“Ryan, how do I put this picture in my email message to Aunt Susan?” “Oh, Grandma, that’s easy. You just open this, highlight that, and click this. There!” “Ryan! I need you to slow down and show me. I have no idea what you just did!”
Maybe you have lived out this scenario. Were you Grandma or Ryan? Inserting a picture into an email is easy – once you know how! That is true for many things, including evangelism.
Being ready to answer when asked about the reason for the hope that we have is easy. We often make evangelism far more complicated than it is. We make it more complex because we want to have all of the responses to all of the possible objections that a person can raise. It becomes burdensome because we approach evangelism with the attitude that we need to create faith; we think that if we have just the right answers, the person will be convinced to believe. This makes evangelism about our words and not God’s. But God’s Word says, No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3) and Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). Faith is God’s work and created by God’s Word.
Don’t complicate evangelism. Keep it simple. Know what God’s Word says about sin and grace.
To this end, Romans 6:23 is a great short verse to memorize: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. This verse contains the simple message of God’s Word about sin and grace in all its fullness. What does sin earn? Death–temporal and eternal. What does God give us in Jesus? Eternal life! Can we earn eternal life? No. All we can earn is death. God sent Jesus to earn eternal life for everyone. Jesus lived a perfect life. Jesus paid our debt by suffering the death that we deserve. Jesus rose triumphant from the grave, proving that He has earned eternal life for all people. It is that simple.
Many things in our lives are easy once we know how. Don’t complicate evangelism. The message of salvation is simple–sin and grace. Know what God’s Word says about sin and grace and you will be ready to answer.
Reverend Timothy Hartwig
Peace Lutheran Church
North Mankato, MN