Coronavirus

#5 Misconceptions About Sharing the Gospel

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Posted by Stephen Baragwanath, 0 comments

Encouragement during COVID-19 lockdown

Advertisements

Move from idleness to encouragement

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
    and established it on the waters.
Psalm 24:1-2

My hope today is that you will benefit deeply from this post, during these difficult and unprecedented times, as it points you toward hope, toward the Lord, and you experience the trials – and opportunities – of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis wherever you are in the world.

The first time Paul travelled to Thessalonica he was met with strong opposition. A mob of bad characters started to riot the city in search of Paul (Acts 17:5).  This mob was so set on destruction that they chased after Paul when he travelled to Berea. 

Life in Thessalonica was especially dangerous for a Christian. But still, in spite of the imminent danger, the church continued to grow, Paul still sent Timothy to watch over and care for the church in Thessalonica. Actually, a better way to phrase it is in light of the danger, Paul writes:14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-18) 

It would have been easier for Christians to hide quietly, in secret and ride out the danger. It would have been easy for the church to succumb to the dangers Thessalonica faced.  It would have been easy for Christians to lay low quietly, secretly, ride out the danger. 

The dangers and fears facing Thessalonica are perhaps similar to the dangers and fears facing the world today, not just with COVID-19 9 (Coronavirus), but in general too.  When lock down restrictions in your country are lifted, whether gradually or instantaneously, many of us may fear going out, many of us may fear to gather with people at church, attend social events or even have a family get together.  We may fear going back to the workplace. We may fear contact with other people completely. Some of us may choose to draw our curtains closed and barricade ourselves in our homes in hopes of avoiding the virus altogether. Should this happen, there is certainly the danger of us becoming idle. Even during lock down, there is the danger of becoming idle. We could start eating unhealthily, binge-watching TV series and movies, obsessing over news articles and becoming disconnected from the larger body of Christ.

Yet, despite the testing of any hope by an outbreak of death (1 Thessalonians 4:13), the Thessalonians were called to open their curtains and let light in. They were called to walk ahead of outsiders (1 Thessalonians 4:12) so that the Gospel could manifest. They were called to not be moved by afflictions (1 Thessalonians 3:3), but instead to encourage one another, to help the weak, and above all to be patient and persistent in encouragement and prayer.  

We are also called to do this. People are afraid. Every day the numbers of those affected are growing higher. Countries are on lock down, which means movement restrictions and social distancing.  We aren’t allowed to visit family and friends or go to work. This creates fear! Remember, Christians are called to generate faith, not fear! So instead of fuelling the fear fire, fuel the faith fire –  who can you encourage today? Who can you strengthen today? Who can you seek to do good for today? As needs arise, so do opportunities.  You too, like the Thessalonians, can rejoice (1 Thessalonians 5:16), pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:16) for it is God’s will that you are here, it is God’s will we find ourselves in this situation, it is God’s will for “the reason for this season”. “For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus” for you.” So, put down the news articles. Close your laptop. Get off the couch. Get off your phone. Change out of your pyjamas and find someone you can bless. Start creating new and good habits that you continue when this season is over.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-25

Rejoicing in hope and praying with you all.

Posted by Stephen Baragwanath, 4 comments

#1 Misconceptions About Sharing The Gospel

Advertisements

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.

Jesus’ greatest commandments to us is to love God and to love one another. Matthew 22:36-39

Over the course of my next few blogs, I will share my thoughts with you about what I believe, from God’s good Word, are misconceptions about sharing the Gospel.

#1: You must be good at it

Scriptures

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 Isaiah 43:10-13 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

One of the worst things as a witness you can do is to compare yourself to another believer, wishing you had their talents, charisma or personality. That will just leave you thinking “I’m just not good at this”. Thankfully, God’s perspective releases us from this weight, giving us freedom to be witnesses just as we are, just as we were created. In 1 Corinthians 1:27, Paul tell us “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” The best we can do is to be true to our own identity. I encourage you to watch the content I share below. I pray you find encouragement not to be afraid of what others may think.  Never be ashamed to share the Gospel, regardless of your abilities or what you perceive to be your “lack”.

YouTube: Be True to your own identity Adobe Spark: Be True to your own identity

You might think you do not have a charismatic enough personality to be a witness, but God can use you whether you’re the shyest introvert or the most outspoken extrovert and even when you stutter like I do. In fact, the very aspect of your personality that you consider a weakness, God wants to use.

Just think about Jesus choosing Peter. Reading through the Gospels, I often think, what’s up with Peter? He’s headstrong, bold, over-zealous, rash, and plain awkward. Then I get to Acts, and I read about Peter standing up before the crowds at Pentecost and leading 3,000 to Christ in one day. Peter is a perfect example of God using the foolish things to shame the wise.

Another reason I know God can use you is because He is using me. I’m not the best of speakers and I cannot recall Scripture quickly or easily. I’ve murmured God bless you to a homeless person, quickly walked away, and then felt like I just change that persons life. When it comes to interacting with people I’m not close to, I’m unqualified. So, why would God choose me? For the same reason He chose Peter. For the same reason He chooses you. 1 Corinthians 1:29 goes on to say: “so that no one may boast before Him.”

God chooses to use the unqualified because He wants to show off His strength—to prove that He is the one at work, and not to show off your own abilities.  The glory in your witnessing is all for Him.

You may get nervous. You may fail at times—I have. That’s okay. Where your ability falls short, God will come through. We must trust that He will work through us when we step out in faith, and the results are thankfully not up to us. They are up to Him. Be free from the lie that says you’re not good at sharing the gospel. God can use even your weaknesses to His advantage.

#2: EVERYTHING IN YOUR OWN LIFE HAS TO BE TOGETHER

Advertisements
Advertisements
Posted by Stephen Baragwanath, 5 comments