Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
November 2, 1997
Last Updated :
December 31, 2012
On-Fire First Century Church Preached Anywhere At Anytime, Ask God For Wisdom And Be Spirit-Led As You Are Witnessing, Different Witnessing Methods, Acquire Vision For Internet, Passing Out Gospel Tracts, Work Of Faith, God Gives Increase Fruitfulness Of Gospel Tracts, God's Word Will Accomplish His Purpose, Brought To The Point Of Decision, Be Spirit-Led And Feed His Sheep, Keep Contact Information, Beware Of Pride And Vainglorying, We Are All Unprofitable Servants, Treasures In Heaven, Be A Good Listener, Jehovah's Witnesses, My Facebook Ministry, Be Slow To Speak, Give Them God's Answer, Beware Of Conveying Condescending Self-Righteous Attitude To Sheep, We Are All Lost Sinners Who Are Saved By The Grace Of God
Witness Anywhere Anytime But Be Spirit-Led
As I concluded in part one, the First Century Church was a very active Church insofar as preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned. It is evident from the Scriptures that the Apostles and Disciples of the Lord preached anywhere and and at anytime they could, from morning until night, as well as throughout the year. They were a very on-fire Church. As much as we would like to follow in their inspiring footsteps, sadly, with so many international, national and local laws now being passed which severely restrict our proselytizing activities, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for us to let our lights freely shine. However, the Lord can still open doors if we are willing, ready and able to go wherever and whenever He tugs at our heart by His Spirit and says "Go witness to that person." However, at the same time, and as I noted earlier, it is also important that we ask God to grant us His Wisdom, and that we are Spirit-led as we engage in our witnessing activities, lest we bring hardship upon ourselves unnecessarily.
As far as what witnessing methods to use, that is entirely up to your personal faith, and how you feel led by the Lord. Do whatever works. Do whatever bears fruit. Visit parks and other public places where people gather. Go door-to-door if you feel so inclined. Pass out Gospel tracts. If you are creative and are computer literate, you can even create your own pamphlets. This is in fact what I personally did for a number of years. You can then take your home-designed tracts to a local printer to have them printed, or even print just a small quantity at a local fast copy store. Sing Christian songs on a busy street corner if you can find a place where city authorities will allow you to do so. Start a Christian newsletter. Begin a Christian youth club. Hold puppet shows for children. Visit hospitals, rest homes, prisons and other places where you may find a captive audience who may enjoy your company. Use your artistic abilities to uplift the Lord and preach the Message of Salvation. Create your own website. Go online and open accounts on social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, MySpace, etc. Visit message forums. Create a blog or two.
In short, the way that you choose to be a witness of your faith depends a lot on your personal talents and motivations. In my case, now that I am no longer young and have developed a number of health issues, my primary witnessing activities are achieved via my online writing ministry which reaches a wide range of people all around the world on a daily basis. If you would like to acquire a vision for witnessing via the Internet, please consider reading my article entitled "The Internet: Our Final Frontier; Your Last Chance?".
Pass Out Gospel Tracts
As I mentioned a moment ago, in former years when I was doing a lot more public witnessing while I was out and about, I had a regular practice of carrying a supply of Gospel tracts in my waist pouch. These tracts were created on my computer, and contained a simple Salvation message -- which was expanded at a later date and became my Salvation article entitled "Message to the World" -- along with a sample prayer at the end of it which a person could pray, as well as contact information that changed over time as my witnessing methods changed. In fact, I believe I may still have the originals -- possibly in MS Word format -- if anyone reading this series is interested. I would be happy to email copies to you, if you wish to print out your own. They are simple black and white tracts with no pictures. All you would have to do is print out a sheet, back-to-back, and then cut it in half, being as there are two tracts on the sheet.
