The Gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). God does not want anyone to perish but instead wants everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9); He wants everyone to come to salvation (1 Tim. 2:4). I am sure you’re not the kind of person who is full of unbelief about evangelism (if you were, I doubt you would have made it this far). This post will equip you to recognize the lies that keep so many from sharing the Good News. Catch these in your own life and make others aware of them too.
Christ came to seek and to save the lost (Lk. 19:10) and He has put you and I here for that same reason (Acts 17:26-27). Scripture is clear, anyone who puts their trust in Christ will be saved (Jn. 3:16, Acts 2:21, Rom. 10:13). The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Matt. 9:37). We are the workers He has chosen to use and it is time for us to win this world for Him! Don’t ever let Satan’s lies stop you from that.
There are so many different lies that have kept Christians from sharing the Good News. There are ten that are particularly destructive (but these are by no means the only ones). I think it is important to get these lies out in the open right off the bat so they aren’t messing with you the rest of this book. Here they are in no particular order.
Lie #1 -You must have the gift of evangelism.
Many donʼt share because they donʼt feel like they have that gift. We would never say you must have the gift of hospitality in order to be hospitable, the gift of giving to give or the gift of encouragement to encourage. Some will have the gift of evangelism but we’re all called to share the Good News. Remember Matthew 4:19; if you follow Christ youʼre called to evangelism! Don’t ever believe the lie that you have to have the gift of evangelism in order to share.
Lie # 2 - Your personality, skill, knowledge, looks, style, and actions validate the Gospel and make it relevant.
Many Christians donʼt witness because they feel they arenʼt good enough Christians. The whole point of the Good News is that we are sinners that need a Savior! 1 Corinthians 1:27 says that God chooses the foolish and weak things of this world to glorify Him. He doesn’t need you to “validate” the Gospel (you should definitely do your best not to invalidate it through hypocrisy). Also, many people donʼt share because they donʼt think they have all the answers. You never will! Do your best to prepare and then trust Him. Don’t believe the lie that the power of the Gospel rests on your performance or abilities.
Lie #3 - You must earn the right to be heard.
Another version of this goes, “they donʼt care how much you know till they know how much you care.” That is definitely true for leadership and discipleship, but not for evangelism! Jesus earned the right to be heard two thousand years ago. He also earned the right to be obeyed by His followers; He claimed to have all the authority to command us to witness (Matt. 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). Many people incorrectly believe you must befriend people before witnessing to them. The number one reason people reject the Gospel is because of hypocritical Christians; the “friendship only” approach isn’t working. Jesus called us to reach the whole world. This would be practically impossible if everyone had to be befriended first. Imagine how long it would take to befriend the entire world before sharing with them. Be friendly but also be open to sharing with anyone God puts in your path. There are very few, if any, places in Scripture, where anyone befriended someone before sharing with them. Love people and share with them. Don’t believe the lie that you can’t share the Gospel with someone until some level of friendship has been attained.
Lie #4 - Booklets and pamphlets should be avoided.
Romans 1:16 tells us, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes...” The Gospel message is powerful, whatever its format. Gospel “tracts” and pamphlets can be great conversational tools and they can be transferable resources that make it easier for people you’re discipling to learn how to share their faith. It is important to personalize these tracts as much as possible. You should never believe the lie that God can’t use them.
Lie #5 - The poor, needy, and destitute are those we should focus evangelism on most.
We must remember that the rich are lost too (Matt. 19:23-24)! The poor are, without question, close to God’s heart and we should do everything we can to help them but they aren’t the only ones God wants to reach. The poor and the rich alike are lost without Jesus and we should strive to share the Good News with them all! Don’t believe the lie that rich people are fine the way they are and the destitute are the ones who really need spiritual help. Everyone needs Jesus!
Lie #6 - It is your responsibility to make sure no one gets offended.
Jesus promised men would hate you because of Him (Matt. 10:22)! Scripture also tells us we will be disgusting to some, but life to others (2 Cor. 2:16)! Share in a loving and truthful way and then trust the results to God. Gregory Koukl writes, in Tactics, “Jesus’ teaching made some people furious. Just make sure it’s your ideas that offend and not you, that your beliefs cause the dispute and not your behavior.”9 Be loving and truthful and remember, if people get offended, that is not your problem. Trust God with your insecurities. Don’t believe the lie that you can or should even try to make people like you all the time.
Lie #7 - Methods are what produce results.
Jesus said that it was the amount of seed sown that led to larger harvests (Matt. 13:1-9). We should always be looking for great new evangelism tools but must remember sharing the Good News is the key to reaching people for Christ. Never put off sharing your faith while you wait for better tools or ideas. Sow lots of seed in lots of places lots of different ways. Don’t believe the lie that you need to find some special evangelism “magic bullet.”
Lie #8 - “Preach always, use words if necessary.”
This is a popular misquote of St. Francis of Assisi. There are good Mormons, Buddhists, witches, and atheists; good works donʼt save people or show people the way to eternal life. We should live such godly lives that people will see Christ in us (1 Peter 2:12) but we must also remember that words are necessary (Rom. 10:13-14). We should both share the Gospel and live lives that show people Christ, not one or the other. Don’t believe the lie that good works alone are a sufficient evangelistic approach.
Lie #9 - Older people are stuck in their ways and wonʼt trust Christ.
