I just finished teaching at my church a 6-week class on evangelism by Bill Fay titled “Share Jesus Without Fear” and on the last night I asked the class this question: “Why do you want to witness to the people on your list?” (We all made a list on week 1 of those people we knew who needed to be saved). One sweet, godly lady said, “So they won’t go to hell.” I replied that was a common answer and a good one. However, I told the class that your motivation has to be more than that. In fact, what would it say about us if we wanted anyone to go to hell?
To overcome the fear and intimidation of witnessing we need more than making sure our loved one doesn’t go to hell. Someone else said we need love. I told the class yes but that our love for our lost one isn’t enough. I asked them, “All of us love those people on our list, right?”
Nevertheless, we still avoid the “confrontation” of witnessing to our lost loved ones. Why? It is because our love alone will not compel us to overcome our fears and share the gospel. It takes the love of Christ.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37)
Jesus’ weeping over Jerusalem is not just for the city, but for the whole of Israel. God’s chosen people had rejected and even killed the prophets the Heavenly Father had sent to bring them to repentance. Now He has sent His only begotten Son and soon they shall kill Him too. Jesus’ weeping is not for His life; He is weeping for the Jews’ rejection of Him. Warren Wiersbe writes:
“Jesus spoke these words of lamentation as a sincere expression of His love for Jerusalem, and His grief over the many opportunities for salvation that they had passed by.”
When was the last time you wept over your lost loved ones? This weeping must be a sincere expression of our love for them. It cannot be weeping from anger or frustration. We must weep for “the many opportunities for salvation that they [have] passed by.”
Our compassion must be compelled by Christ’s compassion for the lost. This is what drove our Lord amongst the people to preach the gospel to them and heal them of their infirmities. He knew they were lost without Him as their shepherd and that life was wearing them down.
“Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’” (Matthew 9:37-38)
The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand often overshadows the reason so many were among Christ and His disciples. However, it was Christ’s compassion that attracted the people to Him.
“And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:14)
When Jesus fed the four thousand, He did so out of compassion for them not because He wanted to display His power.
“Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, ‘I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.’” (Matthew 15:32)
When Jesus healed people it was again driven by His compassion for them and not an opportunity for Him to prove He was the Messiah.
“So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, that our eyes may be opened.’ So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.” (Matthew 20:32-34)
Are you beginning to see a trend here? Everything Christ did was motivated from a sincere love for His Father and for us. Perhaps if we are to be more Christlike, we should become more like Christ? If you truly want to be obedient to the Great Commission, do it as a sincere expression of your love for Jesus. When your love for Christ is sincere, then your love for the lost in your life will be in all sincerity.
That is when you can share Jesus without fear.
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Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers