Week 17: Share the Gospel, Near and Far
The Bible tells us that after
Jesus died, God raised him from the dead. For a period of forty days after
that, Jesus appeared to his disciples to show them that he was indeed alive. He
met with them, talked to them, and ate with them. Then came the day when he
would be taken back to heaven. Before Jesus left, he promised his apostles
that, in a few days, they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. He also
promised that when the Holy Spirit came they would have power, and they would
be his witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of
the earth (Acts 1:3-11).
The rest of the book of Acts,
therefore, serves as a testimony of the fulfillment of these two promises.
Chapter 2 is a record of how the apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit.
It also shows how, immediately after that, the apostles began telling the
people in Jerusalem
that Jesus, whom they had condemned to die on the cross, was risen.
The other chapters in the book show how, over time, the apostles and other
disciples went beyond Jerusalem
to tell other people about Jesus and the meaning of his death and resurrection.
Today, we have, by the grace of
God, experienced for ourselves the fulfillment of these promises. Every one of
us has a different testimony. Someone, somewhere, somehow, had witnessed to us
about Jesus. None of the circumstances through which we came to believe was
happenstance; for God had purposed in his heart, even before we were born, that
we should hear and believe. Now, is there someone out there somewhere who
somehow is waiting for us to witness to him or her? Has he heard that no other
religious figure in this world can claim to have died and risen to be our
Savior (Acts 2:22-36)? Has she heard that if she believes and is baptized, she
will also have eternal life (; Jn 3:16; Mk 16:16)? In
this lesson, we shall study the importance of sharing the gospel.
Some Basic Principles
Do it For Our Lord.
After his conversion, Paul turned
his back on a life of privilege. Travelling over land
and sea, he carried the gospel to places where people knew nothing about Jesus.
As a pioneer, Paul experienced great hardships. He became poor. He knew what it
was to be cold and hungry. A lot of the time, Paul got beaten and thrown in jail.
When he was not in danger of being beaten to death by the authorities, he was
in danger of being killed by bandits, ordinary men, and/or the elements.
Despite these troubles, Paul kept right on preaching. He preached because he
could not bear to think that men, women and children would continue to live in
ignorance. He preached because he wanted to share Jesus’ life story and its
significance. That was all that mattered to Paul; for as he wrote to the
believers in Corinth, telling people about Jesus was in itself a most rewarding
experience (1 Cor 9).
Preach out of Love.
Paul centered his life around
preaching the gospel and saving souls (1 Cor ,23). In
whatever he did, he wanted to save those around him. He did all these out of
his love for others. He was in great anguish over the unbelief of his own
people the Israelites. He was even willing to be cursed for their sake if that
could bring them salvation (Rom 9:1-3). Love is the motivation behind all works
of service, especially preaching the gospel. When we consider that many are
waiting to hear the gospel, our compassion should compel us to always reach out
to others with the hope that they may also receive salvation. Freely we have
received, let us give freely (Mt 10:8). With the love that Jesus has given to
us, let us quickly bring this love to the world.
Preach Jesus Only.
The apostle Paul constantly
emphasized the importance of preaching Jesus only (2 Cor
4:5). He claimed to know nothing “except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). Therefore, he did not resort to wise or
persuasive words when he preached the gospel. He simply proclaimed to everyone
the death and salvation of Christ. When we share the gospel with others, our
message should be centered on Christ and what he has done. We do not need to
attract people to church with fun activities or impress them with some eloquent
speech. We just need to faithfully tell others about Christ, and let the Lord himself touch the hearts of the listeners.
Seek God’s Guidance.
When you are sharing the gospel,
it is as if you have taken on an assignment from God. As such, you are
obligated to take orders from the Boss Himself. Paul gave us an example. Once,
when he was all set to preach the gospel in new territory, he couldn’t get
through the border. Paul and his company then went some place else. That night,
Paul saw a vision. He saw a man pleading, “Come over
and help us” (Acts 16:9). That was how God opened the way for Paul to bring the
gospel into Europe for the first time. Likewise,
we need to seek and respect the Holy Spirit’s guidance in order to be effective
God Opens Doors.
