My grandmother on my mother’s side of the family was my first introduction to going to church on Sunday mornings. When she took me to church I listen to the choir sing and the preacher preach his sermon to the congregation. On some Sunday services when offering was being taken the organist and the choir would sing a song called I’m going home on the morning train. After the people gave their offering, the ushers march around the aisles in a line as they put on a show marching together putting their offering in the collection plate. Now on my father side of the family, my grandmother not only brought me to church but she was my first introduction to me having a relationship with Jesus.
When the grandchildren spend the weekend over her house together, she took us out to have fun at different places. She not only took over to places like Chene Park, Hart Plaza, but she also made time to share with us why we needed to be saved. Though I was a little child back then, I had never heard the word evangelist before and to me my grandmother was the first evangelist that I saw who shared God’s word encouraging people to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
When I became a teenage it always seem to me that I was the main grandchild that went with my grandmother as she did her adult bible studies in people homes. The people who came to the bible studies were sometimes people who when to the same church with my grandmother and there were others from different churches. My grandmother would sometimes do her bible lessons in a person’s living room and other times outside in their backyard. My grandmother though she was retired would go to places like the Boys and Girls club, youth detention centers and any other place that was willingly to open its doors for her to evangelize and share the word of God. As I look back during those times I realize that the Lord was using my grandmother to lay the foundation for my life, so that one day I too would give my life to Jesus. Not only would I give my life to Jesus but I would answer the call to ministry and be involved in doing prison ministry to men and being an adult Sunday school teacher as well.
Now when we go out to evangelize and share with others who Christ is, there are three things that my grandmother consistently did, one she always made it a point that a person understood the gospel message of Jesus Christ. The second important thing she stressed was the importance that a person needed to know God’s word for themselves. Finally, the third thing that she stressed was that we needed to share what Jesus had done for us through our personal testimony.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:19-20).
Helping people to understand the Gospel message
One of the major ways that I remember how my grandmother helped people to understand the gospel of message of Jesus Christ, was passing out tracts that were warm, inviting and relevant to a personal life. Do you remember back in the day those types of tracts that would say things like Hell or Heaven or Fire and brimstone? When most people saw those tracts there first reaction was to avoid taken one or if they did, after the person was gone they threw it in the garbage. I do not believe the Lord has called the church to scare people into Heaven and not wanting to go to Hell. However, the Apostle Paul told the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 that “according to the scriptures that Christ died for our sins, he was buried and he rose again the third day”. Sharing the gospel message with people should not be complicated but easy as ABC. We should begin encouraging a person to admit they are a sinner, B believing that Jesus died for their sins and C believing that Christ rose from the grave and is now alive and can live in their hearts.
The word gospel in the Greek language means “to bring or announce good news”. As the church we have the responsibility to share the gospel message of Jesus Christ just as the early church did on the day of Pentecost. When Jesus prepared to make His ascension into Heaven, He gave His disciples the instructions to wait in Jerusalem to be endued with power of the Holy Spirit. After they had received the Holy Spirit, Peter and the rest of the Apostles carried out the great commission and three souls were saved on the day of Pentecost Acts 2:14-41. To share the gospel message also means that we must have some go ye in us so that we can teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Lord has empowered us to carry out the great commission and we must not fail in teach all nations who need to hear the gospel Matthew 28:19-20. If we are failing to share the message of the gospel it could because that we have not been willing to share or we have been selective in who we are sharing God word to. However, in Matthew 24:14 the word of God says “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”.
Knowing God’s word
A second thing that I learned from watching my grandmother when she shared with people about having a relationship with Jesus was that it was important for us to know God’s word for ourselves. The few churches that I attended by myself as I got older, I noticed that a large percentage of people in the congregation did not have their bibles open while the preacher preached his sermon. These people brought their bibles to church but it was like they were accepting what the preacher said without following along or searching out the scriptures for themselves. When the preacher gave the invitation for a person to join the church somehow people interpreted his request to mean that church membership could help a person get into Heaven. The mindset of God’s people back then was there was no real responsibility in knowing God’s word for yourself but going to church on Sunday and the rest of the week belong to you. However, knowing God’s word is not just the Pastor or the preacher job but it is the responsibility of every born again believer.
Another important discipline that my grandmother applied in her life was committing herself to know God’s word by memorizing scriptures. The weekends that I spend the night over my grandmother house, on Saturday morning she would have the word of God playing on cassette tape or radio for at least one hour. I remember hearing bible verses like Romans 3:23 which said “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. I also heard my grandmother rehearse Romans 6:23 which said “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. Finally, another verse which heard her memorize was Romans 10:9 which said “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”. These three scriptures are referred to as Romans road which can help to lead a person to acknowledge that they need to be saved and to give their lives to the Lord. When we commit ourselves to memorizing scriptures such as these and others we will become more effective in us sharing our faith with others which people will not hear us but they will hear the voice of the Lord speaking directly to them.
Sharing your personal testimony
A final way that we can share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others who do not know the Lord is by us sharing our personal testimony about what the Lord has done in our lives, When I became a teenager my grandmother would come and see me but it seem like we could not have a conversation with her no more than five minutes. The more she talked with me about why I needed to give my life to the Lord, I told her that I was young and I have time for that on in life. However, she never gave up on me or the rest of our family because she believed that the Lord would save her household. Though there were some of us who embraced a completely different religion, it did not discouraged her from loving them because she knew the Lord had a purpose for them. There were those in the family who got involved with crime, drugs and a life of sin but she still shared with them that God loved them so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for them (John 3:16). The same commitment that she had is witnessing to others who were not her flesh and blood, she was determine not to be discouraged from the rejection she got from family.
When the day finally came that I gave my heart to the Lord it seem like could not wait to sit down and have a conversation with my grandmother. When I shared the news with her that I had received Jesus is my heart, our conversations which normally lasted five minutes, turn out to be over two hours that day. Did I know whole lot of scriptures at that time being born again, the answer was no but I now had a testimony that Jesus was real in my life. To be able to effectively share your faith in Christ to others can be done by sharing your testimony about what the Lord has done for you. There are some people who have decided to they will never pick up a bible and read it because they feel that God is not real to them. There are people who once grew up in church but because someone in the church hurt them they have decided never go back again. However, your testimony and your life can be the only bible that people will see because you allow Christ the hope of glory on the inside to be seem by others. We must remember when we share our testimony of what God has done for us, our testimony can be the vehicle that word of God will planted in some, watered in others but in the Lord’s time He will give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).