I passed out my Gospel tracts at stores, at bus stops while waiting for the bus, on many street corners, while walking on sidewalks, etc. When I was really bold, I would even pass out a few tracts inside the devil's strongholds like government buildings. I do advise caution in doing something like this though. After all, the last thing that you want to do is to cut your ministry short by doing something foolish. As the Apostle James writes in his Epistle:
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
James 1:5, KJV
While I really do not like using the term, in a way, passing out Gospel tracts is a machine gun type witnessing method. This is because one really has to trust the Lord to bear the fruit that He alone desires. In fact, it is quite possible that you may never even see the fruit of your labors. As both Jesus and the Apostle Paul inform us, you may plant the seed of the Word in someone's heart. Maybe sometime later someone else will come along and water that young plant, or soul. It may not be until quite a while alter, that yet another person will come along, and help to reap the harvest:
"And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours."
John 4:36-38, KJV
"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."
1 Corinthians 3:6-7, KJV
There is a very important lesson that you can learn from the previous verses. Suppose that while out witnessing, you meet someone who is very receptive to the Gospel message. So, you spend some serious time with them, answering their questions and showing them verses from the Bible. Despite all of this, while that person may be close to accepting the Lord, they just aren't quite ready to do it yet, and so you go on your way. Now, does this mean that you failed? Of course not! It just isn't their time yet. God used you to plant the seed of faith in that person's heart; but perhaps He has designated someone else to bring them to the point of Salvation. You did exactly what God wanted you to do. Now trust Him, and leave it up to Him to do the rest. Remember; it is God that giveth the increase; not you.
When it comes to passing out Gospel tracts, you fire into the enemy's territory, and spray your "spiritual bullets", just hoping that some of your tracts will find receptive hearts. It is really a work of faith, because you never really know where those tracts may end up. Some will surely be tossed in the trash can, or clutter a street curb -- I hope you do take the time to pick them up -- but you may give one to someone who may read it, and then leave it in a place where another person will find and read it. Perhaps that first person will ignore its contents, but that second person will accept the Lord. Who knows; you may even give one to somebody who will take it home, and twenty members of their family may end up reading it and accepting the Lord.
Fruitfulness of Gospel Tracts
As I said, when it comes to passing out Gospel tracts -- or Salvation tracts, if you prefer -- one never knows what plans God may have for them, or where they may end up. Neither do we really know what kind of fruit our endeavors may bear in the long run. However, as I explain in the series entitled "Parable of the Sower: Salvation and Service", the Lord most certainly knows exactly what kind of fruit, as well as how much fruit, our witnessing and seed-planting endeavors will bear. He has it all under control. Consider what Jesus says in that particular Parable:
"But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
Matthew 13:23, KJV
God's Word Will Accomplish Its Purpose
So the lesson is clear. We should never underestimate the power of the written word. Not only may our Gospel tracts end up in many places where we could never go in person, but they may accomplish things -- and bear positive fruit -- in ways which we never imagined. The one thing of which we can be certain, is that the Word which we include in our tracts will accomplish the purpose, as well as bear the fruit for which it has been designed. After all, as the Lord informs us in the Scriptures:
"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:11, KJV
If we stop to think about it, even if a hard-hearted person just decides to throw that tract in the trash, it has still accomplished a purpose. Why? Because regardless of whether or not they accept the message that is contained within it, the tract has provided them with the knowledge of Salvation that they need to know, and it has brought them to the point of decision. Someday, unless they repent of their unbelief, God will be able to point to that moment in their life when they cast that Gospel tract to the ground, and say "See; in my Mercy, I gave you the knowledge of the Truth. I sent that faithful tract passer to you on that day, but look what you did. In that tract I told you about the Sacrifice of my Son; but you foolishly rejected Him. In fact, you continued to reject Him as I gave you other opportunities to repent of your unbelief throughout your mortal life."