Remember God can open doors for
the gospel you can’t (Acts ;
2 Cor ;
When you feel every avenue for sharing the gospel with others is closed because
you’ve already preached to all your close family and friends, God can easily
open another door for you.
Preaching Requires Self-Sacrifice.
Be willing to sacrifice yourself
for the sake of God’s gospel (Lk 9:60; 1 Cor ;
Rev 1:9; 6:9). Preaching involves giving your time, effort, and sometimes, your
wealth. Without a heart of sacrifice, it is difficult for us to be effective
evangelists. We need to be ready to preach whenever and wherever the Lord wants
us to go, regardless of the cost. Fully surrendering to God’s will is vital to
the success of your preaching and God’s abidance in your ministry for him.
Be Equipped with God’s Armor.
Being a witness to Jesus in a
world of unbelievers is like going into a war zone. How can you speak of sin
and repentance or forgiveness and salvation to a world that does not know there
is such a thing as the fear of the Lord? Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus to put on the
armor of God in such an unbelieving world (Eph -20). Armor is protective clothing soldiers wear when
they go to war. Paul told the believers that their armor should consist of
truth and righteousness, faith and salvation, and the gospel of peace. But an
armor of such specifications can only be acquired from your careful study of
God’s words in the Bible, your obedience to his commandments, and your
commitment to a life of prayer.
Action Speaks Louder Than Words.
As is the case today, believers
of the early church did not live in isolated communities far away from the
mainstream of society. In a letter to these believers, Peter reminded them to
live honorable lives that would make God proud of them (1 Pet ). In that same letter, Peter
also told the women who had unbelieving husbands to live lives of purity and
reverence so that their husbands may be won by the conduct of their wives (1Pet
3: 1,2). Peter knew what he was talking about. He was
one of Jesus’ handpicked men for the duration of his public ministry. For three
years, Peter learned firsthand from Jesus about the kingdom of God.
When Jesus was arrested, Peter’s faith was tested. For a short time, his
actions were less than honorable. Instead of being a witness to Jesus, he tried
to fade into the mob of unbelievers who were wrongly accusing Jesus (Mt
26:69-75). But Peter learned from his mistake.
Always Be Prepared.
When Peter wrote to the
believers, he told them to put God first in their hearts. He gave them what we
know today as the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared.” He wrote, “[A]lways be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you
for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet ). We must be prepared because God works in mysterious
ways. He opens doors of opportunity we never know exist and when we least
expect it. Perhaps a family member will walk in through one of those doors. Or
a close friend. Maybe a distant acquaintance. Even a stranger!
Seize the Opportunity.
When the risen Lord gave the
commission to preach, his disciples were, as was the custom of the day,
reclining on their couches. But Jesus told them to get up and go to work (Mk
16:14f). If we don’t take the initiative to preach, God cannot use us to reach
out to others. While we have to be constantly aware of God’s guiding hand in
the church’s ministry, the fruitful effect of our preaching won’t just
naturally happen through spontaneous combustion; we must have a heart to
actively engage the opportunities God gives us. Has a relative been teasing you
about the enormous amount of time you spend on the Bible? Did you catch a colleague
humming your favorite hymn just the other day? Grasp every chance to reach out
to those around you. God might have put you where you are for a reason. You
never know how or when God may use you to save a soul.
Be Tuned in to the Situation.
(Acts ; -45).
Finding common ground is often a good starting point to begin preaching to
others of different world views. More importantly, finding the common ground of
your religious/spiritual beliefs can help direct and streamline your
evangelical message. Don’t emphasize things you and the one you’re preaching to
already agree on. For example, you do not need to prove God’s existence to
someone who already believes in Jesus. But, if you’re talking to an atheist,
it’s essential to begin with the question of God’s existence. You need to prove
God exists before you can tell him that his soul needs to be saved.
