The most familiar imperative in the Bible is the Great Commission. Jesus tells his disciples, as he leaves,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” — Matthew 28:18b–20
That’s pretty clear. He has all the authority on earth and remains with us by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Our call to action is to make disciples of all nations. Most Christians don’t do it. They are timid or afraid to bring the Gospel to the world around them. Why? What paralyzes them? Fear of not being able to answer those “hard” questions unbelievers ask! Our Enemy, Satan, uses this disabling fear to weaken believers, create doubt, and prevent the spread of the Gospel. Paralyzed by this fear, they withdraw from spiritual warfare and become bystanders. Most of the Christian soldiers I know want to take supporting roles. Few intend to go into the front battle lines to confront the Enemy. Our spiritual war is ineffectively fought because of this fear of being unable to answer questions. This implied assumption that we must respond to these issues immediately is a significant barrier to personal evangelism. So what can we do?
Let’s see how Jesus confronted this. The religious leaders ask Jesus a “trap” question that he is not going to answer, but He responds with a question. He is forcing them to think through their presuppositions when confronted.
And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where, did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why, then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” — Matthew 21:23–27
Jesus didn’t answer their question. He asked that question to expose their motives for asking the original question. He wanted to hear their reason for asking before he’d answer. He was asking the Scribes and Pharisees, “Why did you ask me this question?” After listening to their response, he never answered their question. Jesus forced them to expose the foundations of their beliefs, their presuppositions, and to consider the consequences of their answers. They wouldn’t answer his question. Our goal dealing with questioners is to do the same: expose their foundations. When we know what they believe and their motive for asking the question, we have an opening to bring our witness of Christ to them. This personal evangelism strategy is described in my book “Always Be Ready to Give an Answer!”
My second book: ANSWERS For “The Hope That Is In You.” contains answers to 106 questions unbelievers use to try to stump Christians.
My third book, “Without 3 Miracles Darwin’s DEAD!” is currently in the final editing process and will be published later this year. http://yourchristiananswers.com
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