When I was a young kid, I remember learning to witness to someone using ABC. You were to tell someone, “All you need to do is Ask Jesus into your heart, Believe God raised Him from the dead and Confess your sins.” When I was in junior high, I learned the Romans Road. You’ll use verses in the book of Romans to walk someone through believing in Jesus (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:13 and 10:9-10). In high school, we were given tracts and we’re taken to the local movie theater on Friday nights to hand them out. As an adult, we had an Evangelism Explosion class that taught us a method, and then we went door to door in the neighborhood around the church. While I love all these methods, the simplest form of witnessing was overlooked.
On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came down with power on a group of 120 people who had been praying for 10 days. There was a rushing, mighty wind that filled the room, fire appeared above their heads and people began praying in different languages. The ruckus created a crowd around their prayer meeting. People outside must have gotten loud because Peter stepped out and began to explain what was going on in them what happened to Jesus and then how to be saved from their sins. It was short and sweet and delivered with conviction. The Bible says that about 3,000 people heard his message and became Christians that day. I’ve never won 3,000 for Jesus, but I’ve found that the most effective at winning the lost is being able to explain who Jesus is and how He changed your life.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “And if anyone asks about the hope living within you, always be ready to explain your faith” (TPT). The thing that I had never really been taught was how to simply explain my faith. Those other methods taught me how to walk someone through accepting Jesus, but what we need is to learn how to give an answer for our faith and the reason for our hope in a chaotic world. There’s no formula for that. It’s simply explains your story of what Jesus did in your life and why you believe in Him. I want to encourage you today to spend some time thinking about that. Why do you believe in Jesus? What has He done in your life? How would you explain that to someone who asked you about it? Being able to explain those three answers will be your most effective witnessing tool.
I was chatting with a friend at church recently. We were talking about the need for satellite churches around the city. As we were discussing locations that would be good, he brought up a certain area of town. He broke down and began to cry. He said, “We’ve got to get in there and take the Gospel to the people who live there.” I could tell his heart was breaking for that demographic. I believe God has given this man that burden and that’s why it bothered Him so much that there were so few churches in that area trying to reach them. His passion touched me, and it got me to thinking about the importance of anguish in a Christian’s life.
Several years ago, David Wilkerson preached a sermon called, “A Call to Anguish”. It’s one of those sermons I’ve listened to many times because it fires me up. In it, he says, “Anguish means extreme pain and distress. The emotions so stirred that it becomes painful. Acute deeply felt inner pain because of conditions about you, in you, or around you. Deep pain. Deep sorrow. The agony of God’s heart.“ That’s what was going on in my friend, and to be honest, I was a little jealous because I wanted to feel God’s anguish like that.
In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah wanted a son. Every day she was reminded of her barrenness. God put it in her heart to have a child so she went to the Tabernacle to pray. Verse 10 says, “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord” (NLT). I believe her anguish was born in her heart by God. I believe it’s something every one of us need. If you’re not feeling God’s anguish today for a brokenness in the world, ask God to share part of His heart with you. It’s time we wept in anguish for the things that break God’s heart so we can do something about it.
Take five minutes today to listen to these excerpts from David Wilkerson’s sermon “A Call to Anguish” and ask God to share part of His heart with you.
I read a news article about a 92 year old woman who was driving the wrong direction down the highway. A man noticed it and started trying to stop her. He drove past her on the right side of the highway to the next cross street. He then jumped out and tried to wave her down. He tried it again, but with no success. He then drove through the median grass until he was beside her and was able to stop her. She said she knew she was on the wrong side and was trying to get to the other side, but didn’t know how. The man who saved her said, “I knew something wasn’t right. If there was any way I could stop that, I was willing to do anything I could.”
As I saw that story, I couldn’t help but think of Jude 1:22 that says, “Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way” (MSG). This man reminded me of what God called us to do. We are to be on a Rescue Mission going after those going the wrong way towards Hell. The arrival mentioned how most people would have noticed the lady going the wrong way, but wouldn’t have done anything about it. This man stood out because he was willing to risk his life to save hers and others.
Saving others from going the wrong way isn’t just for pastors and missionaries. It’s all of our responsibility. We have to go through life understanding that we are God’s rescue plan for helping people who are going the wrong way. Are we willing to speak up? Are we willing to try to get their attention to let them know? Or are we content to let them drive down the wrong way? You don’t have to act crazy and flag people down, but you do have to love them. They may know they’re going the wrong way, but don’t know how to turn around or get to the other side. That’s where we come in, rescue them and point them to Jesus. Ask God to help you see those going the wrong way and to use you to rescue them.
I used to love listening to talk radio. There was a local guy that I enjoyed listening to, but one day he switched his format. Instead of merely discussing news events, he decided to bring divisive topics each day and just let people argue. His show began to be about stirring up a hornets nest where no one could win, and it caused people to dig their heels into their position. It was no longer a place for dialogue and the show became something I no longer wanted to listen to. I’m guessing I wasn’t alone because it was canceled not long after that.
As Christians, we need to be careful that we don’t fall into that same trap. We don’t want to be known as people who argue over every little thing, especially to the point where we refuse to listen. At times, it feels like our goal is to win the argument rather than to win the lost. It’s one thing to have a dialogue with someone about why you believe what you believe, but another thing entirely to look for divisive arguments with others. We’re to be known for our love rather than our debating skills.
Paul warned Timothy about this in 2 Timothy 2:23-24. He said, “Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people” (NLT). That’s a challenge for you and me in today’s world. Everyone seems to be divided on everything, even in the Church. We’re not to go around and start fights, but to find a way to teach people the truth in a way that they’ll listen. What good is it if we win the argument, but lose the war for their soul? When we start from a place of love rather than trying to be right, we’ll find more open doors to share our faith.