Evangelism can be complicated. What do you say? How do you say it? Although answers vary for each situation and conversation, there is a simple principle we can keep in mind when sharing our faith: speak about Jesus, and speak like Jesus.
Jesus should be the subject of our speech and His mission should be our message.
Speak About Jesus
We need to keep the main thing, the main thing. We can engage in small talk, answer objections, build bridges, and even joke around, but if we don’t get around to talking about Jesus, then we aren’t going anywhere in our evangelism. The gospel message is communicated through our words, so we need to speak about Jesus.
“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).
In Acts 3-4, Peter and John healed a lame man and it caused problems with the religious leaders, but it also gave Peter an opportunity to speak publicly. The people wondered how the man was healed and Peter got right to the point—he spoke about Jesus. The religious leaders arrested him and had him appear before a council where he did the exact same thing—He shared how Jesus is the only source for salvation.
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Evangelism is about sharing a message, but the message is about a person. The aim of evangelism is to speak about Jesus, which is why repentance is turning from sin and turning to Jesus and trusting in the “gospel of Christ” (2 Cor. 2:12). Don’t get distracted. Keep the main thing the main thing—speak about Jesussumo suits for sale!
When God presents you with an opportunity to speak about God or Christianity, what will you do? Will you avoid it and not speak at all? Will you change the subject? Or, like Peter, will you talk about how Jesus is the Savior?
Speak Like Jesus
Not only do we need to speak about Jesus, we also need to speak like Jesus. Imagine if Jesus was evangelizing. What would He say? Thankfully, we don’t need a WWJS bracelet because the Gospels tell us what He said. So, in regards to evangelism, what would Jesus say?
“Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15).
As the best evangelist of all time, Jesus’ opening line provides us with valuable insight on what to say. Now sure, we aren’t Jesus and we probably need to start with some ice breakers or casual conversation. But, we can still speak like Jesus and communicate the things that He said. Our message should be about His mission.
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Jesus taught many things, but when he evangelized he primarily spoke with urgency about the kingdom of heaven by talking about two things: repentance and believing. Matthew 4:17 says that Jesus began his ministry by saying, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (4:17). Jesus’ message wasn’t complicated, but it was crystal-clear: turn from sin (repentance) and trust in God’s plan of salvation (belief in the gospel).
The most important thing that you can say when evangelizing is the exact same message that Jesus proclaimed. Your message is simple: “Repent and believe in the gospel.” And you’re to do it in the same manner that Jesus did—with compassionate love.
You will never fail in evangelism if you faithfully preach this message because it’s what God has called you to do; but you will fail if you don’t preach it at all. You are to be faithful with the proclaiming of the message, and God will be faithful with the results. Our job is to speak about Jesus and to speak about Jesus. He should be the subject of our speech and his mission should be our message.