Hello and I’m glad you’re back for our final installment in our series on the five habits of a healthy Christian. We’re going to talk about our fifth habit now, which is sharing your faith. When we talk about sharing your faith, the ideal and fullest expression of this is that we would have an opportunity to share the gospel with someone and invite them to trust in Christ. But I think that this habit can include all of the steps that typically lead up to this as well. It starts with praying for the lost, for people you know who do not know Jesus Christ. It involves building relationships with people, caring for them, and listening to them. It can also include inviting people to come to a church service with you, or to a Bible study or other ministry of the church. The point is, we should be in the habit of asking God to use us to share our faith with others, and we should be responsive to every opportunity God gives us to do it.
Biblical Basis of Evangelism
When we encourage you to engage in personal evangelism, there’s an important assumption we’re making that is important to discuss here. The reason we need to evangelize is because people are truly lost. We’re all born into a state of sin and separation from God. Something needs to happen in order for that to change. We need to be converted. We need to respond to an invitation to trust in Jesus Christ. We have to make a choice, to place our faith in Him for salvation. Not everyone believes this. Some people believe there are many ways to God, that’s called pluralism. Others believe that you just need to be a good person and respond to the truth in whatever religion you follow in order to be saved. That is called inclusivism. But the Christian tradition has consistently taught what is now called “exclusivism.” That means that there is only one way to God, and that is through explicitly calling on the name of Christ in order to be saved.
Let me show you a few examples in Scripture where we see this in action. In Acts 2, after Peter preaches about the resurrection of Christ on Pentecost, the Bible tells us that many of those listening “were cut to the heart” and asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter could have said, “Well, just be a good person.” Or “Just do your best to respond to God, however that makes sense to you.” But no, he didn’t say that. He said very clearly, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). Repentance and faith in the name of Jesus Christ are required for God’s forgiveness, for salvation.
In the book of Romans, Paul explains the logic of why evangelism is necessary. He says in Romans 10:9 that you must “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” in order to “be saved.” Why? Because of this principle, which he explains in the next verse: “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:10). For people to believe, they need to hear the gospel, and for them to hear the gospel, someone needs to tell them (Romans 10:13–14). That’s where we come in!
The church’s mission is to share the gospel with the nations, and to bring them under the teaching and lordship of Jesus Christ. That’s what the Great Commission tells us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20).
Jesus also instructs the apostles just before his ascension how to proceed with this mission, to start locally and work their way outward: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). People all over the world need to hear the gospel in order to be saved, and God is calling and empowering us to be the ones to tell them the Good News that there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
The Great Commission is way too big for one person to do alone. It takes all of us, a whole team, to be able to accomplish it. That’s true even of a whole church staff of full-time paid ministers. There’s always going to be way more ministry to do than what the church staff can accomplish. This is why our job as evangelists, shepherds, and teachers is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:11–12). The church’s ministers are called to equip each of you to be able to build up the body and spread the gospel.
The apostle Peter also encourages each of us to always be ready to share Christ. He tells the church they should “always [be] prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you,” giving an explanation for your faith “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). So this underscores that we need to be prepared, we need to know our faith well and we need to have an eagerness and readiness to share. We also need to undertake sharing in the right spirit, showing kindness and respect, modeling in our disposition the goodness and righteousness of Christ himself.
Finally, we shouldn’t expect that evangelism will just happen naturally. It’s something we have to constantly work at, constantly think about, and renew desire to pursue it. If our love for the Lord grows cold, then so will our pursuit of His mission. I think of the letter Christ sent to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2. He commends them for their works, their endurance, and their good judgment. “But,” he says, “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4). It’s not enough to stay in a tight knit Christian group. If you love the Lord, you will love His mission. You will continually want to share it through word and deed, in any way you can.
Biblical Examples of Evangelism
When we look for examples of evangelism in Scripture, one of the best places to look is the book of Acts. The apostles shared Christ with all kinds of people, from all walks of life. In Acts 10, Peter was given a vision and came to understand that the gospel was for the Gentiles, not just for the Jews. He was then able to share Christ with Cornelius and his entire household. Later, in Acts 16 and 17, Paul shares the gospel with a string of people. With Lydia, a wealthy businesswoman from Thyatira. With a jailer’s entire family in Philippi. And then with a group of philosophers in Athens. Acts ends with Paul giving a series of speeches to Roman governors, where he essentially uses the Roman court system as his own platform for sharing his Christian testimony. This shows us that we can use any opportunity, wherever we are, to share the gospel with others.
A Biblical Method for Evangelism
There are many good approaches to sharing your faith with others. The classic one in Baptist circles is the “Romans road,” which is based on a series of verses drawn from Romans. Or there’s the “Four Spiritual Laws” or “Evangelism Explosion,” and many others. Recently at our church, we’ve been training people in the Three Circles approach. It basically goes like this:
- We departed from God’s good design through sin, which has led to brokenness
- We can be healed from our brokenness by repenting and believing the gospel
- Through the gospel, we are able to recover and pursue God’s good design
Really, God can work through any of these methods, as long as the key points from Scripture are woven in. Try to memorize the one that makes the most sense to you and have a quick way to sketch it out for others.
Practical Guidance & Encouragement
Now I want to offer a little practical guidance as we conclude talking about habit 5, sharing your faith.
First, I want to encourage you to pray. Prayer is how evangelism begins and the only way that it can ever be effective. Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, wrote about this in a little book called True Evangelism. He argued, on the basis of many passages in Scripture, that, “All evangelism must begin with prayer” and “no human service, or device, can take the place of … intercession…” This is because “[w]ithout prayer there can be little understanding and vision of the Gospel, even though faithfully presented.” Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers, who are spiritually dead. It is God’s responsibility, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to open their eyes and enliven their hearts. We can’t save people! We can’t make dead people alive. But when we pray, we call on the power of Heaven to do that work through us in the lives of others. And by God’s grace, He answers that prayer and does that work in their hearts.
A practical way to keep evangelism and outreach on your mind is to write down specific names of people in your life who don’t know Christ. These can be people who are acquaintances or they can be coworkers, close friends, or family members. But keep a list of names and pray for them regularly, that God would save them and that He would give you opportunities to build your relationship and share your faith. Many people in our church have told stories about praying for specific people for years or even decades before they finally came to know the Lord.
I think you’ll be amazed over time how this habit of personal evangelism and prayer for others begins to change your heart and how you see the world. You will begin to see every area of your life and every interaction as an opportunity to share. I know people at our church share with people at the bus stop, or people in an Uber, or the barista at a coffee shop, or people in their neighborhood. They have this habit, and so they find opportunities that fly right by most of us. But there are always opportunities to share and also opportunities to invite. A great way to share with someone and to build your friendship is to invite them to come to church with you! Being around a Christian community can be a powerful witness to the gospel.
As we close, I just want to remind you why we want to develop this spiritual habit of sharing our faith. It’s out of gratitude for what Christ has done for us. When you consider the immensity of His love and mercy on us, how could we do anything less than invite others to know Him as well? It should be the natural outflow of a redeemed heart and mind.
Well of course there’s much more that could be said, and there are many more spiritual habits and disciplines that you could begin as you mature in your walk with the Lord. But I hope the five habits of a healthy Christian give you a great starting point, or a good grounding in the fundamentals. We want God’s best for you here at the First Dallas iCampus, and I hope that you will let us know how God begins to work in your life as you practice these habits!