ROLE of the CHURCH in SPREADING the GOSPEL: "For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything." (1 Thess 1:5-8)
In the above passage, Apostle Paul is commending the church in Thessalonica for their exemplary living and effective witness, as they conveyed the gospel most effectively by example and also by word-of-mouth. In a way, the believers in the church of Thessalonica were practicing ‘show-and-tell’. They were ‘showing’ to their unbelieving world of their extraordinary faith in Christ, and also sharing the living gospel through words. Thus, the Thessalonians became model Christians and they are good example for us to emulate.
The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s great plan for bringing people into a living relationship with Him. It is sobering to think that people are supposed to be able to see Christ in us. We should be able to say with Paul, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). We are intended to be channels of our blessings to others who do not know Christ. God shines in our hearts so that the light might shine out to others (2 Cor. 4:6). As we focus on Jesus, we will reflect His image to others (2 Cor. 3:18).
Sharing our faith is a combination of spontaneous conversation about God and premeditated ideas about the gospel. The following is a set of practical steps (Courtesy: The Open Bible) to take in witnessing for Christ:
- Regularly talk about God. Sprinkle your ordinary conversation with occasional references to God’s activity in your life. It is much easier to share your faith when your friends know God is an integral part of your affairs.
- Prepare your testimony. Learn to describe your pre-Christian life, your encounter with Christ, and subsequent changes in your life in fewer than five minutes. If you became a Christian as a child, focus on the impact Christ has had on your adult life.
- Learn a brief summary of the gospel. It will be good to learn a condensed version of the gospel, for example: Four Spiritual Laws (http://www.campuscrusade.com/four_laws_online.htm), Roman Road of Salvation (http://www.new-testament-christian.com/roman-road-to-salvation.html), etc.)