Faith Is Not Meant to be Private
Our faith is not meant to be private and from the start our faith is and always has been meant to be displayed publically. I hear people say often that my faith is between me and God and while that is true in origin, once you are given faith in the Son of God Jesus Christ the manifestation of our faith is public and meant to be so. I have heard some quote Matthew 6:5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” This is not about keeping our faith quietly but it is about doing things before men just to be seen by men so that they think you are pious. Our confession of Jesus Christ before men is not to bring glory to ourselves but it is to bring glory to the living God. My favorite and I believe to be the most important passage in scripture is Romans 3:23-26. A portion of that passage says; “Christ Jesus; Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed.” Propitiation means a great deal but a quick definition is a merciful sacrifice. Now this merciful sacrifice was displayed publically in two parts, in the blood of Jesus Christ through faith. Both the sacrificial death of Christ was public and the faith of the elect (those whom God is saving) is public and God did this to demonstrate His righteousness. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)
I have grown to consider myself to be an evangelist all though very small, and all believers should, for that is the commission the Lord gave us all before ascending to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. As I have become experienced in sharing my faith I have come to realize that there are three different ways I do this, with some blending at times between the three.
2. Passive Aggressive
Passive Sharing of faith in Jesus Christ - What do people generally talk about? People generally will talk about what is most important to them, what they think about most. What is on my mind most often is the Lord Jesus Christ, so I naturally will talk about Him given the opportunity, not out of effort and not purposeful, His word is on my mind at all times. I consider this to be Passive because I am not purposefully going out of my way to share my faith but it is the natural manifestation of a spirit filled follower of Jesus Christ to talk about Him, His word, and what God is doing in your life.
Passive Aggressive Sharing of faith in Jesus Christ - In addition to natural conversation as we interact with people throughout daily life God has purposed in my heart to hand out Gospel tracts with a clear doctrinally sound gospel message to most people that I come into contact with, cashiers, wait staff, etc., it is away to communicate the gospel to a large amount of people when you do not have the time or means for a lengthy discussion. Gospel tracts are great; the receiver may read them then or keep them for later, they often will put them in their pocket then they wind up at home for others to read. I have an array of tracts with varying catchy statements on one side transitioning into the law and gospel on the other side. I also carry million dollar bill tracts in my wallet; these are great to pass out to cashiers when you are paying for something. I also like to leave these in waiting rooms and in public places, people will initially think they are money so they will pick them up and hopefully read them. You know those postage paid return envelopes you get in the mail when someone sends you a credit card offer or some other solicitation? I never throw those away, I drop in a gospel tract, and then pray for the person who will open it, then seal it up and put it back in the mail box. I consider gospel tracts to be Passive Aggressive because I am passing them out as I go throughout my daily life but I am doing so with the hope that someone may read it and come to repentance and faith, but at the same time I am dependent on them to actually pick up the tract and read it. I have a few sources where I get my tracts. A few I design myself and have them printed at a local print shop but I also order large numbers of tracts from either Living Waters or One Million Tracts.
Aggressively Sharing faith in Jesus Christ – This has changed over the years, the first aggressive or purposeful witnessing that I did involved gospel tracts. Black Friday 2010 I got 100 gospel tracts, headed to the local mall, walked around the mall and said; “Merry Christmas, God has given us the greatest gift of all” then handed them the tract then moved on. This was aggressive because it was not part of my everyday life; I had set a time and date, prayed about it, then set out with the specific purpose of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with people. Throughout that next year I went out a few times purposefully handing out tracts. The beginning of this year through the internet I saw what some other believers were doing to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, I came under conviction. I made a 4ftx2 1/2ft wooden cross with these words on the cross beam “ARE YOU READY” I got this idea from an evangelist named Tony Miano. This is great because people will ask you, “Ready for what?” and there opens a door to share the gospel. At the beginning of this year I began going out to street corners in my community with the cross as people drive by for 30-60 minutes at a time at least once a week. At first I was quite and just stood with the cross but I will now sometimes do stop light preaching, a quick gospel message between stop lights or just simply recite scripture, this is best on nice days when people have their windows down. I along with some other men will go to events and preach the gospel in open-air. The first time I did this was on Good Friday this year. Nothing is more aggressive than preaching the gospel in open-air, because people will hear the law and gospel weather they want to or not. Now the word aggressive may have negative connotations in your mind and give you emotional apprehension. I don’t mean ugly or abusive which is what you might think when I use the word aggressive, all though sometimes a hearer may get ugly or abusive when they hear the law and gospel or see the cross because it is offensive to them. I call these things Aggressive Sharing of faith in Jesus Christ because when I do this I am going out with the sole purpose of sharing the law and gospel with as many people as I can, even those who may not want to hear it. Another aggressive type of sharing of your faith is one-on-one witnessing, if you have ever purposed to share the gospel with someone and did so that is aggressively sharing your faith.
The point I am trying to make is this. Our faith is and always has been meant to be displayed publically! Jesus said; “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33) This does not mean that we earn our salvation by confessing Jesus Christ before men. Salvation is a gift of God, by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in the Person and work of Jesus Christ alone. So what is Jesus saying here? If you believe you will confess Him before men and if you do not truly believe you will not, confessing Jesus before men is a natural manifestation of a saving faith. What keeps a true believer from sharing his faith at times? The answer is fear of man. Listen to what Jesus said about fearing men, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) So brothers and sisters let us share our faith!
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)
Mike Peek a slave of Jesus Christ