Last month when the Maxwell men were ministering at the homeless shelter, I spoke with a man in his late twenties. He shared how he was struggling with both chemical and alcohol addictions. That is very sad, but what he said next was even sadder. He told me that it was one of his parents who first gave him a beer and harmful illegal drugs. Last week I heard a similar story from another man. I can recall a childhood friend whose parents gave him beer so he could safely drink at home. He may have been safe, but these parents all have something in common. They have given their children appetites for what leads to destruction.
The example we set for our children and how we train them should be taken very seriously because we will all stand before God some day to give an accounting. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). Praise God that most Christian families I know are attempting to lead their families away from sin instead of giving them an appetite for it. However, not sinning in not enough. We need to be living and serving as the Lord Jesus has commanded us.
In the parable of the talents, the man who hid his talent in the ground was not commended for having lost nothing but instead was sternly rebuked because he gained nothing. “His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed” (Matthew 25:26).
In the last two articles in this series, we have discussed the Lord’s command for us to actively share our faith with others. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). By reading Acts, we see that the Apostles were sharing their faith, and we must do so, too. This month we will discuss some practical things that might be done in learning how to share Jesus.
Salvation is a work of God, and it is not a work of the flesh. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). It isn’t about tricks and gimmicks, but the power of the Holy Spirit in converting souls. Religion may bring about some degree of outward conformity, but Jesus Christ changes people from the inside out. Therefore, we must be saved and in fellowship with the Lord if we desire to be used of Him in reaching the lost.
We need to bathe the Lord’s command to “go and preach” in prayer and ask the Lord to begin a work in our lives so that we can obey. Since converting souls is a spiritual matter, then prayer is foundational. Do we believe God is the One Who saves? Then we must be in prayer seeking His power in our lives to develop a deep love for the lost, a concern for their lives, direction in how to prepare and share, discernment in whom the Lord wants us to witness to and that their hearts would be receptive. May He give us boldness and a broken heart for the lost, and may He lead us each step of the way.
Some men have told me that their walk with the Lord is only one of “going through the motions.” If that is the case, I would encourage you to forget about sharing Jesus with others, and focus on your need for a real relationship with the Lord right away. Whether you are unsaved or carnal, I would plead with you not to rest until you have resolved it. Only then will the Holy Spirit be able to lead you as you witness.
Consider beginning to be evangelistic by giving out gospel tracts. On Friday, I stopped by a business to pick up something we ordered. Right next to the loading dock was a picnic table ringed with employees on break. I paused by the group on my way into the building and gave each a “million dollar bill” gospel tract and a few “Are You Good Enough to Go to Heaven?” tracts. They all gladly received them. Later as they filed past me while I was waiting inside, several of them thanked me again. They genuinely appreciated what I had given them.
I don’t leave tracts lying around public places because that can be seen as littering. However, when we are on the lookout, we will see people who are glad to read a tract that is given to them. I often watch for people who appear to be waiting. I remember once spotting a car of “tough guys” waiting outside the grocery store. I walked up and said, “You guys look like you have time to read something.” On occasion, I might add, “I think you will find this most interesting,” or “It’s just a gospel tract.” I can’t recall a person being rude or hateful, and hardly ever is the tract refused.
One thing that is important when choosing tracts is that they are interesting. That is why the “million dollar bill” works very well as a conversation starter or something easy to get in their hands. We tell them it isn’t real, but they might enjoy having one, and most want one because it catches their interest. I know some families include tracts when paying bills. I think that is a good practice as long as the business isn’t paying for the postage. It wouldn’t be right to send a tract if the tract ended up costing the company additional postage to receive it. May we be an offense to no one. “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed” (2 Corinthians 6:3).
Finding good tracts can take quite a bit of time, so be on the lookout, or possibly ask others which ones they like. Tracts to use must be interesting and have a solid biblical foundation. The more motivated a person is, the more he will read. We like to have an assortment of tracts available so the Holy Spirit can lead us in which tract should be given. We have put up a Web page that lists tracts we have used that might help you get started. Seek the Lord’s direction every step of the way. If you sense a person is interested, then give him something that has more of a message. If not, then give a tract that may catch his interest so he wants to read more.
