Characteristics of an Effective
Lecture notes by Charlie Campbell
Director of The Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry
Below are some of the characteristics of an effective ambassador of Christ.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love."
2. Ready and Able to Give Reasons for His Faith
1 Peter 3:15
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be [What?] ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;"
3. Gentle and Respectful
1 Peter 3:15
always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (gentleness and respect–NIV)
2 Timothy 2:24
"And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all"
4. Gracious with Speech
5 "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside [that is outside the family of God, a reference to unbelievers], redeeming the time. [How do we do that (How do we walk in wisdom? One of the ways is in v.6] 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."
One way I like to do this when I'm talking to an unbeliever, is to acknowledge the merit of their good points, questions, or concerns.
Jesus Himself was very gracious in the way He spoke with people. Luke said that the people marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth (Luke 4:22).
2 Timothy 2:24-26
"And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."
Fishing for men, like fishing for fish, takes a lot of patience.
Many Christians who share the gospel today want to be harvesters (they want to see people respond to the gospel and get saved the first time they talk to them). But it is very rare that an unbeliever ends up giving their life to the Lord the very first time you bring up the Lord with them.
Bill Fay mentions in his book Share Jesus Without Fear that the average nonbeliever must be spoken to about the Lord 7.6 times before they receive the Lord. We must remember that it takes time. We often think of success in evangelism as occurring when a person bows their head with us and prays to receive the Lord. That's incorrect. It's exciting when that happens, but that is not the definition of success according to the Bible. Success is not praying with a person to receive Christ. Success is living your life out in obedience to the Lord.
What has He called you to do? He's called you to share the gospel with the lost. So as you share with a person, regardless of whether they receive the Lord or not, you have been successful. If they don't receive the Lord, don't get upset with them, or give up on them. God is looking for people that will sow seeds, and trust the results that will come much later (often times after others have watered them) to Him.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 3:6
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth."
God is looking for people who are willing to plant and water, and allow God to cause the growth.
2 Timothy 2:24-26
24 "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."
1 Corinthians 3:7
"So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth."
The Scriptures make it clear that we are nothing! Apart from the Lord, we would all be miserable wretches. And it's important that as you're talking to people that they see that. Many unbelievers think that Christians are prideful. It is good for people to see that we are real, human beings, with weaknesses.
It helps them to see that there's a place for them in God's family.
John the Baptist, although bold in His preaching of the Word of God, was also a great example to us of a humble ambassador.
He said to those he was preaching to, 'There comes one after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose' ( Mark 1:7). In other words, 'Jesus is great and I'm an unworthy sinner.'
"When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you"
"Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."
Dogs and swine were a way of referring to unholy, unsaved people who have no interest in the holy and precious truths of God's Word.
If the person that you are sharing the truth with becomes
--or begins to ridicule
--or be argumentative
--or simply does not want to hear the truth
...you should wisely end the conversation. This isn't out of hatred for dogs and swine, or the unsaved, but rather out of love and respect for that which is holy.
"And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet."
8. Knows the Word
"Then Philip opened his mouth [speaking to the Ethiopian eunuch], and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him."
When the opportunity presented itself, Philip was ready. He knew the Word of God. Philip wasn't only able to answer this man's question about the passage in Isaiah, he was able to use this verse as a starting point to tell him more about Jesus.
And the man gave His heart to the Lord!!
19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen."
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