Why don't more Christians tell others about Jesus Christ? Many think the most common reason is apathy - that Christians just don't care. But for most people the real problem is they lack confidence.
I believe most followers of Christ really want to be effective witnesses, but they feel inadequate, intimidated or even fearful about sharing their faith in Christ, especially with someone who doesn't have a Christian background.
The problem is, most people look for confidence within themselves, which is not the believer's source. The Early Church believers are an inspiring and instructive example of confidence.
After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, a man who had been lame all his life was healed. Those who knew him were "filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him."1
Because of this miracle and the resulting commotion, Peter and John were arrested and put in jail. The religious leaders and rulers questioned them, asking, "By what power, or in what name, have you done this?"2 Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, powerfully declared again the testimony of Christ, concluding with his well-known statement: "There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."3
The Scripture then records,
"Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus."4
The confidence of Peter and John was both clearly evident and troubling to the religious leaders who said,
"But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name."5 Peter and John's response was, "We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard."6
When Peter and John returned to the other believers and reported what had happened, they didn't look for a way to escape the persecution. Instead they "lifted their voices to God with one accord and said."7
First, they acknowledged God's greatness, saying, "O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them
Second, they recognized the true nature of the problem - they didn't take the persecution personally. They prayed,
"For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur."9
They did not see their problem as merely human persecution, but as part of God's larger plan. They concluded their prayer this way:
"And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus."10
After they prayed, "the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness."11
The confidence with which the first Christians shared the message of Christ was not based on their own human persuasive ability. It came from knowing who Jesus is, their understanding of what God was doing and the power of the Holy Spirit.
As with the early Christians, we need to depend on the Holy Spirit's help to witness with confidence - knowing who Jesus is and that God is actively working in the evangelism process.
Note: Clicking on any reference number will take you to the footnote.