Equipment for Fighting the Flames
Spiritual Weapons for Evangelism
As mentioned in the introduction, I believe that many born again believers really do care about the lost, and want to share their faith, but feel unequipped to do so. They feel like they are fighting a blazing fire naked with a squirt-gun. This chapter is going to focus on equipping you to share your faith. A fireman gains confidence as she is clothed with a fireproof suit, and given the finest, state of the art, water-pumping equipment.
My prayer is that this chapter will give you confidence in sharing your faith as it empowers you with God’s weapons for your use. In this chapter we will talk about four spiritual weapons for evangelism: prayer, prophecy, the law, and focusing on death. First let us take a good look at prayer in evangelism.
Prayer is the most important spiritual weapon that is available for a believer sharing his or her faith. Prayer is like the fireman’s Walkie-Talkie. It keeps him in direct contact with the chief at all times. The chief fireman has all of the wisdom and experience in fighting fires. He advises his rescuers to avoid dangerous pitfalls, counsels them in tough situations, and leads them to the safe exit out of the building.
Prayer keeps you in direct contact with Jesus. Without Him, our mission will most certainly fail. You should pray for God to open doors for sharing the Gospel, for the people you will be sharing with, and for yourself.
When Paul wrote to the Church in Colosse, he said in chapter 4 verses 3-4, “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”(NIV) We should pray for God to open doors for us to share the Gospel, and we should pray that He will make our message clear and understandable to our hearers. It is so much easier to share God’s truth with unbelievers when God Himself has gone before you to prepare the way. We should also pray for the hearts of our hearers before we go to speak with them.
Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”(NKJV) We need to pray regularly for unbelievers that we share the gospel with. We need to pray that God would send His Holy Spirit to them to draw their hearts to Jesus. According to the verse above, if God does not draw an unbeliever, he can’t come to Jesus. Remember, it is God’s will that all people should be saved.(1Tim2:3-4) When you pray for the salvation of unbelievers, you are praying in God’s perfect will. You can be sure that your prayer pleases God when it is a prayer for someone to be saved.
We also should pray for ourselves before we go to share the gospel with people. Satan and his demons hate it when a believer shares the gospel with the unsaved. He prefers the type of Christian that sits in pew and warms it, never going and sharing with others the truth of the Gospel.
Satan’s demons will do everything they can to discourage you from sharing your faith. In light of this, we need to clothe ourselves with the armor of God.(Eph 6:10-17) The helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, feet equipped with the readiness of the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit are all made available to us by God. This armor is like the fireman’s fireproof suit. The flames can’t harm the rescuer when she is wearing the suit.
We should pray and clothe ourselves with this armor so that we are guarded from the enemy’s attacks, and so that we are equipped to make offensive attacks against him in order to bring souls out from under his power and into the kingdom of God. Prayer is vital for the man or woman who wants to be used of God to win souls.
Prophecy – Prophecy is an excellent weapon available for a believer to use in sharing their faith. Prophecy is like a fireman’s badge and uniform. It proves to the one in danger that the fireman is a valid rescuer, and should be listened to. You can use prophecy while sharing your faith to prove that the Bible is the inspired word of God.
There are hundreds of detailed prophecies in the Bible that foretold the future and then came true. When you recite these prophecies and show how they were fulfilled, you validate the supernatural origin of the Bible, and show the unsaved that he should listen to what the Bible says.
Prophecy sparks biblical interest in the mind of an unsaved person. The fact that the Bible foretells detailed future events fascinates the mind of any person. Here are some examples of prophecies in the Bible that were fulfilled exactly as the Word of God said they would be fulfilled:
1. The nation of Israel would be born in one day. Isaiah 66:8.
Fulfillment: Israel became a nation on May 14th, 1948. No one ever thought that it would be possible for this to happen.
2. The Jews would regain control of biblical Jerusalem. Zechariah 12:6 and Luke 21:24.
Fulfillment: This happened in 1967.
3. The possession of Jerusalem would be at the center of international conflict and turmoil. Zechariah 12:3.
Fulfillment: Today, the conflict over Jerusalem is a major concern for people all over the world, just as the Bible predicted.
