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FAITH (Believing) comes by hearing.
So we must specifically PREACH / TELL / WITNESS the Gospel (Not just live it out) for people to be saved.
The gospel must be preached and heard.
Then it must be received and BELIEVED for one to be saved.
An explicit example of this runs through the book of ACTS.
In Acts chapter 3-4.
This chapter begins with Peter and John walking into the temple and there was the lame man from birth at the entrance and Paul said Look at me, silver and gold I have not but what I have, I will give. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up. And the man got up. He ran into the temple and people got interested in how he started walking again. They began to gather around Peter and John and they seized this opportunity to preach the gospel to them. While they was still preaching in chapter 4. The priests, captain and Sadducee were disturbed that they were preaching about the resurrection of Jesus (remember this is very important and the same reason why many refuse to believe) so they arrested them. Was their preaching in vain? Pay attention to verse 4.
Let’s read Acts 4:1-4
The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 3 They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. 4 But many who HEARD the message BELIEVED; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.
Isn’t this amazing?
Peter and John couldn’t even round up their preaching with an altar call and didn’t get the time to pray the salvation prayer with people. They were lead straight to prison but YET, “Many who HEARD the message BELIEVED and the number of believers grew to about 5000”
They HEARD and BELIEVED.
Another example was in Acts 10: 1-48 when Peter went to see Cornelius (a Gentile) after he saw a vision. We will begin reading from verse 39.
39 “We are witnesses of everything he (Jesus) did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who HEARD the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
So we can see that all they did was heard and the Holy Spirit came upon them while Peter was still speaking. And we know that they also believed (which is salvation) because, only a person who believes in the gospel of Christ Jesus can be baptized in/with the Holy Spirit (This was previously talked about in this series. Click here to learn more about the different types of baptisms).
Hence, the altar calls and salvation prayer that we do today in churches or during evangelism is just simply the confession part and I fear it has become the gold standard for one to be saved. The gospel itself is the power of God to save all those who BELIEVES in it (Romans 1: 16) Not all who come out for altar calls or say a salvation prayer. Before we ask people to say a prayer or come out to the front of the church, did we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them first? Do they understand the gospel? Do they believe it? Or are we just “saving souls” with skillful, emotional, inspirational words and human wisdom?
This saves NO-ONE.
Only the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ saves and keeps one saved.
The BELIEVING of the gospel in the heart must occur before the confession from the mouth or public declaration. Or we just confessed and professed vainly. Then we wonder later down the line why such person walked away from the faith or never seems to have a lifestyle change or any form of spiritual growth. It is because they were never saved.
And unfortunately, the church (all of us) are the cause. We ain’t preaching accurately. We ain’t preaching with power. We ain’t preaching urgently. We ain’t invested in the saving of others souls as we ought to be.
We must do better.
We must PREACH not just live or sing the gospel. You gotta SAY it and it has to be HEARD.
We’ve watered -down the need to preach the gospel by telling people, “You don’t have to preach it. Just live it out. Your life itself may be the only bible someone reads. Blah blah blah.”
We are being very lazy and complacent Christians when we do and encourage this.
The Bible gives explicit examples of how people got saved. They actually HEARD the gospel preached not just lived out by the apostles and disciples of Christ.
So, long story short, you gotta use words and preach it or take a pen to a paper and write it down and share it or take your phone and type it out and share it.
“Living it out” is not enough.
Also, it is important to note that the gospel is not your personal testimony or salvation story. It is not the story of how you came to know Jesus or your personal encounter with Jesus. These testimonies and stories are important and beautiful and can help start a conversation with a someone. But please keep in mind that these are not the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The gospel message is very specific. It is about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 15: 3-4; John 3:16). It is important to remember this as you go around evangelizing and sharing the gospel.
Now, that we know we gotta preach the gospel with our words and it is not a personal testimony and story, let’s talk about some practical ways to share the gospel of Christ Jesus.
I am very aware that some of us are extroverts and more outgoing than others who are introverts and enjoy their own personal space. But nothing should keep you from share the gospel with someone not even your temperament or personality.
Nevertheless, sharing the gospel with a stranger can be scary and awkward and just weird. I get it. Trust me, I have felt it all.
But you gotta ask yourself, “Is my fear, awkwardness (whatever feelings you’ve got) greater and more important that a person’s soul, a person’s life and a person’s eternity?”
Here are some practical ways you can share the gospel
- Just share it! – Yep! Start a conversation. I have found it’s always easier when you start a conversation by asking someone about themselves and you get to know them. And slowly ease the conversation to sharing the gospel.
- Share your testimony and salvation story – I know I said earlier that the gospel is not your testimony and salvation story but it is a great start. Just make sure you include exactly what the gospel is while you share your story. Don’t get carried away.
- Form a relationship and share the gospel often – This is sometimes necessary because it takes constant hearing for some people to really hear and believe.
- Uber evangelism – I recently did and enjoyed this. I have found this to be so amazing. I know you want a quiet ride to your destination. But this is a golden opportunity right here. So, rather than sitting in the back seat, intentionally sit in front with your driver and engage them in a conversation and you know the goal, share the gospel.
- Take an intentional trip to the grocery store or mall and share the gospel with someone
- Go with a friend – I have found this to help with the nerves, scariness and weird. Faith sharpens faith. Iron sharpens iron. So, go with a fellow laborer in Christ and win some souls.
- Share the gospel via writing – You can write on your social media platforms, blog (as I am doing now), text message or write a letter especially to people in prisons or far away places. Thank God for civilization. We can reach and share the gospel farther and faster.
- Record a voice note and send it. – If you are more comfortable doing this, please do. Just share the gospel.
- Add yours in the comment section – If you know of more practical ways to share the gospel, please share in the comment section. I’ll like to know too.
- Who is an unbeliever? – One question I had when I first started going to stores and malls to evangelize was, “How will I know who is an unbeliever and who is already a believer?” Well, you won’t know and honestly it does not matter. Because whether someone is an unbeliever or a believer, we all need to hear and keep hearing the gospel. The gospel is a message of salvation to the unbeliever and a message of exhortation, encouragement, hope, love and faith to the believer. So, just go out there and share it with ALL.
- What if they do not believe immediately? Sweetheart that is fine. Do not be discouraged by this. You have done you part. You have water or planted. God is the one who brings about the growth. Move on to the next soil and keep that brother or sister in prayer.
- Remember the gospel itself is the POWER of God to save. It is not dependent on your persuasive words. Share that word with FAITH and let the gospel do its job. A friend of mind puts it like this in Yoruba, “Ko ma e ti gbo ni” meaning, “They just shouldn’t hear it.” For if and when they hear it, the gospel does it’s work.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16).
- Hey! Practice makes perfect. The first couple of times might not go so smoothly. But don’t stop. Don’t be discouraged. Keep at it.
- Remember, God is with you. You are not sharing the gospel alone. So, do not fear. Don’t be discouraged. Share the gospel with joy and love.
In the next part of this series, I’ll share a Q&A on the gospel of Jesus Christ. This will help simplify all the content we’ve been discussing these past few months and also you get started on answering some questions that you might be asked when YOU share the gospel.
You are eternally loved.