Give the Gift of Jesus

Paul wrote in Colossians 4:5, 6: “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” He wrote this immediately following his request for prayer that God would open doors for him to preach the Gospel boldly and clearly. It was Paul’s mission not only to share the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness and salvation through Jesus but to make sure that the disciples he made through the Gospel would also share the Gospel.

If there’s any opportunity for all Christians to share the Good News, it’s now, the time when even many atheists will call attention to it by simply saying, “Merry Christmas!” While it’s easy for me to remind Christians that the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is a command, that it’s an expectation of God for all who claim to follow Jesus, I also know that it’s not always easy to do it. Unfortunately, it seems that the greatest reason why many Christians don’t make disciples, why many don’t share their own faith with friends and family is because they just don’t know how to do it. So let me give you some help so that you might be able to give the gift of Jesus this Christmas.

First, don’t be discouraged by a lack of knowledge or experience; just share what you know with the people you know. If you share Jesus with the people you know and love, it won’t matter if your “presentation” isn’t slick and polished; homemade gifts from the heart are best, right? Second, keep at it; not only will repetition help you get better at sharing and help you build confidence to share, some people need to hear the Gospel over and over before it clicks with them, before they recognize their need for God’s grace and forgiveness through Jesus.

There are all kinds of strategies and plans for sharing the Gospel with others; I’ll share two. The first one I ever heard was called “The Romans Road of Salvation,” a series of texts from Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians that explain our need for salvation through Jesus. I wrote this list in the back of the Bible I received when I was baptized, and I marked the texts in the Bible, listing the next one in the series by each; I recommend using this with folks who trust the Bible as God’s Word. It looks like this: The Problem (Romans 3:10; 3:23); The Consequences (Romans 5:12; 6:23); The Solution (Romans 5:8); The Response (Romans 2:4; 10:9-11; 6:3-8); The Result (Romans 8:1; 5:1-4; 6:15-19). Write the list in your Bible and mark the texts so you can lead others along the road to salvation.

Unfortunately, many people today need to trust Jesus before they trust the Bible. So sharing your own story about how Jesus has changed your life can be very helpful when sharing with people who know you. When we were ministering in Detroit, about 500 churches in the metro area participated in a campaign giving Everyone A Chance to Hear (EACH), and we helped people identify and develop their own two-word story to share their faith (check out the website to see examples from several years ago). My story was “Right? Right.”

Before I met Jesus, I was the know-it-all kid who had to be right, but I discovered the hard way that I wasn’t always right and didn’t always do what was right. I began to worry, “Am I right with God?” God used several people to show me that I wasn’t right with God, that I couldn’t make myself right with God but that God could make me right with him if I would only trust and follow Jesus. On my twelfth birthday, I confessed Jesus as my Lord and was baptized for the forgiveness of my sins; I was right with God!

That’s an oversimplified version of my story, but it shows you how easy it is to summarize and share your story, and it’s a great way to help people who know you to trust Jesus too.

There are other ways to share your faith, with words and actions combined. We don’t all have to do it the same way. However, if we’re going to follow Jesus, we all need to share Jesus with others. Make the most of this Christmas as an opportunity to give the gift of Jesus!