While the previous conversation is obviously my own invention, I hope it helps you to realize that your tract-passing efforts are not in vain. On a related note, some people hold the view that passing out Gospel tracts is not as effective a means of witnessing as other methods, because it does not allow one to engage in a deep conversation with a person. While this may be true sometimes, I can personally attest to the fact that there have been many occasions over the years where I have met very hungry sheep while passing out tracts, and I have spent hours answering their questions and sharing God's Word with them. In some cases, this has resulted in them accepting the Lord. What it really boils down to is being Spirit-led, so that when the Lord does send that special person your way, you recognize the situation as being one of His witnessing setups, and you take the time to minister to and feed that person accordingly.
Keep Contact Information
In addition to including some form of contact information somewhere on your Gospel tracts -- usually on the bottom of the final page -- you will also want to set up some kind of system where you can record and store information regarding the special sheep that you meet. Naturally, many people will not be very willing to provide such personal information to you, unless they really are a hungry sheep who has a sincere interest in learning more about the Lord. If you are computer literate, then the obvious place to store the information is in a program or file on your computer. There is a wide range of applications which can be used for this purpose.
Concerning what kind of information to keep, it is entirely up to you. It can include some or all of the following: name, telephone number, cell number, residential address, mailing address, email address, place and date where you first met, whether or not they have accepted Christ, birth date, and any other facts which you would like to remember about them. If they happen to be very receptive, you may want to ask them for a small picture of themselves which you can keep with their record, and use as a prayer reminder.
It is not necessary to ask them for all of this information the first time that you meet them. After all, not only could it make them suspicious of you, but it could drive them away entirely. Simply gather the information a little at a time as you get to know each other. You may also want to record the dates and places of any future meetings, along with important details, such as any progress they are making in their walk with the Lord.
Being as computer hard drives often fail, it would be wise to have a parallel backup system, such as a plastic box full of three by five index cards where you keep the same information.
Give God the Glory
In a way, Gospel tract-passing is a quieter, more humble way of witnessing compared to being a fiery pulpit preacher or a famous televangelist. There is really no glory in it; and as we will see later on in this series, it can even be rather dangerous at times. However, if we are only seeking glory for ourselves, can we honestly say that our hearts are right with the Lord? Sadly, when it comes to preaching, witnessing and being a testimony of our faith, there are certain Christians who -- motivated by their pride -- are simply interested in showing off their spirituality, or bragging about how many Bible verses they have memorized. This is not really genuine, heartfelt witnessing. This is what the Scriptures refer to as vainglorying. This attitude is not really that much different from what the Scribes and the Pharisees were doing in Jesus' day. If there is one thing that the Scriptures teach us, it is that the glory belongs to the Lord alone. Consider the following verses and be warned:
"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."
Matthew 6:5, KJV
"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 1:27-31, KJV
"Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;"
1 Corinthians 3:21, KJV
"And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"
1 Corinthians 4:6-7, KJV
"For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"
1 Corinthians 9:16, KJV
"But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth . . . Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:17-18, 31, KJV
"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
2 Corinthians 4:5, KJV
"But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
2 Corinthians 10:17, KJV
"Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me."
2 Corinthians 12:5-6, KJV
"Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."
Galatians 5:26, KJV
"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
Galatians 6:14, KJV
"Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ."
1 Thessalonians 2:6, KJV
"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."
Philippians 2:3, KJV
Clearly then, we should not glory in the works we accomplish for the Lord. Rather, we should realize that, as Jesus said in the Gospels, no matter what we do, we nevertheless still remain unprofitable servants who have done that which is our duty to do. Furthermore, while those flashy pulpit preachers and televangelists may get their moment of fame and glory on the Earth, we should be content with knowing that our rewards are laid up for us in Heaven alone. Consider the truth that is revealed in the following verses:
"So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do."
Luke 17:10, KJV
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Matthew 6:19-21, KJV
Be a Good Listener
Part of being a good witness is being a good listener. In this day and age, it seems that many of us have acquired the bad habit of being rude and cutting in when another person is speaking. Sometimes, in our own zeal to witness, or possibly because of our own pride, and because we think that we know so much, all we want to do is rattle off a list of verses we have memorized, or which we have marked in our Bible. Now, if you really want to know how not to witness, just look at the Jehovah's Witnesses. I can hear the groans from here. Sadly, those people are not good listeners. They are so convinced of their doctrines, and so convinced that they alone possess the truth, that they rarely let a person get a word in edgewise.
