see their need, the longing in their eyes, their tears. Go with the gospel. Jesus did not condemn the Samaritan woman but saw her condition as an indication of her need for God. Jesus saw great potential for God through this woman. And, truly, after encountering God, she brought her whole city to Christ. God is calling us today to arise. We have bypassed too many Samaritan women but let it end today.
2. Have compassion for souls. The heart of Christ, the greatest soul-winner overflows with compassion for souls. We must weep for the sinner and the erring one; we must pray for them to be saved. We must feel deeply the needs of the lost.
3. Love people where they are. Establish trust with them and accept them with whatever baggage they may carry. Jesus loved Mary Magdalene and Zacchaeus. Share the grace with which Jesus has saved you with them.
4. Be salt and light to the world. Sometimes we do not want to go because there is some darkness with us which will be pointed out. Thus, we must be transformed to win others for Christ.
5. Develop an obedient and tender heart. Witnessing demands a willing spirit. The God who created us can use us. The Holy Spirit wants to use you so move on and be obedient. The disciples in apostolic times were obedient to Christ and were thus unstoppable and began to turn cities upside down.
6. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 1.8 says it is the Holy Spirit who gives the power to witness. In Acts 4, when the apostles had been persecuted and it had become difficult for them, they came back to the disciples and gave their report. They then lifted their voices in prayer for God to empower them to preach the gospel with signs following. Thus, it is important to pray that the Holy Spirit will fill you to do this.
7. Pray for lost souls, clear communication, and signs and wonders to follow your ministry as you go. At the core, witnessing to others is a spiritual battle. The devil is contending for their souls with all sorts of things. We must weep over the erring one. No tears, no souls. We must break all chains and addictions of the devil. It is then that we will have results.
One day I went to someone’s room at Legon to witness to him. He was courteous, welcomed me and gave me a seat. I was holding a big Bible so he guessed that was what I was there to talk about but the first thing he told me was that he didn’t believe in the Bible. What do you do in such a situation? We began to converse. This went on and on. Eventually, the conversation veered into juju and such things. I quickly pointed out to him that the things he was talking about were in the Bible. Suddenly, like the woman at the well he became excited. Before he realized, I had opened Ephesians 6 in the Bible he did not believe and was telling him about principalities and powers and all that.
8. Understand the message of the gospel. Man is hopeless and cannot save himself. Christ is the answer.
9. Lead a life of integrity. It is possible to live the Christian life so we must do it to serve as a testimony to them. My general behavior, work ethic and all must buttress my message.
10. Look for divine appointments. Regardless of whom you meet, when you have prayed for divine appointments, something will crop up so that during the conversation you can bring up the God factor and introduce Jesus Christ as the savior.
Taking a step is all that is required. When we do, the Holy Spirit will come in. John Wesley was robbed on the way to a town. A young man attacked him and took all he had but as the man was running away he said, “The blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse you form all your sins.” The young robber ignored this but when he went home, as he was eating , his food began to speak; as he went to take a shower, his water began to speak. This continued until he gave his life to Christ. When John Wesley when to his town to speak, this armed robber came to say that the words he had told him had brought him to Christ. That is how powerful our words are.
Matthew 28.19-20, Mark 16.15-18, John 4.5-26, 1 Corinthians 9.19-22, Mark 5.19, Acts 4.29-30