Could you write the story of how you came to faith in Jesus in a hundred words or less?
I well remember when I was given that assignment. It was at the University of Aberystwyth in Wales. An American couple, who were in due course to become my in-laws, sponsored my attendance at an institute of biblical studies under the auspices of Campus Crusade for Christ (now CRU). I must confess that my initial response was somewhat negative: Why does there have to be a word count? Ought we not just tell our story without such pressure? But then I realized the purpose of the exercise was to encourage us to be able to share our faith in a form that was easy to understand.
The woman of Samaria would have gone immediately to the top of the class with her summary and invitation: “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” Those she invited then “went out of the town and were coming to him.” In essence, she said, “I have met the Messiah, and I’d like you to meet Him too.”
While I was in Wales being encouraged to be brave in initiating conversations about Jesus, out on the West Coast of America, many hippies were being introduced to Jesus by friends who told them of the love, joy, and peace they had found in Him. I recently watched a video highlighting these encounters, and I was struck by the simplicity of the message being shared and by the preparedness of many to receive it.
One of the reasons we may be fearful of engaging our friends in conversation about the Gospel is that we imagine we need to have all the answers to the questions that will be raised. It is, of course, good to be well-prepared, but we are keenly aware that only God opens blind eyes and softens hard hearts. When men and women are born again, it is by the mysterious work of the Spirit of God. Without that, all our arguments are quite useless. However, as Gresham Machen observed, “Because argument is insufficient, it does not follow that it is unnecessary. What the Holy Spirit does in the new birth is not to make a person a Christian regardless of the evidence, but on the contrary to clear away the mists from his eyes and enable him to attend to the evidence.” I hope you are as helped by that as I am and find it an encouragement to seek opportunities to cross barriers so we can be bold in sharing our faith.
The resources we’re providing this month will help us. Before You Share Your Faith offers practical suggestions for making the most of our Gospel conversations. Confronting Jesus explores who Jesus is and all that He accomplished and will be a useful reference as we explain that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior for sinners, and the eternal King. Also, our newly published course, The Basics of the Christian Faith, offers thirteen step-by-step lessons that make it easy to lead a friend through the foundational truths of the Gospel.
Do write and tell us of your adventures in this regard in the coming weeks.
I just returned from London, where they are preparing to crown King Charles III. Citizens of Great Britain and the Commonwealth are invited to swear an oath of allegiance to the King. The Bible makes clear that there will come a day when every knee will bow before Jesus and acknowledge Him as King of Kings. He has promised to forgive and receive anyone who is willing to turn from their own way and trust in Him as Lord and Savior—and to us has been given the responsibility of telling the story.
I look forward to meeting many of you during these summer months. Please come and visit us here in Cleveland! With thankfulness for your partnership and with my love in the Lord Jesus.