Corinthians

#5 Misconceptions About Sharing the Gospel

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Have you ever doubted your abilities or effectiveness as a witness? I’ll admit, I have. I want to discuss some misconceptions about sharing the Gospel that fuels fear in my heart and the hearts of others about witnessing. If you’ve struggled like I have with any of these, my intention is not to discourage you, but rather I pray you will be fully equipped to boldly take the Gospel of truth to the world.

9 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Before reading on, I encourage you to read the first entries in this series. Click here to access them:

#1: You must be good at it 

#2: Everything in your own life has to be together

#3: The only way to get someone saved is to invite them to church

#4: You have to make the gospel sound good

Scriptures

John 4:35-38 1 Corinthians 3:5-11 Galatians 6:7-10

#5: You’ve been an ineffective witness SO far

The most disheartening thing as a believer, as a witness is when we feel like we’ve been unsuccessful at leading someone to the Lord.  Jesus talks about this issue in John 4:35-36 when He says:

35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.

Jesus tells His disciples that the fields are ripe for harvest and He gives them the job of reaping.  What does He mean when says “reaping”? He means to win over people, win over souls. After the reaping is done, those who reaped and those who sowed may rejoice together. Everyone who was involved gets to join in on the celebration, even those people who simply sowed one single seed years ago.

Do not be discouraged about your effectiveness as a witness, perhaps you’ve sown one seed, perhaps thousands, but you have sown indeed. We must be grateful when God uses us to simply plant one or a thousand seeds because you never know when those seeds are going to grow into fruit for eternal life.

In the end, neither those who sow nor those who reap can take the credit, for God is the one who saves. In 1 Corinthians 3:7 we are told:

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

This verse is life-changing. For a long time, I haven’t known for certain whether my witnessing has let to anyone being saved, but the truth is I can’t save anyone, only God can. It wasn’t until I realised this that I was able to put my hand to the plough and simply plant seeds out of joy—trusting that God would take care of the rest. All God asks of us is to remain faithful—to continue responding to His love in faith.

Walking with Him is not a waste of time—even if you feel like you haven’t gotten much done yet. It’s up to you to be faithful in seeking Him, in allowing yourself to be discipled, and in stepping out in faith, and God does the hard part. He will bring you to a place where He can use you as a witness who is willing and able to disciple others.

I pray you have found encouragement in this series.

Trust your wilderness seasons, they are designed to build strength, endurance and character as you witness to others.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath, 0 comments

#3 Misconceptions About Sharing the Gospel

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Have you ever doubted your abilities or effectiveness as a witness? I’ll admit, I have. I want to discuss some misconceptions about sharing the gospel that fuels fear in my heart and the hearts of other about witnessing. If you’ve struggled like I have with any of these, my intention is not to discourage you, but rather I pray you will be fully equipped to boldly take the Gospel of truth to the world.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Before reading on, I encourage you to read the first entries in this series. Click here to access them  #1: YOU MUST BE GOOD AT IT and #2: EVERYTHING IN YOUR OWN LIFE HAS TO BE TOGETHER.

#3: The only way to get someone saved is to invite them to church

Scriptures

Romans 15:13-19  Acts 1:7-8  Luke 14:23  2 Corinthians 5:18-20

Asking people to come to church is a great way to get them to hear to Gospel, but it is not the only way. Here are two main reasons why we need to look past this misconception and find alternate ways to witness to others.

1. Some people may never attend church

I’ve heard many pastors say, “if you just keep asking, they will eventually say yes” or “bring a friend with you next time”. That may be mostly true and may work, but those people you keep nagging to come may just come out of obligation or to get you to stop nagging them – that is not exactly a positive reason to come to church. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. Listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and you’ll know when the right time is to invite someone to church or when we should share the Gospel with them personally instead. If you don’t know where to start, ask God, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, to present you with opportunities (Acts 1: 7-8). This isn’t a task you have to take on alone. God will give you the wisdom and the courage you need to speak the truth in love.

2. Some people have grown callous toward the truth after years of blasé attendance

I’m talking about witnessing to those who have already attended church for a while —perhaps even their whole life and haven’t heard or being moved by the Good News of the Gospel.

There may be those, in church, who you believe to be a Christian, to be followers of Christ. They attend church, they worship and sing praises, they pray out loud in a small group meeting, and they talked like a Christian. It seems obvious that they must be believers, but you soon realise by personal conversations and interactions with them that it’s not as you thought. In reality, they don’t know what they believe and their view of the Gospel simply as a spiritual concept religious people talk about.

