Build Relationship (Friendship) with Them
Of course there will be times when the Lord may prompt you to go up to stranger to share the Gospel (on an airplane is a good place or perhaps even the mall or grocery store) and that is fine. But most effective evangelism is done over time and through a relationship.
The best way to do evangelsim is to simply get to know the non-Christians the Lord has providentially put in your lives. Spend some time with them; get to know them and vice versa. Do things with them that would promote good conversation:
- meet them at a coffee shop
- grab some food or drinks with them after work
- go see a movie with them and then talk about it afterwards
- invite them over for dinner
Know this though…befriending non-Christians is important but your church family is where your closest and most trusted friends are to be; and though your friendship with non-Christians can be genuine and sincere, they must always be aware that there something not right between you. Namely, that you want them to be a Christian and the fact that they are not weighs heavy on your heart!
Listen To Them
This is so important! I cannot stress this enough. Our non-Christian friends and family usually have given this whole issue of God some thought. And they may have some questions about God or some big misunderstandings about God. You’ll never hear these things if you don’t be quiet and listen to them.
Don’t be like one of the telemarketers who say their bit (or should I say novel!) and don't let you get a word in! Listening to them is huge part of evangelism!
Using evangelism methods or techniques like “The Four Spiritual Laws” or taking someone through “Romans Road” are OK. But make sure you share that with your non-Christian friend at the right time (i.e. after you have really listened to them and basically understand where they’re coming from).
It’s OK to say “I don’t know”
As you build relationships with them and engage with them in conversation about God and the way of salvation, they may bring up some things that you have never thought about or just don’t have an answer for. And that’s OK! You haven’t failed.
It’s OK to say, “You know, that’s a great question…let me get back to you on that” or “…let me introduce you to so-&-so, he may have some insight on this.” You do not have to be some theological giant to faithfully share the Gospel!
Pray For Them
Salvation is not a synergistic (the working of two) activity, it is a monergistic (the working of one) activity. Salvation from beginning to end is a work of God not man…
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Thus, if we want a family member or a friend to become a Christian, we must
go to the source of their salvation! We must bring it before the Lord in prayer.
Bring Them to Church
Non-Christians need to see God’s people in action. They need to see our loving community; they need to hear what Christians talk about, sing about, & pray about; they need to see how God-centered and God-honoring people live and act together.
Jesus said in John 13:35, “by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” They need to come here in order to see and experience that.
In addition, the Great Commission is fulfilled within & by the church! Sinners are discipled, become Christians, and get baptized within & through the church!
Christianity is a corporate venture not an individual one! There no such thing as a “lone ranger Christian.” And our unsaved friends need to know that and see it in action!
Remember that Tomorrow Is not Promised
You will only have children living in your home for so long…
You will only be working with that person for so long…
You will only live next door to that individual for so long…
The length of our relationships with our unsaved friends and family is unknown to us. And in addition to that, we do not know how long we or they will be alive. Tomorrow is not promised to us and as CS Lewis once said, “100% of us die and that percentage cannot be improved.”
We need to share the Gospel with them soon.
Know Your Role in Evangelism
It is our role to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, that we are great sinners and have failed to keep God’s law; but that Christ is an even greater Savior than we are sinners and that we can be saved from the wrath of God for our sins by believing in His death on our behalf.
It is not our role to convert the person that is job of the Holy Spirit!
1 Corinthians 3:6-7Looking at the story of Jesus and the rich young ruler in Mark 10, we find great encouragement and instruction as to our role in evangelism.
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of
God.” 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
With man the miracle of salvation is impossible! Only God can save a sinner, show him his failures in obeying the law of God, and reveal to him the true meaning of the cross. We are simply the messengers, the witnesses!
Evangelizing the lost is a lot like the job of the postman (or post-woman), we just deliver the message. We don’t write it, we don’t change it, we don’t pay for it…God took care of all that. We just faithfully deliver the mail – the message of the Gospel – God takes care of the rest!
Seek To Glorify God by Being Completely Satisfied In Him
Chances are that these people who we are evangelizing are close to us or see us often (like children or other family members, co-workers, neighbors, friends, etc…). They see us, they see how we live, and they know how we act.
If Christ is not the satisfaction of our hearts, will people really believe us when we share His words, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall not thirst” (Jn. 6:35)?
We show people how wonderful God is when it is visible to them that we do not follow the lusts and desires of this world because we are complete (satisfied) in Him.
Our non-Christian friends and family should see that God is all-encompassing to us. That there nothing more important to us than God and that the greatest longings in our hearts are satisfied and complete in God.
Jonathan Edwards talked very much about the glorious satisfaction found only in Christ. And when it came to evangelizing the lost this is what he had to say:
“We come with double forces against the wicked to persuade them to a godly life. The common way is the “profitableness” of Religion. But alas, the wicked man is not in pursuit of profit, ‘tis pleasure he seeks. Now then, we will fight them with their own weapons.”
In other words, if the wicked want pleasure let’s show them "the Fountain of Pleasure," God Himself the only source of true and eternal pleasure. Their pleasure only makes them happy until the next morning. Let’s show them how wonderful God is by glorify God in everything that we do by being satisfied in Him!
Meditate On the Gospel (“Preach the Gospel to Yourself” ~ Jerry Bridges)
Read and reflect on the gospels. In his book called Holiness, JC Ryle wrote, “Now the Gospels were written to make us acquainted with Christ. The Holy Ghost has told us the story of His life and death, His sayings and His doings, four times over. Four different inspired hands have drawn the picture of the Savior. His ways, His manners, His feelings, His Wisdom, His grace, His patience, His love, His power are graciously unfolded to us by four different witnesses. Ought not the patient be familiar with the physician? Ought not the bride be familiar with the bridegroom? Ought not the sinner be familiar with the Savior? Beyond doubt it ought to be so. The Gospels were written make men familiar with Christ, and therefore I wish men to study the Gospels….Surely we cannot know this Christ too well! Surely there is not a word, nor deed, nor day, nor step, nor thought in record of His life, which ought not to be precious to us. We should labor to be familiar with every line that is written about Jesus.”
Study such theological topics as atonement, propitiation, justification, redemption, reconciliation and salvation.
Read books on the cross like:
- The Cross of Christ by John Stott
- The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
- The Murder of Jesus by John MacArthur
- Saved from What? By RC Sproul
- The Power of the Cross of Christ by Charles Spurgeon.
Lastly, Review Your Conversion Often and Never Grow too Familiar with the Grace You’ve Experienced.
In Luke 7:47 Jesus says, “but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” The more familiar we become with our conversation, the more we neglect to ponder upon our sinfulness and the amazing grace of God, the less we will want to love and serve God. When we realize how much we have been forgiven of, we can’t help but to love God and joyfully share his Gospel with the lost!