Jesus, in His final words to His followers, gave them what has come to be known as "The Great Commission". He told them,
"Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20)
The great commision says to "GO". Not "Go, if you want to" or "Go, if you feel you are qualified" or even "Go, whenever you have a chance". It is not an option to consider, or a choice to accept or reject, it is a command to be obeyed. The choice we have to make is not "SHOULD I witness to this person?" but rather, "HOW should I witness to this person?"
Silence on our part is a sin. When we do not tell others about salvation, we are denying Jesus just as surely as Peter did. James says it very clearly:
"Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17)
Remember, we may be this person's last opportunity to hear the gospel before they step out into eternity. That should gives us a sense of urgency about sharing Jesus with lost persons.
We know what we are supposed to be doing. So why aren't we doing it? Why aren't we sharing the gospel? All the usual reasons have one common denominator: FEAR. Fear of being rejected. Fear of not knowing enough. Fear of offending someone. Fear of being ridiculed or persecuted. Fear of failure.
However, the Bible promises us that we do not have to fear.
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:7)
Fear is not from our heavenly Father, people! Fear is from our enemy, the devil.
There is nothing Satan wants more than for us to remain silent, so that more lost souls are not saved. We need to understand the nature of the enemy: he is a liar, and the Father of all lies. (John 8:44) He is a subtle deceiver, discouraging us from witnessing by giving us a spirit of fear. He whispers to us that we aren't qualified, that we aren't good enough, that we don't know enough. He tells us we'll be laughed at, scorned, and rejected. He tells us we will fail.
We cannot defeat Satan and his lies by our own power. We must be strong in the Lord, and in His mighty power. (Ephesians 6:10) We need to remember, God is in us, and is greater than the enemy. I John 4:4 assures us:
"You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."
Witnessing to lost people is more about learning to trust and obey the Lord, rather than learning skills or methods. It is important to remember that WE do not lead a person to Christ, the Holy Spirit does. WE do not convert them, the Holy Spirit does. WE do not convict them or get them saved; that is the job of the Holy Spirit. We just need to be faithful to do our job, and let the Holy Spirit do His. Always remember that the Bible will provide the answers, and the Holy Spirit will provide the power. We need to learn to trust God and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.
We cannot fail if we are obedient and trust God. If the person we are witnessing to rejects the gospel, he or she is rejecting Jesus, not us. Sucessful witnessing is not measured by results, it is simply being obedient and trusting God. The results are in God's hands, not ours. We are not responsible for any decisions made, whether good or bad. If the person accepts Jesus, we cannot take the credit. If they reject Him, we cannot take the blame. Our only responsibility is to be obedient in sharing the gospel and to trust God to do the rest.
Remember that God can always use our fear, our mistakes, our lack of knowledge. The only thing He cannot use is our silence. Remember that Paul was afraid. (I Cor. 2:3-5) So was Gideon (Judges 6:15) and Moses (Ex. 3: 11-17 and 4:1-13).
So were a lot of other people in the Bible. But God used them in spite of their shortcomings, their fears, and their failures. He can use us, too, if we will just be obedient to do our part.
There are five keys to overcoming our fear. They are:
Passion involves more than just talking; it is an earnest desire for that person to be saved. To be passionate is to care deeply, deeply enough to take action. It is not a lukewarm emotion; it is more like love than mere determination. The book of Acts clearly shows both the passion and the purpose of the early church: sharing Jesus with the world. The apostle Paul indicated his passion for sharing Jesus in I Cor. 9:19-20. He was willing to make personal sacrifices and become a "slave" to everyone, in order to witness to the lost. Now that's passion!
Prayer deepens our relationship with God and connects us to His supernatural power. We can become so busy in doing Christian activities that we neglect to develop our spiritual relationship with God. We cannot expect to witness by our own power; we need to witness in the supernatural power that only comes from God. And as we pray for the lost persons on our prayer list, we need to pray for workers for the harvest. (Matt. 9:37-38)
Partnership requires both trust and committment. God has promised to be in partnership with His people. (Josh. 1:9) In John 16:7-8, Jesus promised us a "comforter" (Greek: parakletos = comforter, counselor, advocate, intercessor) a helper who will always be with us. (Matt. 28-20) We are never alone when we witness, we are in a partnership. Without Him, we can do nothing, (John 15:5) but with Him, we can do anything. (Luke 1:37)
Power comes from the Holy Ghost, and is for one specific purpose: to be witnesses for Jesus. The Bible shows that very plainly.
"But you shall receive power, (Greek: "dunamis"= special, miraculous stength and ability beyond any natural human power) after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8 )
We are given the power of the Holy Ghost for one reason: to go out and boldly witness about Jesus. Romans tells us:
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14)
We are all called to be preachers of the gospel to a lost and dying world.
The key to unleashing the power of the Holy Ghost is OBEDIENCE. This frees us from having to depend on our own poor powers, skills, or ability; we can fully depend on the power of God through His Holy Ghost. Generally, this is not a power that we can feel ahead of time; rather it comes to us when we are obedient to share Jesus with a lost person. We cannot fail if we are faithful to do what God tells us. He will never give us any task that He has not already made provisions for us. If we will only be faithful to do our part, we can rest assured the Holy Ghost will do His. It is the power of the Holy Ghost that makes our efforts effective.
Preparation is simply being ready. Peter wrote:
"Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you the reason for the hope that is in you." (I Peter 3:15) Paul wrote to Timothy, instructing him:
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine." (II Timothy 4:2)
When Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, he instructed them to put on the whole armor of God, which included preparation:
"And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace". (Ephesians 6:15)
We see how important it is to simply be prepared, not only at times when we are expecting to witness to someone, but also recognizing opportunities when we least expect them.
God will never force us to be obedient to witness, just as He never forces us to any obedience. However, when we are faithful, He will overcome any barriers in our way. Satan is a subtle deceiver who tries to discourage us, but nothing Satan can do is powerful enough to make our witness a failure when we are faithful to do what God has called us to do. We must remember that success is simply living our lives as Christian witnesses, sharing the Gospel whenever we can, and trusting God for the results. God is always in control of any situation, and we cannot fail if we do not remain silent.
This lesson is taken from the book "Share Jesus Without Fear" by William Fay & Ralph Hodge