The fact is that there are occasions where people really do feel a need to talk to us. I have even found this to be true with my online Facebook ministry. On a regular basis, people send me private messages in which they pour out their heart and their problems to me because they are in need of answers. Either that, or they will ask me Bible-related questions. As busy as I am here, I try to attend to everyone's needs, but it is a challenge to divide my time between writing articles, drawing new graphics for my timeline, responding to messages in private chat, responding to new friend requests, answering email, and everything else that I try to accomplish on a daily basis. For a man my age who possesses limited energy, it isn't always easy, but I continue by God's Grace.
Be Slow to Speak
At any rate, as I was saying, instead of allowing people to share their hearts with us, sometimes we are in such a hurry to just push our program across on them. When it comes to witnessing, in order to be able to help someone, we have to know where they are coming from first. Sometimes it can be difficult to sit patiently while a person pours their heart out to us, but sometimes this is what we are called to do. If we want to be good witnesses of our faith, and if we really want to be able to help people, then we simply need to learn to be quick to hear, and slow to speak. We don't want to be like the Jehovah's Witnesses, or other groups, who in their own pride, resort to very aggressive witnessing tactics, and bombard the sheep, so that they are turned off to the Lord, instead of falling in love with Him and His Word. Consider the truth that is revealed in the following Bible verses:
"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise."
Proverbs 10:19, KJV
"Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few."
Ecclesiastes 5:2, KJV
"He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him."
Proverbs 18:13, KJV
"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."
Proverbs 29:11, KJV
"For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
Matthew 12:37, KJV
"Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"
Romans 9:20, KJV
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:"
James 1:19, KJV
Give Them God's Answers / Study God's Word
Once we have heard them out, then we must rely, not upon our own strength or carnal wisdom, but rather upon God's Spirit to provide us with the Scriptural answers that they need. We must be familiar with the Scriptures so that we are able to provide them with God's answers, and not our own, in a spirit of meekness and love. Of course, to be able to do this, it is imperative that we immerse ourselves in God's Word on a daily or regular basis. No surgeon can properly and safely perform an operation, unless he has been thoroughly trained in the field of human physiology, and knows how to correctly use his scalpel and other instruments.
As I explain in the article entitled "Study, Work and Don't Be Ashamed", in similar fashion, we must study God's Word -- which is the Sword of the Spirit -- and learn how to use it skillfully when witnessing to others. Obviously, this is not something that happens overnight. In fact, it requires years of faithful study in order to establish a firm foundation in the Scriptures. I am still making new discoveries at my age. However, armed with just a few dozen verses of Scripture -- such as those which I share in the article entitled "A Verse a Day to Keep the Doubts Away" -- even a young Christian can still be an effective witness for the Lord; so please don't be discouraged. Consider the following verses:
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"
1 Peter 3:15, KJV
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15, KJV
"And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Acts 17:10-11, KJV
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
Witness in Love / Beware of a Condescending Attitude
What we need to remember is that we should witness with God's wisdom, and in love, rather than with a proud, self-righteous, condescending attitude. We need to be very serious about what we do, because we are in fact living in very serious times. After all, the Salvation of a soul may be at stake. However, conveying a self-righteous, condescending attitude is one of the quickest ways to ruin an effective witness. As I noted a moment ago, it is a very serious problem with many Jehovah's Witnesses. If a person detects that we are looking down on them, they will just harden their heart and quickly classify us as "just another hard-selling Bible thumper". Please do not forget that we are all sinners; every last one of us. We are all saved only by the Grace of God, and not because of something that we did to deserve it. Please consider the following verses:
"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."
Psalms 51:5, KJV
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one . . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:10, 23, KJV
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"
Romans 5:12, KJV
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins . . . But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2:1, 4-9, KJV
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
Titus 3:5, KJV
Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.
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