Why Every Christian Can Evangelize, part 2

You can read the first part of this article here.

In part one I asserted that if a person has understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ well enough to believe it savingly, then he or she should be able to communicate the Gospel to others. Obviously they can’t be expected to share the Gospel beyond their age, maturity, intellectual, or theological level. But if they have believed the Gospel, they should be able to express what they have believed.

A person who is unable to share the Gospel that they claim to believe casts serious doubts on the nature of their faith and the authenticity of their salvation.

Then why can’t many genuine believers express the Gospel?

So maybe many who wrongly think themselves to be Christians cannot communicate the Gospel because they’ve never really encountered a clear presentation of the Gospel, or they did not understand it, or they have never experienced the saving power of the Gospel. But what about those who give much evidence of being a born-again believer in Jesus and likewise seem unable to faithfully share the message of salvation they say they’ve believed?

I’m convinced many true Christians doubt their ability to verbalize the gospel because after their conversion they were never asked, in the words of 1 Pet. 3:15, to “give an account of the hope that is in” them. From the very beginning of their own relationship with Him they’ve never had to talk to anyone—not even their pastor or another Christian—about knowing Christ. As a result, with the passing of time they’ve come to believe they can’t share the Gospel (because they never have shared it before).

My own experience

In my own case, when I presented myself to make a public profession of faith in Christ and to become a candidate for baptism, all that was required of me was to nod my head at the right time to certain questions. No one ever asked me why I had presented myself or what I believed. Everyone assumed that I adequately understood the gospel and had responded with true repentance and faith.

In the years that followed, when I would move to a different city and present myself for membership in another church, the people there assumed I had been sufficiently examined in my previous church. While admitting me to membership in their church, they did not verify that I knew the basic message of the church. In other words, no one asked, “How did you become a Christian?,” listening for my understanding of the Gospel in my testimony.

I’m convinced that this pattern has been repeated in the lives of countless Christians who eventually believe they cannot express the Gospel clearly because they’ve never done so before.

Is the problem a lack of training?

Some would contend that most Christians cannot adequately share the Gospel without formal training in evangelism. I’m for evangelism training. I’ve participated in it, led it, recommend it, and think churches should have it. But training is not necessary before you can tell someone about Jesus and your own testimony.

In John 9 we read of a man born blind who, within an hour after his conversion, is witnessing to Ph.D.’s in religion (the Pharisees). Obviously he’d had no evangelism training, but he was able to talk about Jesus and his own conversion. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones used to say, after being saved and after hearing countless presentations of the Gospel in sermons, if Christians still believe they need massive amounts of specialized training before they can evangelize, then either they have heard very poor preaching or they have been very poor listeners.

Here’s help

But it does boost one’s confidence in sharing the gospel to know a general outline of what to say and to have some appropriate verses of Scripture committed to memory. Several years ago I developed an outline to hang my thoughts on, along with at least two key verses for each point. I don’t follow it woodenly in every situation, for each evangelistic encounter is unique. And sometimes I condense it a bit. But having a full presentation of the gospel ready on my lips does give me a sense of direction and a feeling of preparedness.

You’re welcome to adapt the outline for use in your own personal evangelism, and you can find it by clicking here. And if you aren’t sure of the Gospel yourself, you are warmly invited to read the outline as well.

Have you believed the Gospel, the message about what God has done through the life and death and resurrection of Jesus? If so, you can evangelize. Just tell people the message that brought about your own relationship with God. Then invite them to turn from trusting in what they have done to be acceptable to God and to believe that what Jesus has done will bring them into a relationship with God.

You can read the first part of this article here.

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