The Message of Jesus: Sharing Your Faith – a Series
1. Sharing your faith. “Everyone knows the Bible is filled with contradictions,” I asserted, smugly assuming that I had scored a point in the debate my friend and I were having. “Where?” he asked. That one word hit me with the force of a freight train. He had not argued with me. He simply asked a question I could not answer because I had not read the Bible for myself. More than two years passed before my friend ever knew the effect that conversation had on me. At the time, he thought I simply walked away from what I had heard. He did not know our discussion was never far from my thoughts until I finally acted on what I knew.
2. Sharing with the unchurched. Unchurched Harry and Mary are a lot like many Americans today. People who are trying to fight the traffic, pay the bills and eke out a living in today’s uncertain economy. They are “nice” people. They don’t throw wild parties, ruin the neighborhood, or threaten others with bodily harm — but they probably haven’t been to a church for years, except to attend weddings and funerals. They are the unchurched. As Christians, we are expected—sometime, somehow—to share our faith with people like Harry and Mary. See the article by Neil Earle: Sharing Your Faith With the Unchurched.
3. Sharing through friendship. As Christians, our responsibility is to communicate with others, to share our faith. “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25). But how can we share our faith and encourage one another in living Christian lives if we aren’t getting together and communicating with others? My editor doesn’t like writers to promise three, seven or 10 keys to instant eloquence or to instant anything else, and he’s right. There’s no such magic formula. But let me share with you a few lessons I’ve learned as a self-confessed nonverbal type.
4. Sharing with another Christian. When I was 7 years old, I did one of those silly, stupid things that children do. My parents were upset. We were a close family, so the rejection and anger I felt from my parents cut me to the quick. I was crushed. Hurt. Troubled. But I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. But Aunt Helen did. She could see exactly what I was feeling. She knew just what to do. Quietly but deliberately, she took me upstairs to her room. We both knelt by the side of the bed. Then she told me, “All you have to do is close your eyes and tell God you are sorry, and he will forgive you.” I did what I was told. And—guess what?—it worked. I felt forgiven, pardoned, restored, clean. No penance, no agonized harangue, no great spiritual pyrotechnics. I didn’t have to carry the guilt anymore.
5. Sharing your faith in a post-Christian world. Many people in our increasingly post-Christian world have no desire to “get back to God.” They have no sense of sin, no sense of guilt, no sense of God. They do not trust authority, or the concept of “truth,” which has too often been used to oppress people. How can the good news about Jesus be put into terms that are meaningful to them? This article explains the gospel by focusing on interpersonal relationships, which nearly all people find meaningful.
5. Sharing with a Muslim. Jesus is spoken of nearly 100 times in the Koran under numerous names and titles, including Al-Masih (the Messiah), Kalimatu’llah (the Word of God), Rasulu’llah (the Messenger of God) and Nabiyu’llah (the Prophet of God). These titles sound very Christian when translated. A brief glance at these surface-level similarities might suggest that Muslims and Christians are not far separated in belief —until we notice that “Son of God” is not among the titles.Muslims are fiercely monotheistic.