Summary: Paul tells us that sharing our faith begins with prayer, it begins with a right attitude, and it begins with living and speaking the truth.
DOES ALL REALLY MEAN ALL?
INTRODUCTION… Lieghton Ford, Good News is for Sharing, 1977, David C. Cook Publishing Co., p. 67
I was speaking at an open-air crusade in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Billy Graham was to speak the next night and had arrived a day early. He came incognito and sat on the grass at the rear of the crowd. Because he was wearing a hat and dark glasses, no one recognized him.
Directly in front of him sat an elderly gentleman who seemed to be listening intently to my presentation. When I invited people to come forward as an open sign of commitment, Billy decided to do a little personal evangelism. He tapped the man on the shoulder and asked, "Would you like to accept Christ? I’ll be glad to walk down with you if you want to." The old man looked him up and down, thought it over for a moment, and then said, "Naw, I think I’ll just wait till the big gun comes tomorrow night." Billy and I have had several good chuckles over that incident. Unfortunately, it underlines how, in the minds of many people, evangelism is the task of the "Big Guns," not the "little shots."
Yet, all of us as Christians need to be concerned with personal evangelism. Research (www.barna.org) tells us that on average only 35% of Christian adults feel it is their personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs with others. That number varies in different parts of the country… the South peaking at 41% and the Northeast being the lowest at 26%. We each have a responsibility to share our faith with all those we come across in our lives.
READ 1 TIMOTHY 2:1-7
The Apostle Paul, in 1 Timothy 2, is giving the church instructions for proper worship. He is giving advice to Timothy to help him in his ministry. At the beginning of chapter 2, though, I see a few nuggets that speak to evangelism and sharing our faith before the instructions on worship. The verse that I think brings these thoughts into focus for me is verse 4. Verse 4 shows us that Paul is thinking outside of himself and towards those around him. Paul tells us that sharing our faith begins with prayer, it begins with a right attitude, and it begins with living and speaking the truth.
I. EVANGELISM BEGINS WITH PRAYER (VERSES 1-3)
Paul begins this section of Scripture by speaking about intercessory prayer. Prayer is the absolute best thing you can ever do for anyone. Paul considers it of extreme importance... he mentions this in verse 1... “first of all.” Now I realize that intercessory prayer sounds complicated, but intercessory prayer simply means that you are praying for other people instead of for yourself. Paul tells us that we are to pray for everyone. Does this mean I just pray, “God help the world Amen” and I have done what Paul has asked? I am not so sure that is what Paul meant. I think that Paul means on a regular basis we are to be people who pray for others we know. We are to pray for everyone we know on a regular basis... God wants to hear their name. There should be no one left out of your prayers.