Seeking permission to proclaim
Evangelism is uncomfortable because the Truth is uncomfortable.
Believers are used by God to spread the aroma of Christ (2 Cor. 2:14) and proclaim the knowledge of Truth. For those who are saved, it is fragrant. For those who are lost, the fragrance of Truth is repugnant (v. 15).
We live in an age where compassion, love, or tolerance means that we are not to invade somebody’s personal space. It means allowing people to do what they want contrary to the Truth – and be approving of their behavior.
Since we live in an age of comfort and don’t like to be uncomfortable, the fear of rejection or be labeled a fool is heightened.
Jesus often made people uncomfortable. He welcomed inconvenience. He risked rejection.
He revealed his love and compassion by asking difficult questions.
me?” (Mark 5:31)
“What do you want..?” (John 1:37)
You are Israel’s teacher… and do you not understand these things? (John 3:10)
You are right when you say you have no husband…” (John 4:17)
“What are you discussing…? (Luke 24:17)
Do you believe in the Son of Man? (John 9:35)
“Woman, why are you crying? (John 20:13)
There are some people who are prone to be confrontational. They are not afraid to ask difficult questions. Others grew up in families where it was important for their survival to keep feelings and problems to themselves. They avoided confrontation because the consequences were too risky.
Jesus helps all Christians by presenting a formula on how to step out of our comfort zones and engage our culture today.
Jesus asked questions to reveal the Truth.
Proclaiming the gospel can begin by asking pertinent, loving, probing questions. It expresses to the person that you care; you are interested in them; you are willing to be inconvenienced.
Instead of thinking about what you want to say next, catch yourself and ask a question that is directly related to what a person just said.
Instead of launching into an unrelated topic after a person is finished, follow up with appropriate questions to further another person’s thoughts.
When a person is more interested in getting their point across rather digging deeper to learn more about a person’s feelings, or attitudes, you may miss a golden opportunity. Instead of going around in circles to win the discussion, asking questions forces you to pause and listen. You may discover a clue on how to lead them toward hearing about what Jesus has already done for us.
When we ask questions, we are seeking permission to proclaim the Truth.
Sometimes a stubborn viewpoint contrary to Scripture really stems from having a bad experience at church. Listening uncovers this truth and provides a sympathetic ear that apologizes for sinful behavior. You are asking permission to proclaim the gospel.
Sometimes a rigid view contrary to what the Bible teaches come from disappointment in God. Tragedy or heart-felt loss can twist a heart and deny that God really cares about people. This perception can skew viewpoints and stubbornly resist the Truth. Asking probing questions uncovers this truth and provides a sympathetic ear. You are asking permission to proclaim the gospel.
Whenever Christians wonder how to start a spiritual conversation and proclaim the Truth, we can follow Jesus’ example. Ask probing questions and be led how to provide the hope that we have in Christ.
Thoughts from this post adapted from the article, “Jesus was nosy and you should be too” by Jim Morgan.
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