Greg Laurie - How to Share the Gospel
You know Jesus didn't say that the whole world should go to church. He said that the church should go to the whole world. Sometimes Christians want to get away from nonbelievers. Not have any contact with nonbelievers. But listen. Jesus did not call us to isolate. He called us to infiltrate. Even more to permeate. To be salt and light in our culture. I think we need to look for those opportunities to engage people with the message of the Gospel. Because you never know when one of those opportunities is going to come our way.
You know after I became a Christian I had a friend named Gregg. We grew up together. We went to elementary school together. We got into trouble together. We collected reptiles together. Don't ask me why. We were really into snakes and lizards and stuff. After I became a Christian I said to Gregg, "Now don't worry about me, Gregg, because I am not going to turn into one of those crazy Jesus Freaks, that you see out on the streets. I am going to be more conservative. More subdued". I actually said these words, "Gregg," and by the way, he spelled his name with two g's instead of one like I do. I said, "Gregg, the last thing you will ever see is "Greg Laurie walking down the street with a cross Around his neck and a Bible saying things like 'praise the Lord.' That is not going to happen". Gregg seemed reassured.
So fast forward about maybe three weeks to a month. I am so excited about my faith that I have actually gone out on the streets and I am engaging strangers in conversations about Jesus Christ. So one day I am walking down the street and who do I see walking toward me but Gregg. And as I get closer we recognize each other. Before I could stop myself, I said, "Praise the Lord" but wait. Around my neck I had a cross. And I was, yes, carrying a Bible. We both laughed because the one thing I said I would never do I was actually doing. It was a classic moment.
It occurred to me. Wow. What if I could lead Gregg to Christ right now? So I started sharing the Gospel with him. He was really listening. I am just praying as I am talking. Lord, just give me the right words for Gregg. I pray he will come to believe in you right now. We are mid conversation. I feel like I am making some progress. Seemingly out of nowhere some guy appears. He has been eavesdropping on our conversation. Now this guy worked in a store nearby. We used to call them in these days head shops. They sell drug paraphernalia. Anyway, he is eavesdropping on our conversation and he says to me, "Wait a second, Christian". Addressing me. "I have a few questions for you". And I turned to him thinking, "Yes. Like I have been a Christian for a few weeks now and I can handle anything". And this guy fires off like five hard questions.
I don't even remember what they were in particular. But I am sure they were: how could a God of love allow suffering? How can you say Jesus Christ is the only way to God? Etc. You have heard them. As he is hitting me with these questions I realize I don't have the answers. Gregg, who is listening to all of this says, "Yeah Laurie, what about that"? I said, "Uh. I don't know". I was humiliated. The whole conversation with Gregg came to a screeching halt. I walked away from that moment thinking, "Man, I really blew it". I realized at that point I needed to start reading the Bible more. I needed to be prepared. Over in 1 Peter 3:15 it says that we are to set the Lord apart in our hearts and be able to give to every man an answer concerning the hope that is inside of us with meekness and fear or reverence. The idea is don't come off as a know-it-all. But you need to know some things. You need to be able to answer the hard questions that are going to be coming your way.
Actually this phrase that is used by Peter when he says "Give to every man an answer" is from a Greek word apologia. We get our English word apologetic from it. It doesn't mean that we apologize for our faith. Rather it is a legal term that speaks of giving a legal defense as in a court of law. Every Christian needs to know what the Bible says. Every Christian needs to be prepared to give answers when people ask them. So I learned a lot from that little experience and I decided to start studying my Bible a whole lot more.
You know in the Bible is an amazing story of Jesus sharing the Gospel with a burned out immoral woman. She is usually called the woman at the well. It is a story of how he had an appointment with her on a hot afternoon at 12:00. Not only was Jesus the Savior of the world. Not only was he God walking among us. But Jesus Christ was the master communicator. He shows us how to build a bridge to a listener. Listen. That is our objective when we are sharing our faith. It is to build the bridge not burn the bridge. It is to win the soul. Not just win the argument. Here is what you need to know when you are talking to people about Jesus Christ. You want to establish contact with them. You want to get a conversation going. This is a dialogue. It is not a monologue. So take time to listen.
I will let you know a little secret. Everybody's favorite subject is themselves. I mean what is the most popular kind of photography today? Selfies. We even have selfie sticks to take pictures of ourselves wherever we are. People love to talk about themselves. So that is what you should do. Engage a person. Ask them a few questions. Get to know them and listen. Then appropriately and specifically bring the message of the Gospel to the person you are speaking with. The bottom line. We want to get them to the greatest story ever told. The greatest story ever told is found right here in the Bible and it is called the Gospel.