Friday, April 6, 2007

Sharing Your Faith

Okay, so for some of us, here comes the hard part. I remember that during middle school and the beginning of high school, I was pretty good about setting a Christian example, but I rarely opened my mouth to tell others about Jesus. In fact, I can remember sharing my faith two times between 7th and 9th grade (not including church mission trips), and both times, I was approached by the other person. Then, I began to realize how many people around me weren't Christians. Now, they weren't all bad people. Most of them were my friends...but that made it worse. Because I had friends that weren't Christians, I knew that some of my friends would go to hell - UNLESS I did something about it.
Women in the Bible certainly weren't as timid as I was in reaching a lost world for Christ. John 4 recalls the account of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. After she understood the gospel message, the Bible teaches that she went into the city, shared her testimony, and brought others to Christ (John 4:28). God used one woman to bring an entire village to Christ. Perhaps the most amazing demonstration of women’s value in evangelism is the fact that after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene first. He said to her, “Go to my brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, and My God and your God’” (John 20:17). Jesus entrusted her to share the good news of His resurrection with the disciples. Obviously, he knew that if he wanted the news to spread quickly, he had to tell a woman!! :) Bur seriously, by doing this, Jesus clearly communicated that women were included in the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19).

Women’s impact in world evangelism has been great, but has not been as widely recorded as men’s evangelism efforts due to women being considered as second-class citizens across many cultures. In many countries, such as the Sudan, men and women are unable to speak in public, making it virtually impossible for men to be able to share the gospel with the women in these countries. That's why it is so important to have women missionaries!! In fact, women who are called "Bible teachers who work with missionary women are responsible for most of the Scripture teaching and church planting in the non-Western world (places like China).

I can't talk about women and evangelism without mentioning Elisabeth Elliot and Rachel Saint. These women’s genuine passion for the lost was recently highlighted in the 2006 film End of the Spear. (If you didn't see it, RENT it!) Elisabeth’s husband, Jim, and Rachel’s younger brother, Nate, along with three other missionaries, were speared to death while sharing their faith with the Waorani tribe in Ecuador. A few years later after they were killed, Elisabeth and Rachel took their children and went back to Ecuador to tell the tribe who killed their husband and brother about Jesus Christ. Can you even imagine sharing your faith so that the people who killed your boyfriend, brother, or dad could have eternal life? I don't have a brother, but let me just tell you...if someone killed my dad or James, Jesus Himself would have to drag me to them, open my mouth, and speak through me. Just kidding - well, at least, I hope I am. I pray that I would have the same boldness and forgiving nature as these women. They truly reflected God’s forgiveness and love through their authentic longing for this tribe to come to know the Lord. By replacing bitterness with a burden for lost souls, these women were able to not only share the gospel through their words, but with their actions.

Now, let's look at the incredible opportunities YOU have to share your faith...
1) At SCHOOL - Yes, there are tons of kids at your school who don't know Christ. Your youth minister and Sunday school teachers can't do it all. You see them every day, they know you, they trust you, and honestly, they think you are a lot cooler than your youth minister. They will be much more likely to listen to YOU tell them about Jesus than anyone else.
2) At CHURCH - Evangelism within the local church is an endless opportunity to share the gospel. Each time a group of people gathers together, there are undoubtedly several people present who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This includes VISITORS and MEMBERS. So hold your friends accountable - ask questions. You never know if you don't ask! Plus, children are constantly learning in church and becoming curious about salvation. Volunteer with the kids, and tell them how they can have a personal relationship with Christ.
3) In the WORLD - We are to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Participate in church mission projects and mission trips to help bring lost people to salvation in Christ. Plus, don't limit yourself to waiting on the church to schedule a mission project. Do one on your own!! In college, one of my friends and I would just go sit at Starbuck's on campus and start conversations with people. Remember, we as Christians are a team. The more of us that there are, the more we can help each other.
P.S. This also means that you are called to be educated and knowledgeable of Biblical truths to make sure what you tell others is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So study up! :)
I know evangelism can be hard. If you're interested in some ways that you can share your faith with your friends and with strangers, leave a comment, and we'll talk about it.

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Esther 4:14b

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"