Read: Romans 15:17-21
Recently, I’ve been trying to share my faith in Christ with a student I tutor. The keyword is trying. Oftentimes in our friendship, I’ve struggled knowing how best to witness to her. Should I bring up Jesus in every tutoring session, or should I give her space and allow her to see Jesus in me through my actions? If you’ve ever tried to tell someone about Jesus before (which, by the way, is commanded of us in Scripture), you may have wrestled with this same dilemma. Fortunately for us, Paul gives us a description of effective evangelism in Romans 15:17-21.
Five main points are named in this passage. In Romans 15:18, Paul tells us that he evangelized by speaking of nothing except what Christ has accomplished. In all of Paul’s dealings with people, he intentionally chose to focus more on who Christ is and what Christ has done than who Paul is and what Paul has done. Our greatest boast (the biggest part of our identity) should be in Christ, not in ourselves. Nothing you ever talk about with people will be more important than talking with them about what Christ has accomplished on the cross.
Romans 15:18 also shows us that Paul evangelized by word. This closely follows our last point. Romans 10:14 asks, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” We need to actively engage in conversations about Jesus with people so that they will believe and be saved.
The third way that Paul evangelized was by deed (15:18). Preaching the gospel through the Scripture is of monumental importance, but if we do not follow those words up with our deeds, we won’t have credibility. One of the biggest reasons people are resistant to the American church is because people preach with their words and do the opposite with their deeds. We are considered judgmental and hypocritical if we do not live out the radical love that we ask others to believe in.
Another way that Paul displays his effective model for evangelism is by reliance upon the power of Christ. Despite Paul’s many accomplishments, some of which could be described as miraculous, the apostle was determined to speak only of what Christ accomplished through Him (15:18).
Finally, Paul was impactful in ministry because he evangelized by the power of the Spirit of God (15:19). Without the Holy Spirit, our attempts at ministry are meaningless. Think about it: the same Spirit that resurrected Christ from the dead dwells inside believers. That has incredible ramifications for us! If we truly have life-giving power through the Holy Spirit, why would we resort back to doing things with our own limited strength? In fact, it is by the Spirit alone that we are able to engage in any form of effective evangelism.
Do you feel comfortable telling others about your faith in Christ? Which point of Paul’s model for effective evangelism do you most struggle with? Which do you feel you have the most gifting in? Today, think about someone in your life who the Lord might be calling you to talk to.