Must I Tithe 10% of My Net or Gross Income?
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Must I Tithe 10% of My Net or Gross Income?
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How Can I Share My Faith?

In his last command to his followers before ascending into heaven, Jesus said to go and make disciples of all nations. As members of the American church in the 21st century, it’s easy to think of this command only in the context of foreign missions, but we’re also called to make disciples in our own communities! Our hometowns and cities are so filled with people starving for truth, aching from the wounds of this world, and desperately longing for a light in the darkness. Who’s in a better position to share the gospel with your unbelieving neighbor or coworker than you are?

For most of us, active evangelism is not something we feel trained for. How do we introduce this controversial and offensive Good News into relationships that are either stiffly professional or extremely personal?

Pray for Opportunities

First, it’s critical to remember that we are simply the harvesters—we do not make the crops grow. So, as farmers pray for rain and good seed, we ought to pray to our Father in Heaven for opportunities to witness, for boldness to speak, and for wisdom when the time comes to share this gospel (1 Peter 3:15). The apostle Paul says to devote ourselves to prayer that a door might be opened for the message of the gospel (Col. 4:2–4). The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16) and we are told that if we knock and ask, we shall receive (Matt. 7:7–11).

Speak Boldly

Giving the reason for this hope that we have should be the most natural declaration of gratitude we make, and yet so often we hide behind self-doubt and fear of embarrassment, rejection, or even persecution. Who are we to give this message? Will anyone even listen? What if this changes my relationship with this person?

And yet we’re called to boldness. Before leading the Israelites across the Jordan River, Joshua was commanded to be bold and courageous—we too have been called to broaden the borders of God’s kingdom through the testimony of our words and lives, and we must also have courage, knowing the Lord our God will be with us wherever we go (Josh. 1:7–9). We have nothing to lose in this life that is more precious than our Savior—not reputation, nor relationships, nor security—and he has asked us to take up our cross and follow him.

God knew our shortcomings when he designed this message to be carried out by words—he is a God who knows what we need (Matt. 6:8) and before a word is on our tongue, he knows it completely (Ps. 139:4).

This boldness takes on many ordinary forms:

  • Cheerfully declining a Sunday invitation to say you are attending church instead of skirting the question or making a vague excuse.
  • Being more open and direct about your faith or beliefs when asked.
  • Asking if you can make your silent prayer a spoken one when a friend comes to you for comfort.
  • Practicing attentiveness and inquisitiveness as we get to know those around us, and understand their needs, wants and worries so we can be better prepared to show them the sufficiency of the gospel when the time comes.

Be Gentle

Our unbelieving friends are not merely a body-count for conversion. Each person we meet has their own God-given story, and it behooves us to know with whom we share this good news. The great work of Christ may be hard to swallow for those who have been especially hurt by those claiming to be a part of his church. The gospel might be offensive, but we should not be. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have,” the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:15. “But do this with gentleness and respect.” Even Paul admonished Christians to keep their speech “full of grace” and “seasoned with salt” so that we might be able to answer everyone (Col. 4:6).

We must remember that we too were once dead in our sins, and only by a great mercy do we live. This should inform both our urgency for sharing the word of God and the compassion and gentleness with which we share it.

Live Your Faith

Although we can’t evangelize without speaking the truth (Rom. 10:14), our lives bear witness to our words. In James’ epistle, he writes, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds” (James 2:18). Very often, it will be our lives that speak the loudest. How do you comport yourself at work or in your neighborhood or at school? When the world burns hot with anger, do you radiate calm? When your companions fall into gossip and slander, do you hold your tongue? Is it clear that whatever you do, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, you do it all for the glory of God? These things bear witness to our faith and give credibility to our profession.

Equip Yourself

As we’ve each been called to thus evangelize a dying world, it’s imperative that we equip ourselves by the studying of Scripture, meditation of Scripture, and devotion to prayer. If the word of God is on our hearts, it will be ready on our tongues also (Luke 6:45). We’re told to equip ourselves so that we might be prepared to do every good work (2 Tim. 3:16–17), of which this Great Commission is most certainly one.

What Does the Bible Say?

  • Prayer: James 5:16; Matt. 7:7–11; Eph. 6:18–19; Col. 4:2–4
  • Speaking the truth: Ps. 139:4; 1 Peter 3:15; Col. 4:6; Rom. 10:14; Luke 6:45; Eph. 4:29
  • Equipping yourself: 2 Tim. 3:16–17; Eph. 6:10–17; Luke 6:45

Recommended Resources

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J. I. Packer

The Gospel Comes With a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield

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