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CHRISTIAN LIFE - WITNESSING SALVATION AS A WAY OF LIFE PART 2

Witnessing as a Way of Life - Part 2 - Matthew 28:16-20; Matthew 22:36-40

 

God desires to use your relationships as bridges to reach those close to you so they may be brought into His forever family. You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

  • Salt prevents corruption. It adds taste. It makes one thirsty.
  • Light helps people see where they are going.

God wants to use your life to show others the way and to cause others to thirst for Him, to add taste to life, and to curtail the corruption of sin that is in the world.

 

Most Christians can trace their spiritual roots to either a relative or a friend. That is because the Gospel is shared by someone trusted rather than by a stranger. The Gospel is also usually shared in an unhurried and natural context to be. The lifestyle of the well-known witness adds credibility to his or her message. The witness, being a friend, is then a natural source for nurture. And the witness's church provides effective help in follow-up and assimilation into the body of Christ.

 

At this point I must give you a word of caution about a paradoxical situation that can develop.

  • The longer you are a believer, the more opportunity you have for spiritual growth.
  • The more you grow spiritually, the more involved you become in the life of the church.
  • As you become increasingly involved in the church, you will find that you have less time to be involved with your unbelieving friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors.
  • In fact, if you're not careful, you can be lifted right out of your normal contact with them and lose your witness to them. There needs to be a balance.

So how do you build bridges back to unbelievers?

  • Discover creative ways to become re-involved with your unbelieving friends, relatives, associates and neighbors.
  • Explore systematically your current network of relationships. In every network there is at least one person who is ready to take the next step toward Christ.
  • Join a club or become involved in a community activity.
  • Take time to develop relationships with your hair dresser, insurance salesman, grocery clerk, or auto mechanic.
  • Work at getting to know neighbors.

Keep a detailed record of information about each of your contacts. Monitor your progress in developing a caring relationship with them. This will also serve as a reminder to help you pray regularly for their salvation. It is crucial that you pray regularly for your contacts. Remember that God is the one who opens hearts to the Gospel as He did for Lydia (Acts 16:14). It takes time for fruit to ripen. All fruit doesn’t ripen in the same season. The Holy Spirit is working in His own pace, so be patient and persevere in prayer.

 

When you have nothing in common with someone, you need to build a special bridge. The best way to do this is to find a need and meet it or find a hurt and heal it. People’s emotions are like pendulums, constantly moving back and forth between times of crisis and calm, between responsiveness and resistance. Those who have recently experienced a high degree of change in their lives are generally more receptive to the Gospel. Be alert and express loving concern to people at such times of need. Too many Christians suffer from a spiritual malady called "people blindness." Hurting people are all around them, but they don't see them, so they appear to be insensitive to their needs. If we are alert, times of need may prove to be divine appointments for sharing the saving message of Christ's Gospel. Be alert to any occasion where you can introduce the Gospel into the conversation naturally. In almost every situation, you can find a “springboard” into a Gospel presentation.

 

If an opportunity to share the Gospel with friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors doesn’t present itself naturally, and if you feel the time is right and ripe for a verbal presentation of the Gospel, you might invite the person(s) out to a meal, explaining that you have something exciting in your life that you want to share. You will have their undivided attention for at least an hour with no chance to “escape."

 

The occasional introduction is what we would call witnessing to strangers who probably don’t want to be bothered.  It involves three parts:

The occasion itself, the specific situation you use to raise the question of eternal life.

The 2 questions that help diagnose a person's spiritual condition—the assurance question and God’s “Why?”

You should always seek permission. If granted, this usually means the person is willing to listen.

 

This method has by far the least amount of success, probably less than 1%.  Spending large amounts of time on people you do not know may not be using your time effectively to bring people to Christ. It would make sense to witness through the development of relationships, which usually have a high percent age of success and keeps you from “spinning your wheels.”

 

Death and bad news in a person’s life often makes them open to the Gospel presentation. A person's conversation about a personal close call with death can lead you to tactfully ask if they would be certain that if they had left this life would they be in the place the Bible calls "Heaven.” A person's conversation about a tragic news headline might open the way to talk about the prevalence of bad news in the media. This, in turn, might lead you to introduce the Good News of the Gospel.

 

When people ask you to pray about something—a marriage relationship, a job opportunity, or a sick relative--they are giving an interest in spiritual matters. Listen to the need and then ask, "Are you on praying ground?” That will cause them to ask, "What do you mean?” You can reply, “It’s important that when            we pray, we are in a right place spiritually. I’d be interested to know if you have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you know that, if you were to die today, you would certain that you would be in Heaven?”

 

When people come to you for counsel, ask them about their spiritual foundation. For example, if a couple is having marriage difficulties, you might say "It's been said that the family that prays together stays together. Have you and your wife come to the place in your spiritual life where you know that for certain?” Hundreds of couples have been led to Christ after such a transition! In this case, you might want to refer them to your pastor if a Christian counselor.

