December 3, 2008 I recently did an interview where the following question about evangelism was asked. I felt compelled to share this with you guys as it might encourage and challenge some of you.
Question: Do you have any advice for someone trying to reach their friends for Christ?
Jimmy: Pray that they're hearts would be softened. The reality is "the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Corinthians 4:4). Here is the truth, unless God grants them repentance, they will never escape the snare of the devil (2 Timothy 2:25-26). So, beg God to do a work on their heart. Also, pray that he would create an opportunity for you to share the gospel with them, and that he would give you courage to speak when the time comes. Remember, you can't save your friends. Only God can (John 6:44). So, don't feel like you've failed if they don't immediately humble their hearts after you talk to them. God is pleased with your obedience, not how many converts you have. I was the first to be saved in my family, and I prayed for their souls fervently night after night. Slowly but surely, starting with my brother, then my mom and now my dad, my family is being won into the Kingdom. I believe it wouldn't have happened without prayer.
A couple of other thoughts: Please make sure you're preaching the right gospel. The information you share with them is like a key. If you give them the wrong key, it will never open the door of eternal life. My car keys, no matter how hard I try, will never open the door to my house. Search the Scriptures to make sure your gospel is Jesus' gospel. Here's some good places to start looking: Ephesians 2:1-10, Titus 2:11-14, 3:3-7, Acts 17:22-31. The book of Romans is a tremendously in depth gospel presentation, particularly chapters 1-5. Also, if you would like a good extra-biblical resource, John MacArthur gives a great articulation of the gospel on his websitewww.gty.org. Just click on "the gospel" tab on the home page. A careful search of the Scriptures concerning what the gospel is will not only benefit your evangelism, but it should also birth in you a deeper appreciation for your own salvation.
Lastly, be careful how you live. Make sure your life backs up your speech. I've had so many opportunities to share the gospel with a person simply because they've been impacted by the way I live my life. Likewise, my message has been hindered when I have acted out in my flesh. Whether you believe it or not, your lost friends are watching you. You are a model of Jesus to them. Make sure the picture they are getting is accurate (1 Peter 2:12).
The good news that there is now forgiveness of sins by the blood of Christ is the sweetest news in the universe. I hope you would find much delight in it, and in turn find much delight in distributing that hope to a lost and dying world.