Unpacking the basics: How should I share my faith?
Alpha // May 28, 2019, 3:56 pm
Sometimes people say: “Well, isn’t that the best kind of Christians – the ones that just live it out?”
And often they talk about a member of their family who is this amazing Christian that never talks about their faith.
So really, should we tell others?
1. STEP OUT IN OBEDIENCE
Well, first of all, Jesus told us to. The word “go” appears in the Bible 1,514 times.
Jesus was always saying to people: “Go! Go and tell! Go and invite! This is such wonderful news! I’ve come that you might have life and have it abundantly! Go and tell people about it. Go and make disciples.”
2. BE MOTIVATED BY LOVE
The second reason is because of the needs of other people out there. If you were in a desert and you came across an oasis, you would want to tell people about it. And Jesus satisfies that inner hunger for meaning, for purpose. He died for us to set us free!
This is amazing news that we can bring to other people who are often in such desperate need.
So we do it out of love for other people. And we do it because it’s “good news”. That’s what the word “gospel” means! The message of Jesus is the most wonderful news. And good news travels fast.
Essentially you could sum up in one word: it’s love.
3. MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITH OUR LIVES
To share our faith, our presence – being out there in the world – is key.
In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus said this: “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
In other words, Jesus is saying if you want to make a difference, you’ve got to be out there.
Salt, of course, flavours, but in the ancient world it was a preservative – it stopped meat from going bad. So He is saying you’re the people who are going to stop the society from going bad. You’re going to have a wide-ranging influence.
Jesus also calls you the light. Martin Luther King once said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Jesus said you’ve got to be out there in the workplace, among your friends, in your community, acting like salt and light.
And we do that just by the life that you lead, by the love that you have for people, by little acts of kindness, by your integrity, by your authenticity, honesty – just by the kind of people that you are. Gracious. Trustworthy.
4. DO GOOD
Jesus also says “that people may see your good deeds”. To paraphrase, how you respond to hunger, homelessness, poverty; what we do about the injustices of the world, the gross inequalities, the inhumanity.
Today we have massive needs out there: AIDS-related diseases, modern-day slavery, human trafficking are just a few.
We can make a difference for one person at a time.
5. BE PREPARED TO REASON
Christianity is not a blind leap of faith; it’s possible to persuade people by showing them good reasons to believe.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15)
Gentleness is the opposite of arrogance. Respect because every human being is created in the image of God.
And one of the ways we show respect for people is by listening to them. Most people aren’t ready to listen until they’ve first been heard. It’s so important to listen.
The apostle Peter also said “be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you”. Sometimes you might find yourself saying: “I don’t know. I really don’t know the answer to that. Why does God allow suffering? I don’t know!”
But what you could also say is: “I don’t know the answer to that, but I’ll go away and I’ll look it up and I’ll come back to you.”
It’s also a good idea to read up so that if somebody asks you that question, you can say: “Well, have you thought about this?”
6. BRING SOMEONE TO JESUS
There’s an almost infinite variety of ways in which you can communicate the message of Jesus to other people, but here are some of the ways in the New Testament.
First of all, people said : “Come and see!” That’s what Jesus did.
He said to people: If you’re interested, come and see! And then when people followed him, they went and said to their friends: “Come and see!” (John 1:46)
There’s no greater privilege than introducing someone to Jesus. In the beginning of John’s Gospel we read about one of those disciples who was invited: Andrew.
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon (Peter) and tell him: “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.” (John 1:41–42)
We don’t know that much about Andrew except that he was always bringing people to Jesus.
Simon (Peter) was probably one of the greatest influences on the world in the history of humankind. You just have to go to Rome, to St Peter’s, and see the influence that he has had in human history.
Not all of us can do what Peter did, but we can all do what Andrew did: bring people to Jesus.
7. SHARE YOUR OWN STORY
That’s what the apostle Paul did over and over again. He said: Look, this is how I was. Then I met Jesus, and this is how I am now. When you tell a friend what happened to you, they can’t say “no, it didn’t”.
It’s like the blind man who Jesus healed. The Pharisees came and attacked him and there were all these questions.
He said: Look, I’m so sorry, I can’t answer all your questions. But I can tell you one thing: “I was blind but now I see”. (John 9:25)
8. RELY ON THE HOLY SPIRIT
Remember that it is the Holy Spirit that has the power to transform.
“…our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
This is not just about words or intellectual arguments; it’s about the experience of the Holy Spirit. We experience God’s love being poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. And that is transforming.
9. PERSIST IN PRAYER
Pray for others as others have prayed for you.
The apostle Paul said: My heart’s desire and prayer to God is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1)
Finally, don’t give up: The message we have is so important!
Whenever you pass on the good news of Jesus, it has an effect. The gospel is the power of God.
This article was adapted from the Alpha Transcripts and has been republished with permission. If you have more questions and would like to further explore the basics of the Christian faith, find out more about Alpha or use the map below to connect with an Alpha group near you.
THINK + TALK
- What do you think about the idea of telling people about Christ?
- What concerns or reservations do you have?
- Do others know that you’re a Christian?
- Do you have anyone in mind that you’d like to share the Good News with?