Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time to Get Real: Share the Good News

Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. 
Matthew 10:32-33

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:38

Charlie Peace was a notorious criminal in 19th century England. A known burglar and murderer, Peace was eventually sentenced to hang, and on February 25th 1879 marched out to meet his fate. As Peace undertook his "death-walk" a prison chaplain walked with him halfheartedly reading from Scripture and urging repentance. Peace responded by uttering his most famous words. "'Sir, if I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be, on hands and knees and think it worth while living, just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that!”*

I first heard this story years ago and it has always stuck with me. The idea of a man crawling across all of England on broken glass to save just one soul and considering it a worthwhile task is powerful. The truth is that Charlie Peace, scoundrel that he was, preached a sermon that day that God in His grace is still using for His glory. If we really believe what the Bible teaches about Hell- that those who die without forgiveness for their sins will spend eternity in torment for those sins- then we should do all that we can to prevent that from happening. Indeed we have an even greater responsibility because we not only know that Hell is waiting for these individuals but we also know the solution to their problem. We know that "there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved" but Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). How great a crime it is to keep silent about such things.

The Scriptures above speak as plainly to this subject as Charlie Peace did. We Christians have no excuse for failing to share Jesus with the world. It is our duty. In fact, Jesus used His last words to encourage us to do the same. "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, 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).

Yet many of us still fail to share. There are many reasons why we do not share the gospel as we should, but one of those reasons is that many of us simply do not know how. Today, I would like to show you the simplest way I have found to share the gospel. (Disclaimer: This is not my own invention. I have found it used in many LifeWay resources and assume they developed it. I share it here in my own words and adjusted to my liking.) It is as easy as remembering A-B-C. 

A- Admit that you are a sinner and in need of God's grace (Romans 3:10 and 3:23).

B- Believe that Jesus is God's Son, that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin, and was raised from the dead (Romans 6:23 and 5:8).
C- Confess Jesus as Lord of your life. Turn from sin (from living life your way) and commit to live your life for God (Romans 10:9).

I Peter 3:15 says that you should, "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." So, I encourage you to take a few minutes and study this or another form of sharing the gospel message so that you are ready when God gives you opportunities to share. I also encourage you to commit to memory the passages of Scripture that I reference above, because you don't always have a Bible handy when you have a chance to witness. Lastly, pray that the Lord would give you an opportunity to plant a gospel seed in someone's life; and when He does, step out on faith.

For further reading...
  • Memorize the gospel plan and passages above.

* - There seem to be many variations of this story floating around. They are all essentially the same, but the quote especially seems to change a little from story to story. This Wikipedia entry seemed to me to be fairly reliable so I chose to use it over some of the other sources I came across.

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