Seize Every Opportunity for the Gospel

The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ can never be kept unshared. And we have seen that repeatedly over all the centuries; from Christ himself who went to the villages and towns of Israel sharing the good news, to the apostles and the early church who carried the gospel to all the corners of the world. Most of us have come to believe in Christ as our Lord and Saviour because someone took the time, the opportunity, and the risk to share the gospel with us. Consider Narayan Vaman Tilak, the great Christian poet of Maharashtra. He became a believer in Christ because of a “chance” encounter with a Christian on a train journey. Tilak sat reading a book in Sanskrit, when a complete stranger engaged him in conversation, and after hearing all that Tilak had to say, urged him to consider the life and teachings of Christ. He presented the young poet with a New Testament, and they parted ways. Moved by the stranger’s earnestness, Tilak began to read the scriptures. He began with the Gospel of Matthew and when he reached the Sermon on the Mount, he said, “I could not tear myself away from those burning words of love and tenderness and truth…It amazed me to see how here, the most profound problems were completely solved. I went on, eagerly reading to the last page, that I might learn more of Christ.” Just two years after this encounter, Tilak professed Christ as his Lord and Saviour and was baptised. He served Christ for the rest of his life as an ambassador for the gospel.1 In the sovereignty of God, he enabled an unnamed Christian to share the good news of Christ with someone who would go on to serve the cause of the Gospel wonderfully. 

In the sovereignty of God, he enabled an unnamed Christian to share the good news of Christ with someone who would go on to serve the cause of the Gospel wonderfully. 

Jesus’ command to make disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 necessitates us to share the gospel. It is a command given to the church till the end of time – until Jesus returns. If we read the book of Acts, we see that the believers carried the gospel out of Jerusalem as they were scattered by persecution. As they carried on with their daily struggle for survival, they came into contact with people with whom they shared the good news of salvation. In Acts 11:19-21 Luke writes that there were some who began to preach the Lord Jesus to the Greeks. And we read in verse 21, “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.” 

We live in times not unlike the ones the early church faced. Apathy and even open animosity towards believers are increasing. In the midst of this, we are commanded to make disciples. John Stott puts it this way, “It is still our duty, when the opportunity is given and in a spirit of humility, to share Christ with those of our relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues who do not yet know him.”2 We may never see the fruit of sharing the gospel for the glory of God. But we have a duty, a solemn responsibility to share Christ with the world around us. 

  1. Be prepared with the gospel and prayer
    Very often, we know the gospel and can share what it is, but when an opportunity is presented, we become flustered and confused about how to share it with people. Write the gospel down on a small card and memorise the main points. Go over it often with a church member or friend and know it well. Make sure that along with sharing what Christ has done in your life, point back to the Bible; quote it often. The inspired Word of God has the power to draw people to Jesus. Pray, earnestly. Pray that the Lord will enable you to clearly share the gospel and that God will save them as they hear it. Pray that you will be able to share with at least one person a day. I know this may be difficult in the beginning, but it becomes easier as we do it, trusting the Lord.
  1. Be discerning with how to use opportunities
    Who you are sharing the gospel with should determine how you do it. If you are taking a train, or are a passenger on a flight, or taking a taxi – the time you have is short and most probably you may not see that person again. Don’t spend too much time on ordinary conversation. Pray and seek a conversation-turner that will help you speak about Christ. Again, there is no universal one-size-fits-all way to do this, but God gives his children the discernment to share according to the specific spiritual need of the person we are engaging. 

The inspired Word of God has the power to draw people to Jesus.

With a friend, colleague, neighbour, or family member the approach is completely different. They know you well and are privy to your behaviour, conversation, values, and whether you are truly following Christ or not. If you plan to share the gospel with them, don’t blindside them: ask if you can talk about Jesus and how he has changed your life. Invite them to an open conversation about what you believe. Listen (truly listen) to what they have to say about what they believe. Ask relevant, open-ended questions that will enable them to think about what it is that they believe and whether it truly is the answer to the spiritual issues that they are facing. Be open about what you believe, about what you don’t know, and be gentle and respectful in giving an account for what you believe as Peter instructs in 1 Peter 3:14-16. Open up your life to them: Invite them for a meal, or sit at a coffee shop, in your workplace during lunch hour, birthday parties, or celebrations. Use Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter as opportunities, because people know that these days are special to Christians and perhaps they are more willing to listen than at other times. And remember: gospel sharing and gospel living have to be in harmony for us to be effective witnesses for Christ. So many saints have come to Christ out of encounters that seem like pure chance, but we know that our sovereign God is behind each of these. 

Many years ago, we visited our neighbours during the Christmas season and along with the usual goodies, we gave them a small tract about why we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Our neighbour was so touched by this small gesture that he asked us to pray. The next day he told us that he experienced amazing peace after that prayer time and soon began to come to church. A few months later, he confessed Christ as his Savior and Lord. We never know how the Lord will use us as His channels to reach people with the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ. And only eternity will reveal how many souls have come to him because someone took the time and used the opportunity to share the gospel. So, when and where will you be starting?

  1. Arthur Park, 15 Indians Who Found Christ
  2. John Stott, The Contemporary Christian: An Urgent Plea for Double Listening,240