4. Witnessing and evangelism
- Public confession:
Public confession of Christ is necessary for salvation: Romans 10:9; ”If you confess with your mouthy the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”This is one of the important steps for people to receive Jesus. In order to receive the gift of eternal life, we must make a public confession of our faith in Christ before people. We receive Jesus as our Lord by a simple prayer of faith. We repent of our sins, invite Him to be Lord of our lives and then confess with our mouths that He is our Lord. The next important step is to make a strong pubic confession before people through Water Baptism. Water baptism is a visible demonstration of what has happened in our hearts. It is a pubic confession before people and the spirit world that we belong to Jesus.
Confessing Christ before people sets us free from the influence of the world;Romans 10:10: “For with the mouth, confession is made to salvation.” The word salvation means: Eternal life, healing, deliverance and freedom. When we publically confess Christ before people,it sets us free from the influence of the world and defines our position before non-Christians. It will save us from temptations and protect us from sin. Confessing Christ before people, putsa boundary line between us and them. They will be less inclined to tempt us, if they know that webelong to Jesus.
It is only through our confession of Christ that people can believe in Him:Romans 10:17: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”Some people think that if they live a good Christian life, they will influence people for Christ. But the Bible does not say, “Faith comes by seeing.” If we do not tell others about Christ, they will not believe. The more we tell people about Jesus, the more assurance we will also have that we are born again and have the gift of eternal life. In 2 Timothy 1:8, Paul warns Timothy, “Do not be ashamed of the witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Public confession of Christ on earth will affect the way we spend our lives in eternity. Matthew 10:32-33: “Whoever confesses Me before men, him will I confess before My Father who is in heaven. But he who denies Me before men, him will I will I deny before My Father who is in heaven.”The confession of Jesus on earth, will affect our relationship with Him in heaven. John 4:36, “He who reaps, receives wages for eternal life.” There is a great reward in eternity for those who publically confess and acknowledge Christ on earth.
The level of our commitment to Jesus is measured by the level of our confession of Him before people. We read about this in John 12:42-43: “Nevertheless, even among the rulers, many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him openly lest they be put out of the synagogue. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” The reason that they did not tell others about Jesus is that they wanted the non-Christians to accept them and speak well about them. We cannot have the praises of God and the praises of men at the same time. Jesus said that we must take up our cross and follow Him! Confessing Christ on earth is a form of dying to self and taking up our cross.
Public confession should be made as soon as someone accepts Christ. The longer they wait, the more difficult it will be to tell others about Jesus. We have the example of Paul. The moment he received Jesus, he bagan to preach the gospel. The woman of Samaria returned immediately into the city and told people about Jesusand the whole city believed in Him. There are other example as well. Often the most effective witnesses for Christ are those who have recently accepted Him and been born again. If we find it difficult to tell peole about Jesus, we need to take a step of faith, go through ‘the pain barrier’ and do it anyway. Often if we do the things we fear, it breaks the power of fear over our lives.
Some keys to help ustell others about Christ:
We can develop our personal relationshiop with Jesus. Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:12: “I am not ashamed for I knowHim whom I have believed.”Paul had an intimate relationship with Jesus, therefore, it was easy for him to tell people about Jesus. For example, if a young girl meetsa wonderful young man and theylove one another, it will be easy for her to tell her friends about him.
The Holy Spirit will help us to tell otherts about Jesus: Acts 1:8: “For you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be My witnesses…”It is important that we are continually filled with the Holy Spirit. We remain filled with the Holy Spirit through prayer, praying in the Spirit, and fellowship with other Christians. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will be so bold to tell others about Jesus. (We have the example of Peter on the day of Pentecost)
We can prepare ourtestimony:Proverbs 11:30: “He who wins souls is wise.”To lead people to Jesus is a skill that we can learn. We can prepare a good testimony. Tell others what God has done for us. Acts 22:15: “For you shall bear witness before all men what you have seen and heard.”A man with an experience has an advantage over a man with an argument. We have the example of the blind man that Jesus healed in John 9:25“The man replied, “Whether He is a sinner or not, I do not know, but one thing I know, I was blind and now I see.”
Jesus told the man who was demon possessed in Mark 5:19-20.“… Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all mendid marvel.” We can tell people about answers to prayer, healing miracles and our experiences with Jesus. Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word, be ready in season (when it is convenient) and out of season (when it is not convenient)”We must always be ready to tell people about Jesus.
