Out of The Mouths of...

Image of a cross positioned inside of a colorful tear-drop shaped speech bubble.

100% of people who breathe oxygen die.

Coincidence? I think not.

Death is something we are all certain of. But not all of us know where we’re going after we die. Because of my salvation through Jesus's death on the cross...

...I can confidently say that when I die, I’m going to heaven. But so many people don’t have that assurance.

We’ve heard the great commission in Matthew 28, where Jesus says: "Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20).

The great commission summarizes what Evangelism is. It’s spreading the good news; that we have hope even in this dark world. Yet we still make many excuses for why we can’t or won’t evangelize.

If you are reading this right now and you are not a Christian, I'm earnestly praying that you would recognize and accept God’s gift of salvation and come to have a personal relationship with Him. It’s the most important choice you could ever make. And for those of you who are Christians, I want you to see why it is so crucial to spread the gospel. Today we’ll be looking at some of the main excuses we have for not evangelizing, how to overcome them, and why the world needs us to.

When I was younger, my parents, especially my dad, made sure I had lots of opportunities for sharing the gospel. I handed out gospel tracts on street corners in downtown Chicago and in Independence Day parades, I volunteered at a homeless shelter, and did outreach with my church. But after my dad was diagnosed with Huntington’s, a degenerative brain condition, and then hospitalized about 6 years ago, I wasn’t encouraged as often to actively share the gospel. I began making excuses so I don’t have to go out of my way to evangelize.

Like me, most Christians know that Evangelism is important. Of course, we want other people to come to Christ! But recently, Barna Research found that while most of us even understand that we should share the gospel, we just don’t do it. "When asked if they have a personal responsibility to share their faith with others, 73% of born again Christians said yes. When this conviction is put into practice, however, the numbers shift downward. Only half (52%) of born again Christians say they actually did share the Gospel at least once this past year.” 1

Why don’t we want to evangelize, and how do we change? Let’s look at four of the most common excuses. These are...

  • I don’t have time
  • I don’t know what to say
  • I don’t have anyone to tell
  • I’m afraid of people’s responses

The first excuse is "I don’t have time." Let’s think about it this way. If the President of the United States came and gave you a task, would you really say, "I can’t do it, I don’t have time!" It’s ridiculous, but we say that to God and His command to share the gospel, even though it is so much more important.

We make time for our priorities, the things we really want to do, and those aren’t necessarily bad. But if you consistently say you don’t have time for something God tells you to do, it might be wise to review what you’re really spending your time on.

The second excuse is "I don’t know what to say." Now, imagine you’re walking near a river and you see someone drowning, struggling to keep their head above water! Are you going to tell them "I’m sorry, I’m not an expert on saving drowning people," and keep walking? If you’re not heartless, you’re going to offer a hand. When someone is drowning, it’s not about being perfectly qualified, it’s about taking action. People are drowning in sin and hopelessness, and God never calls us to be perfectly qualified. He knows that's a standard we can't reach! But He does call us to act.

Whether you grew up in a Christian home or you came to the Lord later in life, you’ve most likely heard the basic gospel. You don’t need a Ph.D. in Christianity to share the good news. The gospel isn’t very complicated.

To put it simply, God created us perfectly, in a perfect world. We sinned and that perfect world became broken. Romans 3:23 says "We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." But God didn't leave us in our sin, instead He sent His son, Jesus, to take the punishment we deserve for our sin. If we put our faith in Jesus's death on the cross and our salvation through that, we are no longer slaves to sin, so we shouldn’t act like we are.

You can practice sharing the gospel with your friends and family. Speaking well is a skill, and like all skills, practice is necessary for improvement. Plus, your friends and family can come up with questions you might encounter, and you can answer them. These practice conversations can be incredibly helpful in sharing the gospel.

The third excuse is "I don’t have anyone to tell." Until I started working in September, everyone I knew outside of a few of my extended family members were Christians. I thought I had no opportunities to evangelize! But I’ve realized that even for those who think we have no opportunities, every day is a chance for either passive or active evangelism. Passive evangelism means that, in our everyday lives, we must be living for God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." If we’re truly living for God, it will make a difference, and others will see it. This leads to active evangelism, which is getting into conversations about God, sharing your faith, and answering questions.

And there are always people to tell. Jill Briscoe, founder of an Evangelistic Radio Program, shared her salvation experience in a video I saw. She was in the hospital and another patient, Jenny, told her the gospel message. Jill was amazed. This was such good news! But she said to the girl "Does anybody else know about this, Jenny? Cause I’ve never heard about this until now. If somebody else knew, and they hadn’t told me, I couldn’t believe that." Jenny replied "Don’t look down on those people, Jill, just because they didn’t tell you. From now on, everybody who comes into the orbit of your life must hear. There’s the head nurse, tell her." 2

We all have people who come into the orbit of our lives. Friends, coworkers, neighbors, people at your library, at the grocery store. When my dad was around, he would ask every person he met, "Who do you think Jesus is?" At doctor appointments, when they ended with "do you have any questions?" he would always say "Yes! Who do you think Jesus is?" I thought it was a bit embarrassing, and when we were running late to something I got frustrated if he got into a conversation. But looking back now, I realize what a good example he was. Everyone needs to hear the gospel, and we need to share it, like my dad did.

But the final excuse is "I’m afraid of people’s responses." Fear is a big influence, and your fears isn’t fun. I’ve been doing speech and debate for four years now, and while I’ve grown a lot in confidence and ability, I’m still afraid when I get up to speak. But I always get through it, and I’m glad I did it. Often, we over exaggerate our fears and make them out to be far worse than they actually are. Though we fear what might happen, sometimes the best way to face a fear like public speaking is just to get out and do it. Almost every time, fears turn out not to be so bad in the end. Furthermore, we are to recognize fear and offer it to God. Did you know that the Bible tells us a variation of "Fear Not..." 366 times? One of those is Philippians 4:6: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." This verse tells us not to fear, but it also tells us that, in our fear, we still praise God. God is truly worthy of our praise and our trust. He is able and willing to give us peace and confidence over our fear. And yes, people do have bad reactions to the gospel. Christians have lost their jobs, been kicked out of their homes, and even killed for sharing their faith. But the gospel isn’t about us. We haven’t been saved from eternal punishment just to keep living our lives as we are. We have been saved for a reason, and that reason is to glorify God in everything we do. He is worth it.

Though my opening quote may have sounded silly, the truth is, we are all going to die. This life is going to end. For Christians, that can be a source of hope. But so much of the world doesn’t have this hope, nor the assurance of anything to look forward to after death. In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, Pastor Rick Warren says "Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope." 3 It makes sense that people live for themselves and chase meaningless pastimes but find no gratification in it. Without the truth of the gospel, there is no hope in this world.

What then is our response? We must spread the news we have heard. Jill Briscoe was shocked that none of the many Christians she knew had told her the good news. We have the truth of the most important thing there is, and we need to share it. Galatians 6:9 says, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up." We must never give up in spreading the gospel, and we must overcome the barriers and excuses we put up. I challenge you to pray continually for opportunities, to become prepared to share your faith, and to get out and do it.

(This text was originally delivered at a speech competition)

Tiki Cohen
Grandaughter of Steve Cohen

Image of Tiki Cohen.

1 “Is Evangelism Going Out of Style?” Barna Group, December 17, 2013,
2 Briscoe, Jill “Jill Briscoe Describes Her Conversion Experience - CLC Banquet Nov 16, 2012.” YouTube, uploaded by CLCWorldVideos, 21 November 2012,
3 Warren, Rick. The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 2002

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