Going Deeper with the Message:
The Power of Personal Story
by: Ben Biles
I think for most of us, we get nervous when we think about sharing the gospel. We worry that we won’t communicate it in the right way. Or that the other person will get offended. Or that our friends and workmates will only think of us as that “religious person” and want nothing to do with us. All of these worries and fears have kept us from sharing the most important truth of all time, and when we’re reminded of that, we feel shame. Because of this, most of us choose to ignore it and leave the evangelizing to the church staff.
Yet, the truth is that God has called all believers into ministry. Paul writes in Ephesians, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11–12). Jesus gifts people within the church for the purpose of equipping all the saints, which is what Paul calls believers in his letters. As saints, or believers, we are all called to ministry by our Heavenly Father and are able to experience the absolute joy of sharing our faith. Plus, when every believer is involved in spreading the gospel, the church multiples its ability to spread the gospel by 100.
So, how can we be confident in our ability to share the gospel with others? How do we get over those fears that hinder us? Well, this past weekend, Pastor Tim talked about the tools available to us that are useful in helping us share our faith with other people. He mentioned three in particular: 1) the Holy Spirit, 2) our own personal story, and 3) the church.
First, Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will give us the right words to say when we give witness to the truth of the gospel. It is by the Spirit’s power that anyone is persuaded of the gospel truth. We can be comforted that God’s own Spirit is with us when we share our faith.
Alongside the Spirit, there is nothing more powerful than talking about our own personal story of coming to know Christ. When we communicate about anything life-changing, people want to know, “Does it really work?” So when we share how Jesus truly turned our life around, saving us from sin and death and giving us purpose and meaning in a relationship with God, others latch on to the power of that personal experience. They think that, “If it worked for you, then it can also work for me.” Our personal story gives context to the truth of the gospel. It’s more than just facts and belief statements. We admit our past sinfulness, but point to God’s salvation through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Finally, when we get involved in a church community that is actively talking about faith within their life, it becomes natural for us. We no longer fear bringing up spiritual topics, but delight in discussing the truth that changed our life. When we together live and speak in a way that displays the goodness of God, we show all people the power of God’s life-changing salvation. These tools are the same three that believers have used for centuries to share their faith. They truly work and will help you share your faith and change lives.
Living out the Message:
By Ben Biles
It’s not always easy to share our faith with others. In fact, just thinking about doing that makes some of us start sweating in nervous fear. The truth is that many of us don’t feel gifted with the ability to share the gospel in a way that would make an impact on nonbelievers. Yet, I think a mistake we usually make is thinking primarily of sharing faith in a one-on-one conversation. While that does happen and can be effective, I have found that for all believers, the gospel is best shared through the actions and words of the church community as a whole.
Throughout the two millennia since the creation of the church, the most persuasive form of the gospel is seen in the love of believers for others. The church is the main source of evidence for Jesus’ power as it shows so many changed lives and how their faith affects the way they relate to other believers. Individuals can be discounted, but an entire community is harder to disbelieve. The church is a community that is built of broken people, who were formerly strangers, who were all redeemed by the Savior and brought into the family of God together. We are brothers and sisters in the faith and together, we proclaim the gospel through our lives.
This is why Paul writes, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). When all believers in the local church live in this way, then they build incredible unity in their relationships which display the love of Christ. The church body functionally shows the world that a relationship with Jesus changes lives and we become invitational through the way we love each other. When others see that, they want to know why we are the way we are, and through that, the gospel is shared.
In this way, all believers can be involved in sharing their faith in a way in which they can feel effective and useful. We simply need to be involved with other believers in a united, caring community and then live in such a way that communicates how the love and grace of God has changed our lives.