Christmas and New Years is an incredible time of the year. People give more, they grieve more, they sing more, they eat more and spend more time with family.
And I have found that Christians, in particular, become more evangelistic.
I know this because I get more prayer requests and get asked for advice more around the holidays.
One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that a lot of the time Christians have never actually talked about what they believe or shared the meaning of the Gospel with their family members. Sure, they’ve had a lot of spiritual conversations here and there, but never actually sat with their family member to talk about the Gospel.
I once was asked by someone to pray for their family member’s salvation. I said sure, but I asked “have you shared the Gospel with them?“
He went on to explain that he once talked with them about the holocaust of abortion and how homosexuality was ruining us. It was clear that Jesus never made it into their conversation.
That’s not THE Gospel.
Of course, that’s an extreme example, but I find that many times we think that we have shared the Gospel with someone when we’ve actually just talked about peripherals of faith or spirituality without ever getting to THE “Gospel“.
A friend of mine just forwarded me a brilliant letter he is going to send his family members. This friend has already shared the Gospel with his family before, but he is taking this opportunity after the passing of his father-in-law to write his extended family a letter clearly explaining the Gospel. Of course, he has counted the cost of potentially losing relationships and making Christmas more awkward, but he is willing to sacrifice comfort for the sake of an eternity of salvation for his family members.
Christmas and New Years is a wonderful opportunity to be with family, to share gifts, but it is an even greater opportunity to sit down with family members who may not believe, or who may be struggling with faith and explain the Gospel and how it has had meaning in your life to them. So, let me ask you a question.
Have you actually shared THE Gospel with them?
Have you actually explained to your loved one that the Holy God of eternity created them and owns and completely loves them? (Psalm 24:1)
Have you alerted them that they cannot possibly save themselves by doing good works; that if they think they are good people, then they are arrogant and stealing from the glory of God? (Eph. 2:8-9)
Have you conveyed the news to them that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man? (Col. 2:9)
And that He, after being born of a virgin, lived a perfect life culminating with His death on the cross in their place? (2 Cor. 5:21)
And He did not stay dead, but arose from the grave and is now alive? (1Cor. 15:4)
And have you genuinely called them to repent and believe in Jesus Christ? (Rom. 10:9)
This is the message of the Gospel, the essential truths of faith that lead us to desire a relationship with Jesus Christ and lead a life following Him, that will lead us to be eternally with Him. If you haven’t done that, please don’t wait for another Christmas. The old saying that there is always next year doesn’t work when it comes to something as important as eternal salvation. You are not guaranteed your next breath, let alone another Christmas.
People are right in asking for prayer. I want to encourage you that you should ask for that. The only one who can give life to the dead is God, Himself. The fact of the matter is, though, that He has ordained one way for people to be saved, and that is through His Word and your lips! He uses the Bible spoken out loud by people like me and you. That’s how He saves souls. He doesn’t use other means. So, when you pray and when you ask for prayer, know what you are asking for. You are asking the Lord of the universe to use the words that YOU will say to them to open their eyes.
I don’t write this post to discourage you. I hope you don’t take it that way. I simply hope that you will see the joy it is to bring the Good News of the Gospel to the people God has placed around us. And take comfort in the knowledge that it is precisely through our caring relationship with others that we may be able to bring them this Good News. If we approach from a loving stance, and share what our own experience of faith has been, it can have the power to soften their hearts and open their ears so that they listen. If we then invite them to share in an experience of faith and offer to walk along beside them, they may actually feel inspired to begin a journey that can change their life.
It is my joy to pray for your loved ones, and we must begin with prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to be with us, but let me ask you a simple question: have you actually shared the Gospel with them? Do it this New Year, because it is the most important and loving thing that you can do.
I can’t wait to see how God moves through you to connect with more people in the New Year. All of our hearts yearn for the peace and love that only God can bring, and we are all on a journey towards that through this life, so think of the gift it could be for you to bring the ones you love closer to finding that peace and love in God, not just for this life, but for eternity…
We know we can’t do this alone, and so we invite you to consider participating in the 3-part Life Shared series created by Alpha to help us have the confidence and the practical skills to share with and invite others on the journey. It begins on Tuesday, January 7th!
Click here to find out more or register!