Someday day, not in your timing but in God’s way and in God’s timing, something will happen to change their perspective. Something may happen in their lives that they cannot manage on their own, that brings them down and depressed or that have serious consequences. That is when they will come to you and say they want to open up to you because they respect you and they need some advice and guidance. Your first thoughts may be to give practical and logical advice, but through the prompting of the Spirit, I pray, you will say “You need Jesus.”

This is your opportunity to listen, foremost, and then share with them openly about the times in your life when you felt like your own life was falling apart and how the only person who could do anything about it was Jesus Christ.  Give your testimony.

Do not be surprised when you get through to them, that’s Jesus at work. Instead of brushing it off like normal, they may surprise you and listen attentively. Some people don’t need another friend to ask them to church. Some people need a friend to simply speak the truth to them in love.

The main theme here is whether you do it in a church setting or a personal one on one conversation – be ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath, 2 comments

#2 Misconceptions About Sharing The Gospel

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Have you ever doubted your abilities or effectiveness as a witness? I’ll admit, I have. I want to discuss some misconceptions about sharing the gospel that fuels fear in my heart and the hearts of other about witnessing. If you’ve struggled like I have with any of these, my intention is not to discourage you, but rather I pray you will be fully equipped to boldly take the Gospel of truth to the world.

And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men. Mark 1:17

Before reading on, I encourage you to read the first entry in this series. Click here to access it  #1: YOU MUST BE GOOD AT IT.  And while you at it, take a look at this simple, yet powerful picture of the Holy Trinity.

#2: Everything in your own life has to be together

Scriptures

Philippians 1:6 1 Corinthians 2:6-15 Romans 8:33-34 Hebrews 9:12 Romans 3:23

We hinder ourselves in witnessing for Jesus because of our issues, but here’s the truth –you don’t have to be perfect in order to be a Christian. Actually, if you think you’re a perfect Christian, then stop reading now… Did you stop reading?  I didn’t think so! It is made clear to us that perfection is not necessary in Galatians 6:3:

“If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.

Furthermore, the Spirit encouraged you to begin witnessing in the first place, why would now want to “perfect” yourself my worldly standards? Galatians 3:3 says:

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

The Spirit points us to the sacrifice of Jesus. Our flesh brags about our own achievements and abilities. To accept God’s grace, we must admit that God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Why then do we get so caught up with our own “perfect” performances?

When we focus on “how well we’re doing” as Christians, it’s easy to let mistakes impair us. We also fear that the lost will see through our facade and point out our imperfections.

I have good news: God still has grace for us and it is still sufficient for you and me (2 Corinthians 12:9). You don’t have to be perfect to be a witness. You don’t have to appear perfect either. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. You can testify of the changes God has made in your life, but you can also be honest about the work God is still doing. Philippians 1:6 encourages us, saying:

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Yes, God redeemed and delivered when you repented, believed in Jesus and were baptised. However, He continues to do a good work in you—God’s not done yet, you’re not done yet. This is no excuse for sin, we all sin a fall short of the glory of God. I’m saying, don’t undervalue the power of God’s grace. Don’t let your current struggle pull you down.  Endure through the struggles (2 Timothy 2:10).

Jesus gave Himself up before God as the perfect sacrifice for your sins. He pleaded your case in the courts of heaven. He defended you against the convicting claims of the enemy. He continues to defend you. Your justification is not based on your works or actions, but on the blood of Christ.

Sanctification is an ongoing process. As believers, we are complete in our identity, but our transformation is continual and a lifetime commitment. When we trust in our own righteous acts, we’re acting like we’ve arrived. It’s as if we no longer need grace. But no matter who you are, you still need it. I still need it.

Let God take the pressure off. Your “perfection” isn’t what draws people to the Gospel. Jesus draws you in, He draws us all in (John12:32).  The transforming work in your life can and should act as a testimony to others (without a test, there can be no testimony). However, even if you feel like you’ve got a long way to go, you can be a witness today. God has the power to save people despite our imperfections.

What we receive to be witnesses is not of this world, but from the Spirit who is from God.  The Spirit intercedes for us, Jesus, who is at the right hand of God, intercedes for us, so that we may understand what God has for us.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath, 4 comments