Last semester, I observed another instance of a not uncommon problem in evangelism today. I hope that the following testimony concerning the incident will help others to avoid this practice.
On a Sunday afternoon, my visitation partner knocked on the door of a house. A man answered the door.
My partner introduced us to him and then proceeded to witness to him. After making some initial remarks, he proceeded to testify to him that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.
My partner ended our witness to the man shortly after sharing these important evangelistic ideas, which he testified to him from 1 Corinthians 15. We then walked toward the next house to witness to them.
While we walked there, I asked my partner what he thought the core meaning of the term Christ was and whether what he had testified to the previous person provided him with a clear understanding of that information. My partner gave several responses to me as we waited for a response at the next door.
As we moved on to the next house, I continued to probe his thinking. Finally, he asked me what I was trying to get him to see.
I pointed out that the term Christ essentially signifies someone who is an anointed person. I then explained that Scripture never speaks of the Christ as being a self-anointed One; the term intrinsically carries with it the concept that He is the One whom God the Father chose.
I then encouraged him never to take for granted that a lost person will attach this right meaning to the term. I further exhorted him that we should be certain to communicate the vital truth that the Father chose Jesus to be the Christ. Based on this key truth, I urged him to testify to both Jesus and the Father whenever he testifies to lost people about Christ.
My partner readily concurred that the term Christ essentially has this significance and agreed that he should not have taken for granted that the lost person whom he witnessed to would have attached that significance to the term. He thanked me for pointing out this important matter that he needed to be more careful to communicate in his evangelism.
In every evangelistic encounter, we must do all that we can so that the lost people to whom we witness understand clearly that Jesus was the One whom the Father chose and sent into the world. Taking such understanding for granted, especially with someone whom we have never witnessed to previously, unnecessarily risks failing to provide him with vital understanding.