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Sharing the Gospel - Disciplines and Overcoming Obstacles Print E-mail
Sharing the Gospel

I. Introduction:
We have talked throughout this entire series of the importance of sharing the gospel with others.  We know that people will not be saved unless they hear the gospel and repent and believe.  We know that God has given us a clear command in His Word to go and proclaim Christ.  We know that no Christian is exempt from the charge to make Christ known.  If we know all this, then why do we struggle so much in actually sharing the gospel?  Why is it so hard for us to be obedient to Christ in this regard?  Tonight, I want to look at the obvious obstacles we face in sharing the gospel and how we can overcome these obstacles. 

II.  The Obstacles we face and How to Overcome them:

 A.  Fear:  The most obvious obstacle that we face is that of fear.  This may take different forms in our life and experience including: fear of what to say, fear of how to answer questions, fear of losing a friendship, fear of rejection, fear of upsetting the status quo.  I think I can address each of these by splitting them into a couple of categories: fear of knowledge and fear of relationships.  Let’s consider these two categories of fear.

 The fear of knowledge, or lack of knowledge, is a very common obstacle to sharing the gospel.  If you asked most people what they were afraid of or why they did not share the gospel, I think that most of them would say that they feel inadequate in their knowledge to share the gospel.  They wonder, ‘What will I do if they ask a question I don’t know how to answer?’  Or maybe, ‘Do I really understand the gospel enough to share it with someone else?’  As with all the obstacles that we will identify, at the end of the day, our fears are just an excuse to not share.
 
So, how do we overcome the fear of knowledge?  First, we labor to understand and believe the gospel ourselves.  We need to be able to briefly summarize the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone who might ask.  This is why we have spent the amount of time that we have on our four major headings of the gospel: God and Creation, man and the Fall, Christ and Redemption, response and New Creation.  By simply following this basic outline, I believe we can speak the gospel to anyone with the confidence that we are indeed sharing with them the true gospel.  Sometimes we make it harder than it actually is.  In a real sense, the gospel is simple and easy to understand and share.  Second, we freely admit that we do not have all the answers.  People are not looking for, nor do they need, a spiritual guru or know-it-all.  Rather, people need Christians who are willing to be honest and humble.  We do not have to answer all of their questions.  We simply need to do the best we can and be honest when the answer is beyond us.  Third, we need to trust Jesus’ promise that the Spirit would be with us.  Look at John 16:7-15.  Jesus is preparing the disciples for His departure from them by promising them the gift of the Spirit.  We see this promise fulfilled in Acts as the Spirit guides the apostles and the early Church.  We, too, have this same Spirit who will guide us and lead us into truth and use the faithful proclamation of the gospel to convict me of their sin and lead them to repentance.  Thus, the fear of knowledge can be overcome.

The second category of fear is the fear of relationships.  What I mean by this is the fear of what can happen to our relationships if we share the gospel.  We fear the loss of friendship.  We fear the loss of our job or place at work.  We fear being labeled ‘radical’ or ‘religious zealot.’  We fear that things may never be normal again if we share our faith.  So, how do we overcome the fear of relationships, or loss of relationships?

First, we need to realize that none of these fears really amount to much.  As we said before, they just serve as an excuse to keep us from sharing.  Second, true relationships are built upon the gospel.  We may seemingly have ‘good’ relationships with nonbelievers, but if they have not been reconciled to God, then our relationship with them is limited.  The best thing we can do for such a relationship is to speak the truth.  Otherwise, we are simply pretending that a huge problem does not exist and basing our relationship on a lie, or at least a covering up of the truth.  Rather, because we love them and because we value our relationship with them, we should speak the gospel to them that they might be reconciled to God.  If we truly love them, then we will speak the truth to them.

B.  Distractions:  I am not exactly sure what to call this, but distractions will work.  One of the greatest obstacles to us sharing the gospel is the fact that we never get around to it.  Again, we know we should, we know they need to hear, we think about it and pray about, but we never actually open our mouths and speak the gospel.  This is the obstacle that is painful for us to admit.  We categorize our lives and religion has its place.  Yet, when we are at work or spending time with our family, then it is not time to talk religion.  Sure we might gossip about the Church or complain about the failing morals of our country, but we are not going to take the time to get one on one and speak the gospel to those who need to hear.  It is just never a good opportunity to do that.  In the end, we are just distracted by everything else going on that we fail to keep first things first.  We will think about it later and maybe even wish we would have said something more, but the time is never right when the opportunity is before us.  So, how do we overcome the obstacle of distraction?

First, we must see evangelism as a spiritual discipline.  Just as it is important for us to make time to read our Bibles and pray and attend Church, we need to make time to share the gospel with others.  It will never ‘just happen.’  The distractions are too numerous.  Thus, we need to plan.  We need to think ahead.  We need to go to work determined to try and speak the gospel before the day is over.  We need to invite our neighbors over for dinner with the intention of getting to know them and speaking the gospel to them.  We need to call our family members and ask them if we can have a few minutes to talk about some important things with them.  We need to be intentional.  Second, we need to have accountability for this discipline.  I admit, this frightens me a bit, but why do we have accountability for things we should not be doing, but often no accountability for the things we should be doing?  Thus, I challenge you, before you leave tonight, make a plan to share the gospel with someone in the next week and ask someone to hold you accountable to that plan.  We must be intentional or the distractions will continue to be an obstacle for us sharing the gospel with others.

C.  Not knowing where to start:  The final obstacle I want to mention is our struggle in knowing where to begin.  We addressed this some last week, so I only want to remind you of what we said there.  Beginning is difficult, but we usually make it harder than it actually is.  We simply must speak.  We simply must be bold.  There is no right or wrong place to start necessarily.  Thus, we need to stop waiting for the ‘right time.’  The ‘right time’ is now.  Do not let this be an obstacle to you.  Rather, take the risk and speak the gospel.

III.  Conclusion:

 Let me conclude by reminding you of a few important truths in light of these obstacles that we have mentioned.  First, the command is clear (see Matthew 28:18-20).  The call to share the gospel with others is a responsibility that every Christian has.  Thus, we need to be faithful in our obedience here.  Second, the need is great.  People will not be reconciled with God apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ.  How are they going to hear the gospel unless we share it with them (see Romans 10:14ff)?  If you do not have a burden for the lost, then pray to God that He would give you eyes to see their desperate state.  Third, go in the power of the Spirit.  The Father has sent the Spirit to aid us in this battle.  We need not forget that we fight in the power of the Conquering King.  Thus, by God’s grace, may we overcome every obstacle in our way and faithfully preach the gospel to a world in need of a Savior.  Amen.

 ~ William Marsahll ~

Last Updated ( Monday, 12 June 2006 )

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