Principles of Witnessing4 min read
Below are simple elements regarding ways to witness, what to do when witnessing, and the simple technique of finding common ground. If one is serious about evangelism, these basic principles of witness should be learned and put into practice as they will be needed frequently.
Ways to Witness
Personal encounters are the most common and effective when it comes to witnessing. These can be in the form of random encounters, door-to-door, open-air, or platform preaching. The Great Commission commands each disciple not only to be a testimony though Godly behavior, but to audibly proclaim the gospel to others.
Sadly, because of fear, many neglect this altogether; but we know that perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). Our passion for the Lord and concern for souls should overcome any weakness of the flesh. We must resist the temporal and meaningless anxiety to hinder the eternal and most serious fulfillment of His command. Are we willing to speak to our neighbors? If there is any opportunity to preach, do we take it, even occasionally? When faced with fear, we must ask, “Is the Lord glorified by my decision?” Is His strength not made perfect in our weakness?
Another method of witnessing can be accomplished via gospel tracts. A gospel tract is an essential and very practical way to sow the seed of the Word. Sometimes it may be difficult for even a brief conversation, yet people still need the gospel. In this situation, a tract is most helpful. Also tracts can be used at the end of a conversation to reference material for review. Whether a tract is available or not, it is wise to ask if they own a Bible and encourage them to start reading in the gospels.
Pray. The first essential principle to use when witnessing is to pray. He is the Author of salvation, His strength is made perfect in weakness, and it is Him alone Who convicts of sin. Without the Lord first and foremost in every witnessing encounter, the preacher will fail in more ways than one. Do we seek Him before, during, and after our outreach? If we realized our weakness when it came to salvation, should we not realize the same when preaching it? We must involve the Lord in His own work.
Use the Law. The second principle to remember is the use of the Law. The moral Law shows the sinner how they have fallen short of the glory of God and will help them realize their need of a Saviour. If we follow the pattern of Law > Judgement > Grace, we will always be prepared and organized when witnessing. The Law also provides us a focus point from which to base our message. If it is our focus, the main issue will not be the sinner’s intellect, but it will be his conscience and conviction of sin. Focus and structure is essential in evangelistic outreach of any kind.
Finally, we must remember to use God’s Word itself. Though the whole of Scripture is not understood by natural men, God will surely reveal Himself through it. Are the words of the preacher clearer than the words of the Lord? We must remember that this is a quick, powerful, piercing, and eternal Word. We must never underestimate the power it holds when it comes to convicting of sin. The prompting of the sinner to read Scripture himself is essential in witnessing. God Himself must work in them, not only through us.
Techniques in Witnessing
Though Law, Judgement, and Grace should be the structure our message, we must first find common ground. For example, when witnessing to Muslims, we can relate to their belief of a holy God. When witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses, we can use the Law, since we agree on its importance. When witnessing to atheists, we can agree that there is evil in the world. From the point of common ground, we can then move forward to the gospel itself. This is why Jesus’ messages varied from person to person, because each needed a different approach. This is essential to keep in mind.
Directly related to finding common ground is the technique of starting with the natural first before the going into the spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says: “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Because the sinner is blind to the things of God, we must be aware that they may not understand what we say. We must make the message clear by using analogies, interpreting clearly a passage of Scripture, and praying that the Lord will reveal Himself to them. It is never wise to assume the sinner knows a certain truth. Therefore, just as Jesus used water to preach to the woman at the well, we must relate the spiritual to the physical, for the sinner’s spirit has not yet been quickened.
Though these principles are simple, they are effective and essential. As you begin to witness more regularly, you will find that these principles come with practice. It must not solely be head knowledge, but witnessing must be ingrained in the believer’s lifestyle for the sake of winning others to Christ. Are we obedient to His command?