Summary: We might not feel comfortable sharing our faith, but let's make sure that we don't sabotage those who do.
If there is one word that strikes fear in the hearts of most church goers it is “evangelism”. Most of us understand the necessity of people meeting Jesus. All but the most callous are heartbroken at the thoughts of friends and loved ones spending an eternity far from God.
And yet. . . Yet, so often we are reluctant to share our faith. We don’t know what to say, we are afraid to offend, we are worried about what people will think of us. And so we justify and rationalize and talk about our spiritual gifts and the gift blend of those who are successful soul winners. And we still feel guilty about not saying anything.
We’ll tell people that they have a flat tire, we’ll tell people that they left their lights on in their car or that they left their purse on the table at Tim Horton’s. We will tell them about the great book we read or the new restaurant that we just tried. We’ll share our political views and occasionally our fries but are reluctant to share the one thing that we say is of eternal importance, our faith.
And I understand that, like you I’ve made the list of people I was going to pray for and then lead through the plan of salvation. Maybe, like me, you have memorized the “Roman Road” or some other list of scriptures that show people the necessity of accepting Christ. And for those of you who think a Roman Road is a cobblestone highway it’s not. Well technically it is, but that’s not all it is. It is also a method that uses scripture from the book of Romans to lead someone through the plan of Salvation.
Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
When I was in university I took a course called Personal Evangelism and we used the book “You Can Be a Soul Winner, Here’s How.” And as part of the course we had to go to the doors of complete strangers get ourselves invited in, compliment them on their home and children, show them the necessity of meeting Jesus and lead them through the plan of salvation. It sounded very similar to the training I received before I began my very short lived, 1 week, career selling Filter Queen Vacuum cleaners. I passed both courses and sold one vacuum cleaner and didn’t lead anyone to the Lord.
After I graduated from College I went to seminars put on by various groups, I read and re-read “Out of the Salt Shaker and into the World”, “The Master Plan for Evangelism”, “Contagious Christianity” and “Just Walk Across the Room”. I have memorized acronyms and have trained for umpteen different crusades and have taken part in 3 “Billy Graham Schools of Evangelism” And I still don’t do it well enough or often enough. But I’m trying, and we should all be trying.
I feel like the old preacher in Georgia who used to say “When a farmer prays for a corn crop, God expects him to say ‘Amen’ with a hoe.” You can’t simply pray for someone’s salvation and never talk to them about your faith.
But this morning I’m not here to put a guilt trip on you about not sharing your faith, and maybe you are thinking: “Well, it’s a little late for that.”
There is a phrase that most of us are familiar with, if only because of the plethora of medical shows that have graced television over the last fifty years, and that term is “First do no harm.” Many believe it came from the Hippocratic Oath, which was kind of a code of conduct produced by a Greek doctor five hundred years before the birth of Jesus. And that’s about half right, the principle is there, just not phrased that way. But the principle is, before you can begin to heal you need to make sure that what you are doing will not harm your patient.
The scripture passage that was read this morning includes that same advice for us as Christ Followers. We may not feel that we are gifted or capable of being a soul winner but it is vitally important for us to do no kingdom harm in how we deal with people on a day to day basis.