Once in a great while someone will ask me, “Do you know how I can be saved?” or “Do you know how I can receive eternal life?” Not often, but it does happen. And when it does, I’m always thankful that the Lord has provided a clear opportunity to proclaim the truth of His Son.
But opportunities like that are very rare. You might not be able to remember the last time it happened to you—it’s possible it has never happened at all. Of course our hope is that those closest to us would see the difference Christ has made in our lives and ask about that, but even those situations are infrequent.
Instead, the vast majority of the evangelism opportunities you will have will be initiated by you. You’re the one who will need to steer the conversation to biblical truth and eternal matters. We can’t wait on the spiritually lost to become inquisitive about God’s Word; we need to actively look for ways to inject it wherever and whenever we’re able.
But how do we do that—how do we successfully bring God’s Word to bear on the lives of people who have no interest in it? There are countless methods you could study or seminars you could attend to help train you to skillfully preach the gospel.
But even more instructive than any man-made evangelism program is the example of our Savior’s own evangelistic methods. The fourth chapter of the gospel of John gives us a powerful example of effective personal evangelism from the life of Christ. In fact, what you have in that familiar passage is as clear a model of our Lord’s evangelizing a sinner as you’ll find anywhere in the Bible. That makes it a very instructive portion of Scripture, one that we should be very familiar with for the vivid and practical lessons it teaches us.
Jesus didn’t wait for the Samaritan woman at the well to ask Him how she could be saved—she wasn’t even aware of her spiritual needs. But He took the initiative, confronted her sin, and offered her mercy and salvation.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll look carefully at Christ’s model of personal evangelism and draw out some basic lessons that will help us bring eternal truth to bear on the lives around us. There’s a lot we need to learn from this specific incident in the life of Christ, and I know it will be an encouragement in your own interactions with the unsaved world around you.
Come back Monday for the first important step: taking initiative.
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