I have been working through the course Christianity Explained* with a new friend over the past few months. She came to our church because she has seen the huge changes Jesus made in the life of her adult son, and wanted to know what it was all about!
Now I must say, it can be a scary thing when you realise you are the first person to explain to someone who Jesus is and what he has done. You think you will say the wrong thing or put them off, and damage their only hope of knowing peace with God! But then you remember that God works through His Spirit and His Word (and us) despite our abilities or inabilities. You just have to keep resting on this knowledge and move forward. God worked in my own stubborn heart (and yours I trust) so that I would come to a point of repentance and faith. . . and He will keep drawing people to Himself in this way until Jesus returns! Softening hearts to the Gospel is something only God can do. Let’s trust Him to do it. And just keep explaining it as best we can. (Apart from all this, Christianity Explained is a really easy course to use, where the Bible and the course booklet explain everything simply and well. You can check out the summary of the course at the end of this post, with links for where to buy the resources.)
It is such a privilege to be explaining Christianity to someone – not just because of the earthly and eternal benefits involved for them – but also for growing your own faith. I have been challenged and refreshed in going carefully over the basics again, looking deeply into Mark’s Gospel and being confronted by Jesus up close! I see anew his character, his humour, love, compassion and his determination to fulfill his rescue mission for all people, even for those who despised him. He showed people such grace and such patience, dealing with crowds who really just wanted to see a show – crowds that made it difficult for those who had real faith in Him to get close. He lived for three years with a group of men who almost understood who he was, yet showed great lack of faith at times and were probably quite annoying! (a bit like me).
I have also been challenged by the way my friend has been so keen to share with her friends the things that she has been learning about Christian beliefs, particularly the difference between salvation by works and salvation by grace! She realises that GRACE is so totally opposite to the message the media portrays of do-gooder Christians who are trying to make it to heaven!
So can I encourage you if you are a Christian, to keep explaining the Gospel as much as you can . . . not just in the quick hit evangelism format (which is often very useful) but in the more relaxed teaching-style format of this course (or something similar). It gives people plenty of time to think and process what they are being told, and for God to challenge them personally through His Word. It also means you grow a close relationship with someone else who gets to know you, over time, and see how your belief makes a difference in your life.
Don’t miss out on sharing that moment of awe, when someone sees God’s amazing grace for the first time! It is such an encouragement to see God working, challenging someone in what they know and believe about the Son of God who died for them. Whether or not they become a Christian in the end – well that is up to God (and I pray that may be so) – the encouragement and growth gained along the way is certainly worth the journey.
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*Christianity Explained is a great short course which in 6 sessions takes you through the basics of what Christians believe and who they are. The course, developed by Michael Bennett, has been widely used in Australia and internationally for several decades. Each session takes about 45mins to an hour to complete, depending on how many questions your person wants to ask and discuss. It is based on the gospel of Mark, which course participants read at home in small segments for the duration of the course. It is a great tool for clearly and fully explaining the Gospel – one to one, or in a group setting. The 6 sessions focus on the meaning of:
1. Jesus, Son of God
2. The Cross
3. The Resurrection
4. Salvation by Grace