Mark Harris’ music is very special to the Jeffers Family. I’ve used two of Mark’s songs in videos I did right after Eddie died. Karen and I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Mark on two occasions, the last one just three weeks ago. He is a very godly man and lives his faith out loud. One of his songs is appropriate for today’s devotional on lifestyle evangelism. The chorus of Mark’s song “Use Words” explains:
Live it now
Take the message to the world
You gotta let it out
You never know who’s listening
You never know what they have heard
So preach Christ
Even if it means use words
Lifestyle evangelism has become quite popular in some denominational circles and not so welcomed in others. Seventy-four percent of born again Christians polled say they have tried this method of Christian outreach. This method involves living your life in ways that cause non-believers to notice and ask questions of you.
Let me ask each of you who consider yourself as born again Christians: how many of you have had a chance to witness to someone because they were intrigued by your lifestyle? In other words, how often do you get asked, what is it that’s so different about you?
I would venture a guess that most of us could count on one hand, with plenty of fingers to spare, the number of times this has happened.
Now I am not saying we are not to live our lives in a manner that brings glory to God; obviously we are to do so. But to use this method by just living a good, consistent Christian life before the unsaved, praying they will notice in us something that will lead them to Christ seems to me a long shot at best, and unbiblical at worse.
Now if by lifestyle evangelism one means to that you’ve devoted your life to sharing the gospel, that is definitely what Jesus had in mind. I find no mention in Scripture where someone came to Christ just because of Jesus’ lifestyle and even if it did I can’t trust myself to live the perfect life Jesus lived.
Beloved, it is through the Word of God that people are saved:
“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? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘LORD, who has believed our report?’ So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:14-17)
I remember a soldier in one of my units who used to brag about all the women he got, even though we all knew better. One day he was boasting of how he never approached women; they had to come to him if they wanted to be with him. I asked him, “So how’s that working out for you?” He said nothing amongst the suppressed chuckles. (I know, that wasn’t nice of me)
But I would ask the same question of the Christian who says they do not approach people about Christianity, known as confrontational evangelism (more on that later this week). How many people have ever approached you and said, “There’s something different about you…what is it?”, and then you got to witness to them?
If that happens then praise God! And we should live our lives in such a way that gives us opportunity to share, but that occasion more often than not comes when calamity or persecution strikes our lives:
“And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’ But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:13-17)
My family has had opportunity to share our faith because of our reaction to Eddie’s death, however, if I were to rely on that alone I can say that it led to only one time that I actually shared the gospel with someone I knew was not saved. In most cases I was able to testify to the grace of God to those who already believed in Him.
If you go back to the chorus of Mark’s song and if you know his theology, he is in no way supporting a non-confrontational evangelism. Mark’s lifestyle is one of preaching, singing, speaking, teaching, writing, serving and living a life in the fullness of Christ. As a matter of fact at the concert we saw Mark three weeks ago he shared the gospel to the crowd and the passers-by.
Beloved, my intent here is for us to become purposeful in our evangelism. Jesus said He sends us out into the world:
“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” (John 17:15-19)
Who do you know that needs to hear the gospel? Are you praying that God would prepare their heart and ears to receive His Word? Are you praying that God would help you overcome your fears so you can share with them?
If you are counting on how you live your life to bring them to Christ, I’m cheering you on that your witness be one of humility and service.
I am also praying that God would give you the courage to speak up and begin a conversation with this person on what their spiritual beliefs are, what they believe about heaven and hell, what they believe about their eternal future, and whether or not they would want to know the truth if what they believed was not true.
And yes, that means you will have to use words…
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers