First Focus


When it comes to talking about evangelism, many Christians try to change the subject quickly. We know we are supposed to share our faith because it is commanded by Jesus (Mt. 28:19-20, Mk. 16:15, Lk. 24:46-47, Jn. 20:21, and Acts 1:8). The Great Commission command is not meant to heap guilt on our consciences. Instead, it is a command to help us to live a flourishing life amid lives that are not. This means, though, that we must be prepared to proclaim the gospel whenever we do have an opportunity. This means we need to be ready to go fishing.

This is exactly what Jesus called His disciples to do. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus called Peter and Andrew saying “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Now, in all honesty, I do not fish with any regularity, but I do know fishing takes preparation. You need certain tools to fish. You need a pole. You need bait. You need tackle. You need lures. You need a source of water that is stocked with fish. In other words, you need to be intentionally prepared to properly fish.

In the same way, when it comes to evangelism, you need to be intentionally prepared. First, you need to know the gospel. If you are a true born again Christian, then you know the gospel. You know that you are a sinner and have sinned before a holy God and that He will rightly judge you unless you put your faith in Christ alone and repent of your sins. There is your fishing pole.

Second, you need to have a framework. You will want to know any number of methods of moving conversations toward the gospel. For some this may be developing relationships, for others this may be asking a question or two to bridge the conversation to spiritual matters. Here is your tackle box.

But, a tackle box is really useless without tackle. Do you have gospel tracts to leave behind? Do you have pocket New Testaments to offer? Are you willing and able to pray with others at a moment’s notice, say with a waiter or waitress? What materials do you possess to be able to hook the fish, so to speak? These tools are your lures, and hooks, and bait.
Finally, where can you go where you know there are lost people? Do you frequent these places? Do you return again and again to catch some fish? Most fishermen I know have a favorite fishing hole. Christian, what is your favorite place to go and fish? Here is your water source full of fish.

Again, I am not a fisherman, but I know most men and women who enjoy fishing enjoy the experience whether they catch a fish or not. Sure, sometimes it can be frustrating, but more often than not the time is well spent and is relaxing. Christian, understand that to be fishers of men is not to string up how many you have caught to show others. Rather, the goal of fishing for men is to proclaim the gospel and offer the sinner the opportunity to repent of his sins.

Will you join me in preparing to fish? We are beginning a 6-week evangelism class that will equip you to turn everyday conversations into gospel conversations. The class will be Sunday evenings beginning February 23, from 6:00PM–7:00PM, here at the church. You can sign up online.

Your servant in Christ,
Terry Delaney