4. The city of Babylon would reemerge in the land of Shinar. Zechariah 5:11, Genesis 10:10, Genesis 11:1-9, Isaiah 13.
Fulfillment: The land of Shinar is modern day Iraq. Saddam Hussein spent more than 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars rebuilding the city of Babylon.
5. The Jews would regather in Israel. Jeremiah 31:7-10, Ezekiel 37:21-22, 38:8.
Fulfillment: The United States Central Bureau of Statistics reports that there are more Jews in Israel than in the United States. 5.4 million in Israel compared to 5.2 million in the U.S. (The U.S. data refers only to those who define themselves as Jewish by origin and have no other religion.) This means that for the first time since the destruction of the Second Temple, Israel has once again become the largest concentration of Jews in the world.
6. The ancient city of Petra in Jordan would exist and become a refuge for fleeing Jews during the tribulation period. Isaiah 16:1-4, Matthew 24:16, Revelation 12:6,14.
Fulfillment: Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994. This treaty makes it possible for Petra to be used as a potential refuge for fleeing Jews.
7. Messianic prophecy – The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2.
Fulfillment: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not any of the many other cities in the world.
8. Messianic prophecy: The Messiah would be pierced in His hands and His feet. Psalms 22:16.
Fulfillment: This prophecy was written 800 years before the cross was ever invented as a means for punishment. When Jesus was crucified, he was pierced with nails through His hands and His feet.
I recommend memorizing a couple of these prophecies so that you can use them when sharing the Gospel with an unsaved person. It will cause your hearer to be more interested in your message, because you have shown him proof that your message comes from the very Word of God. You can further explore some of these prophecies and more at www.eternal-productions.org . You can also learn more about the use of prophecy in proving the Bible’s divine origin from a book by Mark Cahill called, “One Thing You Can’t Do In heaven.” This is an excellent book about evangelism.
The Law – Another effective weapon for evangelism is the law. The law is made up of 613 precepts found in the Old Testament, but the core of the law is the ten commandments. The law is like the siren on the fireman’s truck. Sometimes people living on the top floor of a building that is ablaze on the lower floors do not believe that they are in danger. They are enjoying the comforts of their home, and everything seems fine. However, when they hear the sirens screaming, and see the lights flashing, they become convinced that they are in danger.
The law exposes a person’s sin, shows him the severity of his sin before God, convinces him of the danger he’s in, and shows him his need for a savior. Galatians 3:23-25 says, “But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”(NKJV) Everyone in the world that is not a born again believer in Jesus Christ is under the law of God. If they do not repent of their sins, and by faith experience the cleansing power of Jesus Christ, they will one day be judged for every time they broke God’s law, and we are told that the penalty for sin (breaking the law) is eternal death.(Rom 6:23)
Born again believers in Jesus Christ are not under the law, they will not be judged by the standards of the law for their sins, because Jesus fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law on their behalf by suffering and dying on the cross. The born again believer is not under the law, but is under God’s grace, and the law of the Spirit of life has set him free from the law of sin and death.(Rom 8:2)
What is it that leads a person to Jesus Christ to be saved? It is the law. The law is a teacher, it shows a person the need they have for a savior. If you are sharing the Gospel with a person who is not convinced of their sin, you can use the law to show them their guilt before God, and their need for Jesus Christ.
Sometimes when I am talking with an unsaved person, the conversation will go something like this:
Me: “God forbid it, but if you were to die today, do you think that you would go to heaven or to hell?”
Person: “I think I’ve done pretty good, I’d say that I’d probably go to heaven.”
Person: “Well, like I said, I think I’ve done pretty good in my life and I would be accepted.”
Me: “There is a way we can find out how well you’ve done. God has a law that evaluates how good we’ve been. It is called the Ten Commandments. Let’s see how good you’ve been.
Me: “One of the laws says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” In other words, don’t lie. Do you think that’s a good law?”
Person: “Well, yes I’d say so.”
Me: “I agree, if people would stop lying to each other the world would be a better place. But, here’s the problem; have you ever told a lie?”
Person: “Well, yes.”
Me: “Thank you for your honesty. There’s another law that says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” This is when you use the name God or Jesus Christ the same way you would use a curse word to express your frustration or surprise. Have you ever used God’s name that way?”
Person: “Yes, I have.”
