Tonight I was watching several videos on http://www.youtube.com/ of street preachers and a little of “The Way of the Master” program with Paul Washer on evangelism. I also browsed several books at Amazon on evangelism. There are so many books ranging from Dr. Robert Coleman’s classic, The Master Plan of Evangelism to Steve Sjogren’s books on servant evangelism to Che Ahn’s book on power evangelism. There are web sites, sermons, books, and much more on evangelism and yet I believe the one area that I face the most when it comes to evangelism is not the amount of literature and knowledge available to me but it is simply one word: fear.
I will admit that I am fearful to share my faith. Is that a sin? I do pray for the lost (and there are books on prayer evangelism as well). I do long for the lost to come to Christ and I long for the gospel to go forth as commanded by Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20). I pray almost daily for people that I know to become Christians but how often do I open up and share my faith? Hardly ever.
Why admit this on a blog that people can read? Because if you are like me, you would probably admit that you are fearful to share your faith as well. For many disciples it is not a question of not wanting to share their faith but simply having the boldness to do so. Let me make this clear: I have shared my faith but do I honestly share it enough? No! I read and pray the promises of God such as Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion” (ESV) and I also pray Acts 1:8 and Acts 4:29 yet I find that I am still fearful. Scared of what? Rejection? Probably but fearful that I will not share the gospel as I should (correctly) and scared that my life will become a life that will always be examined from then on by the one I share my faith with.
Believe me, I know that God desires to save the lost (2 Peter 3:9). I believe that those without Christ will die in their sins and receive the wages for their sin: death (Romans 6:23). I do believe that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life and that no-one can come to the Father without coming through the Son (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:1-7). I know my theology. I believe that it is the duty of the Church to preach the gospel to every nation (Mark 16:15-16; Romans 1:16-17; 10:9-17). But how does that effect me? Does it cause me to want to share my faith even more? Most the time I must admit that I have the head knowledge but not the heart to tell others about Jesus my Saviour.
Timidity, I have heard, has no place in the Christian life. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV). And yet I find that I am fearful about sharing my faith. While those around me continue in their sins, I sit quietly reading my Bible. While those around me are heading toward an eternity without Christ, I read my theology books and debate Calvinists. While the world walks in line with the devil, I read my books on evangelism but never tell anyone that I am.
So bottom line is this: I find that I am in Romans 7 when it comes to evangelism. I want to make disciples. I pray that God would indeed use me to share my faith but I must open my mouth and tell others about Jesus Christ. I know that many say that the art of personal evangelism is to live what you believe. I also know that many would add that we must not be bound up under condemnation because of the burden of sharing our faith (Romans 8:1). I also believe that God is sovereign in salvation and that I must not fret when others reject my message as J.I. Packer lays out in his classic work, Evangelism & The Sovereignty of God [Editor’s note: Packer’s book uses a Calvinist rather than an Arminian/biblical definition of God’s sovereignty in that book]. Yet tonight my heart longs to share my faith and I do long for others to come to Christ and be saved by his grace. Does your heart long for the same?
[This post was taken from Roy Ingle’s blog, Arminian Today.]