On His last face to face encounter with His disciples, Jesus commanded, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel* to every creature” (Mark 16:15). This is a momentous task, yet we are not left to do this alone. Jesus assured us, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20). His command to preach the gospel to the world is accompanied by His promise that He will always be with us (Matthew 18:20; John 14:18), and that He has been given “all power.” With help like this we can do all things (Philippians 4:13; 1 John 4:4).
* Please request the study entitled, “What is the Gospel?”
The Bible says that, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). When Jesus was here, His great success depended upon His Father being with Him doing the works (John 14:10). Our success in preaching the Gospel today is dependant upon God being with us through Christ (John 14:23; 15:1-5; Titus 3:5, 6). Without Christ in us, we can have no true success in sharing the gospel. If you want success in ministering to the world, strengthen your connection with the source of love (1 John 4:7, 8).
Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
We are the light of the world, yet Jesus explained, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). Being a light in our part of the world is dependent upon allowing Christ to direct our steps and live through us, for He is the real light of the world. We are only the light of the world in proportion to how much of Jesus we are allowing to shine through us.
Jesus gave an important lesson when He said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).
Is your light flickering, barely producing light? The solution is to abide in Christ; let Him shine through you. It will not work to try to manufacture your own light (Isaiah 50:10, 11). Rely on the one who knows best how to lead you to the most productive path in life. With Christ inside, good things are bound to happen.
I heard an analogy recently that I really like. It goes something like this:
You are holding a cup of grape juice when someone comes along and bumps you causing the juice to spill everywhere.
Why did you spill the grape juice?
“Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”
You spilled the grape juice because there was grape juice in your cup.
Had there been lemonade in the cup, you would have spilled lemonade.
Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.
That is such an important principle. The Bible says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Jesus said, “…how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).
When faced with difficult situations, what is on the inside will come out. If you squeeze a grape, grape juice comes out. It would be weird if lemon juice came out. If you squeeze a Christian, Christ should come out. It would be weird if anything else came out. Our reactions to situations demonstrate who is on the inside.
A driver cuts us off in traffic. Whatever is inside the heart, is what will spill out.
Someone makes fun of us. Whatever is inside the heart is what will spill out.
A coworker takes credit for our work. Whatever is inside the heart is what will spill out.
The person in line in front of us is causing a tremendous delay. Whatever is inside the heart is what will spill out.
Someone is stranded beside the road. Whatever is inside the heart is what will spill out.
Someone is sobbing as you walk by. Whatever is inside the heart is what will spill out.
Someone is struggling to carry a load. Whatever is inside the heart is what will spill out.
A heart filled with the love of God will respond one way. A heart filled with anger, bitterness and ingratitude will respond another. Whatever is inside the heart, is what will spill out. I pray that you will be so filled with Christ and His love that whatever life throws at you, Christ will spill out.
Increasing our success in preaching the gospel to the world depends upon increasing our connection with Christ on a personal level. The more filled you are with Christ (Ephesians 3:14-21), the more people will be drawn to you with a desire to have what you have. Your ministry to others does not depend upon how dazzling your presentations, or how engaging your public events, but on how much of Christ you allow to shine through you. Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32).
Shining Out to Others
Ministry has often been sidetracked from what is really important. Many people have gotten caught up in vain religion that does not truly help people. (For a compelling study on this, please request the study “Vain Religion”.)
The Bible says, “Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward” (Isaiah 58:4-8).
Pure religion is manifested in two ways, 1) by helping people with their basic needs, and 2) living a life in harmony with God’s commands (James 1:26, 27). This can only be accomplished with Christ abiding in our hearts. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isaiah 60:1-3). I pray that God will arise in your heart so fully that everyone around you will be stunned with the brightness.
An Inspiring Quote
I read something that was truly inspiring, which says, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’ There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit” (Ministry of Healing, pages 143, 144).
Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Take every opportunity to let Christ shine through you to those around you. When you go to the store, don’t think you are there just for the item you are purchasing, you are there to let Jesus shine through you. Open yourself to the possibilities around you for sharing God’s goodness with others. Pray for divine appointments that will fill each day with evidence of God’s guidance in your life and bring joy to everyone you meet.
Door to Door Evangelism: Going door to door to talk to people about the Lord can be intimidating, but it can yield some incredible experiences and bring people closer to the Lord. Recently three of the men in our study group went door to door to share the love of God with people. We went without any agenda to sell anything or to get people to join a denomination. Rather we went with the goal of allowing God to shine through us to bless the people we met in whatever way He wishes. Because we were not trying to get money we were not rushed to get to the next house. We were open to spending as much time as necessary at each location to be the best blessing we could be. At the first door where we knocked, a man invited us in. This brother had wanted to find fellowship with others who could encourage him on his journey with the Lord. We spent an hour sharing testimonies and studying with him. He asked if we would be willing to study with him each week. Going door to door is easier if you go with someone. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two (Mark 6:7).
