Don’t you sometimes wish that all you needed to do to bring someone to Christ is say, “Now is the day of salvation!”? Your friend, family member, or co-worker would just fall to their knees, weeping, and cry out, “What must I do to be saved!?” You’d give them the Four Spiritual Laws, lead them in the sinner’s prayer, slap them on the back, and carve another notch in your Bible.
Ridiculous? Indeed! In this article, I’m attempting to answer the question,
“What do I need to do to encourage another person
to believe in God; to come to know Jesus as I do?”
Actually, many do believe in God; they just don’t know Him by the name of Jesus. So what’s your plan this year? Did you happen to read my article last month? I encouraged readers to make it a top resolution to win and grow a disciple in 2017. I hope the following ideas will help with this goal.
Let’s follow 1 Peter 3:15, the theme verse for Win and Grow Ministries. The part you remember, the part many of us cringe at, is “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Did you know that there are two more statements in the passage? (No fair looking ahead!)
Here’s a 3 part plan, based on this passage, from a well-seasoned Peter, written towards the end of his life:
- “In your heart(s) set apart Christ as Lord.” This 1st sentence is the most important of the three. Some of you know that I’ve written a 50-day devotional – seven weeks and a day. The first twenty-one days are based on this short phrase. Don’t worry, I’ll summarize. This statement is actually a rewording of the greatest commandment to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. When we understand and deeply receive the fact that we are precious beyond measure to God, then we are compelled to love Him back the same way – with everything that we are, have, or ever will be! We learn how He made us. We become intimately familiar with our own ongoing, never-ending Jesus story. He alone is the King of our lives! God’s purpose becomes ours. THEN, we can ….
- “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Until I have set apart Christ in my heart as Lord, I cannot hope to encourage someone else to believe in Him as Savior and Lord. The passage says to share the reason for the hope that YOU have. Sharing your faith isn’t hard! God will put you in contact with people who need to hear your story. Be ready to share it! How did you come to know Jesus? What’s He doing in your life right now? How else can you “be prepared?” Knowing some Bible verses like John 3:16 and 1st John 1:9 will be helpful. Do you interact with people with a different religion? You can learn about it and where it’s off from the biblical message of salvation. But the main way to “be prepared” is to love the person you want to witness to and pray for him or her. THEN, watch for the Holy Spirit to open the door for you “to give the reason…”
- “But do this with gentleness and respect.” That’s part three of this wonderful passage. Isn’t that exactly how we want to witness? Most of us are not aggressive Bible thumpers. We’re not supposed to approach people that way. We respect them. We don’t just preach. “Gentleness and Respect” One of the greatest secrets of winning someone to Christ is to be a good listener! When you listen, you get to know a person. THEN, you’re prepared to share your faith. You have rapport. You have a friendship.
1-Love God. 2-Love People. 3-Share the Gospel with gentleness and respect.
Is that it? No, not at all! Ask yourself this question? “Do I love _____________ enough to help him/her grow in their faith?” That’s right. We are called to grow disciples, not just make spiritual babies. Be prepared to stick with your friend. They need to become solid in their relationship with Jesus. THEN, they will want to prepare themselves to win and grow a disciple too!
The theme for “FAITH UNLIMITED” this month, a monthly online magazine where my blogs also are published, is “DON’T WAIT…DO IT NOW!”
ONE — Commit or recommit your life fully to Jesus.
TWO — Prepare yourself to be ready to share the Gospel as the Lord leads.
THREE — Share the reason for the hope that you have with gentleness and respect.
SO, AGAIN: DON’T WAIT…DO IT NOW!