This past Sunday, my pastor was continuing his sermon series on the book of Acts. His scripture this time was Acts 17, specifically Paul's sermon in the Areopagus. He pointed out that whenever the Gospel is preached, there will be one of three responses. The hearer will either reject the message, reconsider their position, or will come to repentance.
What does this have to do with sharing the Gospel? Human nature. It finally clicked in my head that what muzzles me is that first possible response. I fear their rejection. I've struggled with this before in other areas. I care, probably too much, about what other people think about me, and I jealously guard whatever good reputation I think I have. Since I fear rejection, that stifles my witness.
I think this is unfortunately true for too many of us. We are called to live in the world but not be of it, yet we worry what the world thinks of us. First, we need to remember that when someone rejects the Gospel, they are ultimately rejecting God and His message, not us. Yes, as the messenger, that rejection frequently follows onto us, but we are not the ultimate target of the rejection. Second, Christ warned that just as He was rejected, so too would we be rejected. If the world is NOT rejecting us, then perhaps we are doing something wrong. Or, as the teacher in my small group put it, as we mature in Christ, we should feel more and more uncomfortable living in the world.
Are you sharing the Gospel every opportunity you have, or do you hold back? Do you worry more about what your neighbor or co-worker thinks about you, or more about what they know of God?
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)