Prayer:Prayer is the foundation of our public confession. Jesus said in John 6:44: “No one can come to Me unless the Father draws him.”When we talk to Jesus about people, it will be easier to talk to people about Jesus. We can pray for our friends and family. The more we pray, the more we will see people receive Jesus. We can believe that God will save everyone we pray for and open their hearts and minds to the gospel. We read in 1 Timothy 2:4: “Who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” We can ask God to draw them to Jesus and send positive influences into their lives and remove the negative influences from their lives
We can look for people with needs and pray for them or help them:Jesus is our example; He healed the sick and preached the gospel. We read In Luke 9:2, “He sent them to preach the gospel of the kingdom and to heal the sick.”We have the example where Jesus prayed for Peter’s mother-in-law in Mark 1:30-31. However in verses 32-33we read, “At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city was gathered together at the door.” Due to that one simple miracle, a revival started and it influenced the whole city. The same thing happened in Acts 3. Peter and John healed a lame man and after that 5000 people received Jesus. People are usually very open to receive Jesus after they have seen a miracle. If it is difficult to tell people about Jesus, ask them if you can pray for them.
A number of years ago I was asked to speak to a group of ladies in a city near to Moscow by another pastor, who was a woman. I shared the gospel with them and my personal testimony. However, they argued with me and were not open to what I was sharing with them. I then asked them if any of them had a healing need. All their hands went up. As we prayed for them, the Lord touched their lives and one by one they all received Jesus. A few months later I had the privilege of baptizing them in water.
Ask God for divine appointments and opportunities. Every time we meet with someone, we can believe that it is an appointment that God has given us. We can expect the Holy Spirit to open an opportunity for us to tell them about Jesus. We need to be sensitive to the needs of people. Many people have a lot of inward pain and emotional problems. A few kind words can open the door for us to tell them about Jesus. If people resist the gospel, we can also ask them why they do not want to receive Jesus. It may give us an opportunity to help them remove the obstacles that prevent them from receiving Jesus.
Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.“Mark 1:17.He said to them, “I will teach you how to catch people“. We notice that Jesus focused on three groups of people.
Firstly, those with needs such as the sick, the demonized, the poor, the rejected and the oppressed. Secondly, those who had no hope. For example, the man at the pool of Bethesda. Thirdly, those who were open to Him such us Nicodemus, The Roman centurion, Matthew, and Zaccheas.
Teamwork is important: We notice that Jesus sent His disciples to preach in groups of two. This is necessary when we go on the streets or in the villages. Paul always had a team of people with him. It is always easier to confess Jesus before people if we are in a group. We can also try ‘two-man fishing.’ This is when two Christians speak loudly in the presence of non-Christians about what the Lord has done for them. This happened to us in Russia. We were speaking loudly on a bus about the Lord. We were not aware that a Russian lady was listening to us. When we got off the bus, she made her acquaintance with us which eventually led to her salvation.
Follow-up plan is essential: It is important to have a follow up plan. New Christians must become part of a church or a cell group. It is important that we try to establish regular contact with those that we lead to Christ. It is always good have some literature or a New Testament to give those who receive Jesus. We should also try to put them in contact with a Christian group or a church as soon as possible. Jesus told us to make disciples, and not just converts.
We can use these pointed questions to open people up to the Gospel:
– Do you know where you will go when you die?
– Do you know that there is life after death?
– Do you remember any time that you surrendered your life to Jesus and were born again?
– Have you ever thought why Jesus had to die on the cross?
– Do you know that God loves you and wants to be your Father?
– Do you know that God has a wonderful plan for your life?
– What will you say to God one day when you stand before Him in judgment?
– Don’t you think it is better to believe in Jesus now on earth than in hell when it is too late?
Prayer for salvation: “Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and that I deserve God’s judgment upon my life. Jesus I now ask You to forgive me for all my sins. I believe that You died on the cross for me. I place all my sins on the cross and receive your gift of forgiveness. I chose to turn away from my sins and follow You. I surrender my life to You and ask you to become my Lord and Savior. Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God and that You have risen from the dead. I therefore, confess with my mouth that Jesus is my Lord and that I am saved, forgiven and have received the gift of eternal life. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God. Amen
Finally: Jesus said in John 4:36: “Andhe who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” Leading people to Christ will bring great joy into our lives and it will influence our lives in eternity. Amen