Sharing Jesus with Strangers

Is sharing the Gospel to strangers Biblical? YES! In fact, a simple reading of the book of Acts shows us that the followers of Jesus usually shared with strangers. Paul preached to crowds in synagogues (Acts 17:1-5). They also spoke to groups of people who just happened to be gathered in a place (Acts 16:13-14). Philip shared to an official he only met along the road (Acts 8:26-40). Even amid persecution, the early believers preached the Good News everywhere they went (Acts 5:41-42; 8:4).

There are undoubtedly many methods of sharing the Gospel. Some may espouse friendship evangelism, open-air preaching, tract or literature evangelism, apologetics and many more. We thank God for the many approaches we can use to fulfill the Great Commission of Making Disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).

At the end of the day, I pray that we can all agree that regardless of the approach, what remains central is that “the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16). That is, clear, complete and Biblical presentation of the Good News of Jesus is our God-given tool in leading people to the cross.

Whatever the method, it remains true that only by God’s grace through faith can a person be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). So, the method that best glorifies God is not really the one that yields the most results, but the one that fully conforms to His standards as revealed in Scripture. After all, the God who predestined is also the God who justified and will glorify (Romans 8:30).

Lastly, there are truths and promises we often miss when dealing with evangelism. We can find them in Jesus’ very words to Peter, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch (Luke 5:4).” This simple command is teeming with evangelistic truths.

First, the sender for every evangelistic activity is Jesus Himself. He left us with the Great Commission and sends us to fulfill it. This would have meant nothing except that Jesus is the God of the universe who holds every authority in heaven and on earth. With this kind of Sender, what is there to fear, especially that He promised to be with us until the very end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).

Second, there is a promise that when we “put out to deep water, and let down the nets,” there will be a catch. This is consistent with 1 Cor. 15:58 that tells us, “our labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

What is this catch? We must be careful, however, to equate catch only with decisions for Jesus. Many times in the book of Acts, we see people coming to Christ and people rejecting Him whenever the Gospel is preached. This catch may be in the form of people believing in Jesus, but it can also be as simple as sowing seeds of truth that will later bloom to faith.

Remember that our duty as Christians is to clearly and faithfully explain the Gospel and the right response to it. God is the only one who can make people believe in Jesus and repent of their sins. We sow the seeds and water them, but God makes things grow (1 Cor 3:6-7).

If there is anything God will measure, it is the faithfulness and obedience of His children. Because He is the God who chose people before creation to be holy, every person who believes does so because of His grace alone, not by our works or performance (Ephesians 1:4-5). He saves people in spite of our utter powerlessness and unfaithfulness.

Third, and corollary to the second, is the question, “Are we trusting Jesus enough to go into the deep and cast our nets for a catch?” Could it be that we’re not really letting down our nets that’s why we don’t have a catch? Fish are attracted to light, that’s why fishermen prefer to fish during new moon. Now, Jesus is a greater Light (John 8:12) than the moon or even the sun, and His very person attracts many. Yet, even if the fish swim around the boat because they’re attracted to the light, the fisherman still has to let down his net for a catch. This is the same for us, fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).

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