Me: “Thank you for your honesty. There’s another law that says, “You shall not steal.” Do you think that is a good law?”
Person: “Yes, I do.”
Me: “I agree, if people would stop stealing from each other the world would be a better place. But, have you ever stolen anything, maybe an answer on a test when you were in school, or a cookie from the cookie jar when you were young?”
Person: “Yes, I have.”
Me: “Thank you for your honesty. There’s another law that says, “You shall not commit adultery, but Jesus said that if you look at a woman and lust for her, you’ve already committed adultery with her in you heart.” Have you ever done that?”
Person: “Yes, I have.”
Me: “Thank you for your honesty. Do you see how God is not only concerned with our actions, but he even looks inside our hearts to see our desires and motives?”
Person: “Yes, I see that.”
Me: “There’s another law that says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Have you ever placed anything in your life above God for any length of time?”
Person: “Yes, I have.”
Me: “Thank you for your honesty.”
I then go on to explain to the person that every time he breaks God’s law it is called sin. I then tell him that what we earn for sinning is death. (Rom 6:23) I explain to him that this is not just a physical death, or just ceasing to exist, but a conscious eternal death full of pain and misery.
Sometimes I will describe hell and the lake of fire to the person. I explain to him that God loves him, and does not want him to go there. However, I tell him that in order for God to be a perfect judge that delivers perfect justice, He must punish any and all sin. If He just let “little sins” go, or exchanged forgiveness of sins for good deeds done, He would be like a crooked judge who makes deals and takes bribes.
So, because of His perfect nature God must punish sin. That is the bad news. Then I tell the person the good news. I tell the person that although God is perfect in justice, He is also perfect in love and mercy and that He is passionately in love with them. I explain that Jesus, who was God in the flesh, came to earth. I tell the person that Jesus was perfect, He never lied, stole, or committed adultery of the heart. In fact, He never even broke one of God’s laws.
Then I explain that Jesus took the person’s sins upon Himself, and suffered and died a horrible death on a cross. The death and suffering He endured were a payment for any and all the sins we have and ever will ever commit. Sometimes I tell of all the individual sufferings that Jesus endured at the cross. I explain to the person that Jesus descended into hell, and took the keys of death and hell from Satan. He then rose from the dead on the third day, proving that He had power over death and hell, and that He has authority to release others from their curse.
I explain to the person that if he will repent from his sins, and put his faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, Jesus will wipe him clean of his sin. I explain that if He will believe, God the Father will see him as though he never sinned and will welcome him into the kingdom of heaven. I explain to the person that no one is good enough to deserve this salvation, but that God gives it as a free gift to those who will call on His name. I also explain to the person that God desires to have a relationship with us now, and He’s provided a way for God and man to be friends through His Son Jesus Christ.
Do you see how the bad news makes sense of the good news? The gospel goes from being foolishness to the power of God as the unsaved person begins to understand the severity of his sin before God while the law shines light on his sin and magnifies it. (1Cor 15:56)
The sinner begins to understand that his sin is a deadly illness, and begins to long for the cure of the gospel. I am convinced that a person must understand the bad news, before they’ll ever cling to the good news. The law makes sense of the good news. It strips a self-righteous person of his false hope in his own perceived goodness. It shows him that in God’s sight, he has not been good, and it stops his mouth from trying to justify himself. It leaves him with no hope other than Jesus.
The law of God is an excellent weapon available for use in the spreading of the gospel, and the winning of souls. A man of God named Ray Comfort taught me everything I have learned about the use of the law in evangelism. I highly recommend his website www.livingwaters.com and everything on it for your use in evangelism.
Focusing on death – There is one appointment in life that no man or woman can avoid. No one wants to be early for this appointment, but no one will be late for it. It is our appointment with death. The last part of verse 2 in chapter 7 of Ecclesiastes says, “for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.” (NIV)
I was recently watching a documentary about the life of Nelson Mandela. He was a fascinating man. At one point in the documentary, he was visiting his family gravesite. He mentioned that he would be buried at this site, but he said that he did not want to think about death for very long. Most people do not want to think about death, because they are uncertain about what awaits them after death.
