I have the privilege to be a part of a church that supports an incredible food ministry. Through this ministry, we seek to meet a physical need by providing food, in hopes of being a part of satisfying the recipient’s greatest need: a relationship with Jesus Christ. We sit and share the Gospel with each person before they receive their groceries. Not every person who comes through the ministry is lost spiritually, but many are. They do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. My first time being a part of the food ministry, I was scared to share the Gospel with someone. I had not done it in years and was scared to death that I would mess up. But, the Lord encouraged me through His Word. He reminded me that when I share, I am sharing with a purpose and am not alone.
In Matthew 28:18-20, we come to a scene where Jesus is speaking to His closest disciples. Jesus has already given His life on the cross and has been resurrected from the dead. Before He ascends into heaven, He chooses to give His disciples a powerful commission. In this passage, we see three of the reasons why we share the Gospel. These three reasons will inspire us to obey the Great Commission faithfully.
We Share Because We Are Commanded To
In this passage, Jesus does not give His disciples a suggestion or make a request; He commands them to share the Gospel. Jesus sets an expectation for us to go and share the Gospel. In Mark 16:15, we read another account of Jesus commanding His disciples to share. In John 20:19-21, Jesus not only commands them to share, but He tells them He is sending them out just as His Father sent Him. These commandments apply to us as followers of Jesus Christ. We share because Jesus commanded us. Now, I know it can be intimidating and scary to even think about stopping to share the Gospel with someone. What we need to remember is that we are simply following a command given to us from our Lord and submitting ourselves under His authority. When you submit yourself under Him, you no longer stand on your own. When you share, those who get upset or respond to you negatively are not offended by you. Ultimately, they are offended by Him who sent you. You are simply doing as you were commanded to.
We Share to Make Disciples
The ultimate purpose of sharing the Gospel with people is to lead them to Christ. Looking back at Matthew 28, we see the key word: “make.” Jesus commands that they “make disciples”. This shows that those we are speaking to are becoming something that they are not already. They are giving their lives to Jesus Christ and making Him their Lord. In Acts 20:20-21, Paul tells the believers in Ephesus about how he has not hesitated to tell them anything that would be beneficial to them. Paul had shared the Gospel with them, and in doing so, he taught them that they can only be saved by repenting of their sins and having faith in Jesus Christ. In order to have an effective Gospel presentation, we need to begin with the mindset that God’s purpose, and therefore ours, is to make disciples. With this in mind, however, you must remember that you are not commanded to save others, you are commanded to share the Gospel. Do not be discouraged if they do not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior in that exact moment. You only fail if you do not share the Gospel. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 explains that we only plant the seeds of God’s Word, but God is the one who brings about any change or growth.
We Share Effectively Because of the Help of the Holy Spirit
Verse 20 reveals that when we share the Gospel, we can do so effectively because Jesus is always with us. Jesus tells His disciples that He will be with them until the end of the age. As we know, Jesus ascended into heaven after He finished speaking to the disciples. So how exactly does He help us with sharing the Gospel? Well, John 14:26 tells us that He will send a Helper. In Acts 2, we see the fulfillment of this promise. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to indwell a group of believers for the first time. The same Holy Spirit from Pentecost dwells in believers today and enables us to share the Gospel in an effective way. Your ability to effectively share the Gospel is not dependent on your own abilities. The Holy Spirit accomplished life change as He works through you and in the lives of those you are sharing with. He will guide you in what to say, help you discern when to speak and when not to. You are not in this work alone, and it is not dependent solely on you. I was reminded of this a few years ago when I was trying to share the Gospel with a friend. He and I met working in a restaurant. He was always very sweet, but did not know the Lord. Week after week, I would share the Gospel with him. But week after week, he refused to give his life to Christ. I felt like a failure. I thought I must be doing it wrong or something. Six months to the day I had started praying for him, he gave his life to Christ. The funny thing for me was that I wasn’t the one sharing the Gospel with him at the time. A mutual friend of ours took him to lunch and shared the Gospel with him, and at that lunch he gave his life to Christ. I learned two things: God is the one who saves, and I am the one who plants His seeds. I was not a failure because my friend didn’t accept Christ when I spoke to him. God used me to plant seeds in his life that later bloomed when another spoke to him. Regardless of the result, I had succeeded by following God’s command!
Let’s say God places a friend in your life that you are able to share the Gospel with. You do not have to be afraid. Even today, I have times when I become nervous about sharing. I can tell you, though, that because I know these concepts, when the Lord blesses me with opportunities to share, I am noticeably more relaxed, open, and effective in my Gospel presentations. Share because you are commanded to. Share with the purpose of making disciples. Share effectively because you are working with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Abba, thank You that You choose to use us in leading someone to You. Help me not to be afraid as I willingly follow Your command to share the Gospel. Help me to remember that I am not alone and that I have a Helper who goes with me. Thank You for those who have played a part in the unique stories of salvation of the saints. Please bless me with abundant opportunities to play a part in the salvation of others.