People expect churches to be the ones giving out tracts and sharing Christ, and they suspect their motives. They often feel a church only wants members and money, so they are suspicious. If you are sharing Christ as an individual or “just as a family,” a person is more likely to be open to what you have to say.
Consider having some contact information on the tract should the recipient want to know more. We had a rubber stamp made that has our www.familiesforJesus.com website on it. This way they can e-mail us if they want to dialog further about spiritual issues, but our address and phone number is kept private. Renting a low-volume website is so inexpensive these days that each family could likely do that as well. At that website, more details about salvation could be posted. However, I would encourage you not to put your family’s telephone number, e-mail, or street address on the site. Use a contact form such as you will find on Titus2.com; otherwise, you will receive a lot of spam.
A side note is that you might find a family website is a great learning opportunity. There are a host of beginner books that will teach you all you need to know about developing a website. It can give great purpose for your children to have a project such as this, and they will learn skills in the process. However, be on guard that any Internet use is monitored and 100 percent accountable.
We have also liked carrying our Soul Winner’s New Testaments when we are out, which have notes by the late Clift Brannon. There are notes at appropriate verses that are chained together so someone can look them up on their own, read the verse, and then read Mr. Brannon’s comments. Most of my family tries to have a Soul Winner’s New Testament with them all the time because we have had many opportunities to give a New Testament to a person who has desired more information. We started offering the Soul Winner’s New Testaments on Titus2.com at our cost because we had such trouble finding inexpensive New Testaments to give away.
Make it a true discipleship opportunity as your family learns to witness. Buy one book at a time on witnessing, and go through it together as a family. We found R. A. Torrey’s book called Personal Work to be of great insight and encouragement for us. Unfortunately, that book is out of print, but you might find one on the Internet or in used bookstores. Mr. Torrey has a much smaller book that is still in print called How to Witness to Anyone. Previously I mentioned LivingWaters.com. This group targets the more mainstream Christian of today, but it might be helpful in your quest to learn to be a soul winner.
We have a whiteboard in our dining room where we write Scripture verses that we want to memorize. After we ask the Lord to bless our food, we recite the verse(s) on the board. It is a great way to learn Scripture. Currently, we have most of Exodus 20:3-17 up so the family can memorize the Ten Commandments and use them when witnessing. As you have personal and family devotions, look for verses that you want to memorize for sharing Christ, then learn them at meal times.
We try to have a once-a-month family prayer time for the unsaved that we know. It is a wonderful time of crying out to the Lord for those who are headed for hell. I’m thinking of one young man we met at the fair last month who was proud of going to hell. Only the Holy Spirit can bring about conviction and the realization of a man’s need of a Savior. In his youth, this boy sees himself as immortal, but in joining the Marines, he may soon find himself vulnerable. Only prayer will have an impact on him at this point.
As your children observe you sharing Christ with others, it will build in them a similar boldness and desire to share also. Discussions around the dinner table and prior to evening devotions can be highly profitable for everyone as the family hears who shared Christ with another person and what was said. My family is always greatly encouraged to hear stories of what has happened in my witnessing or to share their own.
Every trip out of the home becomes a new adventure as you seek to share Jesus with others. Remember to keep in mind that this isn’t an exercise like one lifts weights. It is serious business, and souls are at stake. Our hearts have to be deeply concerned for people who are going to spend eternity in hell. Then as we witness there is no personal gain in it for us. We are doing it for the other person’s benefit and in obedience to our Lord.
There is so much more to the Great Commission than just obedience. There is blessing and fulfillment as well. The world’s entertainment and resulting fun is just a poor imitation for joy in the Holy Spirit. There is no greater joy than seeing lives transformed by the power of God. I can’t think of anything the world offers that can compete with that.
May we give our families appetites for the power of God in action, and we won’t be disappointed—not now or when we stand before our Lord giving an account of how we have spent our lives and discipled our children. Do your children have beautiful feet? “. . . How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things” (Romans 10:15).