THE HOPE THAT YOU HAVE
God calls every believer in Christ to tell others the good news that Jesus came to save people from their sin.
One of my favorite verses in all the Bible is 1 Peter 3:15: "In your hearts set apart Jesus as Lord. And always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
Notice three quick things about this verse.
1. You must have it settled in your heart that Jesus is Lord. He is not only Lord over all, but for you to be saved He must be Lord of your life. And if He is your Lord, then He is your boss. If He is your Lord, then that means you have been forgiven & set free from your sin - you have been saved - you are born again!
2. If you truly know Jesus as Lord, you will display hope, and people will notice it. They will ask you about this hope. And you will have an opportunity to witness for Christ.
3. The way you witness for Christ must be with gentleness and respect. Too many people witness for Christ with arguments and/or condemnation. That is not gentleness or respect.
SIX EVANGELISM STYLES
In the course of your lifetime, you will probably be a witness for Christ in all of the ways listed below. But some will come more naturally than others, based on how God has wired you. And some will need to be utilized depending on who you are talking to about Christ. These are not in any order, but here are six evangelism styles:
Confrontational - Those who use a confrontational style of evangelism are very bold witnesses for Christ. The apostle Peter was this kind of witness when he preached in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.
Intellectual - Those who witness intellectually always study and give an appopriate response using facts, logic, reason, and Scripture. In modern-day times, apologists include Lee Strobel, Ravi Zacharias, and Josh McDowell, among others. In the Bible you see the apostle Paul giving a defense of the faith many times.
Testimonial - When you give your testimony, you are sharing with others how Jesus has changed your life. You are telling how He has forgiven you, changed you, given you peace & joy, guaranteed you a home in heaven, and so much more! The blind man who was healed at the pool of Siloam went and told others that Jesus had given him sight. Later when he realized that it was Jesus who had healed him, he confessed Jesus as Lord!
Conversational - For some people, engaging people in conversations is as natural as breathing. They see opportunities everyone to talk to people about God. This is the way Jesus was when He used everyday events and objects (birds, mountains, fields, flowers, banquets) to talk to people about the kingdom of God.
Invitational - At times the best thing we can do is to invite someone to come with us to see for themselves what Jesus is doing, and what He says. The woman at the well did this when she invited her entire town of Samaria to "come and see" this man she had met, the one who knew everything about her yet showed her love and compassion just the same. Some people will respond wonderfully if you invite them to attend a Christian concert or Bible study or worship service. Keep inviting!
Service - Jesus said that the greatest among His followers would be the one who was the servant of all. Jesus served people by meeting real needs, thereby displaying the love and compassion of God. There are simple, everyday ways you can serve others. At times there are great opportunities to serve people in big ways. Whenever you serve others, give all the glory to God!
As we consider these various evangelism styles, we should be encouraged. We should be encouraged that God can use us to lead people to Jesus. We should be encouraged that the salvation of others is not totally dependent on our persuasive words or techniques. We should be encouraged that God's Holy Spirit is at work in the hearts of people, drawing them to Christ. Our job is to be faithful in every situation, sharing Christ in one (or more!) of the ways explained above, and leaving the results to God. And don't forget to pray for the people that God gives you the privilege of witnessing to. Pray is a powerful weapon.
May God bless you as you witness to others about Christ. To Him be the glory!