Are there ways that you could share the gospel with your unsaved family members? Since you know them so well, what is the best approach so as not to offend a member of your family? How can you find common ground with a non-believer in your family?
What is the Gospel?
The word gospel means “good news or good tidings.“ That’s exactly what it is for those of us who are Christians and its also good news for those who are not saved because there is hope that they can be saved from the coming wrath of God on Judgment Day (Rev 20). It is news so good that we can not keep it to ourselves. The word gospel may be derived from an old English word, “god-spell.“ The Greek word for gospel sounds, appropriately enough, like evangelize and is spelled: euaggelion.
Before you can share the gospel with a non-saved family member, you must know the gospel so well that you can present it in just a few short lines. Many evangelists have discovered that it is almost easier to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with a complete stranger than it is with someone you are so familiar with like a family member, a friend or a co-worker. The purpose of this article could also be used to reveal how you can share the gospel with the people you know the best.
An important thing to know is that any effort to share the gospel should begin with prayer. It should be done prayerfully and prayer should follow your witnessing. If you do not pray, you are depending on your own efforts and strength. God the Holy Spirit is the only one Who can open believer’s eyes to Who Jesus is. Jesus Christ is known only by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by slick presentations or flashy testimonies. If you want God the Holy Spirit to work in this close friend, family member or co-worker, you must pray about it and ask God’s intervention on your behalf. Ultimately, it is not your responsibility to save a person. It is their response to God’s ability, but it is your responsibility to tell them about the gospel.
First Corinthians 15:1-4 is a great summation of the gospel:
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Romans 10:9-13 is a great summation of how one can be saved:
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
These key verses are great memory verses which will allow you to be ready to give an accurate description of the gospel and an accurate way to know how salvation is obtained. They must repent, turn from their sin, and place their faith in Jesus Christ alone. They should then find a good Bible-believing church and be baptized into the membership there.
One on One Witnessing
I am not about to provide one single line that you can use to introduce family, friends, and co-workers to Jesus Christ and the message of the gospel. To do so, I believe, would subvert the work of the Holy Spirit. God can not be put in a box, therefore what you use to share the gospel with your brother might be something altogether different than you use with your aunt. The Holy Spirit is a trustworthy witness of Jesus and will frequently give you the right words to say and when to say them. There are many circumstances that are involved. For example, my aunt is dying and when I speak with some of my family members, I asked them, “What do you think happens to a person after they die?” I might even say, “Do you think about what happens to you after you die” or “Where do you think a person goes after they die?”
To begin with, they may already be a Christian and you don’t know it. You can’t assume that they are not a Christian just because you don’t know or assume that they are one either. There are many ways in which you can discern if they are or they are not a believer just by asking them questions or making certain comments. Sometimes world events such as tragedies occur that may naturally lead to someone thinking about the mortality of life. For others it might be, “What do you think about all the crazy weather were having around the nation? What do you think it means?” You could also ask them, “What church do you attend?” The point is you want them to begin to think about spiritual things or take a look at the human frailty of life. The latest survey says that 100 out of every 100 people will die and that God has said that He has put eternity in the hearts of mankind (Eccl 3:11).
I have a nursing home Bible study every Wednesday night and one Wednesday night, one of the residents died. It was a frightening experience for the residents and so we cancelled the Bible study that night and I just spoke plainly to some of the residents there about life being so finite. Many of them were quite shaken by this tragedy. No one knows the day or hour when they will pass from this life. I would ask them, “Have you ever thought about where you will go after you die? If you could know for sure where you would go after death, would you want to know?” If some of the answers are unbiblical I ask them, “Where did you learn this from? How do you know that is true? Are you certain where you will go after you die?” I hear some say that they will be reincarnated, others say they will cease to exist and many other different answers to these questions. That is when I ask them, “Where did you learn this from? How do you know that is true?”
Keep in mind that you are sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ because you care about their eternal destination. When believers are finally in the Kingdom of Heaven, we will not look back in eternity and think, “Wow, I wish I hadn’t made my uncle Frank so mad at me when I told him about the gospel. Boy, I wish I hadn’t embarrassed myself so much when I brought up Jesus and salvation with my cousin Terry.” No, because once we receive eternal life, we will have lost all chance to share the gospel with others for there is no evangelism in heaven. We must realize that the power is in the message and not in the messenger. The responsibility to save is God’s but we are held responsible to share the good news with other (Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). Someone once risked our rejecting them when they shared the faith of Christ with us. Aren’t we glad that they did? Time is slipping away from us. We may not get a second chance to tell others about Jesus because they can die in a freak accident, have a heart attack, move away or Christ could return at any moment now. Remember that they are not really rejecting you but they are rejecting Jesus. We can not take the persecution personally.
We also do not want to cram religion down anyone’s throat. You can bring up the gospel with any number of questions or statements but you can not bring it up every single time you see your lost family member, friend or co-worker or they will begin to avoid you like the plague. Then you will have little or no chance to share the gospel with them ever again. They might be afraid to even bring it up with you. You may only get one or two opportunities before they feel that they are feeling pressured. It’s good to know that God calls them; the Holy Spirit reveals Who Jesus is, and the Savior saves them from the wrath of God. We can only try but repeated efforts over a short period of time may actually harden their hearts. Pray, pray and then pray so more.
Jesus told His disciples to “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth more laborers” (Matt 9:38). The numbers of Christians who have lead at least one person to saving faith in Christ is around 1 in 20 and the numbers of Christians who consistently witness for Jesus are only 1 in 10, so you are a rare individual if you are telling others about Christ. God is not seeking more religious people; He is not seeking more church members. He is seeking disciples after His own heart. How sad that many Christians will sit in their holy huddles on Sunday, sitting as “pew potatoes” who are only interested in their own salvation, when people are dying every day, passing into eternal punishment because we won’t be bold in going out into the world to tell others how they might have eternal life. Every day over 700 thousand people die. Since only about 33% of the world’s population is Christian, this means that over 462 thousand people will pass into eternity, forever separated from God with no second chance. The amazing thing is that 73% of people who do not attend church have never been asked!
Learn more about how you can share your faith with the lost; including family, co-workers, and friend. You can do it. God can take weak, frail, feeble humans who would describe themselves as sinners or a train wreck, and use them in a most powerful way. You can receive the power of God in the Holy Spirit when you seek those who are lost (Acts 1:8, Matt 28:18-20). Tap that power, expand the worship of God in heaven, and leave the 99 to seek the one that is lost. There is no greater joy than the privilege of bringing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those you love. And those who you can help bring this good news will be thanking you for all eternity.
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