Sharing our faith. For some Christians, it’s the reason they get up in the morning. For others, they avoid it like the plague! But where is sharing, or evangelism on the priority scale in God’s view? It’s pretty high up there, actually.
Just take a look at the prophet Jonah. A couple of weeks ago, our senior pastor, Mike O’Connor preached from this short book in the Old Testament. The book tells of a prophet who refused to go to the city of Nineveh, disobeying God’s orders. He eventually went and preached there, after being thrown overboard and being swallowed up by a fish that the Lord sent to rescue him. As a result, Jonah prayed and repented and God used him to lead those in the city to repentance— even with Jonah’s reluctance to go in the first place. Pastor Mike used Jonah’s story to make us aware of the condition of our own hearts. How willing are we to go as the Lord directs? In fact, just one verse in the New Testament (though there are many more), captures the importance and necessity for Christians to share their faith:
1 Peter 3:15—
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”
This is the apostle Peter’s admonition that every believer understand what he believes, why he believes it, and then be able to articulate that in a humble and thoughtful way. For some, that is a scary thing— though it shouldn’t be. I think every believer needs to find his or her own rhythm, sharing in a way that they’re comfortable with. For others, they would rather point people in the direction of Jesus by inviting them to church, Bible study or small group.
Then there’s The Jesus Film
According to Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), the creators of the Jesus Film Project, in using the film as an evangelistic tool, estimate that over 500,000 million people have made decisions for Jesus through watching it. It has been translated into over 1,600 languages (listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most translated film in history) and shown in over 200 countries.
Island Christian Church recently embarked on a mission to equip each member/family of our congregation with copies of the Jesus Film to give to their close circle of contacts, including family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. In fact, we gave out almost 500 copies just last Sunday! We mentioned just how many people— even in the remotest parts of the world have already seen the movie in their own language, with an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel. This includes regions without any electric, where the projectors would run on kerosene!
Then reality struck. While we rejoice in knowing how many people in these remote areas of the world would see the film, it dawned on us just how many people, right here on Long Island have not heard the gospel. Our next door neighbor, or the person driving our kids’ school bus, the mailman or our in-laws— the list goes on. This is our chance, in a warm and friendly way, to give them the film and invite them to watch it. Maybe even invite them to watch it with you! It really is an excellent and effective way for those in your life to hear the gospel! Would you do that? It is what our Lord has asked us to do. Hey, it beats getting swallowed by a fish!!!
Pastor Joe Garofalo