We could list many reasons we don’t share the gospel as we should:
- Fear of rejection
- Misplaced priorities
- Lack of training
- Lack of leadership
- Bloated church calendars
But I believe most of the time it goes deeper than all of these. We don’t share the gospel because we don’t care.
I don’t mean that we don’t care about the gospel. I mean that we have become complacent in having the gospel and are no longer burdened to be telling the gospel.
I have been studying the Apostle Paul, and I’ve noticed that behind Paul’s bold preaching was a stirred and pressed heart. He couldn’t not preach the gospel.
Consider Paul at Athens. He presumably went there for a few days of rest on his way to the next city. But as he waited there in the city for Silas and Timothy, “his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16).
It was this inner aggravation of Paul’s spirit that prompted him to begin going through the market preaching Christ and eventually led to him preaching on Mar’s Hill.
Mar’s Hill didn’t begin with a great strategy for interacting with the philosophers of Athens. It began with a Christian man whose spirit was stirred over lost people without Christ.
Why don’t we share the gospel as we should?
Perhaps it is because we are not as stirred as we should be.
Somehow, we get more roused over hobbies and vacations and fellowships and sports and events and programs than we do over the people around us who are without Christ.
It wasn’t just at Athens that Paul was stirred. We see it again as Paul was in Corinth. This time, Scripture says “Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:5).
Paul’s compulsion to share the gospel was internal—in his own spirit. He didn’t need someone telling him he should go soulwinning. He didn’t need someone telling him to witness to his coworkers or neighbors or family.
For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!—1 Corinthians 9:16
I wonder what would happen if Christians today had a renewed stirring in their spirits for the needs of a lost world.
Our world isn’t more godly than Paul’s. Our cities aren’t more bent toward Christ than Athens or Corinth were. But too often our spirits are less stirred than Paul’s, our hearts less pressed to share the good news of Christ.
When the internal motivation to share the gospel is missing, great programs and well-planned strategies will eventually fizzle out.
It has to come from within.
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.—2 Corinthians 5:14–15