Imagine someone offered to have you reach into a bag of gold nuggets and take whatever you can grab. That’s what this article is. You’re about to get nuggets of evangelistic treasure. Rather than learning the hard way, at the expense of others, you’ll be handed the precious insight of experience.
March 21, 2018
“You’ve probably heard it said that a church that does not evangelize will eventually fossilize. That’s also true for individuals.”
When President John F. Kennedy was shot in 1963, it took the world about two to three hours to get the news. In 1999, when John Kennedy, Jr. was killed in a plane crash, it took the world two to three minutes to get the news. Jesus died on a cross two thousand years ago, and a huge part of the world still hasn’t heard the message of redemption. Part of engaging the world with God’s truth is vocally sharing a witness—what Peter called giving every person “a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
You’ve probably heard it said that a church that does not evangelize will eventually fossilize. That’s also true for individuals. If you don’t share with other people the hope that is in you—if you decide you’re going to be an undercover Christian—you too will become relegated to fossil status.
When it comes to your attitude toward the world, there are really only a couple options you have: you can either try to escape it—wash your hands of it, so to speak—or you can engage unbelievers by rolling up your sleeves and figuring out a way to integrate what you believe with where they’re at. That’s what a young prophet named Daniel decided to do.
In the second half of Daniel 2, we see him speak out to the pagan King Nebuchadnezzar about a remarkable dream the king had, one that took a sweep of the future all the way to the second coming of Christ. Let’s consider four ways Daniel spoke and how they can guide our own interactions with unbelievers.
“Confidence comes from the fact that the message you share is God’s truth. The most effective people in sharing their faith are those who are confident in believing their faith.”
Daniel spoke out with authority: “I will tell the king the interpretation” (v. 24); “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it” (v. 36); “The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure” (v. 45). Daniel didn’t hesitate; there was a ring of authority in his voice. Why? Because this was the Word of God he was speaking.And by authority, I don’t mean arrogance—I mean confidence. Confidence comes from the fact that the message you share is God’s truth. The most effective people in sharing their faith are those who are confident in believing their faith. And so it was with Daniel.
Daniel spoke out with humility (see vv. 26-30). Daniel knew what the king had dreamed and what it meant; he easily could have said, “I happen to be the wisest guy on earth—just listen to this.” But instead he said, “There’s a God in heaven who knows everything. I’m not better, smarter, or wiser than anyone else.”When you speak to an unbeliever, humility is so important. If you have authority without humility, that’s arrogance. You need a blend of the two. So listen to the person you’re having a conversation with. Find out what their questions and concerns are. Give them the truth in doses. Don’t point to yourself; point to God.
Daniel spoke out with accuracy: what he interpreted as prophecies actually happened in the course of history (see vv. 31-45). Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a polymetallic statue of a man represented different rules of humankind: Nebuchadnezzar’s (see vv. 37-38), the Medo-Persian Empire (see v. 39), Alexander the Great’s empire (see v. 39), and the Roman Empire (see vv. 40-43). But the best part is the last part—the everlasting kingdom: “In the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed” (v. 44). This is Christ’s kingdom, which will also come to pass; it’s only a matter of time.
Daniel spoke out with victory. He achieved his desired result. Let verses 46-47 just wash over you: “Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him. The king answered Daniel, and said, ‘Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.’”Here was a pagan, polytheistic king making a confession of faith—however deep or shallow—that all of his gods were wrong and that he believed in Daniel’s God. And if you read the last two verses of the chapter, you’ll discover that Daniel was promoted, which eventually gave him greater influence—and all because he dared to speak God’s truths in a pagan culture to a pagan king.
Here’s the takeaway: you don’t have to be afraid of truth. God’s straight truth is mightier than the devil’s crooked lies. I understand that not everybody is vocal; we’re not all wired that way. But I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone. If you really believe the gospel message—that those who trust in Christ will spend eternity with Him in heaven and those who refuse Christ will drop into hell—then you’ll be motivated to share.
“You don’t have to be afraid of truth. God’s straight truth is mightier than the devil’s crooked lies.”
And the process for sharing is simple: first, pray for love and boldness, and then open your mouth. Say something, anything, to someone about Jesus. It could be your testimony, your own personal story of how Jesus changed your life. It could be you simply inviting somebody to church, or giving them a Christian book. If you just try to get out of your comfort zone, to care and to share, you’ll be so far ahead of the game.
God has come with a message of freedom: two thousand years ago, His Son died on the cross to take away the punishment of sin, to open up the doors of heaven, and to give us everlasting life. That’s not just good news—that’s great news! I pray that the Lord would help you boldly engage in intelligent conversation and, by Spirit-led persuasion, reason with those in the world about these truths that are so precious.