I sat down for a cup of coffee at my favorite neighborhood Starbucks a few days ago and just as I did, a couple came in and sat just next to me. I promise, I wasn’t trying to listen to their conversation, but sitting that close to them, I could hear everything.
She obviously had a great heart and desire to see her fiancée come to faith in Jesus. But she really didn’t know how to help him get there. I think he left a bit more confused than he came.
Most of us have a passion to see our friends and loved ones come to a saving knowledge of Christ, but we often lack the ability and confidence to share our faith because we just don’t know what to say and how to say it. I would like to use Paul’s conversation here with King Agrippa to share three simple steps on what to say in your effort to share the good news with friends.
Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. But first of all to those in Damascus, and to Jerusalem, and throughout the whole land of Judaea and to the Gentiles, I brought the message to repent and turn to God and do deeds to match their repentance. Because of this the Jews seized me in the Temple and tried to do away with me. So then because I have received the help of God up to this day, I stand bearing witness to great and small, saying nothing beyond those things which both the prophets and Moses said would happen, that the Anointed One must suffer, that as a consequence of his resurrection from the dead he must be the first to bring the tidings of light to the People and to the Gentiles. Acts 26:19-23
A call to repent
The Greek word for repent literally means change one’s mind. To repent means to realize that the kind of life we are living is wrong and that we must adopt a completely new set of values. To that end, If we could help our friends connect the dots between a healthy sorrow for what they have been doing wrong and an unshakable resolve – that by the grace of God they can be changed, we would be one step away from leading them to Christ.
A call to turn to God.
So often people have their backs to God. It may be in thoughtless disregard; it may be because we have deliberately gone to the far countries of the soul. But wherever we are, we are called to let the God who was nothing to us become everything to us. If we could show our friends how useless it is to go through life without him, and how trusting in him is a game changer, we could make a world of difference in their lives.
A call to produce fruit in keeping with repentance
The proof of genuine repentance is not merely the reaction of someone whose life is governed by a new set of laws. The man who has come to know the love of God in Jesus knows that he is governed by Love – and if he sins, he is not breaking a law but the very heart of God. If we could show our friends that Christianity is not about rules and regulations but about a love, intimacy and a relationship with God, that could be our breakthrough moment in helping them come to the saving knowledge of Christ.