God has set eternity in the hearts of men. (Eccl 3:11) People know deep down in their hearts that death is not the end of our existence. They know that when their hearts stop beating, and they breathe their last, their souls will live on. This terrifies the unbeliever, because he is unsure of where he will spend his eternity. Therefore, most of the world tries to remain distracted from thinking about death. According to the Bible, it is wise to think about death. It is wise to consider it deeply. Thinking about death will drive you closer to the only one who ever conquered death – Jesus.
Jesus takes the sting out of death. (1Cor 15:55-57) Jesus paid for my sins, so that by faith in Him, I will be presented absolutely sinless before Father God when I die or am taken in the rapture of the Church. Therefore, my fear of dying was swallowed up in Jesus’ victory over death when I became a true believer in Jesus Christ. I know I am going to heaven. It is not because I am good enough, but because of what Jesus did for me on the cross.
1 John 5:13 says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” (NKJV) A believer really can know that she or he possesses eternal life. However, many unbelievers have no clue what is going to happen to them when they die, and they are petrified of death. Many other people think they know what is going to happen to them at death, but have completely wrong answers for eternity. Still, even others have false hope in dead religion to get them to heaven. The alarming fact is that we, as believers in Christ, know the fate of all these unbelieving people if they do not turn to Jesus – hell. We need to present the truth of Jesus to as many people as possible.
You should talk about death when you are trying to share Jesus with unbelievers. Death is the ultimate equalizer. Rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, fat or skinny, black or white, brown or yellow, smart or dumb; if Jesus doesn’t return first, we’re all going to die. Conversation about death can be used as a powerful tool for sharing the gospel with unbelievers.
Imagine that a fireman enters a blazing building, rushes to the 5th floor, busts down the door of an apartment, and finds a woman sleeping comfortably in her bed as the building burns down. She is not even aware of the danger she is in. What will the fireman do? He will yell at her, shake her, or do whatever it takes to wake her up and bring her to safety.
Focusing on death while sharing your faith is like giving people a wake up call. Many people have distracted themselves from thinking about death for a long time, but they need to think about it. Many times I have asked people what they believe happens to a person when she dies. After I have attentively listened to her, I have an open door to discuss with her the truth about death, hell, heaven, Jesus, and forgiveness. If she gives me some strange answer about life after death, I usually ask her a question that I learned from a book by Mark Cahill. (markcahill.org) I ask, “Would it be possible for a person to die and find out that what she believed about eternity while she was living was false and something different happens to her soul?” (Example: The person believed in reincarnation, but they die and find out that she doesn’t come back to earth but goes to either heaven or hell)
The person always says yes that it is possible for a person to be wrong about eternity. After they admit that, I say, “Now grab a hold of this. This is heavy. If there is a wrong answer for eternity, then there has to be a …” I let them answer the question. This question is powerful, because it causes a person to realize that there can only be one right answer for eternity. You can then tell the person the truth about death, sin, hell, Jesus, the gospel, and salvation. You can also ask people this sharp question; “If you were to die tonight, do you think you would go to heaven or hell?” After the person answers you, you have an open door to talk to them about the truth.
We have just reviewed four major weapons for evangelism. Prayer, prophecy, the law, and focusing on death in conversation are powerful tools for use in sharing your faith. However, remember that a fireman’s main weapon is water. All of the equipment the fireman has is designed to help him distribute the water, put out the fire, and bring the people that are in danger to safety. Similarly, all of the weapons for evangelism mentioned in this chapter are designed to help you distribute the living waters of the gospel.
The gospel is the only message that can save anyone from his or her sins. Jesus’ payment for our sins by His gruesome death, His burial, the three days in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead is what we ultimately want to share with unsaved people. Water puts out the flames that stand between a person in a burning building and the safe exit out of the building. The gospel quenches God’s fiery wrath against sin and brings a sinner into the arms of Jesus, safe for eternity. Your primary goal in evangelism is to share this life saving message. When talking about Jesus with unbelievers let us be determined to share with them the gospel.
Hopefully this chapter has empowered you to effectively share your faith with unbelievers. These weapons are not confined to one type of evangelism, but can be used when sharing your faith at work, at school, on the streets, or wherever else you may go to share Jesus. The next chapter will focus on how to help you avoid hang-ups to your mission of sharing your faith.