The Great Commission is For You!
Jesus himself has called all of his followers to preach the Gospel to the whole world. Many churches today do not practice this like they ought to, and some Christians even disagree with it, but the Bible plainly says that those who follow Christ will always be his witnesses. Prayerfully read the following words from Jesus’ own mouth:
Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
Luke 24:47-48, “Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in [Christ’s] name to all nations… You are witnesses of these things.”
Acts 1:8, “You will be my witnesses… to the ends of the earth.”
If you don’t believe this command is for you, I’d ask you to log off and argue it with God. But if today you recognize your duty as a disciple of Christ is to share Good News with your friends, your family, your city and the nations, then this blog is for you!
Jesus has called us to make disciples of all nations. In the modern Church this is often done through street evangelism. Simply put, street evangelism is when a group of Christians heads out into different communities (outside of a Church building!) and tell the people there (often complete strangers!) about who Jesus is, what he has done, and how we can be saved because of it. This is what the first disciples did in the book of Acts, and what true disciples of Christ have done throughout the ages.
We live in an imperfect world that is separate from God. Because of this, street evangelism is not as easy or simple as I just described. People often won’t receive the Gospel message because the devil has blinded them; and we as messengers sometimes deal with fear or sin or lack of knowledge which makes evangelism ineffective. Lord help us!
In spite of the difficulties, God is still calling out, “Who will go for me, and who will I send?” Will you go for God? If so, I want to encourage you that God is with you, that he is your co-laborer and that he will empower you to change lives if you just go out and preach his word!
2 Corinthians 5:20 (NLT), So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
The Bible says that when we evangelize, we are Christ’s ambassadors. Take heart, O ambassador! Your work is not in vain. I wrote this because I am convinced that by preaching the Gospel we really can make a difference—God can use you to save many lost people and display his mighty power in the all the earth!
You Can Do It—Now!
I believe you don’t need great knowledge or the latest evangelizing methods to win souls through evangelism. If your heart is pure before God and your desire is for his kingdom to come, then God can use you mightily! The Bible says that:
I Corinthians 1:27-29, “…God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
I am always humbled to see God use “baby” Christians in unexpected ways to see their friends, family, classmates and coworkers brought into the Church and saved. So before I teach you about apologetics and the dealing with others, I want to teach you only a few basics about evangelism.
The local Church should always have an outlet for street evangelism. If you are hungry to share your faith, you should first ask your pastor or one of your leaders about being plugged into an evangelism team. If they have such a ministry, you are to get in touch with that ministry’s leader. You can expect to submit to that leader’s authority and receive further instruction specific to that particular ministry.
However, if your church does not have an evangelism team, you may ask your pastor’s permission to start one. If he or she approves it, you are good to go!
The first thing you do is gather some of your friends together who have the same heart for evangelism. It is always wiser and safer to go witnessing in groups. Remember, you don’t need much to be a soul winner, but you do need to be saved and sanctified. You and your friends ought to be accountable to Church leaders and have no habitual sin in your lives (drinking, fornication, ungodly entertainment, etc.).
Also remember, evangelism is not a hobby, it’s a heart cry! Do not try to enter into evangelism thinking it will be a piece of cake. Evangelism can be challenging, frustrating, heartbreaking and seemingly fruitless for seasons at a time. You and your friends should search your heart to make sure you are in it for the long haul. Evangelism is not something you give up on when it gets boring or doesn’t go your way; it is a greater calling than President of the United States! The work of evangelism impacts souls for eternity!
If you are committed to evangelism, the next thing to do is find an area in your city, or “mission field,” to go witnessing in. You want to pray and seek God and see what neighborhood he puts on your heart. It may be an inner city area, a high school or college campus, or it may be an uptown nightlife district. When my pastor first came to Chicago, God had called him to witness in the homosexual community! I say that so you may be prepared and obedient if God sends you to an unwelcoming part of town.
Tools of the Trade
Wherever you are sent and whoever you talk to, there are three things that do not change no matter what. These must be present for true godly evangelism. They are your testimony, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit.
1 // Your Testimony
There was once a man who was literally filled with demons. Those demons drove him crazy, causing him to be cast out from society and live among the tombs, cutting himself. Then Jesus came along and cast out those demons and freed that man from his torment. “The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him (Luke 8:38-39).”
The story of the man with the “legion” of demons is the story of everyone who has been saved by Jesus Christ. We all once lived in spiritual bondage. The bondage may not have been demonic possession, but it may have been alcohol, drugs, self esteem, sexual perversion, fear, abuse, unbelief or pride. But regardless of what he has set us free from, the fact remains that Jesus has indeed set us free, and that is our testimony. We each have a powerful story about “how much God has done for us.” Your testimony is the story of your own personal experience with God.