Ask for Intercessory Prayers.
Paul worked hard at preaching the
gospel and at being a faithful witness to Jesus, but he also knew how to ask
for help. In a letter to the believers in Thessalonica, Paul wrote, “Pray for
us, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified (2Thess
3:1). Paul understood that when he preached the gospel and when people
believed, the body of Christ grows. He also understood that like the human
body, the different members who make up the body of Christ must work as a team
(1 Cor 12:12-31).
Seek Help When Needed.
Sometimes, you might feel that
you could use some help. Bring your friend to a Sabbath service and introduce
him to the minister at the end of the service. Invite your relative to an Open
House and have her speak to another church member. Or, if you are having a
family service at your home, invite your colleague to attend. If you think
taped sermons are a valuable tool, find appropriate messages that will address
his or her immediate needs. Then there are many helpful True Jesus Church literature. Check your local church for available
publications. For a complete listing of all English publications, go to the
church web site at www.truejesuschurch.org.
Write down other guidelines that
have worked for you.
Write down new ideas that could
work for you.
Who gave the command to preach the gospel?
What should be our motivations when we preach
What does “Preach Jesus Only” mean?
Memorize and write down 2 Cor
Actions speak louder than words. Do you agree
that a believer’s actions could either help or hinder his or her intention to
share the gospel? What are some ways you can testify for the Lord through your
Why is it important that you rely on God when
you are sharing the gospel?
God can open avenues to spread the gospel when
you think all avenues are shut. T/F
We need to be ready to share the gospel at all
If you can’t share the gospel effectively, it’s
no use to ask for another’s help. T/F
Since God controls everything, preaching is a
matter better left to God. If God wants to bring someone to Christ, then he’ll
just do it naturally. T/F
heard a sermon recently where the church member on the pulpit preached, “Jesus
told all us to bear fruit or else he’ll cut us off. Bearing fruit means you
must bring someone to Christ or the Lord will throw you into the outer
darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!” After hearing
this fiery sermon, Jonah was scared out of his pants. He started to preach to
every single person he encountered telling them to come to church or they would
go to hell. At work he always harped on how his unbelieving co-workers would go
to hell if they didn’t come to church right away. However, Jonah sounded like a
madman to his co-workers. Sill, Jonah wouldn’t give up. He turned his energies
to his boss and continually talked about God’s judgment on unbelievers. When
the boss could no longer take the constant preaching, he fired Jonah one
Friday. Jonah is now totally depressed because he feels like all his efforts in
preaching were meaningless. He continually abuses himself verbally for not
being able to bring someone to church. Before long, Jonah gives up entirely.
What is wrong with this situation? Can you spot any problems with the actions
or attitudes of the characters in this story? How would you counsel Jonah? How
could Jonah preach to another boss without getting fired?
Natalie heard in a recent sermon that God is in
control of everything. So she figured that since God controls everything she no
longer has to preach the gospel. She reasoned within herself, “If God controls
everything, then I don’t need to try to evangelize to
others since God himself can bring people to church if he wants to.” It all
made sense to her. But then one day Natalie heard another sermon that taught
unless she preached to her family and friends, she’ll be responsible for their
souls if they end up receiving eternal damnation. Now, Natalie is extremely
confused over the two seemingly conflicting sermon messages. She asked herself,
“So do I have to save others or can God just do it?” Discuss or think about how
you could reconcile these two aspects of preaching, namely God’s role and your
a piece of paper and list out the names of all the people you’d like to preach
to or could possibly preach to. Now next to each person’s name briefly write
how some possible scenarios where you start to actually preach to that person.
Only list out something that you think can actually play out in real life.
Remember to think of tiny details in your imaginary scenarios (e.g., how did
you start the conversation/communication with that person?). After you’ve
listed out all the details of how these scenarios will play out, try to
actually play out your scenario in real life within a few months time. Remember
God needs to work with you so don’t forget the importance of praying for God’s
abidance when you preach.