Ten Reasons to Share Christ Publicly
We can come up with many illegitimate reasons to remain silent. We can join the majority church in burying our heads in the sand while the predators swarm around us. Or, we could share Christ with all creation no matter the cost. Doing this will glorify God, it will extend His Kingdom, and it will conform us to the image of Christ.
I fear that in some of our less enlightened country churches there are conservative individuals who almost believe that to preach anywhere except in the chapel would be a shocking innovation, a sure token of heretical tendencies, and a mark of zeal without knowledge. Any young brother who studies his comfort among them must not suggest anything so irregular as a sermon outside the walls of their Zion. In the olden times we are told, “Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets, she crieth in the chief places of concourse, in the openings of the gates” (Pro 1:20-21); but the wise men of orthodoxy would have wisdom gagged except beneath the roof of a licensed building.
One of the most glaring differences between the ancient Church of the New Testament and the tepid church of the modern era is our current fixation with cowardice disguised as winsomeness. That early church turned the world upside down with the powerful and glorious Gospel. In contrast, the modern church has become so preoccupied with safeguarding her reputation she doesn’t have the stomach or backbone to overturn anything.
Don’t get me wrong, those earliest Christians succumbed to the tendency of seclusion and cowardice as well. For a few days, they were scattered in terror of being arrested when the Son of Man was crucified. Once He was resurrected, they spent forty days of private instruction with the risen Lord and ten additional days tucked away in a clandestine cubbyhole in Jerusalem before the Spirit of power came upon them. But, once the Spirit came upon them like a rushing wind, they remained hidden no longer. In fact, they boldly left the safety and security of the upper room to be left bruised, beaten, bleeding and battered all over the Roman world in the service of Christ. They were crucified, fed to lions, and bludgeoned with stones. What they did not do was cower or crawl into a hole to maximize their safety and comfort. Instead, they kept on advancing regardless of what it cost them.
Compare that robust, manly, and evangelistic church of old with the milquetoast, vanilla, chicken-hearted ekklesia we see today, and you will spy the problem. We have grown as squishy as overcooked spaghetti noodles at a time that requires sharpened steel! Instead of publicly meeting our era’s increased secularization and immorality with the Gospel, as the first-century church did, we have adopted a sugar and spice and, for goodness sake, have a posture that’s nice. But, unfortunately, that niceness has caused us to run from the fight, surrender the public arena, and treat the church with the same exclusivity and secrecy as a cluster of Freemasons in the grand lodge.
In what follows, I will sketch out ten reasons why we must adopt a faith that proclaims the Gospel publicly. This could be conversations with lost family members, engaging coworkers, handing out tracts, and open air evangelism. However it looks, we must not go quietly into the night, but publicly on to glory.
Why Must Our Faith Be Public?
1. Because It Afflicts the Flesh
The best apologetic for sharing the Gospel in public is that our flesh despises it. We tense up like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs at the mere prospect of sharing our faith with a stranger. So instead, we prefer to speak in the security of our church buildings with people who already agree with us.
And while that kind of fellowship is edifying and good, we are also called to mortify the flesh and its desires. If my heart objects to preaching outdoors, sharing my faith with a stranger, or handing out Gospel tracts in a public area, then I need to discern why it is reacting that way. I must ask myself some questions: Am I protecting a fragile ego? Am I afraid of what others will think of me? Am I nervous? Do I feel unprepared or won’t know what to say? Do I have a fear of how that person will react? If any of those, or any other unBiblical reasons, prevent me from doing it, I must slay the flesh and move on to obedience.
Remember, the Bible describes the heart as wicked and desperately sick. Therefore, any action that buffets the heart and encourages the flesh is immediately suspect.
2. Because Hell Is Hot
A second reason for publicly declaring the Gospel is the reality of eternal conscious torment for all who stand opposed to Christ. Paul says in Romans 10:
How, then, will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? – Romans 10:14-15
The word used for “preach” in this passage (κηρύσσω) certainly includes the homiletical discipline of vocational ministers who herald the Gospel from behind solid oaken pulpits on Sunday. Praise God for that work! But it is also not limited to that! In fact, the word here means to announce something publicly and to make a message known to the masses. So, far from limiting this to a group of trained seminarians, Paul has in mind equipping everyone as messengers and sending them out into the world to make Christ known wherever He is not.
His reason for this is simple. How will the world hear it if we do not send messengers out into the world to publicly announce the Gospel? And how could they possibly believe it if they do not hear it? And without belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, they will spend an eternity in hell.
Our inactivity and passivity for evangelism have awful damning consequences.
3. Because It’s Faithful to the Mission
As a Calvinist, I understand that the Lord draws all men unto Himself. He predestined the elect in eternity past, paid for them two thousand years ago on the cross, and regenerated them in space and time by the Spirit’s working. He is the author of salvation, the one who seeks and saves the lost and draws all His people unto Himself and holds them secure in His ferocious and tender grip. Still, none of these glorious truths nullify the need for and the command for us to go and make disciples of all the nations (Mt. 28:18-20).
When Jesus gave the great commission, He didn’t limit His authority and dominion to a church building or require His followers to only make disciples from a gathered flock. Instead, he told us to go into the world and disciple the nations. This involves getting outside our buildings and comfort zones, announcing the message to outsiders, and being ready to answer any objections they have until they cut us off, curse us out, or are converted unto Him.