I finish this series on “How to Exercise Spiritually” with one more daily spiritual exercise. It is the spiritual exercise of sharing our faith in Jesus with other people. Most Christians do not share their faith in Jesus with anyone. Some Christians don’t see the need to share. Others are afraid to share. Still others don’t know how to share. So today I want to help you see the need to share your faith, learn how to share your faith, and finally to understand the benefits of sharing your faith in Jesus.
I. Why must I share my faith?
Because this is God’s plan for my life.
Before leaving this earth, Jesus gave this final instruction to his disciples. “When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere.” Acts 1:8 (NLT) This was the last face-to-face contact Jesus had with his disciples. So he took the opportunity to remind them what they were to do. They were to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit, and then they were to tell people about Jesus.
Years later after hearing this specific direction from Jesus, Peter, one of the twelve disciples, states a similar instruction. “Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you.” 1 Peter 3:15 (TEV) Peter was talking to people who already had the power of the Holy Spirit, and he is reminding them what they were to do—tell others about Jesus, the hope that is in you.
So Jesus gave this instruction to the disciples. The disciples obeyed and followed the instruction. Once they did that, then they reminded the new Christians of the same instruction—tell others about Jesus. This same instruction has been followed and handed down from generation to generation.
II. How can I share my faith?
- Identify the people around me who don’t know Jesus.
After healing a man of being demon possessed, Jesus gave the man this specific direction. “Go home to your family and friends. Tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5:19 (NCV) Jesus’ specific direction was, tell others about me. Start with your family and friends. Start with all those people who knew you as a demon possessed man. Go show them the transformation in your soul. So this man had no training in a Bible college or seminary; this man had not been to a Billy Graham training conference; this man did not have the capacity to explain the Old Testament prophecies; this man could not expound upon theology; this man had not been to a worship service; however, this man did exactly as Jesus directed. He went home. He found his family and friends that knew nothing about Jesus and he told them about what Jesus had done for him. And the scripture in Mark 5 goes on to say that all the people were amazed.
- Discover common ground with the people who don’t know Jesus.
Obviously, we have lots of common ground with family and friends, but what about the people we don’t know. When faced with the opportunity to share Jesus with those people we don’t know, what do we do? How do we get the conversation started? From Paul’s example in 1 Corinthians 9:22 (LB), we find this behavior. “Whatever a person is like, I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him.”
Paul’s practice was to find a place of common ground with a person and then tell that person about Jesus. This practice is a way of connecting with a stranger and building trust in the relationship. And it is simple to do. It doesn’t matter if two people are from different cultures, backgrounds, economic levels, or educational levels; there is always some common ground. All humans suffer from fears. All humans have doubts about the future. All humans struggle with bad habits. All humans worry. All humans wonder about life after death. Finding common ground with another person is simple to do. Once the common ground is established, then there is a connection, a trust, and a listening ear.
- Share my experience of being rescued by Jesus.
In Acts 22:6-7 (NIV), we find Paul’s example of sharing his experience of being rescued by Jesus. “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’” Paul had been persecuting Christians and Jesus spoke to him, stopped him, and rescued him from a life of misery and a destiny of hell. Paul was given a new life, and he shared that new life in Jesus with others. This was one example of Paul sharing his faith and experience of being rescued by Jesus.
In 1 Peter 2:9 (MSG), we have this encouragement. “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you.” Jesus has chosen us, rescued us, brought us into his family, made us holy, and filled us with his love. As this passage says, we are to speak out for him and to tell others about the night and day difference Jesus has made in us.
III. What are the benefits of sharing my faith?
In Luke 15, Jesus tells a story about a shepherd leaving behind ninety-nine sheep to find one lost sheep. His point in the story is this. “Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.” Luke 15:7 (MSG) When you and I share Jesus with others and they accept Jesus into their lives, it is a joyous experience. All of heaven is rejoicing and we too can experience that joy of seeing people rescued by Jesus.
- God’s power working in me.
In 2 Timothy 1:7-8 (LB), we find this encouragement. “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. If you will stir up this inner power, you will never be afraid to tell others about our Lord.” Earlier, we read the scripture where Jesus promised the power of his Holy Spirit upon his disciples for telling others about him. In this Timothy passage, Paul reminds us that this same Holy Spirit power helps us to be wise, strong, full of love, and to overcome the fear we have of sharing Jesus with others.
God’s specific instruction for us is for us to tell others about Jesus. But he doesn’t send us out there alone. Instead, God fills us with the power of his Holy Spirit. So we must let go of our fears and take hold of the Holy Spirit so that we can love others, be wise in how we talk to them, and be strong in the face of rejection.
Will you share your faith in Jesus with others?