A few years ago I presented a series of sermons on faith sharing. Actually….back then, I probably called it a series of sermons on evangelism. I use the term evangelism less frequently now. Chiefly because….in my experience……it was usually used to describe teaching someone what to do to be saved. Please don’t miss my point here. I think teaching someone about God’s scheme of redemption is a fine pursuit. I find myself doing such on a regular basis.
But, as I see it, the idea of faith sharing is more descriptive of what Jesus had in mind as a way to spread the gospel. Sharing faith was inclusive of more than just steps to salvation. Sharing faith is verbal and nonverbal. It encompasses a broader view of the character of God and a more detailed description of the person of Christ. One of the most storied of the apostles is Peter. Let’s give a look at his first letter where he expresses the need for faith sharing this way…
I grew up hearing this passage used as a basis for being evangelistic toward non-believers. I still see the verse as being instructive along these lines. Sadly I don’t remember hearing much said about the earlier part of the same verse. It says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord…” That’s a pretty significant omission in my estimation.
Faith sharing is prefaced by heart work. To “set apart Christ as Lord” means that I must be impressed with the idea that Jesus is my master and Lord. Any words I speak regarding Jesus and the gospel must spring from a heart belonging to Jesus. If I speak to others about faith and my heart is not centered on Him my witness will be meaningless.
The old sermon I used to preach had three points.
Contemplate Jesus – Get to know Him by reading the gospels. Get to know who He was and what He taught. See how he loved people.
Imitate Jesus – Do what He did. Serve like He served. Love like He loved.
Communicate Jesus – Talk to others about who He is. Speak the truths He spoke.
The bottom line is this: If you Contemplate Jesus and you Imitate Jesus, Communicating Jesus will be a natural outcome. Communication is the natural outgrowth of the first two.
So perhaps the reason that we don’t share our faith with more frequency and passion is that we have neglected the prerequisites of contemplation and imitation.
It’s an old sermon and in due time this will be an old blog…..but I have a feeling that faith sharing will be just as relevant in the years to come as it has been in the past.