It has been said, “A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.” Let’s say I told you that the entire population of New York City is Italian, but I didn’t know for sure because I just heard someone else say it. If you had grown up in New York City, you could easily prove me wrong. Why? Because you’ve been there and met the people and have seen with your own eyes that not everyone in that city is Italian. And I cannot prove you wrong because I’ve never even been to New York.
In the same way, when people argue the reasons they don’t believe in God or the Bible, you can tell them how you know God is real: because you know God! The fact that you have a real relationship with God through Jesus counts more than anything else.
After Jesus ascended to heaven, the Apostles turned the world upside down by telling their testimony about what they experienced firsthand. Prayerfully read these passages and consider the impact of the men who wrote them:
John: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim… we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life…” (1 John 1:1a, 2b)
Peter: “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)
Paul: “The gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11b-12)
A wise man once said, “Guard your heart and guard your testimony.” You may not think you have a great testimony like Peter or Paul, but that is a lie. The devil wants to discourage you, but your testimony is more powerful than you think. The Bible says that by our testimony we overcome the devil (Revelation 12:11). When we tell our testimony to others the devil is terrified because it is evidence that Jesus Christ is really with us.
A practical way to share your testimony is simply to tell what kind of person you were before you were saved, how you got saved, and how good Jesus has been in your life ever since. When people hear this, it may speak to their heart and allow God to move. I remember once sharing the exact date I was saved (November 11, 2007) and it convinced a young man that I was sent from God because his girlfriend left him on that very day. See? You never know how God may use your testimony!
Be encouraged to tell people what God has done in your life because he wants to do it in other people’s lives too!
2 // The Bible
Of all the books in the world, no other book has had the power to change lives and shape world history like the Bible has. We believe that it is the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:15-17), which is God’s inspired message for all people in all ages.
Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
The Word is compared to a sword in that it has an ability to cut and dissect. It separates soul from spirit, truth from lies, good from evil, God from Satan. The Bible is the standard which we hold up all things to. For this reason the message we preach in street evangelism must be biblical. We don’t preach from another religion’s “holy book” like the Islamic Koran, and we don’t preach out of a book with positive messages like “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” The Bible is God’s only written revelation to man—period.
Because of its significance, we must know what the Bible says about God, man, sin, salvation, etc. So many times I see Christians preaching in ways contrary to the Bible because they haven’t understood it themselves. Here is a saying that you can trust: Every evangelist should read their bible regularly. When you read the Bible, God will speak to you and over time he will give you wisdom about many issues that come up while witnessing. (And not only that, but you learn more about who God is and how to live for him!)
But I remind you that the main focus of evangelism is to see souls saved by believing in Jesus. One time while witnessing with my pastor I taught a homeless man how to tithe and be financially blessed. My pastor then rebuked me and sent me back to make sure that man heard about how to be saved! The Bible has many great teachings, but there is one message that can save a man from the pit of hell: It is called the Gospel.
Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”
I want to give you some passages from the Bible that teach fundamental truths about the Gospel. Take some time to read and meditate on the some of these doctrines:
God: God is holy and has perfect attributes. His perfect righteousness and justice means that he must punish all who sin. His perfect love means he has mercy and compassion on even the worst sinners.
• Isaiah 45:21-22 (There is only one God)
• Psalm 99:9; Isaiah 6:1-3; Revelation 4 (God is holy)
• Psalm 7:1-11 (God is righteous)
• Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 40:28 (God is eternal)
• Romans 8:28-38; 1 John 4:7-21 (God is love)
Sin: God created humans, heaven and earth to be perfect, but when Adam sinned against God the whole earth was corrupted with sickness, death and sorrow, and mankind inherited an evil nature.
• Genesis 3; Genesis 6:5; Romans 3:9-20, 5:12-20
Judgment: Because God is eternal his punishment for sin must also be eternal.
• Matthew 10:28; Mark 9:43; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Revelation 20:11-15
Salvation: Because of God’s love for man he came to earth as a man to save us from sin, death and hell. He makes this freely available to all.
• John 1:1-18; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Timothy 3:16 (Jesus’ incarnation)
• Isaiah 53; Matthew 20:28; Romans 5:6-8; 2 Corinthians 5:21 (Jesus died on our forgiveness)
• Romans 6:1-13; 1 Corinthians 15 (Jesus’ resurrection grants eternal life)
• Romans 5:1-12, 6:23; Galatians 3:1-9; Ephesians 2:8-9 (We receive Jesus’ salvation by grace and not by good deeds)
Mankind: In response to the Gospel, man is to…
• Mark 1:15; Luke 5:32; Acts 2:38, 17:30, 26:20 (Repent of their sins)
• John 3:16-17; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9 (Believe in Jesus as Savior)
• Matthew 16:24; (Submit to Jesus as Lord)
• John 3:1-21 (Be born again through the Holy Spirit, who enables you to live for God)
This is a biblical foundation for preaching salvation. If you have read these verses you should have no problem telling someone about how to be born again and live for God. Don’t feel pressured to fit in every last detail when sharing the Gospel, but never stray from the Bible’s message.
