Evangelism is challenging and often we feel too weak in our own faith to share it with others. But there are many promises in Scripture that help us overcome these challenges and faithfully share the gospel with others, starting with the two verses below:
“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1, ESV, emphasis mine) “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3-4, ESV, emphasis mine)
Did you notice anything in common in these two Scriptures? In God’s promises, we have everything we need to pick up our cross and obey despite how we may feel. Faith in the rewards found in his promises enable us to obey and die to self for others. Here are some promises that have enabled me to face my fears and share the gospel faithfully.
“We can overcome fear by knowing that the gospel is powerful and that people may come to faith when they hear it proclaimed.”
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (NIV, emphasis mine)
The promise of new seeds and new Christians being formed is a powerful motivator to share. Another great motivator to overcome fear of man is the superior pleasure of the honor and reward promised from the Father to us if we faithfully serve him.
“All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.” (NLT, emphasis mine)
Jesus gave a warning to the church of Sardis, followed by a wonderful promise to help motivate them to repent. Those who are in Christ are secure. Dwell on that promise and let it motivate you to share that hope with others. The most powerful and tender being in the universe claims us as his own before a multitude of mighty angels. (See also Matthew 10:32-33.)
Romans 1:16-17; 10:17
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘the righteous shall live by faith’…Faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” (ESV, emphasis mine)
The gospel has dynamite power—power to transform terrorists to saints like Paul. It can melt the hardest heart when we realize that Christ loves us and gave himself up for us. We can overcome fear by knowing that the gospel is powerful and that people may come to faith when they hear it proclaimed.
1 John 4:12, 18
“No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us…There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (ESV, emphasis mine)
God’s love will be perfected in you and brought to full expression. His perfect love will cast out our fears. The trick is not to just stuff our heads full of knowledge but to strategically face those fears and conquer them.
“So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and PLEASING to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.” (GNT)
The greatest pleasure in life is giving pleasure to the one you love the most. It is a sweet sacrifice and immensely pleasing to God when we put ourselves on that alter, hang ourselves on that cross in the midst of our fears. When you are fearful but still step out in a place of risk where you could be wounded socially, potentially even physically for him, do you know how much joy that brings to his mighty heart?
I believe we will only be able to offer this sort of sweet sacrifice on this side of heaven since in heaven there will be no evil, persecution, pain, or suffering. The superior joy of pleasing God fuels us to let go of the false pleasure of people pleasing.
“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (NIV)
Do you want to see and know Jesus deeper? Do you want him to reveal even more of his perfect self to you? Then keep his commandments and this will be promised to you.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” (NIV)
You will be blessed when you are persecuted. Take Steven in Acts 7, for example. He received a glorious vision of heaven and of Jesus, which enabled him to endure his stoning. God has proven himself faithful over and over throughout the centuries with this promise.
There are countless testimonies of martyrs—singing as they are killed in terrible and gruesome ways. How can this be? In those moments God was being faithful to bless them when they were persecuted.
“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (NIV)
Do you want to remain in love that is better than life itself? (Psalm 63:3) Obedience is an invitation to the abundant life of joy found in Christ.
Faith in Christ’s Promises
This is how we do it—through faith in the reward of his promises. Even Christ was overwhelmed with the task laid out before him. Yet he obeyed and was crushed on the cross by his Father for all of us. How did He obey? One answer is in Hebrews:
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame…” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV)
It was the reward past the grave that enabled him to endure. The joy of not only being with his Father, but the joy of gaining us, his treasure, back.
Likewise, the saints in Hebrews 11 were faithful because they were looking to the promised reward.
“God is always faithful. If you are a believer and have found yourself unwilling to obey, confess it to God and affirm Jesus’s promise in 1 John 1:9.”
Christians have often been so concerned about avoiding legalism that we fail to remember Jesus has promised to enable us to do good works. As Martin Lloyd Jones once said, “It seems to me that one of the chief dangers in Protestantism today, and especially in evangelical circles is that, in our fear of the error of justification by works, we have been saying that works do not matter at all.” (Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures)
Over and over in the New Testament we see Jesus promising reward for obedience. If we suffer we will be blessed. (Matthew 5:11) If we suffer physical persecution for Christ we won’t waste our life chasing our own desires, but will be anxious to do the will of God (1 Peter 4:2).
Greater than the fleeting pleasures in this life is the eternal promise of a reward in heaven that moth and rust cannot destroy. That’s how our author and perfecter of our faith found the courage to endure the agony on the cross where he endured the wrath of God on our behalf.
How do we overcome all these obstacles? Not by trying harder but by accepting the superior pleasure found in His promise and finding that more rewarding than the false pleasure found in self protection.
Empowered to Obey
We may not all be gifted in evangelism and we may have lots of fears. We can throw a number of excuses about why we shouldn’t share the gospel in our workplace. But the truth is we are all called to participate in the Great Commission. If we are in Christ, we are dead to sin’s power (Romans 6) and can be obedient despite how we feel. Are we willing to obey? That is the real question.
The good news is that God is always faithful. If you are a believer and have found yourself unwilling to obey, confess it to God and affirm Jesus’s promise in 1 John 1:9. He will forgive you and cleanse you, giving you the grace to change. Then have a brother or sister in Christ hold you accountable to share the gospel in your daily life. If you want to overcome your fear and be perfected in love, then love others by sharing the gospel with them. As you do you will find like me that the chains of fear are loosened and you will discover the joy of sharing the gospel with others.
Spoiler alert. In the end of the Last Jedi, Luke lays down his life to save his friends. He passed down like Yoda had told him, the most important thing—through his weakness he showed what is at the heart of being a Jedi. Much like Jesus, who said “Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) This is what we get to do for others by laying down our reputation and sharing with them. So want to overcome your fear? Want to be perfected in love? Then love others by sharing the gospel with them- as you do you will find like me that the chains of fear are loosened and you will discover the joy of sharing. Oh the wonderful cross bids us come and die and find that we may truly live!
Grant Ohlmann is an artist, writer, nurse of nearly 6 years, husband and son of God. He is a member of Sojourn Church and a native of Louisville, Kentucky. He loves his wife, the Southend of Louisville, as well as internationals.