On the contrary, dreams forgotten, relationships broken and the ends of their lives approaching, many have never been more desperate. Remember John 12:32-33; Jesus is drawing every person to Himself! That includes the old. Don’t believe the lie that you shouldn’t try to reach all ages of people for Christ.
Lie #10 - Most people arenʼt interested in spiritual issues and hearing the Gospel.
Jesus tells us, in Matthew 9:37, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few...” Workers are the limiting factor in the harvest. It is time to quit believing lies and start working in the harvest God has put us here for! Don’t believe the lie that people aren’t interested in Jesus.
Remember, James 1:22 tells us that disobedience leads to deception. The reason many of these evangelism lies are so prevalent today is because most Christians are not obeying the command to share their faith. Their disobedience is leading to deception. Don’t believe these ten lies or any others. Trust God will use you mightily if you’ll just obey Him by sharing your faith!
I think most of these lies are really just excuses. Ultimately, fear is the main reason most people fail to share their faith. People can come up with a million excuses, justifications and rationalizations for not witnessing but no matter how legitimate and spiritual they sound, they all boil down to fear. Learn to fearlessly trust God, obeying Him and sharing the Good News!
Here are five keys to crushing fear so it won’t keep you from evangelism. First, conquer fear by fearing God. A correct view of God will displace all other fear (He is bigger than anything you could possible fear). Fear God, respect Him for who He really is, instead of fearing whatever else is causing you fear (Mt. 10:28). Second, conquer fear by dying to yourself. Having been crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20), you are free to live by faith rather than fear. Third, conquer fear by knowing and applying God’s Word. Joshua 1:8-9 connects courage with a knowledge of God’s Word. If you’re letting fear stop you from evangelism, you’re definitely getting your eyes off of Jesus and His Word. Fourth, conquer fear through prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 promises God will replace the anxieties you bring to Him in prayer with a peace that surpasses understanding. Finally, fifth, conquer fear by taking a step of faith in the power of His Spirit. Faith is the antithesis of fear (Mk. 4:40). Walk by faith and you’ll be fearless. Apply these principles as you continue sharing your faith and you’ll undoubtedly grow into the fearless evangelist God has called you to be. Once, after taking then student and current MPM staff member Mark Hodges open air preaching, he told me, “this is the most free I have ever felt in my life!” Crushing your fear of evangelism will do the same for you. My mom is one of the most fearless evangelists I know and she is a testament to the reality that trusting God, rather than living in fear, will result in untold evangelism opportunities!
Rhonda Denison, Master Plan staff member, shares the following story of confronting her lies and crushing her fears: “I love taking college students out sharing our faith. On one such occasion, I was at a campus with two other girls who had never shared their faith before. We started walking around campus and prayed for God to show us who to talk to. And there she was. Wavy hair past her shoulders... a Coach purse... Gucci sunglasses... beautiful... I mean gorgeous. Frantically, my eyes darted around campus; surely there had to be someone else I could talk to! This girl exuded confidence. She would not ever see her need for Jesus, there was no way she would want to talk to us! Silly lie-believing me! There was no one else, so putting on my most confident facade, I uttered these five words, “let’s go talk to her!” So we approach this girl (I’ll call her Brittany) and one of us asks, “Do you have a few minutes to answer some spiritual interest questions?” And then the strangest thing happened, she said “yes!” Not only did she say yes, she actually went on to tell us how the day before she was talking with her boyfriend saying, “I wish someone would just come up to me and tell me about God.” WHAT!? Wow! We shared the gospel with Brittany and with tears streaming down her face, Brittany put her trust in Jesus that day. That day I was challenged in my heart to not decide for someone where their spiritual interest is. I could have walked past Brittany ruling her out, assuming she had it all together. But instead of letting my fear dictate my behavior, I stepped through the fear, and by faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit shared the greatest message on earth with Brittany. Praise God, I now have a new sister in Christ! Luke 19:10 says that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Brittany was lost, Jesus sought her out and He saved her!” What an incredible illustration of the importance of trusting Christ and obeying Him instead of being controlled by lies and fear!
Fear and unbelief are learned traits. Baby Christians are usually the boldest and most fearless evangelists; they can’t help but talk about their Savior (Matt. 12:34). Chris Bilotta is my favorite example of this. From the day he trusted Christ four years ago until now, he has been one of the most passionate evangelists I know. He loves Jesus and everyone who crosses paths with him hears about it. He is also passionate about encouraging other believers to share their faith. This is normal Christianity. Unfortunately, the fellowship with others that is supposed to strengthen their faith often kills their motivation for evangelism as they internalize the lies their brothers and sisters have come to believe. It is so important to expose the lies that limit evangelism so that they won’t multiply unbelief throughout the Body of Christ.
Learn to catch these ten lies, and the others Satan throws at you, before they stop you from sharing your faith. Expose these lies to others when you hear them. I once spoke on these ten lies at a church that was promoting a bunch of emergent garbage, full of these lies. I haven’t been invited back but am glad I was able to confront the lies that were keeping that church from all God had for them. Learn to courageously follow your Savior’s command to share your faith!
I am married to the sweetest woman alive, Erin Herbst, and am excited to be serving God, in ministry together with her! God has blessed us with three wonderful children. Our passion in ministry is multiplying Christ-like multipliers, fulfilling Christ's Great Commission through evangelism, discipleship, leadership development and spiritual multiplication. I hope and trust each of my books will help fulfill those goals.
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