Gospel conversations. Ever have them? A gospel conversation is simply a conversation between two people (one a believer and one an unbeliever) that includes some reference to (and hopefully, dialogue about) various truths that are at the heart of the good news of Christ and His cross. But these conversations can be difficult to start and frustrating once they begin. We can see this illustrated for us in this clip from Matthias Media and their Two Ways to Live Training.
This past Sunday we discussed in the Pastor's Class:
What is at the heart of why we exist as a church?
The purpose of this church is to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ who rest in Jesus, hope in God, and pursue love, by God’s grace and for His glory, through the proclamation of the gospel of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.
– Coast Core Commitments – Acts 1:8
It is important to realize that one aspect of following Jesus is being a witness of Him to the people in our lives. This lifestyle of engagement with unbelievers is called ‘fishing for men.’ – Mark 1:14-20
What is evangelism?
‘Evangelism is teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade.’
– Mack Stiles, Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus, p. 26.
We are to pray for clarity in speaking the gospel.
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. - Colossians 4:2-4
We are to be prepared to explain why we have hope in the face of suffering: this is the gospel.
But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. - 1 Peter 3:14-16
We must be bold because speaking of Christ is a spiritual battle and it usually will not come easy.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. - Ephesians 6:18-20
We must fight the fears that keep us from sharing the treasure of the gospel that we have been entrusted and therefore, keep us from loving.
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, - 2 Timothy 1:7-8
John Piper talks about fear in witnessing to Christ:
Application: Make a list of those you can pray for who are unbelieving and ask God for an open door to speak to them and for bold clarity in doing so.
You can listen to this Pastor's Class, Are You Prepared? - Gospel Conversations - Part 1, by going here.
During our worship service, we also talked about gospel conversations (being witnesses for Christ in our world) in light of our Lord's sending out of the seventy in Luke 10:1-9:
1. God uses rank and file believers to accomplish His work. (verse 1) - Romans 10:13-15; John 6:29
2. We are all prone to resist this calling, so we must pray. (verse 2) - Exodus 4:10, 13
3. We should expect it to be hard to witness as a 'lamb in the midst of wolves,' but we should measure success in terms of faithfulness not fruitfulness. (verse 3) - Isaiah 6:8-13
You can listen to this message, The Lord of the Harvest, by going here.