Taking the Initiative: Steps 3 & 4

Talk about Jesus and expect God to use you.

Bill Bright

3. Talk about Jesus

Paul said, "Everywhere we go we talk about Christ to all who will listen." Don't just talk about peripheral matters, such as the weather, sports, government and business. Pray and expect God to enable you to introduce His Son into the conversation.

A quiet, loving widow in her early thirties has led dozens of her relatives, friends and neighbors to the Lord Jesus. Nearly every Sunday she brings someone new to church with her. Many of these she has introduced to Christ during the previous week.

Once she was asked, "How do you manage to share your faith with so many people?" She answered, "I ask myself, 'If I don't tell them about the Lord Jesus, who will?' And I don't have a good answer for that."

People Respond to the Name of Jesus

Today, an ever-increasing number of Christians are constantly being used of God to introduce others to our Savior because they have been trained to talk about Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. They do not get sidetracked to discuss nonessential matters. That's the reason the Four Spiritual Laws booklet is so effective -- it keeps the conversation centered on the person of Christ, away from distracting issues which direct attention away from our Lord. And it makes your presentation of the gospel simple and understandable.

Many people express antagonism toward God and the church - they want nothing to do with religion. But when you tell them about Jesus, they respond.

I recall a taxi driver in Australia who said to me, "I gave up all religion in World War II. I want nothing to do with a God who allows people to kill each other."

"Wait a minute," I said. "You are accusing God of something for which man is responsible. It is the evil in man, his sin, that causes him to hate and steal and kill."

I explained the difference between religion, which is man's search for God, and Christianity, which is God's revelation of Himself in Christ to man. As I talked to him about the person of Christ, this man's entire attitude changed. Soon he said that he would like to pray with me and receive Christ.

Negative Feelings Don't Eliminate Interest

Many people today are also antagonistic toward the organized church in general, and if you are going to reach them for the Savior, you must talk first about the Savior, not about the church. After they receive Christ, most of them will want to become active in the church.

Others are antagonistic toward the Bible as the Word of God. You do not have to prove the Bible - just use it. Use it even with people who say they do not believe it. God has promised to honor His Word.

If you expect God to use you, talk about the Savior - and always encourage those with whom you share to invite Him into their lives. You really haven't "evangelized" until you have given people a chance to respond to the gospel by inviting Christ to be their Savior and Lord.

As you talk to people about the Savior, you will discover that many are ready to receive Him the very first time you talk to them. Some may need to "ripen" a bit.

As a young boy I used to visit my uncle's peach orchard. We would always pick the ripe peaches, but leave the green ones. Two days later, we would return to the same tree and pick more ripe peaches. Every two days we would pick yet more ripe ones. So it is in our witness for Christ. Be prayerfully sensitive to people and their readiness for the gospel. Ripe for harvest, some will readily receive Christ; others, like green fruit, will not be ready.

Do not argue with those who are not ready. Do not browbeat them; do not insult them; do not try to high pressure them into "making a decision for Christ." Give them something appropriate to read (like the Four Spiritual Laws or the Uniqueness of Jesus), leave them with a prayer, talk to them later - as the Lord gives opportunity - but continue to look for the ripe ones. They are all around you. Thousands, yes millions, of people whose hearts have already been prepared by the Holy Spirit are waiting to receive Christ.

Spiritually Ready People are Everywhere

On one plane trip, for example, I talked to two people who were "spiritually ripe." One was an eighty-year-old woman who received Christ as her Savior. The other, the president of a large corporation, had always believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and had died for his sins, but had been too busy with other things to make a commitment to Christ personally.

On the same trip, at Cornell University where I addressed students and faculty, the president of a sizable business approached me. He was visiting his son who was a new Christian of six months.

"I want to thank you for helping my son spiritually," he said.
Then I asked if he had ever received Christ. He replied that he had not, but that he wanted to. We bowed in prayer and, to his son's great joy, he committed his life to our Savior.

Take the initiative by praying, by going to others, by talking about Jesus, and finally, by expecting God to use you.

4. Expect God to Use You

When you talk about Jesus, expect men and women to respond - not on the basis of positive thinking, but because of God's faithfulness, His love, His sovereignty, His power and His promise that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The Lord Jesus promised His supernatural resources to all who join with Him in helping to fulfill the Great Commission. He told His disciples:

"I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of these - that I am with you always, even to the end of the world."

You are assured of that same resurrection power and presence today. Our Lord is committed to honor the faithful witness of all who place their trust in Him.

God Uses Christians Regardless of Circumstances

It is interesting to note that while the disciples met with strong and often bitter opposition, the Christian movement experienced phenomenal growth, as was expressed in Paul's letters to the churches in Thessalonica and Colosse:

When we brought you the Good News, it was not just meaningless chatter to you; no, you listened with great interest. what we told you produced a powerful effect upon you, for the Holy Spirit gave you great and full assurance that what we said was true. And you know how our very lives were further proof to you of the truth of our message. So you became our followers and the Lord's; for you received our message with joy from the Holy Spirit...

The same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world and changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard it and understood about God's great kindness to sinners.

One of the greatest lies of the centuries is the attitude among Christians that people do not want to know God personally. Because of this, many Christians approach others with a negative attitude as if to say, "You don't want to become a Christian, do you?" By their negative attitude, they inhibit others from expressing their need of Christ. Let me encourage you to expect that God has already prepared the hearts of those who are eager to receive Christ, and you will find He really has.

Many People are Ready to Receive Christ

After more than forty-five years of sharing Christ with millions of students and laymen, individually and in small and large groups, I can tell you that the Holy Spirit has created a hunger for God in the hearts of multitudes around the world. Millions are waiting for someone to tell them about our wonderful Savior, ready to receive Him as their very own.

For example, at one of our pastors' conferences in Haiti, more than one thousand people received Christ as 550 pastors and lay preachers prayed with them, one and two at a time, during a total of approximately four hours of witnessing.

At Daytona Beach, during an Easter vacation, approximately fifteen hundred Campus Crusade staff members and university students introduced more than thirty-five hundred university students to Christ in one day of witnessing at the beach.

Most of our staff, lay and student volunteers report that from ten to seventy-five percent of the people to whom they make a clear presentation of the gospel receive Christ. The percentage of responses often depends on the country and culture. Yet, we find that the Spirit of God has prepared the hearts of multitudes of men and women to respond to Christ. As Jesus said, "The fields are white for harvest." Not everyone with whom you share Christ will receive Him, but God will use you to both sow and harvest in His kingdom as you trust Him.


Adapted from the Transferable Concept: How You Can Be A Fruitful Witness, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.

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