Al says something interesting during the movie. “You can always get further with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word.” I guess what he’s saying is that ‘please’ is a lot more effective when you hold a gun to someones head.
I don’t know about you – but sometimes I feel like that’s how Christians approach sharing the gospel. I remember learning CWT (Christian Witness Training) and the two diagnostic questions:
1. If you were to die RIGHT NOW do you know for sure you would go to heaven?
2. If you were standing before God and He said why should I let you into my heaven – what would you say?
Both are important questions and the answers really are helpful in discovering whether or not someone is alive spiritually – but really, how often in a normal conversation do you have the opportunity to look someone in the eye and say – “If you were to die RIGHT NOW…” Sounds rather menacing to me.
Don’t get me wrong. FAITH, CWT, the Roman Road, the Bridge to Life, 4 Spiritual Laws, One Verse Evangelism – these are all great methods for learning what the Bible says about salvation and for teaching someone the truth that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life. But I’m struck by the fact that in Scripture our evangelistic examples from Paul to Peter to Jesus Himself all revolve around knowing, living, and discussing the gospel they preached.
It wasn’t so much about ‘confronting’ someone with the reality of their impending and ultimate demise as much as it was about making the most of teachable moments and pointing people clearly to the truth that God wants a relationship with you and this relationship begins when you trust Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.
I’m not talking about lifestyle evangelism either. You know what that is – expecting that living your good Christian life in front of someone is enough to cause them to one day suddenly blurt out – “OKAY! I see how wonderful your life is – tell me how to be a Christian now!”
Evangelism – like salvation – is about more than an outline to be memorized and regurgitated. It’s about more than a good lifestyle to be lived. Evangelism is what happens when we walk daily with Jesus right in the middle of the crowd. Evangelism is what happens when we talk daily about Jesus as though our relationship with Him was as real, significant and a part of our every day lives as our relationship with our friends, our kids or our spouse. Evangelism is what happens when a lost person finds themselves in a teachable moment and the lesson they learn from you is all about the truth that God can be trusted, our sins can be forgiven, and our life can be different than it is now because Jesus paid the price for us.
Heaven is the end of the story, the icing on the cake, the dessert at the end of a meal prepared for us by the Master Chef. Too often when sharing the gospel we spend all our time trying to sell the dessert rather than focusing the starving man’s attention on the Chef who is prepared to provide for us for all eternity.
This is what it means when Colossians 1:28 says we preach Jesus in all wisdom…not that we carelessly cast the gospel at any unsuspecting stranger God brings into our path. But with careful deliberation and with respect for the message we carry we live our lives in a manner worthy of the salvation we’ve been given as we boldly speak the truth of the gospel in love to the world around us.
True evangelism is not hit and run – it’s any Believer saying and doing the right thing, the right way, at the right time, for the right reason. It’s beginning and end are not heaven, but a glorious relationship between a Heavenly Father and newborn son (or daughter).
This week share the good news.
“Him [Jesus] we preach, warning every man and teaching every man, in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”