I know there are lots of people who wish we would just keep our convictions to ourselves. “Believe what you will, but just don’t bother me, or try to convince me to agree with you” is the common refrain.
On one hand, I get that. I know what it is like to open the door to a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses. When I go shopping, I tend to resist the aggressive salesperson. I know what it is like to want to be left alone.
And yet, on the other hand, the reason I am a Christian today is because someone chose to not mind their own business. I follow Jesus because someone thought it was important to convey to me what they believed.
And I’m so glad they did.
I’m glad somebody challenged me with the presentation of the gospel, because I would have never figured out the way of salvation on my own.
One of the key reasons why followers of Jesus feel compelled to share the message with others is because we recognize that the need to trust in Jesus for salvation is not self-evident. I cannot discover the way of salvation by walking in the park, or by staring at the stars at night. Because salvation is the result of an event, rooted in history, someone needs to tell me the story.
The apostle Paul understood this, prompting him to ask rhetorically: “How can they believe in the one whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone telling them?” (Romans 10:14).
The Christians that I know, who actively share the message of Jesus, aren’t trying to be pushy. We’re not trying to bother people. We’re attempting to be faithful. Someone took time to share the message with us, and we feel compelled to pass the message along. The One we follow has instructed us to “fish for men” (Matthew 4:19). He didn’t instruct us to “hunt for people”. He didn’t ask us to drag people against their will; He said “fish”—drop a line, tell the story, pass on the message.
On Sunday October 25 at St. Giles Kingsway and The Well, I delivered a message based on Acts 4:1-20 (the audio is posted below). The religious authorities had gathered to question Peter and John, and eventually ordered them to stop talking about Jesus.
I realize a lot of people today would also like it if Christians stopped talking about Jesus. Admittedly, my life would be a lot less controversial if I kept my beliefs to myself. But I’ve been instructed to fish. Because the way to salvation is not self-evident, I’ve been commissioned to pass the story on. You could say that Peter’s response has become the collective response of Christians: “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).