If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you’ve learned that introducing your friends to Jesus is no ordinary task. We can’t force anyone to accept forgiveness and freedom from sin. Salvation is a supernatural work of God; nobody can make it happen. Recognizing this critical truth positively impacts our effectiveness in bringing others into a personal relationship with Christ.
The only way to reach people who are blind, captive, and dead is through the divine work of almighty God who does not wish “for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). We are His tools, but He is the power. We are indeed “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20), and like earthly ambassadors, our function is to faithfully represent the One who sends us.
Since salvation is the supernatural work of God, He provides divine equipment for our use. The apostle Paul summarized those tools this way: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7). Some translations render the word “discipline” as “a sound mind.” In other words, God gives us three tools for witnessing: power, love, and a sound mind.
There are three supernatural “change agents” we depend on when sharing our faith.
- The Power of the Gospel
The gospel is the light that opens blind eyes, rescues captives, and revives the dead. It is the good news of what Jesus Christ did for the sake of all mankind. Sharing our faith means passing along this foundational truth: Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead.
Focus your conversation on the person of Jesus Christ. Questions like “Who do you think Jesus Christ was?” or “Why do you think He died?” bring non-Christians to consider the core of saving faith. Paul wrote: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). Then, if any rejection occurs, you’ll know it centers on Christ, not you.
- The Power of the Holy Spirit
After Jesus' resurrection and ascension, the church’s task was to proclaim to all nations the forgiveness of sins. How were they to handle such a colossal undertaking?
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). As you seek to share Christ with others, the Spirit of God will lead, empower, and enable you. He’ll guide your mind and heart as you present the truth and will prepare unbelieving hearts to receive it. Salvation occurs only through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
You cannot convince friends of their sinful state. You cannot make them believe in God's holiness or eternal judgment. Who can? The Holy Spirit. Scripture says, “And when [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment” (John 16:8). How does the Holy Spirit do this? He uses the Word of God and also speaks through prayer and other people.
- The Power of Prayer
Sharing our faith means that we are entering into spiritual warfare. The forces of darkness will always strive against the power of God. Our mightiest weapon is specific, persistent prayer on behalf of our lost friends and family. When we pray for an unbelieving friend, we confess our dependence upon God for His leadership, wisdom, and timing.
Considering how fervently we desire to see lost friends come to Christ, it’s amazing how little time we spend directly interceding on their behalf. We should realize that few people are reluctant to let someone pray about their problems. Doing so prepares the way for introducing them to Christ.
Love is the second tool that empowers witnessing (2 Tim. 1:7). The unconditional, caring love of Christians reveals the truth of Jesus to the unbeliever and authenticates His message of salvation: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). We express this love in two ways that demonstrate Christ's presence in our lives and manifest the remarkable change salvation brings.
Love “in deed” (1 John 3:18). There many practical ways to exhibit divine love. For example, we can invite a couple over for dinner, bring them food during a time of illness, or babysit their children to give them a special night out. Unless we are willing to make the effort to make the love of God “tangible,” few people will listen to our words.
Love “in word” (Prov. 31:26). This means we encourage, praise, and point out the positive qualities of our lost friends. Our conversation reveals much about our faith. Do we gossip? Do we talk sarcastically about others? Do we grumble and complain? Our verbal lifestyle testifies to the inner reality of Christ. Do our words attest to the care, concern, and compassion that Christ has for the lost?
A Sound Mind
The third tool God gives us is a sound mind. Christian faith is based on fact—not fiction. Josh McDowell, a leading Christian apologist, says, “My heart cannot rejoice in what my mind rejects.” Sharing our faith doesn't mean we are unreasonable or irrational. Rather, we offer the historical, trustworthy testimony of Scripture. Such evidence includes:
The fact of the resurrection – Not only did the risen Christ show Himself to His doubting disciples; He also “appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time” (1 Cor. 15:6). The resurrection is indeed a concrete, historical fact.
The fact of fulfilled Scripture – Hundreds of Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in the New Testament, thousands of years after they were written. These include the amazing prediction of many intricate details regarding Jesus' birth and death.
The fact of manuscript and archaeological evidence – The canon of Scripture is one of the most verifiable documents in all of history. There are thousands of authentic Greek New Testament manuscripts and numerous Hebrew Old Testament copies. Archaeological evidence through the centuries has consistently verified the cultural data presented in the Bible.
The evidence of history validates the truth of Scripture. It is a valuable tool in presenting the gospel message, for people must believe with all their heart, mind, and strength.
God has given His followers the power of the gospel as well as sacrificial love and a mind able to absorb knowledge of Him. Using these tools, you can reach out to non-believing friends in the power of the Holy Spirit, ready to share your faith with confidence and joy.