 

If you want to try an approach to strangers, Elevators can be used to get into the Gospel. I once stood waiting for an elevator with a friend. I asked, "Are you going all the way up?” "No, just to the third floor,” he said. "No, I mean, when God's sweet chariot swings down low to take His people to Heaven, do you know for sure that you will go all the way up to Heaven?” Several people may hear you and be curious to hear more.

 

Seasons of the year can be used to spread the Good News. In the Fall, as things are dying, you can use death in nature and the deadness of Winter as a springboard into the topic of personal death. In Spring, as new life buds out from the deadness of Winter, you can speak of eternal life that even death cannot overcome.

 

Special holidays can be used, especially Christmas and Resurrection Day.

 

Bringing evangelism into the whole of your life does not happen automatically. Each person daily must work consciously with determination to develop a witnessing way of life. The effort begins in prayer. Each morning, survey before the Lord in prayer what you plan to do that day and the people you plan to see. Ask the Lord to begin preparing them to hear the Gospel. Ask Him to give you boldness to share as the occasion permits. As you go about your tasks, stay mindful of the people around you, looking carefully for springboard to create an opportunity to present the Good News. Be sure you carry a giveaway Bible and materials to leave with someone such as our church brochure and a tract.

 

Here is an example of a witnessing situation at the home of someone who visited the church on Sunday and filled out a Visitor Card. You are finding out (a) Their Secular Life and (b) Their Church Background and telling about (c) Our Church and giving (d) a Testimony either about the Church or you personally.

**A knock-at the door

Good morning, Mrs. Tucker. I’m xxxxxxxxxxx from Broadway Baptist Church.

**holding up the card they signed at church

We were happy that you visited us on Sunday. May we come in and visit with you?

            Why, hello. Please do come in.

Where did you move from, Mrs. Tucker?

Virginia.

            What church did you attend back in Virginia?

Baptist.

The Baptist church? Well, I knew there was something nice about you. How did you happen to attend our church?

We were looking for a church in the neighborhood. We saw your building.

What were your impressions of the service and the people?

Oh, we liked it very much. People seemed so friendly and made us feel at home. The singing is just wonderful. They seemed to really enjoy singing. The spirit was different.

If a person does not volunteer something about the church, you can simply ask,

Since you have come to a new church, do you have any questions to ask?

Then you can proceed:

Well, let me tell you about our church and its ministries. This is our brochure.

 

Here are two diagnostic or thought-provoking questions with responses you could expect:

Have you come to a place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to Heaven?

     “I don't think anyone can really know.”

 

Suppose that you were to die today and stand before God, and He were to say to you, "Why should I let you into Heaven? What would you say?

     “Well, I never thought of anything like that. I’ve gone to Sunday School and church all of my life. And I try to be as good as possible. I know that I haven’t always been perfect, but I don't think I've ever intentionally hurt anyone. And I try to love my neighbor. I don’t think I’ve been too bad.”

 

These or similar responses of doubt prepare you to continue with another question and a presentation of the Gospel. Pre-mark a Holy Bible you plan to give them with the following verses, and read from it.

 

May I share with you how I came to know for certain that I would have eternal life in Heaven and how you can know also?”

         “Yes, please do.” [Wait for a positive reply showing they’re ready to hear.]

“For many years I didn't know. I wasn't even aware that anybody knew. But let me tell you some really good news: I discovered that it is possible to know for sure. It is the greatest discovery I have ever made. It really has changed my whole life. It’s amazing how many people are anxious to know. Some Scriptures really caught my attention and can change your life--Romans 3:21-26; Romans 5:8; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:15b-17; Romans 8:28, 38-39;  Romans 10:9-12. I talk to people in all walks of life, men and women eager to know, and yet no one has taken time to explain these things to them." 

 

Share briefly how you became saved.

Then ask them to repent of their sins and accept Jesus as their personal Savior.

 

These are actual responses you can expect after sharing the Good News if the person has just been saved:

  • “After I knew I had received assurance of eternal life, many things changed in my life. The fear of death and dying is gone.”
  • “God has given me complete peace in my heart. Even in light of almost certain tragedy as I faced that danger, I knew for certain that if I were to die, I would go to Heaven. What a difference that made.”
  • “What a joy to know that if I would die right now, I would go to be with God in Heaven.”

In closing, I remind you again that witnessing is important to God as I read in Matthew 28 the verses called the Great Commission. But I believe Jesus made the importance of witnessing more personal in the simple form of parables to His disciples. The three parables in Luke chapter 15—The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and the  Lost Son—all end with the statement of the rejoicing that occurs when the lost are found—when the sinner repents as in Luke 15:10.

 

That’s why witnessing should be our way of life!

 

THE INVITATION

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.

      Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.

      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.

      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.

                     In Your name I pray, Amen.