4 Principles for Sharing Jesus

John 1:35-51 tells us the story of Jesus calling the first disciples. This fast-paced narrative is full of lessons on the basics of discipleship. But let’s zero in one just one. Notice the first thing these new followers of Christ do after meeting Jesus. Do they enroll in seminary for 3 years and learn how to share the gospel like a pro? No. Do they sign up for the 6-week evangelism class at church? No. They immediately start telling others.

John the Baptist shares Jesus with Andrew (v.36). Andrew shares Jesus with his brother Simon (v.41). Likewise, Philip follows Jesus then goes tells his friend Nathaniel about him. (v.45)

DA Carson Comments,  “[Andrew] thus became the first in a long line of successors who have discovered that the most common and effective Christian testimony is the private witness of friend to friend…”

This passage not only shows us the importance of sharing Jesus as a disciple but also gives us some practical principles. Notice some characteristics of how these disciples share Jesus. 4 things…

Share Jesus Simply

These men had no seminary training. There weren’t any complex apologetic arguments. Just the simple “Come and see what I have seen.” Of course, there is nothing wrong with training. These men would be trained by Jesus himself! We should aim to grow in these things, but you don’t need to wait until you’re a stellar apologist or Bible scholar to tell others about Jesus.

One of the reasons, as Christians, we are so weak in sharing Jesus with others is because we overcomplicate it. If you have experienced the forgiveness of sins in Jesus, you know enough to share him with others. Start with your story. If you need help, lean on your church family, your gospel community. Share Jesus Simply.

Share Jesus Boldly

This one is tough for us because we’re so concerned with what others think. Andrew goes to his brother Peter and it goes well. It seems like an evangelism success story. Praise God!

But when Philip goes to Nathaniel, it doesn’t go well at first.

John 1:45–46 [45] Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” [46] Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Galileans looked down on Nazareth as this no-name town. In Nathaniel’s mind, nothing prestigious could come from there. So he immediately rejects Philip.

That’s the reality of sharing Jesus. You will be rejected! People will think you’re crazy and weird. And we need to Holy Spirit boldness to say, “So what. This is too important for me to stay silent.” 

The souls of our friends, and families, and children, and neighbors and co-workers are far more valuable than our egos and our social capital. Push past the awkwardness. And love them well by sharing Jesus boldly.

Share Jesus Humbly

Coupled with this boldness, must be humility. Boldness without humility is obnoxious and heavy-handed. When Philip is initially rejected by Nathaniel, he doesn’t snap back in frustration. He doesn’t get defensive. He shows humility and extends an invitation to Nathaniel- “Come and see.”

We live in what I call “Mic Drop” culture. We love it when people respond to critics with snarky one-liners, dissing others and then moving on without any real conversation. But people aren’t won to Christ by snarky comments. We need Christ-like humility coupled with patience.

Share Jesus Patiently

When Nathaniel initially rejects Philip, notice that he doesn’t quit! Instead, he willingly walks with Nathaniel to discover who Jesus is: “Come and see.” He’s saying, I’ll walk with you as you discover who Jesus is. 

I love the story of Paul, as he is in chains, before King Agrippa in Acts 26- telling of his conversion:

Acts 26:28–29

 [28] And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” [29] And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am- except for these chains”

That’s the mindset we need. However short or long (and it’s usually long!), we will patiently love and share Jesus with those God has placed in our lives, all the while trusting that God is the one who opens the hearts of unbelievers so that they believe the Gospel. Our responsibility is to share Jesus simply, boldly, humbly, and patiently- then trust God with the results.

(This is an adapted excerpt from a sermon entitled The Fundamentals of Discipleship)

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