3 // The Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit is the 3rd Person of the Trinity. The Trinity is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are three distinct persons who make up one amazing God. I say that to remind you that the Holy Spirit is God! He is not a force or a name that Christians give it when we reach “enlightenment.” No, the Holy Spirit is the God-person who lives in the hearts of every born again believer. The Holy Spirit is God, and God is in you!
John 14:15-16, If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
Think about that. The Maker of the universe is living in you! Why try to do things in your own power if Almighty God can do it so much better?
When asked about getting out of his “comfort zone” in evangelism, my pastor didn’t bring up social fear or forgetting scriptures, but he said his comfort zone was evangelizing without the Holy Spirit. Sharing our testimonies and preaching the Bible is good, but so often evangelists make that into a strict formula and leave no room for the Holy Spirit. If you preach without the power of the Spirit, then it is pointless.
Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…”
Jesus never intended his disciples to witness without the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave himself the same limitations as a man and worked his miracles only through the Holy Spirit. We have to come to humbling truth that there are many things God can do that men cannot! If you were born again, saved and sanctified through the Holy Spirit, how do you expect others to be saved without him?
In order to be saved, people must repent of their sins. In order to repent they must realize their need to be right with God. Logical arguments cannot do that. Emotional pleas might get a few tears out of people, but they will not be changed in the long run. The only way people will repent is they are convicted, and the only One who can convict them is the Holy Spirit!
John 16:8-11, “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
1. “…in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me.” Many today say they believe in Jesus, but it’s really just a story to them. The Holy Spirit is the only One who makes the cross of Christ more than a good story. The Holy Spirit makes Jesus realer than the ground we stand on and closer than the air we breathe. When Jesus becomes real, everything changes. People see their wicked sin, because they see price Jesus paid to take it away.
2. “…in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer.” Today there is a false god that exists in people’s minds. This god doesn’t care if you live a pure life and he can’t save you in times of trouble. But the real God is holy and righteous. The Holy Spirit gives people a revelation of how great and mighty God truly is so they may be humble before him and accept his salvation.
3. “…and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” Today many teachers and cult groups are teaching that there is no hell. The Holy Spirit gives people a terrifying reminder of eternal torment that is for devil and everyone who follows him.
How to Evangelize
With this in mind, I want to give you a few practical ways to allow the Holy Spirit to speak and move through you when you evangelize (Matthew 10:20).
1. Be Prayerful: Pray throughout the day. Pray throughout the week. Pray before you witness. Pray while you witness. Pray after you witness. You can’t expect God to move in power whenever you want him to if you never spend time with him!
2. Be Holy: He’s not the “dirty spirit,” he is the Holy Spirit! You must live in purity because it is possible to grieve the Spirit and drive him away (Ephesians 4:30). You may have to cut off some ungodly entertainment or relationships that God does not approve of.
3. Be Filled: Another way is to get baptized in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11). If you haven’t been baptized in the Holy Spirit, then ask one of your church’s leaders to pray for you to receive it. If that doesn’t work, keep on asking God, and he will give it to you (Luke 11:13)! Once you have the baptism, you can pray in tongues through the Holy Spirit. Doing this in your personal time will build your faith and make you bolder in sharing your faith.
4. Be Mindful:Don’t always think you know what to say, but stop and ask “God, what are you trying to say?” God may have a very specific message he wants to speak through you that you will miss if you just keep on speaking your own ideas.
Remember, all the Holy Spirit needs to work his power is someone who will do what he says! He is saying “Step out and speak and I will take care of the hard parts!”
What are you waiting for? Go!
That’s it! Evangelism is not too difficult. You don’t have to wait “X” amount of years, have a PhD, or be with the “spiritually elite!” Today with your testimony, the Word of God and the Holy Ghost, you can go and preach to the lost and win souls for Jesus!!! Go!!!!!
- Are you saved? If yes, how do you know you’re saved?
- Does your church have an evangelism team? If so, when and where do they go to witness?
- Write down your testimony in one short paragraph.
- How often do you read your bible?
- Use at least 3 of the verses given in the chapter to tell the Gospel message in your own words.
- Why do people need to be convicted?
- Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit? If yes, describe your experience. If no, then why not?