I have a friend I’ve known for over 20 years who asked me why I was always in a good mood. He said I always come to work with a smile. No matter what life threw at me, I always seemed to take it in stride.
I responded with, “I don’t know. I guess I’m just getting older and discovering things aren’t always as bad as they appear. No matter how upset I get, the problem is still there to deal with, so what’s the point in getting all worked up?”
Now that wasn’t a terrible response, but I failed to see the sharing opportunity that God presented.
- I didn’t take time to explain that the change in me is the work of Jesus.
- I didn’t explain that despite my best efforts at a young age to screw my life up, God had forgiven me of all my shortcomings and helped put my life back together.
Simply put, I wasn’t prepared to answer the question.
How do you respond when someone asks you about the hope you have? What do you tell someone when they are picking up the pieces to their broken marriage? How do you encourage that friend that just lost a loved one? Sharing the hope of Jesus starts with being prepared.
Our key text today is found in 1 Peter 3:15,
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
The first question to ask yourself is, do I have hope? This is important because it determines your next step.
The Next Step
If you don’t know what it is to have hope in Jesus, then your next step is to start by building your life on a solid foundation by placing your faith and trust in Jesus.
If you do have hope in Jesus, then your next step is to share that hope.
The final commandment that Jesus gave before He ascended into Heaven is found in Matthew 28:19,
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
What Holds You Back From Sharing
- Fear… of what will others think? Rejection…What if others don’t like me? What if I’m laughed at or called a Jesus freak? You’re afraid you will lose friends or business opportunities. I know that’s scary, but look at what Jesus had to say about this…
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven,” – Matthew 5:11-12
- Lack of Knowledge…None of us feel like we are equipped to answer the tough questions. But, if you’re a Christian, you’ve probably heard the gospel many times. Yet, many of us still struggle to articulate it in a memorable and understandable way.
- Apathy…Some of us just don’t care much for lost people. We wouldn’t ever say it out loud, but our priorities and lives reveal it. Our schedules are too busy to interact and engage with those who don’t know Christ. We rarely pray for lost people in our neighborhoods and workplaces. Lost people are a low priority.
We have been commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God Almighty, to go and make disciples. So why would we allow these things to keep us from doing what Jesus has commissioned, empowered, and commanded us to do?
How Do I Share?
The best way to share the gospel is to ensure you are living a Godly life. Non-Christians often view Christians as hypocritical because we say one thing and do another. It’s important that we live a life above reproach and one that is honoring and pleasing to God.
At the same time, we must do more than live Godly lives. People need to hear about a God that loves them, they need to know that Christ died for them.
Oftentimes, when I ask someone about sharing the gospel, they immediately want to charge in with, “Christ died for your sins. You need to accept Him as your Lord and Savior,” and you wouldn’t be wrong if this is your approach. People certainly need to place their faith and trust in the Lord. But if they don’t understand the need for it or the value of it, they may tend to procrastinate or not do it at all.
If I came up to you and said, “Hi, I’m Charlie and I want to tell you about this awesome doctor I know. He has one degree from the University of Washington and another from Harvard Medical School and you should go see him right away.” You’d probably look at me like I have two heads and think, that’s great, but why do I need a doctor?
My point here is that when sharing the hope of Jesus, we should start at the beginning, so people will see the full picture. This will help them to better understand their need for a Savior.
Four Simple Steps To Sharing
The first step is to start with the story of creation found in Genesis…
- Perfect Creation – God created a perfect paradise and at the center of this perfect creation, He made humans. God’s plan from the beginning was for us to live in perfect harmony with Him, with each other, and with the Earth.
So what happened?!
- Terrible Fall – Instead of living happily ever after, in the perfect garden God created, Adam and Eve decided to break the one boundary God had given them. He told them they could eat from any tree but one. He wanted them to have a choice in their obedience so they could freely choose to follow. But instead, they chose to rebel against God’s commands.
The real rebellion was not that they ate a piece of fruit, it was that they turned away from God with an attitude that said, “I don’t trust you, so I’m going to do it my way”. This rebellion called sin had an immediate and life-long impact on all humanity.
Step 3 of sharing is helping them understand the resolution, God’s solution to our problem.
- God’s Solution – God loves you and His love bridges the gap of separation between you and Him. When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave, He paid the penalty for your sins.
“He Himself bore our sins’ in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by His wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24
So what should we do with this Good News? Well, that’s another great question, because our response is the fourth and probably most important step to sharing the Gospel.
- Our Response – We become a part of God’s family when we accept the gift of salvation.
“But, as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12
What Should Your Response Look Like?
Accept the gift of salvation that Christ offers so we can be children of God.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. – Romans 10:9-10
Align with God, admit and own up to your wrongdoing.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
Turn away from your old lifestyle, the self-serving life, and begin a walk toward God.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, – Acts 3:1
Baptism is a public profession of your faith in Jesus Christ. It’s an outward expression of an inward transformation; a commitment to follow Christ and live a life that is honoring and pleasing to God.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. – Romans 6:4
Live a life committed to following Jesus.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. – Romans 12:1-2