Hospital Visitation: On several occasions a few of us entered a hospital visiting people we didn’t know to see if we could pray with them or somehow be a blessing. Most people in a hospital are very happy to have someone pray with them. On one occasion a man expressed his gratitude, stating that when his father was in the hospital, just before he died, a chaplain came to his room to pray with him and walked him through accepting Jesus as His Saviour. This man explained that his father had been an abusive drunk all his life, and that the chaplain had accidently gone to the wrong room, which actually turned out to be the right room in God’s plan. He strongly encouraged us to continue doing what we were doing. Now, on that occasion we had no official permission from the hospitals to do what we were doing, but God blessed anyway. Sometimes we were asked to leave that area, so we moved to another. Always be courteous and respectful to the staff. Just recently I became an official chaplain for a nearby hospital, but you can bless people without that credential. A lot can be done just in the waiting room. Mingle with the people waiting, and see how you can be a blessing to them.
Volunteer Fire Department: Six years ago a neighbor whom I had never met came to my house and asked me if I would like to join the fire department. My initial thought was, “No,” but I told him I would pray about it. The Lord impressed me to join, so the next day I joined our local Volunteer Fire Department. This is not a work for everyone, but it is an avenue that has allowed me to interact with my community and be a blessing in some amazing ways. If you believe the Lord wants you to do that, contact your local fire department. There are also many other volunteer opportunities available where you can be a blessing to others in practical ways.
Jail Ministry: Six years ago a man in our local study group asked if I would like to do jail ministry. Of course! Three days later we were in the jail sharing the gospel with the inmates. God opened the doors very quickly for that to happen. Soon afterwards we started ministering at the juvenile jail. This outreach has been a great blessing for us as well as to the inmates (Proverbs 11:25). If you are interested to do jail ministry, contact a jail nearby, and ask to talk to the chaplain. See what is involved in ministering there. Some jails are harder to get into than others. If one does not work, try another one. The jails I work in now are about an hour away, but it is well worth the drive. I bring books and tracts to share with the inmates. Doing jail ministry through the mail is another way to bless inmates. Check with a chaplain to see how this can be accomplished.
Local Bible Studies: We have been having local Bible studies in our community for several years, but within the last two years we have made a greater effort to encourage local friends and neighbors to join us. God has blessed in this outreach. Establish a place to study, and then start inviting your neighbors to study the Bible with you. Be consistent. There have been several times I was the only one who showed up, but I have kept with it, and now we have a good little group who meet regularly, and faithful men who lead out in the Bible study when I am away.
Literature Outreach: There are many ways to share literature. We purchased small, clear, plastic display racks that can be set on a table or counter and hold about ten of our newsletters. Most of the smaller businesses have been happy to display them for us. Currently there are about 20 businesses in our local area that are displaying our newsletters for people to get their free copy. Some from other states have been displaying them in their local areas as well. If you are interested in this outreach, let us know and we can supply you with literature. Some people leave materials in public areas, bulletin boards, bathrooms, etc. Some will go door to door and leave them on the porch. Others find a blessing in sharing them door to door by talking and praying with people. The blessings of this work is greater than words can express. This experience is extremely valuable for anyone including those who will be moving on to other areas of evangelism work.
Going through a Campground: At a recent camp meeting several went through the campground talking to people about the Lord. Every day we had rich experiences that encouraged us to go out the next day.
List of Contacts: Start building a list of contacts so you can have it available to invite people to Bible studies or other events, or send them literature or interest cards.
Benevolent Work: Find out if there is anything you can do to help people in need. In every community there are needs you can help with and thereby let Christ shine to people with whom you would not have otherwise interacted.
Build Relationships: Get acquainted with the people around you and build relationships. Often it is not about what you know, but who you know.
Pray for Divine Appointments: Ask God to lead you to someone or some way you can be a blessing each day. Take risks! Paul went where God led him even though he was put in some dangerous places (2 Corinthians 11:24-28).
Nursing Home Ministry: Visit a local nursing home and see how you can be a blessing there. Some have setup weekly times to sing or read the Bible. This is something that can allow participation from people of all ages.
Telephone Ministry: Some have called numbers in a phone book to pray with and encourage people in that way.
Street Witnessing: There are numerous opportunities to do ministry in parks or public areas where many people gather. The apostle Paul did this type of ministry (Acts 17:22-31; 16:13-15).
The list of ways to preach the gospel is endless, but the bottom line is, go out and mingle with people around you so the light of Christ can reach your community. Make a difference! Be the change! This starts with surrendering your own life to Christ so when people see you they will see Christ. You don’t have to be perfect for God to bless people, but the more you are submitted to Christ, the greater your success will be in sharing the gospel. Your first mission field is your family. A family patterned after God’s order is one of the most powerful witnessing tools (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:33-6:4).
Make yourself available for God to direct you in your everyday life. If you get an impression to do something to bless others, obey the call. Don’t put it off for another time or for someone else to do. God gave you that impression for a reason. He wants to use you, and there is no better place you can be than in the center of His will (John 12:49, 50).
Preach the gospel always, and if necessary, use words.