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Friday, June 17, 2005

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT - FRIDAY: Having Courage To Tell Others About Christ.

“God has honored this generation as He has never honored a generation before. He has thrown dazzling opportunities before it. He has flung wide open for it the doors of access to all parts of His world and has laid at its feet every possible advantage and facility.” - J. Lovell Murray.

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The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. - 2Pet 3:9. (ESV)

After lack of motivation, a major reason why more people do not engage in personal evangelism is the fear of rejection. The fear of being turned down, laughed at, or looked upon by others as "religious fanatics" has hindered many Christians in their efforts to tell others about Christ.

How does one overcome the fear of rejection? I would like to share several thoughts that have been helpful to me, the first being...

TRY TO PLEASE GOD, NOT PEOPLE
We should keep in mind the words of the apostle Paul, who in wrote...
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. - Gal 1:10.

If we are serious in our desire to be the servants of Christ, then we must make sure it is God we are trying to please, and not people. This is not to suggest that we give no thought as to how to be more pleasing in our appearance or presentation of the gospel, but it does mean that we should be more concerned about what God thinks, rather than what people may think.

PRAY FOR BOLDNESS

Paul was one who wrote about his own fears when it came to sharing the gospel with others (1 Co 2:1-3). But he believed in the power of prayer to provide boldness and solicited the prayers of others as well in this regard (Ep 6:18-19). In this he was not alone, for when Peter and John had been threatened, they returned to their company and together prayed for boldness, and the Lord answered their prayer (Ac 4:29-31)!

So as we prepare ourselves to engage in personal evangelism, if we find ourselves lacking courage, then let our preparation include diligent prayer for boldness. Even as you walk up to the door, or approach someone you plan to invite to services or to offer a Bible study, say a short prayer asking God to give you the boldness necessary to say what you have planned to say.


SOME PRINCIPLES FOR WITNESSING
Start out sharing Christ in a way
which will not bring you face to face with people. Select some tract or tracts you feel are good and carry them in your pocket, purse, or car. When you go into a public restaurant, leave it on your table when you leave. When writing letters to friends, relatives, drop a tract in the envelope. Include one even in the bills you pay!


Leave a tract in a phone box, at a shop, on the seat of a taxi or bus, in a restroom. What happens to the tract may no longer concern you; you've sown the seed and done what you are supposed to do. It may be thrown in the waste paper basket and someone else may fish it out and take it home and his neighbour may come over and read it.

I know of a cleaner who was cleaning a bathroom, saw a tract and read it, later obeying the gospel and is today preaching the gospel ! Another case involved a woman who was visiting her daughter, saw a tract on the coffee table that had been sent through the mail, read it and contacted the person who sent it, later obeying the gospel (even though her daughter, the original recipient of the tract, had no interest in it!. This is one way that the written word lasts longer than the spoken word!

Let your light shine naturally when around non-Christians (Mt 5:16). Not to make a spectacle of yourself, but to quietly confess through your actions and normal speech that you are a Christian. There is a difference between doing things to be seen of people (condemned by Jesus), and doing things that are seen by people (commanded by Jesus). Some examples:

When you eat in public places, offer thanks for your food. This can be done silently, with a bowed head.

Keep a Bible with you at all times and don't be ashamed to be seen reading it. At work on your desk, keep a Bible; in your purse, pocket or coat, keep a New Testament and read it as you have opportunity.

In our conversation we can identify ourselves with Christ. Casually make mention of things which indicate your faith in God. A friend at work has confided in you with a problem; tell him in all sincerity, "I will keep you in my prayers."

In everyday conversation you might mention some important point made by the preacher, or what you gleaned from your own private study. In making plans with others, use the expression "Lord willing..." Give credit to the Lord when the occasion calls for it ("I thank the Lord for my good health").

Casual conduct and expressions like these when done sincerely, not only help to build courage, they often serve as "opportunities" for people to inquire about your faith.

Identify who you are and personally hand your friend (prospect) a tract, cassette or video. You are not directly teaching yet (only using "indirect" teaching methods), but you are beginning to face people. Some examples of how this can be done:

Give a tract to a friend and say, "This is a short explanation of the gospel of Christ. We've been friends for sometime now and I would like for you to read this and tell me what you think."

Ask them if they are interested in studying the Bible on their own time, at their own pace, in their home. Offer to give them a cassette or video tape of a sermon and ask them if they would be interested in hearing what the Bible says about (any subject)...

At this point you are actively involved in sharing the gospel with others, even though you may only use "indirect" methods. From here, you may decide to try to set up Bible studies to be taught by yourself, or to set up studies for others to teach.

By Having The Courage To Tell Others About Christ You Overcome The Fear Of Rejection!

Loving Father, I thank you that it is your will that none should perish. Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit to do my part. I ask for boldness Lord, that I may witness for you. Grant me opportunities to bring this witness in Jesus mighty name I pray!

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