Is it really all that important to share the gospel with words? Or is it more effective if we just live out the Christian life in front of our peers without saying a word about the gospel? That was a question recently thrown out by a DJ on a Christian music radio station.
In response, several listeners called in to say that just demonstrating Christ by our actions and how we carry ourselves is more important than speaking what the Bible says, because people will see that we’re different and will want to know why we’re different, then that curiosity will lead them to God. What’s my take on that sentiment? Pardon my bluntness, but I think that’s a cop-out for cowards.
I think it’s perfectly fine for a Christian to admit they’re scared to verbally share their faith for whatever reason so they can then seek help through prayer and get pointers from stronger, mature Christians to work through the fears (I’ve been there myself). But to justify not saying a word about Jesus as the callers above did is a way of hiding that fear, in my opinion. Part of living out the Christian life is verbally sharing the gospel. How we carry ourselves to glorify God is designed to be inseparable from us sharing the gospel by what we say. They complement each other.
Not to be full of pride about myself or anything, but a lot of people at my job know I’m a practicing Christian because I’ve shared the gospel on several occasions one-on-one with some of them. Now they may not like it or may have misconceptions about what a Christian is or does, but they know I believe the Bible. Even when they see my shortcomings.
I don’t walk around saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” all the time, but on occasion I do share a tidbit about what I believe if an opportunity presents itself. Why do I do it? One reason is that I want my unsaved co-workers to be saved. Another reason is that this is what I’ve learned to do from reading the scripture. Here are examples of what I mean:
We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 2 Corinthians 4:13
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, Ephesians 6:18-19 (even after years of ministry, Paul needed prayer for boldness to speak the gospel)
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
And when he [Jesus] was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. Mark 5:18-19
As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Acts 8:3-4 (Notice these were just ordinary believers preaching the word everywhere. They weren’t seminarians, nor did they have an M.Div.)
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 1 Peter 3:15 (This is what Peter himself did. And this is what he expected of every saint.)
And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. Revelation 10:10-11 (John was exiled by Nero and was very old–past retirement age-yet he was still expected to continue preaching despite his circumstances.)
Although there are a few occasions where God may not want us to share the gospel (Acts 16:6), for the most part the Lord expects that if we’ve seen something (i.e. his mighty works of salvation in our lives) we should say something.
Harry A. Gaylord