If you have done it, you know the feeling. It is hard at first, sometimes you feel real awkward, but you push through and actually begin speaking the words. Then, you are in the middle of it before you know it, and there is something exciting about it. There is a joy that comes from letting it out.
Sharing the gospel is good for you.
Sure, as Christians, we are supposed to do it. That is often (possibly to our detriment) the focus of most calls to evangelism from the pulpit or in some discipleship curriculum. We focus on the obligation instead of the opportunity. But today, I want to point out a regularly overlooked fact. Every single time you share the gospel, the person you are talking to is not the only one hearing the gospel. You are too, and that is a good thing.
Over the last couple of months, I have had a young man come by most every week and chat with me for a while. He is young, in high school, and the gospel very recently got ahold of him. A few months back, the Spirit reached out and opened his eyes to the grace extended to him in Christ’s death and resurrection. I remember initially explaining the gospel to him, drawing pictures on napkins and talking through Scriptures. I watched the light bulb go off. We get together regularly to continue the conversation. He has since been baptized and very recently joined our church. He soaks up the Scriptures like a sponge, and he is learning more about the gospel and the Bible every time we get together.
But he is not the only one. Every time we meet, I get to revisit the most important truth in my own life. I get to hear the gospel again too. Truth is, I need to hear it again.
Perhaps the best way for me to hear it is right in the middle of objections from those who have not yet accepted it as true. It is one thing for me to talk about the truths of the gospel in a small group of those who simply agree with me. We sit in a circle and nod approvingly at each other’s understanding. This is good, but there is nothing like telling someone for whom it is actually news. It forces you to think differently, to think actively, about the message you are proclaiming. When sharing with someone who does not yet believe the message, you are required to explain it without the Christianese, in a way that requires critical processes. I believe the gospel is most alive in your own heart in moments like these.
Truth is, we understand it better every time we tell it. We grow in our understanding of the gospel by teaching the gospel to those who do not know it. Teaching someone a new thing requires the teacher to have a firm grasp on their material. You quickly find out that people who are not familiar with message will ask questions you have never considered. They will frame the conversation in a way you would not imagine. Sharing the gospel with lost people causes you to visit it through the eyes of another person, it causes you to see the truth of God’s grace in a new way.
And that is not all. Sharing the gospel with lost people does more than help you understand it better; it causes you to relish it more. We grow in our appreciation of the gospel by proclaiming the gospel. There are few things that cause you to cherish the gospel like watching that light bulb go off in someone’s head for the first time. There are few things more humbling than hearing refusal and realizing it was God’s grace that caused you to accept in the first place.
Don’t believe me? Go out and give it a try.