For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.(1 Corinthians 6:16-17)I just got to share the gospel with someone. It is truly a privilege to do so. However, unfortunately, when you hear me say that, it is hard to tell when the last time was before that. I know that I don't share as often as I should. Apparently I am not alone, look at the results of one study:
For me it's not a matter of not wanting to share. It's fear. When I speak with my friends they typically give the same reason. I don't think I have known any believer who has just blatantly said that they don't want to share Christ or don't think they are supposed to. It's just fear."The study conducted by LifeWay Research found 80 percent of those who attend church one or more times a month, believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, but 61 percent have not told another person about how to become a Christian in the previous six months." ("Churchgoers Believe in Sharing Faith, Most Never Do"by Jon D. Wilke on Monday, August 13, 2012)
I have shared in a previous post that one of my favorite go-to passages when I am fearful is Acts 4:29-31. After being threatened, Peter and John went back to their friends and had a prayer meeting. In it they asked for boldness to continue in the face of their dangerous opposition and God granted them boldness. First, this gives me courage because I have hardly ever met antagonistic opposition. When I did they were not threatening toward me. Secondly, I must gather courage and consider the fearful hell that the lost will face if they do not hear and accept the gospel.
What I have found is that I cannot wait until I feel confident or capable. Sometimes I just have to make myself do it. I have to admit, today's opportunity was pretty easy. The man came to the church for help. I had to go assist him with filling up his tank with gas and spiritual things came up naturally. It was a great opportunity. However, for me, most encounters do not move naturally. I have to create the opportunity.
In the passage I quoted at the beginning Paul speaks of being compelled to preach and that it was a woeful thing if he did not. Indeed, it is more woeful for the lost person dying without Christ if I do not preach the gospel.
The important thing to keep in perspective is the "Why?" of it all. Why do we do this? Why are we commanded to share the gospel? Why do we want to share the gospel? Why should we do something that makes us so uncomfortable? "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more...I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel..." (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
We do it so the lost might be saved and we do it for the glory of God. The One who has given us this great salvation! "For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God." (2 Corinthians 4:15)
You and I are faced with the two options that Paul offers: 1. preach voluntarily or 2. force yourself. God's grace is magnificent and sufficient enough to share with others and He expects you to do so (steward = " . Either way the gospel must be preached. For without it, you and I would have no hope. I wouldn't be typing this and you wouldn't be reading it because we would have no interest in spiritual things. We most certainly would have nothing for which to be thankful. Pray with me for boldness for the sake of the lost and for the glory of God!
For God's Glory,
Chris S. Sweet