Jesus recognized that fear would be one of the greatest obstacles for His disciples to sharing the Gospel. "And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows" (Luke 12:4-7). Therefore, the fear of physical harm by those who would reject Christ was a real concern within the disciple’s heart. Others struggle, not with the fear of physical harm, but with emotional and verbal rejection by those who are opposed to hearing that they are sinners and need salvation.
How should you deal with your fears?
A. Ask God for a greater concern and reverence for His commands. Instead of regarding the opinion of man choose to obey God’s Word.
B. Seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can give you the boldness and confidence you need to speak (Acts 1:8) (Acts 4:31).
C. Surrender to God and be filled with His love. The fruit of the Spirit is love (Gal. 5:22). The fruit of His love is what casts out the fear that paralyzes you (1 John 4:18).
D. You need to trust God that He will be with you. Faith cancels fear. Jesus explained to the ruler of the synagogue the solution to his fear. "Do not be afraid; only believe" (Mark 5:36). If you will believe God’s Word fear will not control you.
Another great obstacle to evangelism is that many times Christians simply don’t care anymore about the lost. Many times this is because they have lost the joy of their own salvation and the good news isn't good anymore. The Christian walk has become a routine and habit yet without the zeal, love, and life anymore.
How can you deal with this attitude?
A. Repent and return to your first love. If you have lost your desire to share Christ with others this is where you must begin. Jesus counseled the church of Ephesus concerning this problem and its only solution. "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lamp stand from its place--unless you repent" (Rev. 2:4-5).
B. Ask God to give you a heart similar to Paul’s. Notice the concern the apostle Paul had for his fellow Jews. "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved" (Rom. 10:1). Do you have this kind of desire for those of your family and friends that don’t know Christ? If not, begin to pray for this heart.
C. Ask God to restore the joy of your salvation again. David prayed, "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You" (Ps. 51:12-13). When you are joyful about what God has done for you, then you will naturally be motivated to share with others.
III. Not knowing how to start
When you don’t know how to fish for men’s souls, it is very difficult to be excited about actually doing it. This obstacle only keeps you paralyzed with fear.
How can you deal with this problem?
A. Confidence comes from having a plan. This is what Jesus gave the disciples before they went out sharing the Gospel. He told them whom they should preach to first (Matt. 10:5-6). He taught them what to say (Matt. 10:7) (Matt. 10:32-33) (Luke 10:5). He explained how they should minister to the other needs they found (Matt. 10:8). What they should take with them was addressed (Matt. 10:9-13). He also explained how they should respond to those who rejected them (Matt. 10:14-15).
B. Read books dealing with evangelism. Reading books on evangelism is very effective in helping you to mature in sharing your faith. Begin by reading, Witnessing without fear by Bill Bright.
C. Go with others and observe. Observing others is what true discipleship is all about. This is what Jesus did. He said, "Follow Me and I will make you to become fishers of men" (Mark 1:17). If Jesus used this method, so should we.
IV. Not knowing how to answer hard questions
Many times when believers begin to share their faith they hit another road block. Someone asks them a very difficult question and they become embarrassed because they don’t have the answer. This causes further fear and intimidation to ever speak up again. Being fearful of not having the right answer is not new. Notice the fear Moses had at the beginning of his ministry: "Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" (Exodus 3:13).
How can you deal with this problem?
A. Continue in this class. Many of these hard questions will be answered in this class.
B. Ask more mature Christians these questions.